Railroads and Mining in Utah's Bingham Canyon

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on March 19, 2024.


To Move A Mountain -- A brief introduction to the history of railroads and mining in Utah's Bingham Canyon, including acknowledgements of the sources.

Historical Timelines

Years of Discovery, to 1863 -- A narrative history of the early years of discovery in Bingham Canyon, using Daughters of Utah Pioneers and other sources, including H. H. Bancroft, Orson Whitney, B. H. Roberts, Edward Tullidge, and Stenhouse.

Gold, Silver and Lead Era, 1863-1900 -- A narrative history of the of the railroad and mining activities in Bingham Canyon during the years that gold and silver were being mined, including history of the pioneering Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd narrow gauge railroad, and the narrow gauge mule tram. Lead was a major product of all the early Bingham mines.

Copper Era, 1900-1914 -- A narrative history of the railroad and mining activities in Bingham Canyon after copper began to be mined in larger quantities. Coverage includes the construction of the Copper Belt Railroad to replace the original horse tramway, and the consolidation of the mining companies into the United States Mining, Boston Consolidated, and Utah Copper companies.

During the early years of copper production in Bingham Canyon, several mining companies used either railroads or haulage tunnels or aerial tramways to transport their ore. In the 1895-1910 period, these included the following (in roughly chronological order):

Copper Era, 1914-1936 -- A timeline of the events for railroads and mining in Bingham Canyon in the years of 1914 to 1936, the years of Utah Copper Company.

Copper Era, 1936-1981 -- A timeline of the events for railroads and mining in Bingham Canyon in the years from 1936, when Kennecott bought control of Utah Copper Company, to 1981 when Kennecott was sold to Sohio and British Petroleum.

Copper Era, 1981 to 1989 -- A timeline of the events and dates of railroad and mining activity in Bingham Canyon in the Sohio and BP years after 1981, to 1989 when Kennecott was sold to Rio Tinto.

Copper Era, 1989 to today -- A timeline of the events and dates of railroad and mining activity in Bingham Canyon after 1989 when Kennecott was sold to Rio Tinto.

Other Bingham Information

Aerial Tramways -- Information about the aerial tramways used by mining companies at Bingham, to get their ore from mine to rail car, then to mill and smelter.

Anaconda at Bingham -- Information about Anaconda Copper and its predecessor companies at Bingham.

Armstrong Tunnel -- Information about the history of the Armstrong tunnel in Carr Fork.

Barney's Canyon Gold Mine -- Information about the open-pit gold mine at Barney's Canyon, four miles north of Bingham Canyon.

Bingham & Garfield Railway -- Information about the railroad between Bingham Canyon, and the mills and smelter at Garfield.

Bingham Canyon Railroads and Steam Shovels -- An article from Salt Lake Mining Review in October 1911.

Bingham Conveyor System -- A summary of the changes to the conveyor system used at the Bingham mine, beginning in 1985.

Bingham Leaching and Precipitation Plants -- Information about the early leaching and precipitation plants at Bingham, and at Magna (1917-1921) and near Copperton (1924-1999).

Bingham Labor Strikes -- Information about the labor strikes at Bingham.

Bingham Mills -- Information about the reducing or concentrator mills at Bingham, including the Winnamuck, Dewey and Rogers mills.

Bingham Mine Levels -- Information about the levels of the Bingham Canyon mine on which railroad track was laid.

Bingham Railroad Bridges -- Information about many of the railroad bridges in lower Bingham, upper Bingham, and Carr Fork.

Bingham Railroad Tunnels -- Information about many of the railroad tunnels in Bingham Canyon.

Bingham Haulage and Drain Tunnels -- A Google Map showing the locations of the Mascotte, Bingham-Lark, and Butterfield tunnels.

Bingham-Copperfield Vehicle Tunnel -- Information about the vehicular tunnel between Bingham and Copperfield, 7,000 feet long. Completed as a county road in 1939; changed to a private road in 1960; retired and the portals buried in 1973.

Bingham Trucks and Shovels -- Information about the large haul trucks, and steam and electric shovels used in Kennecott's Bingham Canyon mine.

Bingham Truck Shops -- Brief history of the truck shops at Bingham, including the Yosemite (1964-1986), Bingham (1986-2013) and Copperfield (2006-current) shops.

Bingham Visitors Center -- Information about the many visitor centers and observation points for the public to view the Bingham copper mine.

Butterfield Tunnel -- Information about the Butterfield drain tunnel that drained the mines of the south area of Bingham canyon, draining into Butterfield canyon near Herriman, Utah.

Carr Fork Mines -- Information about the larger mines located in Carr Fork, 1896-1941; includes the Highland Boy (Utah Consolidated), Bingham New Haven, and Utah-Apex. By 1941, all were owned by Anaconda and were shipping by way to the Elton Tunnel to the International smelter near Tooele.

Central Power Station -- Information about Kennecott's Central Power Station, located at Magna.

D&RGW Trackage Agreements -- Information about joint trackage agreements between D&RGW and Utah Copper, transcribed from Agreement cards on file at D&RGW Utah Division offices in August 1983

Electric Power at Bingham -- The text from "Role of Electricity in the Utah Copper Enterprise" published in The Mining Congress Journal. May 1940.

Elton Tunnel -- Information about the Elton Tunnel of National Tunnel and Mines Company, a subsidiary of Anaconda's International Smelting and Refining Company. The tunnel was 4.5 miles long, running between the underground mines in Carr Fork, and an outlet about one west of the International smelter.

EPA Oquirrh Mountains Mining -- Oquirrh Mountains Mining and the Environment by Eva J. Hoffman, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Denver, April 21, 2005. Obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act. (PDF; 343 pages; 84MB)

Garfield Smelter -- Information about the smelters at Garfield, including the ASARCO (later Kennecott) smelter.

Garfield Switching Contract -- Information about the changes to how Kennecott switches rail cars at the north end, after rail operations between the mine and the mill ended in 2001.

Kennecott Corporation History -- A 1999 history of Kennecott Corporation, lifted from International Directory of Company Histories.

Kennecott Neighborhood Theatre Theme -- An MP3 audio recording of the first 1-1/2 minutes of what was used as the theme for the Kennecott Neighborhood Theater, every Sunday night on Channel 4, KCPX, at 8 p.m. Kennecott Copper Corporation's Utah Copper Division was the sole sponsor of the "movie of the week."

The music is the first 1-1/2 minutes of a 7-minute original, named "Il Guarany - Overture." Margene Kathyrn Bartunek wrote in January 2020: "A two hour program on Sunday night from 8PM to 10PM. It ran for fifteen years from 1956 to 1971. In the opening scenes one could see trucks hauling oar, dirt being blasted by dynamite and other operations going on at the mine. The music was played in sync with the dynamite going off."

Kennecott Parent Companies -- Information about the parent companies of Kennecott Utah Copper, including Kennecott Copper Corporation (1936-1981), Sohio (1981-1989), and Rio Tinto (1989-present).

Kennescope Magazine -- Information about Kennescope, Kennecott Copper's employee magazine.

Lark, Two Tunnels -- Brief narrative and summary of the two tunnels at Lark, Utah.

Lead Mine Community -- Information about the small community known as Lead Mine, located at the mouth of Bingham Canyon in Utah.

Mascotte Tunnel -- Information about the Mascotte Tunnel between Bingham and Lark, the site of the U. S. Mining complex.

Miscellaneous Notes -- Information about Bingham Canyon that does not fit anyplace else.

Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining Co. (1910-1949) (later USSR&M) (includes links to predecessor companies: Bingham Amalgamated, Congor, Fortuna and Tiewaukee)

Nast Tunnel -- Information about the Nast mine and Nast and Benton tunnels, at the top of the Muddy Gulch branch of the Carr Fork branch of Bingham Canyon. The Nast was located above the Stewart mine, and below the Last Chance mine, and later became the New England mine, and after that, Bingham Metals.

New Bingham Mary -- Information about the New Bingham Mary mine, and its predessor, the Bingham Mary Copper company. This mine was located at the top of Carr Fork, at the town of Highland Boy.

North Ore Shoot -- Information about Kennecott's North Ore Shoot, the underground mine situated at the northeast corner of the open pit mine, and 1,000 feet below it. First developed in 1980-1981, the mine is still in place today in mid-2021.

Oquirrh Mountains Mining (EPA report) -- Oquirrh Mountains Mining and the Environment by Eva J. Hoffman, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Denver, April 21, 2005. Obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act. (PDF; 343 pages; 84MB)

Eva Hoffman was a Project Manager with the Environmental Protection Agency. Combining her own research with documents provided to her by Kennecott and ARCO (formerly Anaconda), she created this detailed history of mining activity in the Oquirrh Mountains.

When Eva Hoffman visited the Bingham mine while compiling her report, she rode one of the ore trains from 5840 reload inside the Bingham open pit mine to Copperton Yard, then she rode one of the low-line locomotives with 80 plus loads from Copperton Yard to the Bonneville Concentrator. She watched the ore cars being dumped at Bonneville, then rode in one of the locomotives of the train of empty ore cars back to Copperton yard.

Salt Lake Valley Smelters -- A narrative history of the smelters located in the Salt Lake Valley, including those of the pioneer era, from 1867, to the famous smelter case that closed all but the lead smelters at Midvale and Murray. The others were either consolidated at either Garfield or Tooele, or closed altogether.

Stewart Mines -- Information about the original Stewart mine, also known as the Stewart No. 1 mine, and the Stewart No. 2 mine. Both were located in the Muddy Gulch branch of the Carr Fork branch of Bingham Canyon. The Stewart mines formed the basis of the Boston Consolidated Mining company in 1898.

Thomas P. Billings -- Life sketch and obituary for Thomas P. Billings, a Utah mining man.

Utah Copper Division Ore Haulage -- Information about the private railroad that moved ore from the Bingham mine, to the mills at Magna, and the smelter at Garfield.

Wilbur H. Smith Papers -- The Wilbur H. Smith Papers are part of the University of Utah Special Collections at the Marriott Library in Salt Lake City. Includes biographical notes and a description of the collection.

Wikipedia entry for Bingham Canyon.

Other Kennecott Divisions

Chino -- A brief history of rail operations at Kennecott's Chino Mine Division copper mine at Chino, New Mexico.

Ray -- A brief history of rail operations at Kennecott's Ray Mines Division copper mine at Ray, Arizona.

Nevada -- A brief history of rail operations at Kennecott's Nevada Mines Division copper mine at Ely, Nevada.

Bingham Articles

Copper & Nickel Electrics -- An article about the sale of eight of Kennecott Chino's electric locomotives to International Nickel Company in Canada, from Traction & Models magazine, May 1971; includes scale drawings from the March 1976 issue of the same magazine. (PDF; 7 pages, 7.1MB)

Kennecott Copper's Utah Mine in 1976 -- An article about Kennecott Copper's Bingham Canyon electric locomotives, from Traction & Models magazine, March 1976. Covers the last operations of electric locomotives at the Bingham Canyon mine. (PDF; 5 pages; 7.4MB)

The Utah Copper Enterprise -- A 1919 reprint of several articles in Mining & Scientific Press. (PDF; 94 pages; 70MB)

The Trains That Moved A Mountain -- Blair Kooistra's article from the March 1989 issue of Trains magazine. (presented with author's permission)

Bingham Bibliography

Mining and Scientific Press at Archive.org (Google search)

The Utah Copper Story, 50th Anniversary, 1954 -- A digital version of the booklet published by Kennecott in 1954. (PDF; 46 pages, with centerspread and separate foldout; 29MB)

The Utah Copper Story, 1961 -- A digital version of a pamphlet published by Kennecott in 1961, describing its history and operations. (PDF; 36 pages, some color; 31MB)


Bingham Canyon Railroads Map -- A Google Map of the railroads of that served Bingham Canyon and the copper mills at Great Salt Lake, including Utah Copper, Kennecott Copper, Bingham & Garfield, and D&RGW.

Roster Listings and Equipment

Kennecott Utah Diesel-Electric and Electric Locomotives -- An index page for a full all-time roster of Kennecott's diesel and electric locomotives.

Utah Copper Steam Locomotives -- A full all-time roster of Utah Copper's and Bingham & Garfield Railway's, steam locomotives.

Bingham & Garfield 0-8-8-0s, 100-106 -- Information comparing the seven B&G 0-8-8-0s with other 0-8-8-0s built for other railroads, showing how unique these engines were. These seven locomotives were very similar, if not identical, to 34 other 0-8-8-0's built by Alco between 1907 and 1922, for seven other railroads.

Cranes at Bingham -- Number-by number listings of railroad locomotive cranes and wreck derricks used at Bingham and at other Utah Copper and Kennecott sites.

Bingham Ore Cars -- Information about the ore cars used by Utah Copper and Bingham & Garfield Railway.

Bingham Shovel Rosters -- Limited and incomplete listings of trucks used at Bingham.

Bingham Truck Rosters -- Limited and incomplete listings of the trucks used at Bingham.

Equipment Diagrams -- An index page for equipment diagram books of Bingham & Garfield and Utah Copper.

Modeling Kennecott -- Information about the paint schemes and lettering of KCC electric and diesel locomotives, along with measurements of a high-cab GP39-2.

Passenger Cars -- Information about the passenger cars operated by Utah Copper and Bingham & Garfield.

Cabooses -- Information about the cabooses used by Utah Copper company, and its common carrier subsidiary, Bingham & Garfield Railway.

Deseret Peak Complex -- Information about the former Kennecott railroad equipment displayed at the Deseret Peak Complex in Tooele County, near Grantsville.

Book: Bingham Canyon Railroads

Bingham Canyon Railroads (Images of Rail)
(Arcadia Publishing, 2011) (ISBN 9 78-0-7385-8489-4) (Now Available) (Front Cover) (Back Cover)

The Bingham Canyon Railroads book can be ordered directly from Arcadia.


Copper Canyon, American Dream -- An 80-minute video produced by KUED, the local PBS station, and first aired in February 2003; DVD out of print; YouTube video posted by South Jordan City

Mountains of Copper -- A promotional film made by General Electric in the late 1920s or early 1930s, showcasing the electric operations at Bingham. (15:44 minutes) (Electric locomotives first came to Bingham in 1927; no. 712 seen in the video was delivered in December 1928)

Bingham Canyon Photos

(Don Strack at UtahRails has over 6000 photos in his collection, from a wide variety of sources. Contact him for no-charge access.)

Bingham Photo Sources -- A summary of the sources of Bingham photos.

Bingham Photos at UtahRails -- Just a few of the photos in Don Strack's collection

Bingham Canyon Photos at Library of Congress

Library of Congress Photos (thumbnail views from search query)

Utah Copper, a search query at Library of Congress

Bingham Canyon, a search query at Library of Congress

(Fee to obtain copies is $40 each, plus $58.50 in additional fees for each order)