Tintic Southern Rail Road
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This page was last updated on May 25, 2015.
ParsonMcKee & Tintic Southern Rail Road was a planned shortline railroad with plans to operate over the former D&RGW Tintic Branch (later known as UP's Tintic Industrial Lead).
These plans included the operation of two rare Alco switchers that had been saved from the scrapper's torch.
They are the two locomotives stored for over 10 years at the defunct U. S. Steel coal washing plant near Wellington, Utah. The locomotives were both built for U. S. Steel: USS no. 1 is an Alco S-6 built in 1957, spending its entire service life at the Wellington wash plant. USS 1217 is an Alco SSB-9, the cab unit of a unique cow-calf set built in 1956 for U. S. Steel's Oliver Iron Mining operation in Minnesota. The 1217 came to Utah in about 1981 when U. S. Steel closed the Oliver Iron operations.
U. S. Steel closed the Wellington plant in 1984 when they also shut down their nearby coal mine, along with their Carbon County Railway subsidiary. U. S. Steel sold their coal mine and coal washing plant to Kaiser Coal in 1985, and Kaiser continued to operate both until 1989, when they sold the Wellington facility to Castle Valley Resources as a loadout location for their Genwal Mine in Crandall Canyon.
Both Alco locomotives are now owned by Ophir Mineral and Aggregate Group, usually known as Omag. Omag's president, Al McKee, had noticed the two locomotives sitting at the Wellington location in about 2002. The locomotives were owned by NEICO (Nevada Electric Investment Company), parent company to Nevada Power. Mr. McKee had done some work for Nevada Power at their Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant at Moapa, Nev., and some contacts within Nevada Power. He contacted them in January 2007 about buying the two Wellington locomotives and was told that the locomotives could not be moved over UP tracks because they had solid bearings (also known as friction bearings), instead of the needed roller bearings. McKee wanted the locomotives to switch rail cars at his Omag facilities at Flux, Utah, where they load salt into rail cars, and at Wendover where they load gypsum for use as a soil amendment.
Omag purchased both locomotives in May 2007. Union Pacific agreed to move the former USS 1217 to Flux, but only after a very extensive inspection. Omag planned on repairing and repainting the 1217 upon its arrival at Flux. UP would not approve the movement of the old USS no. 1, so Omag plans to move it by flatbed truck to Payson where they will repair and repaint it for use at their Keigley facility at the former Geneva Steel Keigley quarry west of Santaquin on UP's ex D&RGW Eureka Branch. At Keigley, Omag loads limestone (calcium carbonate) into rail cars, and will use the former USS no. 1 at that location. After loading the cars at Keigley, Omag will move them to over UP's former D&RGW Tintic Branch to a connection with UP's mainline at Springville.
Omag mines and loads (and ships by truck) salt, food-grade calcium carbonate, flux-grade silica, high-grade silica, Gilsonite, Halloysite, Perlite, Dolomite, gypsum, and all types of concrete aggregates. Omag is part of the rapidly expanding McFarland & Hullinger/Broken Arrow, a trucking, construction, and mining company headquartered in Tooele, Utah. McFarland & Hullinger started out in the construction business about 70 years ago. They grew beyond their construction and excavating roots in 1972 when they organized Broken Arrow , Inc., to expand into the environmental disposal business just getting started in western Tooele County, centered around Clive, a rail station on Western Pacific. (During the mid 1950s, McFarland & Hullinger was involved in the movement of tailings from the mine dumps of the Ontario mine above Park City, down to a truck dump for transloading into Union Pacific rail cars, at the rate of about 30 carloads per week. The material was used by Kennecott as flux ore at its Garfield smelter.)
The Tintic Southern was organized in anticipation of rejuvinated rail traffic at Tintic, but the new traffic never did materialize. After the mid-1990s, Chief Consolidated Mining Corp. had tried various methods of leases and joint ventures to obtain funding that would allow mining to resume from its properties east of Eureka. There were proposals to re-start mining at the Burgin and Trixie mines, along with the concentrator built by Kennecott during the 1969-1978 lease of the property. In March 2008, it looked like some progress was being made when Andover Mining Corp. acquired 65 percent of Chief Consolidated, with the main asset being 16,000 acres of land near Eureka, Utah. Chief Consolidated had been working to develop the Burgin Mine (silver, plus lead and zinc) and the Trixie Mine (gold, silver, and copper). There were multiple feasability studies, and each indicated high initial costs and varying degrees of success, depending on the changing prices of metals. The costs of its proposals and studies in hopes of a resumption of mining, were a severe drain on Andover's assets. In August 2013, Andover declared bankrutcy, and in February 2014, the company's attempt to reorganize failed and it was ordered to liquidate its assets. The plans for a new rail line died with Andover's plans.
Since May 2002, the roadbed and track of the former D&RGW Tintic Branch (which later became Union Pacific's Tintic Industrial Lead) had been owned by Utah Transit Authority, with Union Pacific retaining operating rights to provide limited common carrier access.
Plans were in place as late as March 2014 to operate trains hauling stone from the Keigley quarry and other sites, as well as whatever ore traffic might develop.
Update, May 2014
Pete Maxfield wrote on May 10, 2014:
The Burgin mine owners already pulled the rail on their property and the EPA told UP if they pull the rail in the Goshen Valley it will get real expensive because of the environmental damage, so let's hope that Al McKee will make good on the signs he keeps posting along the right of way that the railroad will reopen. Joel Thompson would argue that the UTA probably owns the rail all the way to Elberta, since the UTA 2030 plan shows a Front Runner line from Elberta to Eagle Montain.
Update, May 2015
Pete Maxfield wrote on May 23, 2015:
Omag had a dream to start the line back up again. In 2009 they actually hired a company to start rehabilitating the line, the equipment sat for a few days on the Muir-Roberts siding until UTA and UP told them to remove the equipment. They kept their signs up until about a year ago . When Andover Mining declared bankruptcy Omag was caught in that business as they had formed a partnership with Andover on the Chief Consolidated properties. Omag broke their relationship with Andover during the bankruptcy and dropped the idea of re-opening the Tintic as they wanted to ship minerals (Halloysite) from Burgin and from Kiegley. Since the Andover bankruptcy Omag seems to be in disarray. Recently there were UTA people out in the Goshen Valley looking at the rail.
The Tintic Southern is pretty much a dead project. Andover removed the rail at the Burgin mine and sold it before they declared bankruptcy (2012). Then the Federal government pulled up a bunch of rail while chaining the ground (2015). The UTA has their 2040 plan that imples a Front Runner line all the way to Elberta (see page 66; link; PDF; 72 pages). Recently UTA people were out near the LDS Elevator looking at the rail.
James Belmont wrote on May 22, 2015:
Now the UP pays to truck the grain to the LDS church welfare farm in Elberta rather than maintain the track. Ironic.
|NEICO 1||USSX 1||Alco S-6||82303||Sep 1957||1|
|NEICO 002||USSX 002||Alco SSB-9||81817||Oct 1956||2|
|a.||USSX 1 was built for Columbia Geneva Steel. (The Diesel Shop, Alco S-5, S-6, and SSB-9 Rosters) (see also Extra 2200 South, March-April 1972, page 18)|
|b.||In September 2001, USSX 1 was seen to have the number "1" in its number boards, with USSX and the number "1" visible under the paint. The unit also had a metal plate saying, "Property of Columbia Geneva Steel Div Geneva Mine 31-39". (information from Norm Metcalf via email on February 19, 2007)|
|c.||USSX 002 was built as Oliver Iron Mining (OIMX) 1217 as the 'A' cab part of a two unit cab-and-booster set, with the 'B' booster part having been scrapped. (see also The Diesel Shop, Alco S-5, S-6, and SSB-9 Rosters, with a photo of OIMX 1217) (Oliver Iron Mining became U. S. Steel's Minntac operations in ??)|
|d.||Both units were still there by September 1994, as Castle Valley Resources. (Locomotive Notes II, Number 182, December 1994, page 12)|
|e.||Both units were owned by Coalplex International by August 1995. (Locomotive Notes II, Number 186, August 1995, page 16)|
|1.||NEICO 1 was sold to Ophir Mining and Aggregates Group (Omag) in May 2007; with plans to use it on a new shortline railroad planned to operate over UP's former D&RGW Tintic Branch, which UP calls its Tintic Industrial Lead. The new road hopes to serve the Keigley limestone quarry at Santaquin.|
|2.||NEICO 002 was sold to Ophir Mining and Aggregates Group (Omag) in May 2007; with plans to use it on a new shortline railroad planned to operate over UP's former D&RGW Tintic Branch, which UP calls its Tintic Industrial Lead. The new road hopes to serve the Keigley limestone quarry at Santaquin. The unit, with its original 1217 number still visible, was seen in May 2007 at the dolomite facility at Flux, on UP's Ellerbeck Branch south of Great Salt Lake.|
- D&RGW and the Tintic District. -- Information about the history of D&RGW's rail line to Tintic.
- Recent Events at Tintic -- Information about events at Tintic, mostly concerning the Burgin and Trixie mines.
- Al McKee talked about his mining work in Utah