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Salt Lake City Union Depot & Railroad Company

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This page was last updated on June 11, 2019.

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"Incorporated May 18, 1907, in Utah, to construct a Union Depot at Salt Lake City, Utah. The site of the station is on 4th West Street, between Second and Fourth South streets; the building proper is 423 feet long, together with facilities necessary for use in connection therewith. Opened for public use in the fall of 1910. The cost of the land, buildings, tracks, etc., approximated $1,000,000. Line owned 1.66 miles, with 0.65 mile second track and 2.05 miles sidings. Gauge. 4 ft. 8/2 in. Rail, 85 and 90 pounds." (Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1929)

The following comes from ICC Valuation Docket 934, dated October 26, 1928 (149 ICC 95):

The final valuation of the property of The Salt Lake City Union Depot and Railroad Company, as of June 30, 1919: The Salt Lake City Union Depot and Railroad Company owns and operates a passenger station and appurtenant facilities at Salt Lake City, Utah. Its property includes 1.655 miles of first main track, 0.655 mile of second main track, and 2.069 miles of yard tracks and sidings, aggregating 4.379 miles of all tracks owned and used. The carrier is controlled by The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company, and it operates its property for the joint use of the controlling company and The Western Pacific Railroad Company under a joint-tenant arrangement.

The passenger station owned by the carrier is a modern brick structure with marble and terra-cotta trim, having large train sheds, platforms, and other facilities. The carrier owns its own heating plant.

The carrier owns no equipment.

It is controlled by The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company, through ownership of a majority of capital stock. The property of the carrier was operated by its own organization from August 20, 1910, the date its property was placed in operation.

The carrier was incorporated May 29, 1907, under the general laws of the State of Utah, for the purpose of constructing or purchasing and operating passenger terminal facilities at Salt Lake City, Utah. The date of organization was June 3, 1907.

The owned common-carrier property of the carrier comprising 1.655 miles of main-line railroad, 0.655 mile of second main track, 2.069 miles of yard tracks and sidings, a passenger station, and certain other terminal facilities at Salt Lake City, Utah, was acquired partly by purchase from The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company and partly by construction. The construction work of the carrier was performed by company forces during the period November, 1908, to August, 1910, but the property constructed is not separable from that purchased from the Denver and Rio Grande.

The terminal facilities are used jointly by the tenants under an agreement effective for a period of 60 years from December 16, 1908. The tenants pay the net expense of maintaining and operating the property, divided on a wheelage basis, and an annual rental, divided one half each.


September 23, 1899
An earlier corporation by the name of Salt Lake Passenger and Railway Depot Company, was proposed. The company was to take over Fourth West entirely between Second and Fourth South, and the intersection of Third West and Fourth South. Fourth West was to be taken up entirely by tracks, using the franchise already controlled by Rio Grande Western. Bancroft of the Oregon Short Line was also involved in the proposed company. OSL later pulled out and pursued its own franchise with the city. (Salt Lake Herald, September 23, 1899; Deseret Evening News, April 4, 1902)

January 31, 1906
The Salt Lake City council approved Rio Grande Western's request to vacate portions of Third West and Fourth West for the purposes of occupying the streets with tracks and a new passenger depot. RGW agreed to develop, open and convey to the city a new street to be called Rio Grande Street along the east side of the station grounds.

March 9, 1907
"Clearing The Ground. Making Way for the New Rio Grande Depot. Only a few of the old houses on the site of the new Rio Grande depot, Fourth West, between Second nnd Fourth South streets, remain standing and in a week's time the site will be cleared entirely. Many men and teams are at work and trees which interfere with the work of improvement are also being leveled. A spur has been run from the Rio Grande track on Fourth West onto the block at Fourth South, and construction material will be hauled direct to the site." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 9, 1907)

May 18, 1907
The Salt Lake City Union Depot and Railroad company was organized. The new company was to represent the construction of a joint terminal for the Gould roads. Western Pacific requested that the old plans be revised and enlarged. (Wall Street Journal, May 22, 1907)

May 29, 1907
Salt Lake City Union Depot and Railroad Company was formally incorporated in Utah.

(Read the Salt Lake City Union Depot & Railroad corporate information)

Construction started in 1907, under the name of Salt Lake City Union Depot & Railroad Co. (Utah corporation index 6383)

November 1, 1908
The original joint operating and ownership agreement between D&RG and WP was dated November 1, 1908. (ICC Finance Docket 14695, approved on October 25, 1944, in 257 ICC 816).

December 21, 1908
The property where the new union depot was built was formally transferred from D&RG ownership, to the new depot company. (Salt Lake Herald, December 22, 1908, "yesterday")

August 13, 1910
D&RG changed its old Salt Lake City depot to the new Salt Lake City Union Depot on August 13, 1910, a Saturday evening. The last train out of the old depot was Train No. 3; first train out of the new depot was the San Pete Local. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 25, 1910, "Passing of Salt Lake's Old Depot") (LeMassena, p. 123)

October 25, 1944
D&RGW and WP renewed the joint operation agreement for the Salt Lake City Union Depot & Railroad Company. (ICC Finance Docket 14695, approved on October 25, 1944, in 257 ICC 816).

April 28, 1959
The following comes from ICC Finance Reports, Volume 307, page 803, "Cases Disposed Of Without Printed Report."

F. D. No. 20290, Western Pacific Railroad Company et al. Joint Control, Salt Lake City Union Depot Railroad Company. Decided April 28, 1959. (Embraces F. D. No. 20292)

F. D. No. 20292, Salt Lake City Union Depot Railroad Company Stock. Decided April 28, 1959. (Embraced in F. D. No. 20290)

December 31, 1978
D&RGW dissolved the Salt Lake Union Depot & Railroad Company, after buying WP's 50 percent interest on June 20, 1978. (Utah corporation index 15068)

Articles of Merger between Salt Lake Union Depot and Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad

To liquidate and dissolve wholly owned subsidiary effective December 31, 1978

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and Western Pacific Railroad acquired joint use of depot on December 1, 1944 (ICC Finance Docket 14695, dated October 25, 1944)

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad to pay Western Pacific Railroad $125,000.00 for its 50% share of the Salt Lake Union Depot and Railroad Co., dated June 20, 1978

Grant Tower Interchange ("Interlocking")

Between 1944 and about 1951, D&RGW, UP, and WP worked together to construct a new interchange in downtown Salt Lake City.

(Read more about the "Grant Tower Interlocking")

D&RGW completed a line change in 1948-1951 to move its 600 West line in Salt Lake City over to the east, along UP's line along 400 West. At the same time, the Grant (also known as Grant's) Tower interlocking was completed. The Grant Tower interlocking did not show up in UP's employee timetables until 1955-1958. The 400 West/600 West Line Change was completed to allow the state highway department to construct a super highway, which today is known as Interstate 15.

Before Grant Tower, D&RGW passenger trains to Ogden used the joint trackage north along 500 (Fourth) West, turning west at South Temple and used trackage jointly owned by WP and D&RGW. Then at 700 (Sixth) West, they turned north along the D&RGW mainline to Ogden. There is a map on page 24 of Jeff Asay's "Track and Time" book about WP.

After Grant Tower, the track due north along 500 (Fourth) West, the east leg of the wye, was D&RGW track to where it met the north leg of the wye, which was owned by D&RGW. from there north, it was joint D&RGW-OSL to 500 (Fourth) North. The south leg of the wye at Grant Tower was owned by OSL.

Also after Grant Tower, WP and D&RGW split the joint passenger line east of 700 (Sixth) West, with WP taking the portion between 700 (Sixth) West and the west curb line of 500 (Fourth) West. D&RGW took the line in and along 500 (Fourth) West, including the turnout for the east leg of the wye, to allow them to serve the industries along that part of the line.

May 5, 1986
Grant tower in Salt Lake City was closed. The facility controlled the crossing of D&RGW's double track mainline between Roper (Salt Lake City) and Ogden, and UP's ex LA&SL mainline, and WP's line to Oakland. There were at times up to 80 movements per day through the tower trackage. Control was taken over by two screens on the D&RGW dispatcher's station in Denver. (CTC Board, May 1986, page 12)

Changing Of The Guard . . . The Rio Grande has taken another step in maintaining its position of modernization. Grant Tower, milepost 745.5 on the Utah Division, Seventh Subdivision, was to be closed Monday, May 5th.

The tower, located adjacent to the Union Pacific's depot in Salt Lake City, controls a massive and complex layout of trackage. The Rio Grande's double tracked mainline northbound from Salt Lake City to Ogden is crossed by the Union Pacific's two mainlines, one being the original Los Angeles and Salt Lake, and the other the old Western Pacific. All movements were controlled by a manual interlocking system with the levers operated by a tower man which was on duty twenty-four hours daily.

Effective with the closure of the tower, control of the interlocking is transferred to Denver under the auspices of Dispatcher Five. The facility is both large and complex enough to require two displays on the CRT to contain it. Up to eighty movements per day utilize the junction and special programs have been added to the D&RGW's computer controlled dispatching system just for the purpose of handling the complexity of this section of track.

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