Who Am I?

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This page was last updated on September 21, 2022.

My name is Don Strack. I have been interested in railroading and Union Pacific since my early teens, when I would ride my bicycle from my parent's suburban home, many, many miles to either Union Pacific's North Yard, or to Rio Grande's Roper Yard, both in Salt Lake City. My interest in Union Pacific started early and was nurtured by two uncles who worked for Union Pacific, one as a locomotive fireman and the other as a ticket agent. My specific interest in UP's diesel locomotives developed while employed for almost ten years (1969-1979) by Union Pacific as a journeyman mechanic in their Salt Lake Shops.

My interest in Utah's railroads and their history dates back to 1978, when at Ralph Gochnour's suggestion, I read Clarence Reeder's dissertation, "The History Of Utah's Railroads, 1869-1883." The value of this work was reinforced at about the same time by C. R. "Rocky" Rockwell and John Bromley, UP's public relations staff in Salt Lake City, who recommended that I read Leonard Arrington's "Great Basin Kingdom," which is a business history of Utah from the earliest days of the Mormon pioneers. During my many visits to the UP public relations office, Rocky and John both went out of their way to get me started in the study of UP history. Very soon I started comparing Reeder's work with David Johnson's earlier dissertation. My interest really took off in early 1979, when during a period of unemployment, I began spending time in the State of Utah's corporate records vault in the state capital, researching the various railroad companies incorporated in Utah.

(Read a digital version of David Johnson's dissertation from 1947)

(Read a digital version of Clarence Reeder's dissertation from 1970)

My first chance at being published came in 1982 when I furnished a brief history of railroads in the Tintic mining district for Phillip Notarianni's "Faith, Hope, and Prosperity, the Tintic Mining District." Most of my publishing efforts later focused on Union Pacific's fleet of diesel locomotives, and I have authored and co-authored numerous books and magazine articles, all about UP's diesel locomotives. My first publication about Utah's railroading history came in 1997 with "Ogden Rails, a history of railroads in Ogden, Utah, from 1869 to today." I have also given four lectures on these same subjects. In 2002 I completed a book about Union Pacific's cabooses, and in 2005 a much improved and expanded second edition of "Ogden Rails" was published.

In 2010, after first being approached by Arcadia Publishing a couple years before, I pulled together almost 200 photos from my collection and put together "Bingham Canyon Railroads" to summarize in photos and a few words, the story of railroads and mining in Bingham Canyon. The book was published in August 2011.

(View a list of my books and magazine articles.)

Future projects include publications that will present complete histories of Utah's coal mining and railroads, and Utah's copper mining and railroads, and an examination of the relationship between Brigham Young and the Utah's pioneer railroads. An on-going effort is to continue expanding the coverage provided by this web site.

(Read more about What's New at UtahRails)

Between November 1998 and October 2003, I was the owner of an e-mail discussion group about railroad diesel locomotives called LocoNotes, with well over 1,000 subscribers. I started it in November 1998 as a forum for rail fans and locomotive fans to share information. In the fast moving world of computers and the internet, the LocoNotes discussion group from the time I started it, resided first on OneList (itself created in August 1997), then it migrated to eGroups in November 1999, then in June 2000 to YahooGroups. In October 2003, I passed the ownership of LocoNotes to other persons. Although no longer involved with keeping track of the current locomotive scene, I continue to participate in other discussion groups about railroads in Utah and Union Pacific.