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Utah & Pacific Railroad (1897-1901)

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This page was last updated on June 27, 2018.

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Overview

From David Eccles, Pioneer Western Industrialist, by Leonard J. Arrington. (Utah State University Press, 1975)

Utah and Pacific Railroad

Operating under the name "Utah and Pacific Railroad," a group of Ogden men began planning in 1895 for a railroad line which would connect Utah with Los Angeles and other cities of Southern California. As a first step, they proposed to build a road from Milford, Utah to Uvada, Nevada, a distance of about seventy-five miles. The Union Pacific terminus had been at Milford since the late 1870s. Surveys were made and construction commenced, but the continuation of the Cleveland depression complicated the financing.

The organizing group included Joseph A. West of Ogden, an engineer for the Oregon Short Line, Abraham H. Cannon, enterprising son of George Q. Cannon, an apostle of the Mormon Church, and others. Cannon's untimely death in 1896 interrupted the company's progress. On February 8, 1897, the vacant place left in Utah and Pacific was filled by David Eccles, who was elected director to replace Cannon; thereafter Eccles was a dominant force in the firm's business.

On August 16, 1898, a contract was entered into between the Oregon Short Line Railroad (owned by Union Pacific interests) and Utah and Pacific whereby Utah and Pacific was given those grading rights south of Milford previously granted to OSL, as well as an option to buy second-hand rails at a favorable price. OSL obtained in return a five-year option for the purchase of the Utah and Pacific line when completed.

Formal articles of incorporation of the Utah and Pacific Railroad were signed on August 19, 1898. These listed A. W. McCune, president; David Eccles, vice-president; William L. Hoge, secretary; and Charles W. Nibley, treasurer. Joseph F. Smith, Richard McIntosh, Thomas D. Dee, and Robert C. Lund were listed as directors. The road was bonded for $1,500,000 -- $20,000 per mile -- and stock to the amount of $75,000 had already been purchased at the time of incorporation.

Two groups of associates joined together in the enterprise. One group which owned half of the stock consisted of David Eccles, principal owner, plus Charles W. Nibley, Joseph F. Smith, Thomas D. Dee, and Robert C. Lund. The stock and with it the voting power, of all of these men was placed in the hands of David Eccles. The other group consisted of A. W. McCune interests. (McCune was principal owner of Salt Lake City's street railroad system.)

At the time of incorporation the Utah Construction Company was also organized for the purpose of handling the construction of the road. Construction began immediately and the track was completed to Uvada on the Nevada-Utah border by July 1, 1899.

On February 2, 1899, Oregon Short Line interests organized a subsidiary of the company, the Utah, Nevada, and California Railway Company, to continue the line from Uvada to California. Some work was done by this subsidiary company, but the plan was abandoned in early 1901.

During the last part of March 1901, David Eccles and A. W. McCune went to New York to negotiate with the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company for sale of the-Utah and Pacific Railroad line.

After ten days of talks, on April 4, 1901, the railroad was sold for $1.5 million. Half of this sum went to Eccles and his friends, the other half to McCune. The decision of Union Pacific interest to complete the line to Los Angeles had made this sale, at a good price, possible. Fair value of the railroad was $1.2 million. The 272-mile line from Milford to Los Angeles, called the [San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad], was completed in the spring of 1905.

Timeline

January 1, 1897
There was a Utah & Pacific incorporated in March 1896. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1897)

August 5, 1898
Union Pacific's Oregon Short Line agreed to take bonds of the Utah & Pacific in return for furnishing sufficient 52-pound rails for the Utah & Pacific to reach the Nevada stateline, commencing from Milford. Ties for the Utah & Pacific were coming from the Eccles sawmills in Oregon, which were working at their limits to supply the needed ties. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 5, 1898)

August 13, 1898
In June 1898, A. W. McCune became financially interested in the Utah & Pacific, joining R. C. Lund of St. George, David Eccles of Ogden, and C. W. Nibley of Baker, Oregon. The latter three men had been negotiating with Oregon Short Line for the past year for the OSL to build the line from Milford to the state line. After McCune became interested, he brought in William L. Hoge, a banker in Butte, Montana, who also became financially interested. After returning from Boston in early August 1898 with an agreement in hand, the result of a meeting of McCune and Nibley for U&P, and President Carr of OSL, a meeting was held in Salt Lake City on August 16, 1898 that included all parties of Utah & Pacific and OSL, including Bancroft of OSL. In the Boston meeting, OSL agreed to furnish rails, splice plates, bolts, spike, switch stands and frogs, along with four locomotives, two combination baggage passenger cars, two first-class coaches, seventy box cars, thirty flat cars and four water cars. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 13, 1898)

August 20, 1898
Utah & Pacific Railroad was incorporated, in Utah. (Utah corporation number 2263)

(The Salt Lake Tribune of January 1, 1899 says that Utah & Pacific was incorporated on August 19, 1898; two years before, the Salt Lake City Daily Tribune of January 1, 1897 says that the road was organized in March 1896.)

August 20, 1898
Utah & Pacific Railroad incorporated to build from Milford to Utah-Nevada line. Took over OSL&UN construction Milford to Uvada. During 1898, operated from Milford to Sulphur. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)

September 22, 1898
The Utah & Pacific construction train was being assembled in Salt Lake City, with a planned start date of October 1st. The train was made up of 42 cars, mainly flat cars and box cars, but it included two coaches, which would later become boarding cars. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 22, 1898)

September 27, 1898
Construction on the Utah & Pacific is about to start; the OSL has provided 10 box cars and engine 507. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 27, 1898)

(Locomotive roster information compiled by G. M. Best shows that OSL no. 507 later became Utah & Pacific no. 1.)

September 28, 1898
Some details of Utah & Pacific equipment:

Engines and Cars Being Provided for Utah & Pacific

Glittering with its new paint and fresh from general overhauling, engine No. 1 of the Utah & Pacific yesterday stood in a stall at the Short Line roundhouse, ready for service. No. 1 is the former 507, and is a very strong engine for the service to which it will be put. It is painted black with gold lettering, a large 1 on either side of the cab and the words "Utah & Pacific" on the cab panels. Naturally it is attracting considerable attention, owing to the importance of the new road, and several of the officials were down at the shops during the day admiring their initial engine, which will start the work on their road.

At the Short Line shops all is activity in getting the equipment ready. A passenger car is in the paint shop now and outside are all kinds of freight cars being relettered and renumbered. Car 7030 is being quickly transformed into an office and residence for Chief Engineer West.

A train of a dozen cars, all completed, were yesterday sent up to the contractors at Richmond to be fitted out further by them, but no construction train went south, nor will one be sent out for several days yet.

Some time ago The Tribune gave a list of 126 cars and engines to be delivered to the new road. By October 15th all will be ready for service. The engines will be newly numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4; the coaches 1 and 2, the combination coaches 550 and 551; box 100 and up; flat 500 and up; coal 800 and up; water 01 and 02.

The new railroad is original in two ways. It is remarkable that a railroad should be supplied with such complete equipment before it starts work. Then the company has adopted the word "and" in lieu of the character "&" in lettering the cars and engines, all of which read "Utah and Pacific," while the & is generally adopted by railroads. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 29, 1898)

October 1, 1898
The engine intended to be U&P no. 2 has been going through the shops at Pocatello, and is about done. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 1, 1898)

October 3 1898
First ties for Utah & Pacific were laid down at Milford; engine no. 1 is there. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 4 October 1898, "yesterday")

October 19, 1898
U&P no. 2 to be out of Pocatello shops this week. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 19, 1898)

October 21, 1898
Another half-dozen cars have gone to the Utah & Pacific, and it is reported that they have accepted engine no. 2. ( Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 21, 1898)

November 1, 1898
U&P engine no. 2 to come down from Pocatello today. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 1, 1898)

November 2, 1898
Utah & Pacific combine 50 is just out of the OSL's Salt Lake shops, and Coach no. 1 was completed last night; the cars are painted Van Dyke brown, with yellow lettering. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 2, 1898)

November 4, 1898
Ties and other timber for the Utah & Pacific comes from the Sumpter Valley/Oregon Lumber Company, as the same parties run all the companies. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 4, 1898)

November 8, 1898
Utah & Pacific no. 2 to be sent to Milford today. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 8, 1898)

December 11, 1898
Utah & Pacific no. 3 and two passenger and baggage cars went down last night, as a special; engine no. 4 will be ready soon. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 11, 1898)

December 16, 1898
U&P freight tariff No. 1 published on December 15, 1898, effective January 1, 1899. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 16, 1898)

(An internal Union Pacific history of LA&SL shows that on December 31, 1898, Utah & Pacific Railway was acquired by Utah & California Railway; this internal history was on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)

January 8, 1899
"The Utah & Pacific is completed to Sulphur, and regular train service will start tomorrow." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 8, 1899)

January 12, 1899
Utah & Pacific trains leave Milford at 7:30pm, arriving at Sulphur at 9:00pm; and leave Sulphur at 5:00am, arriving at Milford at 6:30am, connecting at Milford with OSL trains. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 12, 1899)

January 24, 1899
Utah & Pacific was completed to Cedar Junction, 37 miles from Milford. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 25, 1899, "yesterday")

January 25, 1899
"Cedar Junction is the new terminal of the Utah & Pacific and the name of the new townsite laid out by the men at work upon the road. It is two miles beyond Sulphur on the main line, or thirty-seven miles from Milford." "Cedar Junction will be the starting point of the branch route to Cedar City...and this in the main is the reason for making the change from Sulphur...The wells at Sulphur had been found to exhaustable and wholly inadequate to the needs of a growing population." (Salt Lake Herald, January 25, 1899)

January 27, 1899
Utah & Pacific applied to the Post Office to use the name 'Lund' for its former Cedar Junction (or Cedar City Junction), named in honor of R. C. Lund of St. George, one of the road's original organizers. Cedar Junction, or Cedar City Junction, had been the original name set by the road's Chief Engineer Joseph West. ( Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 27, 1899)

(Lund is named for Robert Charles Lund, a resident of St. George, who died in January 1906 at age 58. Lund was a merchant in St. George, with numerous mining and smelting interests in the area. His interest in promoting a railroad for southern Utah was to improve the economy of the area. Lund served in many public and political offices.)

(Read the Wikipedia article about Lund, Utah)

March 10, 1899
Utah & Pacific Railroad was completed to Mile Post 45, from Milford. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)

April 18, 1899
The paper published Utah & Pacific tariff, which went into effect yesterday. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 18, 1899)

April 30, 1899
Utah & Pacific Railroad Co. Timetable No. 1, effective April 30, 1899 is reproduced in the paper. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 30, 1899)

May 1, 1899
Salt Lake Tribune coverage of Modena:

Progress at Modena -- Speaking of Modena, the Utah Pacific terminus, the Pioche Record says:

"A complete townsite is being laid off and grading is being done for a depot. Water will have to be piped about three miles from Springs above the old Lynch place. It is intended to make the the shipping point for freight and cattle.

"A post office is established and it is expected three distinct mail routes will be run from this place. One goes by Deerlodge, Stateline, Newlands, Ursine on to Pioche; one runs south by Panaca to Pioche and De La Mar; one to St. George and the south. Modena will probably be the shipping point for some time, as there is no water at Stateline where McCune, the next station, will be located.

"Parties who are on the inside say that all freight shipments would go from this point for perhaps six months. The railroad company has bought the Lynch ranch." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 1, 1899)

May 30, 1899
Utah & Pacific timecard No.2, effective June 1, 1899, shows service between Milford and Modena (66 miles). (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 30, 1899)

July 24, 1899
Utah & Pacific reached its end of track at Uvada, 75.6 miles from Milford. (John Signor, "The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad", page 29)

July 31, 1899
Regular trains on Utah & Pacific to start to Uvada. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, August 1, 1899, "yesterday")

August 11, 1899
Chief Engineer J. A. West of the Utah & Pacific says the road has two engines, 25 box cars, 10 flat cars, and a passenger coach; eight more boxcars soon. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, August 11, 1899)

(The two engines would have been U&P no. 1 and no. 3, since no. 2 was rejected and returned to OSL; a replacement U&P no. 2, and U&P no. 4 were in service by the end of December 1899, see below.)

December 31, 1899
Utah & Pacific had four engines, four passenger cars, 125 freight and other cars, with 75.6 miles of road. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 31, 1899)

February 21, 1900
The Utah & Pacific road operated its own telegraph lines. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, February 21, 1900)

July 4, 1900
"The Utah & Pacific is arranging one of its combination cars with a mail compartment..." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 4, 1900)

April 4, 1901
After ten days of talks that took place in UP's New York City offices, the Utah & Pacific Railroad was sold to UP's subsidiary Oregon Short Line Railroad on April 4, 1901. The purchase price was set at $1.5 million. (Arrington, Eccles, pages 230-232)

(The San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad had been incorporated on March 20, 1901, to build its route from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. To block this new railroad, Oregon Short Line Railroad exercised its earlier option to purchase control and ownership of Utah & Pacific. The original five-year option was dated August 16, 1898.)

April 4, 1901
"Buys Utah & Pacific" is the header of an item dated at New York on the 4th; the Oregon Short Line has exercised its option, and bought the 25 percent of Utah & Pacific stock held by McCune; also bought the 24 percent held by Eccles, Nibley and others. Eccles, in interview, said that the O.S.L. did not own any stock before this, but held options on that noted above, as well as an option on the 51 percent of the road's stock held in escrow, which 51 percent the O.S.L. has also bought, giving them 100 percent of the Utah & Pacific stock issue. The O.S.L. did have some $279,000 in Utah & Pacific bonds, which it took as payment for rails and equipment delivered to the U&P. Yesterday, the O.S.L. bought an additional $393,000 in U & P bonds. The stock is given as being 8,250 shares, all of which is now owned by O.S.L. A brief history of the Utah & Pacific says that the road was chartered on August 19, 1898, construction began in September of 1898 and was completed in May of 1899. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 5, 1901; Deseret News, April 5, 1901)

E. H. Harriman rode the Utah & Pacific to Uvada "a year ago." A. W. McCune, U&P president predicted "six months ago" that U&P would be extended to Los Angeles. The Eccles and Nibley holdings were sold at $80 per share, for a total stock purchase bing $1,050,000. OSL took the option in U&P bonds in 1898 when they purchased $279,000 (of the $672,000 in original bonds) in return for rolling stock, steel and ties sold to U&P by OSL. (Deseret News, April 5, 1901)

(SPLA&SL corporate history shows that Utah & Pacific Railroad was "conveyed" to SPLA&SL on June 9, 1903, with the last day of Utah & Pacific operation being on July 6, 1903, the same last day of operations for all other OSL lines sold to SPLA&SL.)

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