The History and Economics of Utah's Railroads

(Return to Johnson Index Page)

By David F. Johnson

Chapter 2

The Union Pacific System

The history of the Union Pacific in Utah begins with a memorial to the Federal Government by the Territorial Legislature in session 1851-52.[1] More memorials and demonstrations followed this, and on January 10, 1868, a mass meeting was held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle with the object of influencing the railroad officials to build south of the Lake, through Salt Lake City, rather than around to the North. Routes were surveyed at both ends of the lake, but the engineers preferred the northern route. This choice was dictated purely by financial considerations, rather than any political or anti Mormon feeling as was common belief in Salt Lake City at the time.[2]

The grading of the route in Utah was done by local contractors and workers. Brigham Young contracted to grade through Weber Canyon, and other citizens contracted for sections from Humboldt Wells, Nevada, to Ogden, and for a section east of Weber Canyon.[3] Besides the benefits gained by these contractors, other citizens profited from the sale of supplies to the construction companies. A man with a team was paid $10 a day, plus upkeep, by the railroad companies. The Union Pacific paid $100 a ton for hay and $7 a bushel for potatoes. The Central Pacific paid even better: $120 for hay and $14 for potatoes.[4]

The first train on the Union Pacific reached Ogden on March 8, 1869, and the last spike connecting the two roads was driven on May 10, 1869. Both dates were occasions for general rejoicing.

This one band of track was the extent of the original line in Utah. In a very short time, however, steps were taken to build other roads in the territory, many of which became part of the great Union Pacific system as we know it today. The first and one of the most important of these was the Utah Central.

As soon as it became apparent that the Union Pacific was going to bypass Salt Lake City, steps were taken to insure for the capital city rail connections with the outside. The Utah Central Railroad was incorporated on March 8, 1869, the same day the transcontinental railroad reached Ogden; and construction was started on May 17 of that year at Ogden. The settlement of the debt owed the Utah people by the Pacific Railroads on their grading contracts was of direct benefit to the Utah Central. An agreement was reached whereby the Pacific roads were to turn over to the Utah Central $600,000 worth of railroad supplies and equipment. This was a great boon to the promoters of the Utah road, as the territory was woefully short of cash; and it is doubtful whether the road could have been equipped otherwise. This arrangement was completed by Brigham Young, who, in addition to being one of the major contractors on the Union Pacific, was a stockholder in that road and president of the Utah Central.[5] The actual construction work on the Utah Central was done by Utahns, taking stock in the road for their work.[6] Thus, very little cash outlay was made in the entire construction. Speaking at the road's completion ceremonies in Salt Lake City, Colonel A. B. Carr of the Union Pacific said:

The Utah Central is the only line west of the Missouri River that has been built entirely without government subsidies. It has been built wholly with money wrung from soil which, a few years ago, we used to consider a desert, by the strong arms of the men and women who stand before me. Everything used in its construction, even the last spike, is the produce of the country.[7]

By November 19, 1869, the rails had been laid as far as Kaysville and had reached Farmington by the 29th of that month.[8]

On January 10, 1870, the Utah Central was complete to Salt Lake City, its southern terminus. In spite of inclement weather, a huge crowd assembled to hear speeches and witness the ceremonies. The last spike, made of Utah iron, was driven by Brigham Young.

This railroad was an immediate success. Most of the mining, manufacturing and trade of the territory was concentrated in Salt Lake Valley, and this connection with the main line at Ogden was vital. Two days after completion, the first carload of ore was shipped over the line.[9] Two passenger trains were being operated daily between Salt Lake and Ogden by March, 1870.[10]

A list of the traffic carried by this road in 1873 and 1879 is shown in Table 1 (ed. note: Not included here; page 21 of original manuscript.)

The rapid development of smelting in the Salt Lake Valley is indicated by the heavy shipments inward of iron ore and coke, used in smelting operations; and the outbound volume of bullion. Sloan reports the exports of ore and bullion from May 1, 1871, to May 1, 1872, were valued at $2,947,891.[11]

From 1868 to 1871 the number of mining districts in the territory had increased from two to thirty-two;[12] but outside of those in Salt Lake Valley, the development was still being hampered by the lack of rail transportation. More than ninety-three million pounds of coal, mostly from Wyoming, was shipped into Salt Lake in 1873, but this area continued to feel the pinch of coal shortages and high prices for many years.

Brigham Young sold out his interest in the Utah Central in 1872, and the Union Pacific obtained control. However, the line continued to be operated independently.

Construction of another line, the Coalville and Echo Railroad, was begun October 20, 1869. Orson F. Whitney, in his History of Utah, states that this line was pushed rapidly to completion and that by the time the Utah Central had reached Salt Lake City, it was possible to ship coal directly by rail from the Weber mines to the capital.[13] But Noble Warrum, in Utah Since Statehood, indicates that this road was not completed as such, but was finished as the Summit County Railway Company, organized in 1871.[14] This latter version seems to be borne out by a reference in Sloan's Gazetteer of 1874, that the first shipment of coal over the Summit County Railway was made on May 14, 1873. There is some evidence that a section of the Echo and Park City may have been completed earlier as a broad gage branch of the Union Pacific (the Summit County Railway was a narrow gage), but it seems improbable that two lines were operating between these points at the time, especially inasmuch as some years later reference is made to the fact that the construction of the Echo and Park City caused the Summit County Railway to be abandoned. Likewise, there is no evidence that the Union Pacific at that time was demonstrating any desire to cooperate in hauling coal from this area in competition with the Wyoming mines.

The year 1871 saw the beginning of two other roads, which eventually became part of the Union Pacific. These were the Utah Southern and the Utah Northern.

The Utah Southern Railroad was a natural extension of the Utah Central, southward through Utah Valley to Juab. It was organized on January 17, 1871, and work commenced May 1 of that year. This line was organized largely by the same interests which built the Utah Central, but was financed with Eastern capital. By September 6, 1871, the line was open to Sandy and on October 19, 1873 to American Fork. It was completed to Juab on June 13, 1879.[15]

There is considerable discrepancy in various dates concerning this road. Sloan's Gazetteer of 1874 reports the date of incorporation as February 5, 1871,[16] but The Millennial Star of May 23, 1875 carries an item to the effect that trains would start running between Salt Lake City and Juab on February 25, 1875.[17] Edward W. Tullidge, in History of Salt Lake City, agrees with the 1879 date of completion, also indicating that the road was complete to Provo in December, 1873, and to York, Juab County, in April, 1875.[18] It is difficult to see why four years should have been required to complete the road from York to Juab, unless some unusual delay was encountered. While no reference to such was discovered, this must have been the case. This would explain, also The Millennial Star item, which discussed future plans of the line.

The designs and effects of the Utah Southern Railroad were similar to those of the Utah Central. The Southern Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley were, two of the most populous sections of the state, needing an outlet for their produce and a means of shipping in considerable quantities of much-needed goods. Likewise, the mountains on both sides of this line, for almost its entire length, contained many of the most promising mineral claims in the territory. The extension of the line southward provided a connection point for a number of lines built up into the mining areas. It was along. this line that one of the greatest concentrations of smelters in the territory grew up. It also placed rail connections within reach of great new sources of coal, and was pointing towards the districts farther to the south.

Movements of freight over the Utah Southern Railroad for the years 1873 and 1879 are shown in Table 2. (ed. note: Not included here; page 22 of original manuscript.)

The Utah Northern Railroad was conceived about the same time as the Utah Southern. It was promoted by John R. Young, a son of Brigham Young, and financed in its early stages from profits made on Young's construction contracts with the Union Pacific. The company was organized on August 23, 1871, and ground was broken at Brigham City on August 26.[19] It was first built northward from Brigham City. The first rail was laid on March 29, 1872, and had been completed to Logan on January q, 187 3. A four-mile branch from Brigham to Corinne was completed on June 9, 1873,[20] providing a connection with the Central Pacific. Ground was broken on June 17, 1872 at Corinne for the Utah, Idaho and Montana Railroad Company,[21] about which no more was heard from that date. This may have been incorporated into the aforementioned Corinne branch of the Utah Northern, or may have been the beginning of what is now the main Union Pacific line north to Pocatello, or the Malad Branch of that system. No subsequent references were found as to what became of this road. It is probable that the first assumption is the correct one, as Corinne is mentioned in several writings as the starting point for Montana-bound freight wagons.

Had there been a railroad running north from there at the time, surely the freighting would have started from the end of the railroad. By February 8, 1874, the line had been extended south to Ogden, making a complete line from Ogden to Logan; and by March 15, extended north to Franklin, Idaho. On March 3, 1873, by an act of Congress, the road was granted a right-of-way through the public domain to build north to Montana and connect with the Northern Pacific.[22] About this time Jay Gould became interested in the Utah Northern and commenced to acquire an interest in the line. He turned his interest over to the Union Pacific in 1875, although the line was not actually owned by the larger system until several years later.[23]

Up to this point, the road had been constructed in a manner similar to that of the Utah Central; that is, by cooperative labor, the citizens of the territory through which it passed doing much of the work and taking stock in the company for their labors. As had been so often the case in railway construction, the original builders received little reward for their efforts. The line at this stage of construction was not too profitable, as it was getting practically none of the Idaho and Montana traffic. Roads were so poor north of Cache Valley that freighters preferred loading their wagons at Corinne for the northward haul rather than at the terminus of the Utah Northern. The Union Pacific interests, however, began to pour money into the line and push northward. By 1879 the Utah Northern had been completed from Franklin to Market Lake, two hundred twenty-seven miles north of Ogden. In the meantime, on April 3, 1878, apparently being in serious financial straits, the road was sold at public auction for $100,000 to S. H. H. Clark, who was presumably acting for the Union Pacific[24] - and renamed the Utah and Northern Railroad. The extension northward, however, transformed the fortunes of the line. In 1880 H. L. A. Culmer, in his Utah Directory and Gazetteer for 1879-80, writes of the Utah Northern, " ... now doing a magnificent freight and passenger traffic with Utah, Idaho and Montana."[25] Robert W. Sloan, another writer of a Utah gazetteer and Salt Lake City directory, reported in 1884 that "it is accounted the best paying road of the Union Pacific."[26] The road was completed to Silver Bow, Montana, in 1880 and to Garrison in 1881. It was consolidated with the Oregon Short Line on August 1, 1889.[27]

The Utah Territory, it should be noted, was the only settled community of any size along nearly two thousand miles of the, Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad line. It was the only important source of traffic to the system, except for the through business from the East to California. Thus, the lines of the Utah Central, the Utah Southern, and the Utah Northern became vitally important feeder lines to the Union Pacific; and they greatly enhanced the value of the transcontinental line to the territory by bringing its services closer to the settlements all along the base of Wasatch Mountains. Hundreds of square miles along the Union Pacific line were, and would remain, insignificant as a source of revenue, for years to come. The road was a connecting link between California and the East; but outside of this, for some time much of the length of the line was of little use to the nation. Not so the Utah lines. Here the people came first; the lines were a vitally needed addition to the local economy.

Mention should be made at this point of the interrelation of the fortunes of the Utah Northern with those of the cities of Ogden and Corinne. Corinne was established March 23, 1869, by the builders of the Union Pacific. The first sale of lots there brought $21,000 to the railroad, and a flourishing town soon sprang up. The Union Pacific people had intended to make Corinne into a great railroad center and trading city to the exclusion of Ogden; and well it might have been except for several turns of circumstance. Corinne was the most convenient spot on the Union Pacific for departures northward toward Helena, Montana; and plans were made for utilizing all-water connections to Salt Lake City via the Bear River, Great Salt Lake and the Jordan River.[28] At the insistence of the Union Pacific, Corinne was first established as the junction point between the Union Pacific and Central Pacific. Much investment was made here relying on the permanence of the settlement. In 1874 it had two banks, an opera house, and several hotels.[29] The railroad officials did all in their power to assist their community; not even stopping some trains at Ogden, but still Corinne did not live up to the expectations of its founders. The beginning of Corinne's decline came when the junction point was established at Ogden. The Corinne people were chagrined over the establishment of the depot at Ogden, and many were pulling up stakes and setting their faces toward the latter place.[30] Still the Montana trade kept the city in a prosperous condition, until the extension northward of the Utah Northern Railroad. When connections were made at Ogden, some of this trade was diverted to that point. As the railroad reached northward across Idaho, the disadvantages of poor connections with its terminus were obviated, and soon nearly all the Montana and Idaho trade was moving over the railroad via Ogden. The forwarding establishments abandoned Corinne and moved to the head of the railroad, and the city's last chance at greatness was lost-today it is but a sleepy farming community. The Latter-day Saints Journal History for October 4, 1877 states that the extension northward of the Utah Northern was a death blow to the fortunes of Corinne, which had heretofore controlled the Montana freight business. "The Union Pacific, having control of the Northern, will hereafter forward northern freight over that line, leaving Corinne out in the cold-a mere way station of the Central Pacific."[31] It is interesting to speculate on how different things might have been had the junction point been left at Corinne, which is located on the bank of a large river with plenty of good land nearby. Perhaps the situation of Ogden and Corinne would have been reversed, except for the fact that Ogden got the earlier start and managed from its superior size to win for itself the railway junction. Today Corinne is served only by the Malad Branch of the Union Pacific.

The Salt Lake, Sevier Valley and Pioche Railroad was formed in May, 1877, to build a narrow gage line westward from Salt Lake City through Rush Valley, the Tintic District, the Sevier Valley west of Sevier Lake to the mines of Pioche, Nevada. It was organized by a group of Pennsylvania capitalists for the purpose of serving mining interests in the areas traversed by the road.[32] Work commenced on May 14, 1873, and twenty miles of grading was completed that year. Work was suspended after this much had been done, and track was not placed until the formation of a new company, the Utah Western, which took over the property in August of 1874, the Salt Lake, Sevier Valley and Pioche being declared defunct. By December 14, 1874, the Utah Western had been officially opened and was running trains between Salt Lake City and a point in the mountains near Garfield Beach.

An interesting note appears in an announcement by the railroad company in January, 1875, to the effect that it planned to construct ten flat cars using all Utah products, iron and wood. Whether this plan actually was carried out is not known.

Apparently the road was not a money maker because on April 17, 1878, it was taken over by the bondholders. It was foreclosed in 1880, and the Utah and Nevada was organized on February 16, 1881, to take over this line and build from its terminus to Tanner's Springs, Juab County. This new road was organized by Eastern capital-Abraham Gould and others, and was capitalized at $2,000,000. Future plans were to extend-the line via Dugway and Deep Creek to Bodie, California. The planned construction never materialized, and on June 17, 1881, the existing line was acquired by the Union Pacific.[33]

The Salt Lake and Western Railroad was first chartered in June 1874,[34] to build a broad gage line for the Union Pacific from a junction point with the Utah Southern at Lehi to the Tintic mining districts. During 1875 it was completed to Fairfield; where due to financial difficulties, work was discontinued for several years. It was reported as being operated by the trustees in 1879.[35] In May, 1881, the line was re-chartered, apparently for the purpose of completing the line on to its original destination and beyond to Snake Valley and eventually Nevada and California. Work was pushed forward rapidly in 1881 and 1882. However, early in 1882, it was decided to abandon the plans for construction beyond the Tintic district to await better times.[36] It was completed to Eureka and Silver City in 1883.[37] This line became part of the Oregon Short Line system along with the Utah Southern, and was turned over to the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake in 1903, together with the southern parts of that system.

This road was built solely to serve the mining district, and its fortunes rose and fell with the fortunes of the Tintic district. The line undoubtedly had a beneficial effect on the Tintic district in the early days; but the area came to be served by two other lines, so that the presence of this particular branch was not too important a factor in the economy of the district.

The Utah Southern Extension Railroad Company (Utah Southern Railroad Extension - ed.) was organized on January 11, 1879, to extend to Utah Southern on southward to the fabulous Horn Silver Mine in Beaver County. Construction was immediately begun and carried rapidly to completion. As the name implies, this road was simply a continuation of Utah Southern, so that no delays were encountered in commencing construction. This road was opened to traffic to Deseret on November 1, 1879, to Milford on May 15, 1880, and completed to Frisco on June 23, 1880. The Utah Central, the Utah Southern and the Utah Southern Extension were all incorporated into a single road running from Ogden to Frisco, called the Utah Central, on July 1, 1881.[38] The Union Pacific held a controlling interest in this line, but it continued to be operated independently.

No particular difficulties had to be met in the construction of any of the lines making up the Utah Central route. For most of its length, except for the last miles up into the mountains around Frisco, it followed the level alluvial bottoms of prehistoric Lake Bonneville. It also traversed the most populous areas of the state, the agricultural lands at the foot of the Wasatch Range, although that section south of Utah Valley was built primarily to serve the mines of Frisco and probably did not carry too much in the way of produce or general merchandise for some years. It tends to swing away from the mountains out into the Sevier Desert, which at the time had not been developed.

It is doubtful if this southern part of the line would have proved profitable except for its becoming an important link in the route to Southern California a few years later. This line, together with the Utah Northern subsequently became part of the Oregon Short Line Railroad.

The Oregon Short Line came into being in 1878; and surveys were made until 1880, when construction was started at Granger, Wyoming. This line was built to give the Union Pacific connections into the Pacific Northwest. It was built through to Huntington, Oregon, where connections were made with, and trackage rights acquired over, the line of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. The line was completed in 1884.[39] On August 1, 1889, this road took over the Utah Northern, the Utah Central, the Utah and Nevada, and other Union Pacific controlled lines in Utah, and a new company called the Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern Railway was formed.[40] Thus a great system subsidiary to the Union Pacific was born, running from Frisco in the south, to Granger, Wyoming and Portland, Oregon. It included all the Union Pacific holdings west of Granger, Wyoming, with the exception of the main line track into Ogden.

In 1893, partly because of increasing competition from newly-completed trans-continental lines, and partly because of the approaching maturity of four classes of bonds, the Union Pacific was forced into receivership. During the ensuing several years, much pressure was brought to bear by the bondholders over a number of the subsidiaries of the Union Pacific. Finally, at the insistence of the bondholders, a separate receiver was named for the Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern. Early in 1897 this road was sold under foreclosure, and reorganized independently on May 16, 1897, as the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company.[41] By 1898, however, the Union Pacific had re-purchased a controlling interest, and by the end of 1899 held nearly all of the stock of the Oregon Short Line,[42] which again became a part of the Union Pacific. In 1887 the old Utah Northern part of this system was standard gauged north of Pocatello,[43] and in 1890 a new standard gage line was built from Cache Valley Junction to Pocatello. The old line of the Utah Northern between Preston and Pocatello was abandoned, but the section through Logan was standard gage and became the Cache Valley branch. The Journal History indicates that a line through the Malad Valley was being considered by the Utah Northern for construction in 1889.[44] This was later constructed as the Malad Branch running from Corinne to Malad, Idaho.

A small branch of the Union Pacific, upon which work was commenced after the original Oregon Short Line was organized but which was included in the latter system, deserves special mention because of its economic effect on the citizens of Salt Lake City. This line is the Echo and Park City.

In the 1880s and 1890s the Union Pacific had become a very unpopular organization among the citizens of Utah. There is not much doubt that this company took advantage of its monopolistic position to impose highly discriminatory freight rates on many commodities. As early as 1872 mention is made that more than 600 tons of ore from the Emma mine had piled up at the Utah Central Railway at Salt Lake City because it could not be shipped profitably due to recent rate increases on the Union Pacific.[45] The greatest public indignation, however, was caused by the coal situation. The Union Pacific kept a virtual monopoly in the coal business for its Wyoming mines, by charging prohibitive rates for shipping coal over their lines from other mining properties. Nelson Trottman, in his History of the Union Pacific, published in 1923, gives the following table:

Coal Rates On The Union Pacific From Wyoming

Rate at which U. P.
Coal Was Sold
Transportation Charged
Other Producers
Ogden $6.50 $10.00
Laramie 6.50 4.75
Cheyenne 7.00 6.00
Omaha 9.00 10.00

Not only were prices high on coal, but the Union Pacific was either unable or unwilling to provide the quantities needed. Numerous schemes were proposed to alleviate these coal shortages, which at times amounted to famines causing much actual suffering. The Utah Eastern, which is discussed later, was organized to break the Union Pacific coal monopoly, and the Echo and Park City branch of the Union Pacific was apparently constructed for the purpose of protecting the monopolistic control by building over the same territory as the Utah Eastern and forcing it out of business. In this they succeeded, although they might not have done so had the Eastern been able to complete its line.

The Echo and Park City was built before it was organized as a separate company. The road was completed in 1880,[47] by the Union Pacific construction workers, and incorporated on January 18, 1881, soon after completion. It was incorporated for $500,000, with Sidney Dillon and others as the officials.[48] The road ran from Echo, in Weber Canyon, to Park City via Coalville, on a route parallel to the narrow gage Summit County Railway and the Utah Eastern. Both of these roads were soon forced out of business, the Union Pacific later acquiring the Utah Eastern, which it dismantled, using much of the rolling stock on its then narrow gage Utah Northern line.

The next large acquisitions of the Union Pacific grew out of another attempt to break part of its monopolistic power. In 1891 the Union Pacific had purchased a controlling interest in the Southern Pacific Railroad, which had since 1885 owned the Central Pacific line from Ogden to San Francisco.[49] As the Southern Pacific also owned the connections between Los Angeles and San Francisco, plus a line from the East into Southern California, the Union Pacific later acquiring the Utah Eastern, which it dismantled, using trade; especially that moving from Utah to Southern California. A line directly from Salt Lake to Los Angeles would cut several hundred miles off the rail distance between these points as well as for shipments west from points east over the Union Pacific, bound for Southern California. This was apparent to many, and several plans were put forth to build such a line. The Union Pacific contemplated the extension of its Southern Utah line to Los Angeles, and made some surveys in 1889 and 1890. A right of way was secured and some grading done south of Milford, but the work was soon discontinued.

On August 10, 1898, a group of western capitalists organized in Utah the Utah and Pacific Railroad Company to build a line from Milford to the Nevada border. The Oregon Short Line agreed to turn over its grade and right of way and to sell rails to the new road, the Short Line to receive in return a five-year option to buy the line; and the road was completed as planned by the Utah and Pacific Railroad Company. On February 2, 1899, the Utah, Nevada and California Railroad was organized in Nevada as a subsidiary to the Oregon Short Line to extend this line on to California, but this was not accomplished at that time.[50]

In the fall of 1900 Senator William A. Clark, a wealthy mining man from Montana, announced his intention to build a railroad from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. His original plan was to build straight through, connecting these points, completely independent of the existing Union Pacific lines. With this end in view, the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad was incorporated on March 21, 1901. Clark also obtained control of the inactive Utah and California Railroad, which on March 9, 1901, purchased tax title to that portion of the grade lying between the end of the Utah and Pacific line at the Utah-Nevada border, and Pioche and Caliente; and on April 19, 1901, turned the property over to the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake. Believing that the old right of way of the Oregon Short Line in Nevada had been abandoned, the Clark interests lost no time in starting surveys southwest of Pioche and Caliente. It was at this point that the Union Pacific became alarmed at the threat to its monopoly and took steps to counteract. It exercised its option and took over the Utah and Pacific line south of Milford and asserted its claim to the right of way which the Clark fine had appropriated. At this point a long litigation began in the Nevada courts, and in the meantime a railroad war was taking place on the construction sites. The Oregon Short Line laid tracks on its roadbed to Caliente and placed a barricade in a canyon southwest of Caliente through which the most feasible route lay. Finally an agreement was reached calling for a joint survey through the canyon, but this arrangement was not satisfactory. Later, on July 7, 1903, an agreement was made whereby the Harriman interests acquired one-half interest in the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake, and this road took over all of the Oregon Short Line properties south of Sandy and west of Salt Lake City.[51] Construction started in earnest in Nevada and California. Completed about this time was the Leamington Cut-off construction, which consisted of standard gauging of the old Utah and Nevada (ed. note: Actually, an entirely new line was constructed.) from Salt Lake to Stockton, and extending this line to Lynndyl, where it joined with the line of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake. The first train left Salt Lake for Tintic over the road on July 8, 1903.[52] The through line was completed in January, 1905, the last spike being driven on January 30. On May 2, 1905,[53] the first through passenger trains left Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. The branch to Frisco was extended to Newhouse the same year.[54]

On August 25, 1916 the name of the road was changed to the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company.[55] The Union Pacific obtained complete control of the line on April 27, 1921, and has operated it as part of the Union Pacific system since then.[56] The branch to Cedar City was completed and regular service started on July 6, 1923.[57]

Other extensions to the Union Pacific system in Utah include the St. John and Ophir Railroad, a short line built to connect the mines at Ophir with the main track at St. John in Tooele County. It was incorporated March 5, 1912, for $150,000, and immediately constructed. The company was dissolved on January 15, 1938, and the line apparently abandoned.[58]

The Union Pacific also operates a branch from the Salt Lake-Los Angeles line, running from Delta to Fillmore. No information was found concerning this line, but it is likely it had its birth in a road called the Salt Lake, Fillmore and Kanosh Railroad. This line was organized on March 15, 1918 by a group of Provo men to build a railroad from Lynndyl to Kanosh via Fillmore.[59] No record of whether this particular line was built has been found, but as the two routes-the proposed road and the Union Pacific branch-are almost identical, it seems reasonable to assume that one grew out of the other. At least the Union Pacific branch did not exist before 1918 or the other road would not have been proposed.

The Lucin Cut-off was built by a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific, the Ogden and Lucin Railroad Company, which was organized in June, 1900, with a capital of $1,000,000. The line was opened for traffic on November 26, 1903.[60] One of the marvels of engineering of its time, it cuts directly across Great Salt Lake west of Ogden on a series of fills and trestle works, saving many miles of actual track length and, more important, eliminating the steep grades and sharp curves of the old Southern Pacific line over the Promontory Mountains.

The main economic effect on Utah of the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad was a general one, that of shortening the rail distance to Southern California and providing rail service to some of the mining areas of Southern Nevada. Ore and concentrates have been shipped to smelters near Salt Lake City from Pioche and vicinity; and, as was stated before, the original Utah Southern Extension was a boon to the mines in the Frisco area. Prior to the coming of automobile travel, and to a lesser extent today, the Cedar City branch and the railroad developments in the National Parks have done much for the tourist industry of the State. This road provides the only rail connections for southernmost Utah. It has also made possible the steel industry of Utah, providing the only rail connections between the blast furnaces and the source of iron ore around Cedar City. Still long stretches of the line run through territory which is as yet of little economic importance except as winter livestock range and livestock shipping points. If and when a sufficient supply of irrigation water is provided for the rich lands of the upper Sevier Desert, the line will traverse the center of a thriving agricultural section.

In June, 1938, the Union Pacific obtained permission from the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the upper section of its Fairfield branch from Fairfield to Topliff, and in late 1942 or early 1943 the abandonment of the branch from Milford to Frisco and Newhouse was authorized.


[1] Edward W. Tullidge. History of Salt Lake City. (Star Printing Co., 1886), p. 708.

[2] Orson F. Whitney. History of Utah. (George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1893), pp. 229-230.

[3] Whitney, History of Utah, p. 218.

[4] Milton R. Hunter. Utah in Her Western Setting. (Deseret News Press, 1943), p.248.

[5] Tullidge, History of Salt Lake City, p. 710.

[6] Whitney, History of Utah, p. 221.

[7] Hunter, Utah in Her Western Setting, p.249.

[8] Whitney, History of Utah, p. 221.

[9] Edward L. Sloan Gazetteer of Utah and Salt Lake City Directory. (Salt Lake Herald Publishing Co., 1874), p. 30.

[10] J. Cecil Alter. Utah, The Storied Domain. (American Historical Society, Inc., 1932), p. 387.

[11] Sloan, Gazetteer of Utah (1874), p. 32.

[12] Whitney, History of Utah, p. 224.

[13] Whitney, History of Utah, p. 224.

[14] Noble Warrum. Utah Since Statehood. Vol. I. (The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1919), p. 353.

[15] Utah - Resources and Activities. Department of Public Instruction. (Paragon Press, 1933), p. 385.

[16] Sloan, Gazetteer of Utah (1874), p. 44.

[17] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 387.

[18] Tullidge, History of Salt Lake City, p. 708.

[19] Warrum, Utah Since Statehood, p. 347.

[20] Sloan, Gazetteer of Utah (1874), p. 48.

[21] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 405.

[22] Warrum, Utah Since Statehood, p. 347.

[23] Nelson Trottman. History of the Union Pacific. (Ronald Press Co., 1923), p. 177.

[24] Journal History, April 3, 1878, p. 1

[25] H. L. A. Culmer. Utah Directory and Gazetteer for 1879-80. (H. L. A. Culmer & Co., 1879), p.27.

[26] Robert W. Sloan. Utah Gazetteer and Directory of Logan, Ogden, and Provo, and Salt Lake City. (Herald Printing & Publishing Co. for Sloan & Dunbar, 1884), p. 109.

[27] Warrum, Utah Since Statehood, Vol. I, p. 347.

[28] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 379-385.

[29] Sloan, Gazetteer of Utah (1874), p. 57.

[30] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, pp. 379-385.

[31] Journal History, October 4, 1877, pp. 1-3.

[32] Journal History, May 4, 1874, p. 1.

[33] Journal History, August 3, 1874, p. 2; December 14, 1874, p. 1; January 27, 1875, p. 1; April 17, 1878, p. 1; February 16, 1881, p. 3; June 17, 1881, p. 3.

[34] Culmer, Utah Directory and Gazetteer for 1879-80, p.25.

[35] Culmer, Utah Directory and Gazetteer for 1879-80, p.25.

[36] Journal History, March 26, 1882, p. 4.

[37] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 499.

[38] Tullidge, History of Salt Lake City, p. 718.

[39] Utah - Resources and Activities, p. 384.

[40] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, pp. 179-180.

[41] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, p. 261.

[42] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, p. 278.

[43] Journal History, entry for April 4, 1887, p. 1.

[44] Journal History, June 1, 1888, p. 1.

[45] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 398.

[46] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, p. 110.

[47] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 498.

[48] Journal History, January 18, 1881, p. 4.

[49] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, p. 280.

[50] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, p. 316.

[51] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, pp. 316-324.

[52] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 485.

[53] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 488.

[54] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 488.

[55] Articles of Incorporation, on file in Office of Secretary of State of Utah.

[56] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, p. 324.

[57] Alter, Utah, The Storied Domain, p. 488.

[58] Articles of Incorporation, on file in Office of Secretary of State of Utah.

[59] Articles of Incorporation, on file in Office of Secretary of State of Utah.

[60] Trottman, History of the Union Pacific, p. 304.