Western Pacific Branches in Utah
This page was last updated on January 29, 2016.
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- Marblehead Branch was 4.7 miles long, connecting with mainline at Marblehead, where there was a double-ended siding 1,735 feet long.
- Completed in 1958
- The Operating Department considered it a branch, with a full listing in the employee timetables, while the Engineering Department apparently considered it nothing more than a 4.87 mile long spur. (information from Thom Anderson)
- An article in the WP Mileposts magazine stated that the dolomite (lime rock) traffic from the plant began in June 1958, replacing lime rock that had been shipped to U. S. Steel's Geneva plant from Illinois. The name Marblehead comes from the company in Illinois, which located a deposit in Utah, and created a subsidiary company for its new operations. The reason may have been either to reduce the transportation distance and/or charges, or if there was a problem with the deposit in Illinois, such as depletion or degredation of the deposit there. The branch is apparently unused at this point in early 2006, since Geneva Steel has closed. The branch has been used by UP on several occasions for storage of excess intermodal flat cars. The article in WP Mileposts mentioned a rather large deposit at the Marblehead location, and other uses, including railroad ballast.
- The 1985 Union Pacific branchline summary shows a Marblehead Branch, but only on the profile for the main line. It leaves the main at Marblehead, but no length or date of construction is shown.
- During September 1998, the rail spur between the mainline connection, and the Marblehead processing plant was seen as being filled with out-of-service and stored TTX flat cars.
- Google Map of the Marblehead Branch
- (Read more about the limestone quarry at Marblehead)
- Delle/Rowley Branch was 11.6 miles long, connecting with mainline at Delle
- Completed in about 1965 (no listing in one of the 1965 employee timetables; shown as Delle Branch in a 1970 Salt Lake Division employee timetable)
- Originally known as Delle Branch; changed to Rowley Branch in about 1972 (shown as Delle Branch in Salt Lake Division employee timetable, dated 1970; shown as Rowley Branch in WP System Employee Timetable No. 1, dated June 11, 1972)
- Rowley is named for Edward R. Rowley, one-time CEO of National Lead (NL) from 1968 to 1974. Rowley died in 1982.
- WP's engineering department continued to refer to it as the Delle Branch in the profile books until the sale of WP to UP in 1983.
- Located at the north end of the Rowley Branch is the Rowley plant of Magnesium Corporation of America (MagCorp), known as U. S. Magnesium Corp., after a 2002 reorganization. This plant was completed in 1972, and was notorious during 2001 as being the largest single point to generate air pollution in the nation. MagCorp was the oldest primary magnesium producer in the United States, and the third largest in the world. The Rowley plant was built by National Industries for its National Lead subsidiary, and was sold to Amax Magnesium in 1980. Amax sold the plant to MagCorp in 1989.
- The 1985 UP branchline summary shows the branch from Delle as the Rowley Branch, without a year of construction.
- In August 2008, ATI Technologies started construction of a plant to extract titanium for use for aircraft. ATI will be getting their own interchange yard (three tracks) built just west of the siding. The "Marblehead" (as the UP local is known) will be serving Rowley now five days a week. (Bradley Ogden, email dated August 13, 2008)
- Google Map of the Delle/Rowley Branch
- (Read more about Delle station on WP)
- The Ellerbeck/Dolomite Branch had a total length of about 5.3 miles, connecting with the mainline at Ellerbeck
- Completed in 1918 to serve limestone quarries at Dolomite and Flux. (LeMassena, p. 269)
- The original location map for the Ellerbeck Branch was filed with the U. S. Land Office was dated May 22, 1923, and was filed and received at the local land office in Salt Lake City on December 27, 1923. The location map showed that the branch was completed in January 1918.
- Ellerbeck was cited as a potential source of railroad traffic as early as August 1910 when a carload of shale was shipped from a quarry at Ellerbeck. (Tooele Transcript, August 12, 1910)
- The 1985 UP branchline summary shows the Ellerbeck Branch as connecting with the main line at Ellerbeck, and terminating at Flux, and built in 1917.
- A spur leaves the Ellerbeck Branch at Dollomite Junction and terminates at Dollomite. This spur is shown as the 'K' Line, and was built in 1917-1918.
- In May 2007, the Chemical Lime plant at Flux received the former USS 1217 as an in-plant switcher, joining former U. S. Army RS4TC 4023, which arrived there before August 2006.
- Ellerbeck (MP 0.0)
- Wye (MP 2.7)
- Flux (MP 3.7) siding, 8 cars capacity
- Dolomite (MP 4.7) spur, 3 cars capacity
- Google Map of the Ellerbeck/Dolomite Branch
- (Read more about Ellerbeck station on WP)
Warner/Tooele Valley Branch
- Warner/Tooele Valley Branch had a total length of 15.5 miles, connecting with the mainline at Burmester
- The Warner Branch was completed in 1917
- The original location map was filed with the U. S. Land Office was dated June 6, 1917. Burmester was shown as "Grant", and Warner was shown as "Tooele," with the branch itself being shown as the "Grants-Tooele Branch." The location map was filed and received at the local office in Salt Lake City on July 6, 1917.
- Warner is located a about mile west of downtown Tooele. The alignment of UP's current mainline at Warner is the same as the original Utah Western narrow gauge, finished to "Tooele Station" in August 1877. Name changed from Tooele Station to Warner Station in (?).
- Warner Station served as the UP (LA&SL) connection to the Tooele Valley Railway after it was organized in November 1908 and completed in October 1909.
- Construction of WP Warner Branch started in December 1916 (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 18, number 17, December 15, 1916, p.34, "Trade Notes")
- Completed in November 1917 (History of Tooele County, Utah)
- The last car WP interchanged with Tooele Valley Railway at Warner was in late 1979. The consist was a GP40-2, a BN box and then the caboose. The boxcar was newsprint for the Transcript newspaper in Tooele; this was also TV's last revenue car. (Bradley Ogden, posted to Trainorders.com, March 22, 2003) This interchange move would have required the train to cross over the UP mainline by way of WP's overcrossing.
- UP changed the Warner Branch's designation from a branch to a sidetrack in late 1983; Warner Branch was shown in UP's Timetable No. 7 (the first post merger timetable), dated July 17, 1983, but not in Timetable No. 8, dated November 20, 1983.
- Warner Branch was shown in the 1985 UP branchline summary, leaving the main from Burmester, but by 1985 UP had reclassified this as a side track.
- Tracks from Marshall to Tooele/Warner were removed circa June 2003. (Trainorders.com, June 21, 2003)
- Burmester (MP 0.0) sidings, 125 cars capacity
- Marshall (MP 7.0) siding, 22 cars capacity (beet dump from late 1930s to mid 1950s)
- Tooele Ordnance Depot Connection (MP 13.5)
- Warner (MP 15.5) sidings, 77 cars capacity
- Google Map of Tooele-Warner area
- (Read more about Burmester station on WP)
- (Read more about the Tooele Valley Railway)
WP Utah Branchline Operations
A WP GP7 was kept at D&RGW Roper and was used on the Tooele Valley Local. They also ran an occasional Marblehead Local, as needed. On days that both locals were running, the Marblehead switched the Dolomite branches, along with the Delle/Rowley Branch after it was completed in 1972, and the Marblehead Branch after it was completed in 1958. The TV Local ran every day, and did all the local work on days when the Marblehead was not run. The TV always switched the Chevron potash plant at Garfield, usually running acid cars from the UP interchange at Garfield, into the plant itself.
In Ken Meeker's WP book, "The Western Pacific," published in 2011, on page 225, WP GP7 703 leads the Tooele Valley Local as it crosses U. S. 40 near Grantsville. There are a few other photos of WP in Utah, on pages 220-227.
The GP7/9 assigned to the TV Local was unique because each winter season, it was sent to Stockton to have its huge snowplow attached. Bob Jarvis, who was a brakeman on WP in the late 50s and early 60s, does not recall seeing the large snow plow, so the locomotive assigned may have been equipped only as needed.
The TV Local usually had a single locomotive assigned to it in the form of a GP7 or GP9 during the 1950s to the 1970s. After the older units were bumped from the locals for assignment in California as switchers, the TV Local usually had a GP35 as power.
By the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the combination of leased UP power, new GP40-2s, and rebuilt GP40s as mainline power, the Utah locals began operating with unrebuilt GP35s and unrebuilt GP40s. The WP locals in Utah also at times operated with a UP caboose during this time.
With UP's control of WP in late 1982, they began keeping one or two locomotives stationed at Burmester.
Bradley Ogden wrote on September 9, 2009 that on Christmas Eve 1981, the eastbound Wendover Local came through Burmester, switched some cars and then met the Marblehead Local at Garfield and traded locomotives. By this time the TV Local was being called the Warner Local. From a conversation with a conductor assigned to the UP locals in about 2006, Bradley added that the UP locals would switch Warner, Morton Salt and Marblehead one day then the next they would switch Ellerbeck and the Rowley Branch. They never mentioned leaving a local power out at Burmester. (Bradley Ogden, email dated September 9, 2009)
Tooele Valley Local
(usually known as the TV Local)
Throughout its history, the TV Local (later known by UP crews as the Warner Local) was operated on a daily basis out of D&RGW's Roper Yard. Until the Tooele Valley Railway shut down in 1981, Warner served as the WP connection with the Tooele Valley Railway, adjacent to UP's similar connection.
Warner was also the location of the U. S. Army's Tooele Army Depot, a vast storage facility for all manner of military ammunition and explosives, as well as being one of the U. S. Army's largest vehicle repair locations, known as "depots"..
The TV had one GP7/9, and regularly ran with a second GP7/9. There are photos of an occasional F unit booster being run as a second unit, but that would have been in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
The Tooele local left from Roper mid morning and seemed to be back late afternoon. (Keith Ardinger, email dated September 9, 2009)
Wendover Local, D&RGW Roper to Wendover, one day out, one day back. Did pickups and setouts at WP-served industries from Salt Lake City to Wendover, except those served by the daily TV Local. Generally used regular road power.
The Wendover job at times had secondary motive power such as a GP35/U30B combination. In August 1976, Ted Benson saw the train outside of Burmester heading for Warner with the units trailing a caboose, boxcar and two flat cars, all for set out at the Tooele Ordnance Depot. On its return the power was shoving a boxcar and the caboose down the hill back to the mainline. It seemed logical that the Wendover crew had their Tooele cars on the end of the train immediately ahead of the caboose. Upon arrival at Burmester, it would be a simply move to go into the siding, cut off, come back against the train at the other end of the passing track and depart for Warner. Repeating this move on the return would make it easy to get their train back together and on the road for Wendover. Since it was a Sunday, and since the TV apparently did not operate on Sundays, that pretty much eliminates the TV crew and there was certainly no need for that much power (two units) on a TV job. (Ted Benson, email dated October 2, 2009)
EMR (Ellerbeck Marblehead Rowley) Local
The 1970s-vintage Ellerbeck Local based at Burmester to work the Ellerbeck, Marblehead and Rowley lines.
Mike Mucklin wrote on February 20, 2009:
Prior to 1955 caboose pooling agreements on the WP, cabooses were assigned either to a specific conductor, or to a specific train if it was a turn, local, road switcher, etc. These latter cars were not always stenciled with their assignment.
After pooling started, through trains had one caboose generally from the initial terminal to the final on-line terminal. Sometimes they even ran through onto other railroads which is why you often see WP cabooses on the UP in the 1970s, and UP and other road's cabooses on the WP.
Many locals though had assigned cabooses for various reasons. The Ellerbeck branch was at one point served by the EMR (Ellerbeck-Marblehead-Rowley) local and its caboose was stenciled as such. I've seen the 460 stenciled for the "E. M. R. LOCAL" but I don't know if other cars were stenciled as such. The 460 was later stenciled for "OAKLAND YARD SERVICE ONLY" but I'm pretty sure that was after the UP merger and that was a UP assignment.
Western Pacific in Utah -- Everything WP, East of Wendover
WP in Utah, Station Summary (including branch lines)