D&RGW Orem Branch

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This page was last updated on July 2, 2022.

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Orem Branch Stations

Purchased from the bankrupt Salt Lake & Utah Railroad in 1946.


Salt Lake & Utah Years

July 24, 1914
"Electric service was inaugurated on the Salt Lake & Utah Railroad on July 24, between Salt Lake City and Provo, a distance 48-1/2 miles." (Electric Railway Journal, Volume 44, Number 6, August 8, 1914, page 271)

SL&U begins public service to Provo, 48.5 miles, with 14 daily electric trains, red interurban cars. SL&U assumes operating responsibility. Travel time 1 hour 55 minutes. (Stephen Drew, email dated January 21, 2008)

August 15, 1914
Through freight service inaugurated. SL&U interchanges with Oregon Short Line (UP) at Salt Lake City and Denver & Rio Grande at Provo. (Stephen Drew, email dated January 21, 2008)

October 1914
SL&U averaging more than 800 passengers daily. (Stephen Drew, email dated January 21, 2008)

December 5, 1914
Sixteen daily trains between Salt Lake City and Provo. (Stephen Drew, email dated January 21, 2008)

March 1, 1946
All Salt Lake & Utah operations ceased at 12:01 am on Friday March 1, 1946. Under an order from the court, service to shippers along the line would be provided by Bamberger, Union Pacific, and D&RGW, pending a decision by the federal ICC. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 1, 1946)

(Read more about the Salt Lake & Utah Railroad)

D&RGW Years

Steven Seguine wrote on September 20, 2003: "It may be worth noting that when the interurban Salt Lake & Utah Railroad folded in 1946, the D&RGW bought portions of their trackage. One of them became the Orem Branch that served the Pleasant Grove Canning Company, and another was a long spur from the Tintic Branch to the Del Monte cannery in Spanish Fork."

Steven Seguine wrote on July 2, 2016: "Fruit and vegetables were loaded on the ex SL&U Orem Branch and at Spanish Fork and Payson on the Tintic Branch.  ART reefers were often used, but SFRD and PFE were seen here as well."

July 26, 1946
D&RGW was the successful bidder of Salt Lake & Utah tracks in Salt Lake City, from Fayette Avenue (975 South), south to about 1800 South, along with SL&U trackage between Orem and Provo, and trackage at the Springville and Spanish Fork sugar factories. Bamberger was the successful bidder for SL&U tracks between the Salt Lake Terminal on the north, and Fayette Avenue on the south. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 27, 1946)

October 24, 1946
"F. D. No. 15455, Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Company Trustees Acquisition And Operation. Decided October 24, 1946. Certificate issued authorizing acquisition and operation by the trustees of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Company of part of the line of railroad of the Salt Lake & Utah Railroad Corporation between Provo and Orem, approximately 8.4 miles, together with switching and spur tracks appurtenant thereto, aggregating 1.61 miles, in the State of Utah. T. R. Woodrow for applicants." (ICC Financial Docket 15455, in 267 ICC 807, "Cases Disposed Of Without Printed Report")

(LeMassena, p. 161, says that D&RGW purchased 6 miles of the former Salt Lake & Utah interurban line, from Provo Junction to Orem, in 1946.)

(D&RGW also purchased ownership of the SL&U spur that served the Del Monte cannery at Spanish Fork, from D&RGW's Tintic Branch, then east along Center Street in Spanish Fork, then south along Main Street to the cannery.)

According to the 1969 D&RGW condensed profile, the portion of the Orem Branch from mile post 6.36 and the end of track at mile post 6.43, less than 0.1 mile, was removed in 1961. This is likely the portion that crossed 800 North Street in Orem, and which was removed to avoid upgrading the grade crossing when 800 North was improved.

Research has not yet found when the former Salt Lake & Utah tracks along 500 South in Provo were removed, along with the connection of the Orem Branch with the Provo Canyon Branch near 500 South and 200 West. The connection was moved one mile westward to the parallel D&RGW mainline north of Center Street, near the old Utah Packers cannery. The connection was named Provo Junction. The time period would most likely be at some point in the late 1950s or early 1960s, when Provo City was paving and adding curb and gutter to a large portion of its streets, including 500 South. One resident of the area until 1955 when he was about 10 years old, does not recall any tracks along 500 South, so they may have been removed almost immediately after D&RGW purchased the line.

After the connection was moved westward to the new Provo Junction, a portion of the Salt Lake & Utah remained south of the connection to serve as a spur to serve the cannery of Utah Packers, which closed in 1972, and was extensively expanded and modernized as today's Jones Glass & Paint.

The 1969 D&RGW condensed profile shows the mile post numbers for the connection to the Orem Branch and the Provo Canyon Branch.

The mile posts in that same 1969 condensed profile indicate that the Orem Branch connection (Provo Junction) was a mile west of the Provo depot, putting it someplace along the portion that paralleled the D&RGW mainline between Center Street and the Provo River. (A measurement using Google Earth finds that it is exactly one mile from the site of the Provo depot, west along the tracks to the point where Center Street crosses the tracks.)

October 1971
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon the Orem Branch; 7.09 miles. (Railroad magazine, February 1972, page 62)

Jeff Pierce recalled that during 1972, he and his father watched the tracks being removed in the Orem area. He also recalled that D&RGW used two coupled GP9s, assigned to the Provo yard, to provide service along the Orem Branch.

James Belmont recalled that the former Salt Lake & Utah tracks north of the Center Street viaduct, as well as the bridge over the Provo River remained in place until 1972.


D&RGW Orem Branch -- A google map of the D&RGW Orem Branch, in service from 1946 to 1971