San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad (1901-1916)
Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad (1916-1936)
Index For This Page
This page was last updated on February 14, 2021.
Union Pacific's subsidiary in Utah, 1903-1987.
The San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad (Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad after 1916) operated all UP lines south and west of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad was owned equally by Willaim A. Clark and his associates, and Harriman's Oregon Short Line subsidiary.
W. A. Clark wrote the following to the New York Times on January 3, 1907, explaining the ownership of the railroad:
"To the editor -- Referring to an article in yesterday's New York Times, I find that according to the table of the alleged holdings of the Harriman people you have mentioned the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company, from Los Angeles to Salt Lake, as being owned by the Harriman Lines. In brackets there is this explanation: "Oregon Short Line has one-half the capitol stock, Union Pacific paying the cost of new construction." This is is incorrect and misleading. Mr. Harriman and his friends own a one-half interest in the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company, the other half interest being owned by myself and my friends. It is unfair and misleading to make the classification as given in your paper. -- W. A. Clark, New York, Dec. 31, 1906." (New York Times, January 3, 1907)
Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad was a name change in August 1916 from the original 1901 San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. The SPLA&SL (and the later LA&SL) were controlled by William Clark until 1903, then jointly controlled by Clark and OSL until April 1921, when UP bought Clark's half interest, making LA&SL jointly owned by UP and OSL, which itself was fully controlled by UP. The connection between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Los Angeles, California was completed on May 26, 1905 at Erie, Nevada.
LA&SL was leased to Union Pacific Railroad on January 1, 1936, with all records showing LA&SL as owner and UP as lessee. (More information on the 1936 lease and unification)
This page covers the lines, tracks and property of UP's LA&SL subsidiary in Utah. Operation of LA&SL lines in Utah, which are all lines south and west of Salt Lake City, is covered as part of the UP in Utah page.
Note on sources: In 1898 William A. Clark bought the Salt Lake Herald newspaper. He owned it for 11 years, tripling revenues for the financially troubled newspaper. He sold it in 1909. One can assume that any news story carried by the Salt Lake Herald covering the developments of Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad would likely reveal the official company position, and that the Herald might include coverage of an event where other newspapers might not.
LA&SL In Utah, Notes -- Research notes about the mainline and branches of Los Angeles & Salt Lake in Utah.
As the Los Angeles boom was gaining popularity during the late 1880s, the harbor at San Pedro was seen as an ideal harbor, and capitalists and investors soon began working toward developing the harbor to suit their visions of future growth.
Los Angeles got its first railroad in 1869 with the completion of the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad between Los Angeles and Wilmington on San Pedro harbor, just to the west of today's city of Long Beach. The LA&SP was merged with Southern Pacific in 1874, and Southern Pacific itself entered Los Angeles from the north in 1876 by way of a new line south from Bakersfield and the Tehachapi Mountains, and through Soledad Canyon.
Southern Pacific continued its expansion to the east from the Los Angeles Basin and reached El Paso in 1881 and New Orleans in 1883. To beat out its feared competitors, SP started a branch across the Mojave desert from Mojave to the Colorado River at Needles.
Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe interests built the California Southern Railroad north from San Diego to Colton on the SP in 1882, and completed its line over Cajon Pass to Barstow (and a connection with SP's line between Mojave and Needles) in 1885. Another AT&SF affiliate built the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad from the east across Arizona reaching Needles, California on the Colorado River in 1883 at the same time that SP completed its line to Needles from the west. The A&P leased SP's line between Barstow and Needles in 1883. The line was formally sold to A&P in late 1884. By the mid 1880s, Los Angeles had its place on the maps of two transcontinental lines, but lacked local service between and among its smaller towns and cities.
San Pedro Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad in Utah
February 15, 1901
Empire Construction Company incorporated in Utah to acquire and construct railroads. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
March 20, 1901
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad incorporated to purchase the interests and property of the Los Angeles Terminal Railway, and to construct a line between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Construction commenced immediately, as follows:
- Los Angeles eastward to Riverside Junction (connection with AT&SF), 58.5 miles, commenced April 1901, completed in 1904
- Trackage rights on SP, Riverside Junction to Colton Junction, 6.4 miles, lease dated June 1903
- Trackage rights on AT&SF, Colton Junction to Daggett over Cajon Pass, 93.8 miles, leased dated April 1905
- Daggett to California-Nevada state line, 129.2 miles, commenced August 1903
March 20, 1901
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad incorporated. (Utah corporation records, index number 3077)
Contested South of Utah
SPLA&SL took possession of abandoned railroad right-of-way between Uvada (Utah-Nevada state line) and Clover Valley Junction (now Caliente), Nevada. To stop the attempted possession by SPLA&SL, the Harriman-controlled Utah, Nevada & California Railroad started actual construction, completing 40.4 miles of trackwork by the end of July 1901. Throughout the summer and fall of 1901, both SPLA&SL and UN&C construction crews continued to survey and construct limited bits of railroad grade south from Caliente and on to the California-Nevada state line. In November 1901 a truce was called and the fight moved to the courts and board rooms.
The contest between Clark and Harriman for a railroad route across southern Nevada is covered very well in three published histories:
- John Signor's The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, Union Pacific's Historic Salt Lake Route, pages 24-35
- Mark Hemphill's Union Pacific Salt Lake Route, pages 10-12
- David Myrick's Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Volume II, The Southern Roads, pages 623-683
SPLA&SL commenced construction of 53 miles of new line of railroad between Hobart (Los Angeles) and Riverside Junction on the AT&SF.
July 30, 1901
Oregon Short Line Railroad was completed to Caliente; train service began on August 1, 1901. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
July 9, 1902
Clark and Harriman signed their compromise settlement. The agreement included Clark selling half interest in the SPLA&SL to Harriman's Union Pacific, and Harriman's Oregon Short Line Railroad selling its entire route south from Sandy (south of Salt Lake City) to Clark's SPLA&SL.
Further agreements were signed later in 1902 and during 1903 that addressed specific concerns that had been generally settled by the initial overall agreement in July 1902. These included specific components for "the establishment by purchase, construction and trackage rights of a line of railroad between Salt Lake City, Utah (through the State of Nevada) to San Pedro Harbor, California."
October 15, 1902
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad was completed eastward from Los Angeles to Pomona. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
March 7, 1903
Forty miles of San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, from Los Angeles to Ontario, was turned over to the operating department. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
April 19, 1903
Huge headline says "San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Road Buys All Oregon Short Line South Of Salt Lake City," which is self explanatory. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 19, 1903)
May 25, 1903
The tracklaying machine being used to lay the track of the Leamington Cut Off was completing a mile and a half every day. The machine and tracklaying crews had completed the track to Tintic Junction on Monday night, May 25th, and began laying the track for the new yards the next day, Tuesday May 26, 1903. The old line through Ironton was to be closed "this week and trains hereafter will run from Summit to Tintic Junction over the new line. The new station a substantial building of 24 x 86 feet is now up to the square and is being pushed rapidly to completion." (Eureka Reporter, May 29, 1903)
Sale to San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake
June 9, 1903
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad acquired deed to Utah & Pacific Railroad, Utah, Nevada & California Railroad, and New East Tintic Railway. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
July 7, 1903
The sale and agreement between Clark and Harriman became final and SPLA&SL took possession of all former OSL lines subject to the agreements, as well as UP taking possession of its half interest in SPLA&SL. (SPLA&SL Corporate History)
Lines of railroad purchased by SPLA&SL included:
- Oregon Short Line Railroad, Sandy to Milford, 404.6 miles total trackage
- "Old Main Line", Sandy to Milford by way of Provo (original Utah Southern line), 210 miles
- The newly completed Leamington Cutoff, Salt Lake City to Leamington, formal completion date of June 20, 1903, 115.43 miles
- Terminus Branch, Salt Lake City to Terminus (narrow gauge), 35.96 miles
- Lehi Junction to Tintic (former Salt Lake & Western Railway), 43.27 miles
- New East Tintic Railway, Mammoth, 1.99 miles total trackage
- Utah & Pacific Railroad, Milford to Uvada (Utah-Nevada state line), 74.6 miles total trackage
- Utah, Nevada & California Railroad in Nevada between Uvada and Caliente, 40.47 miles total trackage
The connection on the new Leamington Cut-off was at the west bank of the Jordan River, 1.78 miles west of Salt Lake City, at SPLA&SL Mile Post 781.56 (from Los Angeles, via Leamington Cutoff) and OSL Mile Post 1.23 (from Salt Lake City).
Separation on Provo line was just immediately south of Sandy at OSL milepost 49.98 (from Ogden), and later LA&SL milepost 786.35 (from Los Angeles).
(Sandy was likely chosen as the point of separation because OSL(UP) wanted to retain the smelter traffic. At this time, Salt Lake City was the smelting center of the west, with numerous smelters at Murray, Midvale, and Sandy.) (Read more about the smelters at Sandy)
Under a 99 year lease dated June 18, 1903 SPLA&SL was granted trackage rights over 18.74 miles of the two OSL lines into Salt Lake City; from Sandy on the Provo line and from the Jordan River bridge on the Leamington Cutoff. Also included was a 99-year joint use agreement for SPLA&SL to use OSL's facilities and yards in Salt Lake City. The line between Salt Lake City and Sandy was within the yard limits of the OSL/LA&SL joint Salt Lake City yard. (SPLA&SL corporate history)
Included in the sale were 17 OSL locomotives, including 15 rod locomotives for mainline use and the two Shay locomotives for switching at Tintic. (Deseret News, July 21, 1903)
July 7, 1903
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad purchased from OSL the following segments: Sandy to Frisco, 226.07 miles; Milford to Caliente, 115.08 miles; Lehi Junction to Tintic, 43.27 miles; Salt Lake City to Leamington Junction, 115.45 miles; and various mine spurs, 12.46 miles. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
July 8, 1903
"The Salt Lake Route -- The formal transfer of the property included in the recent deal between the Oregon Short Line and San Pedro railroads was made Wednesday morning. The lines of the former road south of Salt Lake, which included the Tintic branch and the new Leamington cut off, was included in the deal and hereafter Eureka and other Tintic points are on the San Pedro Los Angeles and Salt Lake City railroad instead of the Oregon Short Line. Agent Stack at this place has been selling tickets bearing the stamp of the new road since last Wednesday morning and the old Oregon Short Line paste boards have been returned to the Salt Lake office. Wednesday morning the passenger train made the trip over the Leamington cut off from Salt Lake to Tintic for the first time. The Tintic trains now run around by way of Stockton instead of past Fairfield and Lehi Junction. A mixed train makes daily trips between Tintic Junction and Fairfield. The time table on the Tintic branch is practically the same but it is quite probable that we will have both a morning and afternoon train to Salt Lake in a short time." (Eureka Reporter, July 10, 1903; "Wednesday" was July 8th)
July 8, 1903
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad began construction of a new line between Caliente and Erie, Nevada. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
July 21, 1903
The following comes from the July 21, 1903 issue of the Deseret Evening News newspaper:
San Pedro Equipment. Master Mechanic Tollerten is Real Busy Nowadays at Shops. Since the consummation of the San Pedro deal Joint Master Mechanic W. J. Tollerten has had his hands full at the Oregon Short Line shops turning out the equipment. Included in this order are 17 locomotives, four coaches, four chair cars, three combination mail and baggage cars and two combination coaches and baggage cars, with 234 freight, box, flat, coal and stock cars, all of which have to be overhauled, repainted and relettered.
Owing to the fact that the Salt Lake Route is not overburdened with equipment at present the passenger cars have to be handled singly. The first car will leave the shops in the next few days. As it stands today in the car shops resplendent in its new coat of varnish it is a very handsome affair. The first thing that strikes one are the two words, "Salt Lake" that are painted along the length of the car above the windows. Below at either end near the platforms are painted the letters "S. P., L. A. & S. L." The car, which is No. 37. is painted an olive green and will be finished up in first class shape. As soon as it is possible to put it into commission another car will be brought in and overhauled. The painting and re-lettering of the freight cars is also progressing, but will not be rushed until it is decided just how they will be numbered. The 17 locomotives are being numbered from 25. They consist of nine engines of the old 300, or 8-wheel class, six of the 500, or 10-wheel class, and two Shay engines, which are used for switching at Tintic. In the round house this morning No. 1007, with a diamond stack, is being rejuvenated and will blossom out next week as No. 52. In addition to the Salt Lake Route equipment the car hands are working on coaches 111 and 223, while a new mail car is being also built for Short Line service.
SPLA&SL commenced construction of a new rail line between Daggett (on AT&SF) and the California-Nevada state line, a distance of 129.1 miles; completed in May 1905. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
Tracks were completed between Caliente and Las Vegas.
January 19, 1904
A new seven-stall roundhouse was to be erected at Tintic Junction. (Deseret News, January 19, 1904)
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad between Ontario and Riverside Junction was turned over to the operating department. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
March 12, 1904
Trains began operating between Los Angeles and Riverside; and to San Bernardino via SP trackage rights on July 3, 1904.
March 26, 1904
SPLA&SL was planning to build a one-mile spur to reach the limestone quarries at Twelve Mile Pass in Rush Valley, recently purchased by United States Smelting Company. (Deseret News, March 26, 1904)
(This was one of the limestone quarries at Topliff, which was actually between Ten Mile Pass and Twelve Mile Pass, but closer to Ten Mile. The quarries were on the Tooele County side.)
July 3, 1904
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad secured a lease from Southern Pacific to operate over SP tracks between Riverside and San Bernardino. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
SPLA&SL completed the 5.96-mile Newhouse Extension, from Frisco on the Frisco Branch to Newhouse, to serve the copper mine that was being developed near there. The line was surveyed in February 1904. (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 29, 1904, page 36) Construction was begun in June 1904, using $99,688.65 advanced for the purpose by Samuel Newhouse, owner of Newhouse Mines & Smelters. (SPLA&SL corporate history; Salt Lake Mining Review, April 30, 1904, page 36)
As part of the construction of the Newhouse Extension, Samuel Newhouse contracted with SPLA&SL to build his three-mile long Newhouse, Copper Gulch & Sevier Lake Railroad between the mining company's Cactus Mine and their mill at Newhouse, the terminus for SPLA&SL's Newhouse Extension.
The Newhouse road was incorporated in December 1904. The line included 4.5 percent grades and was operated using a 65-ton Shay locomotive. The mill went into full production in March 1905. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1904, page 23; December 30, 1904, page 15; February 28, 1905, page 25)
A new roundhouse was completed at Tintic Junction. The new building would allow engines to be housed overnight in the roundhouse "instead of in the building below the Bullion Beck mine." (Eureka Reporter, October 7, 1904) The roundhouse was reported in mid June 1904 as having been started. (Eureka Reporter, June 17, 1904, "will be finished inside the next sixty days")
January 30, 1905
By use of temporary construction near Sutor, Nevada, that bypassed some difficult cuts and fills, tracks were connected between Las Vegas and Daggett, allowing for construction and supply trains full access to the entire new railroad. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
April 26, 1905
SPLA&SL and AT&SF signed a joint operations agreement for the operation of SPLA&SL trains over AT&SF tracks over Cajon Pass, between Riverside Junction and Daggett, California, a distance of 93.8 miles. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978) (The agreement remains in place today  between Union Pacific and BNSF.)
Following this agreement April 1905, to avoid conflict and confusion for AT&SF dispatchers between San Pedro locomotives and Santa Fe locomotives, by the end of 1906 the San Pedro renumbered its 100-, 200-, 400-, 500- and 600-series locomotives to become the 3100-, 3200-, 3400-, 3500- and 3600-series.
May 1, 1905
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad began operations between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. (Union Pacific internal history of LA&SL, on file in Salt Lake City public relations offices; copied on January 20, 1978)
May 26, 1905
SPLA&SL formally completed the route between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles and began regular operations. On January 30, 1905 the railroad had completed a temporary connection in the line of new construction between Uvada and Daggett, California, which formed a complete rail line between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. The connection was actually a temporary one, around several cuts that had not been completed. (SPLA&SL corporate history) (Poor's 1929 manual, page 1066, gives the date as May 1, 1905.)
June 5, 1905
OSL completed the new roundhouse at 900 North and 500 West. The last locomotives were moved from the old roundhouse to the new roundhouse on Sunday, June 5, 1905. (Deseret News, June 9, 1905, "Old Roundhouse Now Demolished)
OSL and SPLA&SL had shared the original OSL roundhouse at Salt Lake City at North Temple and 400 West, and would continue to share the new roundhouse.
October 24, 1905
"Will Reduce The Running Time -- Los Angeles, October 24. -- The Los Angeles, San Pedro and Salt Lake Railroad has decided to reduce the running time of its through passenger trains between Los Angeles and Salt Lake to twenty-six hours, which will cut the running time between this city and Chicago to sixty-eight hours. The through limited train which will be put on by the Salt Lake-Union Pacific-Northwestern routes to Chicago, will be known as the "Los Angeles Limited," and the name will appear on every coach of the splendidly equipped train." (Oakland Tribune, October 24, 1905)
Garfield Beach station on SPLA&SL changed to Lake Point, and the new station at the new smelters was to be called Garfield. (Deseret News, November 22, 1905, "Spike and Rail")
December 17, 1905
The first Los Angeles Limited luxury all-Pullman passenger train departed Chicago, bound for Los Angeles on a 68-hour schedule. The return trip departed Los Angeles on December 21st. (Jeff Asay, Union Pacific in the Los Angeles Basin, page 84)
The Los Angeles Limited was the first passenger train on Union Pacific to be equipped with electric lights. (Read more about the first electric lights on passenger trains)
January 6, 1906
Senator Kearns says that the S. P., L. A. & S. L. will soon complete its railroad between Riverside and Daggett, in California, which will complete the road between Salt Lake City and the coast. At present, A. T. & S. F. tracks between the two points named in California are used on a joint-track arrangement for the hundred or so miles. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, January 6, 1906)
SPLA&SL completed the 3.61-mile passenger line, between Buena Vista and Salt Lake City, along Ninth (900) South. Construction was begun in September 1905 from the end of the former Oregon Short Line one-mile long Enamel Spur, which ended near the east bank of the Jordan River. The new line required 2.6 miles of new construction, from Buena Vista to the west bank of the Jordan River and included a new bridge over the river. (SPLA&SL corporate history, page 47)
SPLA&SL and OSL completed the major portion of their new joint passenger depot and freight yard in Salt Lake City. The new roundhouse adjacent to the new freight yard (known as North Yard) was opened in June 1905, and the new passenger depot was opened in July 1909. (Railway Age, July 12, 1907)
(Read the Railway Age article about the new joint facilities at Salt Lake City -- PDF; 6 pages; 2.4MB)
Land for the new joint yards was purchased in June 1890, when Union Pacific purchased 200 acres in north Salt Lake City for the purposes of a new terminal. (Salt Lake Herald, June 1, 1890)
The Salt Lake Route was erecting a roundhouse, machine shops, turntable, water tanks, ice house, dwellings, and depot at Lynndyl, Utah. (Ellsworth [Kansas] Reporter, September 5, 1907)
OSL and SPLA&SL completed the new Union Depot at Salt Lake City. Construction was begun in November 1906, and the depot was partially occupied in 1908. (Salt Lake City, Past and Present, published in 1908)
September 1, 1909
SPLA&SL and D&RG sign a joint agreement for the passenger terminal at Provo. (SPLA&SL corporate history)
September 9, 1909
Edward H. Harriman died. (See also: Trottman, page 362) On Sunday September 12, 1909, at the same time as Mr. Harriman's funeral in Arden, New York, all trains on the Harriman system of railroads were stopped for one minute in his honor. (Deseret News, September 10, 1909)
September 9, 1909
SPLA&SL's Train No. 1, the westbound Salt Lake City to Los Angeles overland train, crashed head-on with Train No. 200, the Tintic Local, five miles north of Tintic Junction, near Boulter Summit. Fourteen persons were injured, with one fatality. Both engines were severely damaged, along with each train's baggage car. No. 1 had 14 cars, and the Tintic train had one coach and one baggage car. The cause was reported as the fault of No. 1's conductor, who failed to check the log book at the Boulter switch to determine whether or not the Tintic train had passed that point and entered the Boulter branch, bound for Lehi Junction. Both trains were reported as being behind schedule. (Deseret News, September 9 and 10, 1909; Eureka Reporter, September 10, 1909; Salt Lake Tribune, September 10, 1909)
SPLA&SL completed a concrete roundhouse at Lynndyl.
Other concrete roundhouses were completed at Milford in 1916, and at Provo in 1917.
SPLA&SL announced that it would send surveyors into the Uinta Basin, as soon as snows permitted. D&RG was considering a separate corporation to build its road into the Uinta Basin. The construction of the D&RG line was expected to cost $5 million. (The Sun, March 31, 1916, page 7)
August 16, 1916
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad changed its name to the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad.
Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad in Utah
August 16, 1916
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad name changed to Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. The name was changed from SPLA&SL to LA&SL at a special stockholder's meeting held in Salt Lake City on August 16, 1916. The railroad will continue to use its distinctive "Salt Lake Route" name. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 14, 1916, notice of special meeting; Salt Lake Mining Review, August 30, 1916, "16th inst.")
August 20, 1916
Pehrson (Mile Post 717.12 on LA&SL) changed from Vernon.
LA&SL completed the 13.6-mile Delta Branch, built north from Delta to serve the sugar beet growing area north of Delta that was being developed due to the completion of irrigation projects on the Sevier River. The land was being developed by companies such as the Delta Land & Water Company, the Morgan-Okelbery Land & Sheep Company, and the Delta Investment Company.
The Delta Sugar Beet Company was promoting the growing of sugar beets and in 1917 they completed a 1,000-ton capacity sugar factory in Delta. The Delta Sugar Beet Company was reorganized in 1918 as the Great Basin Sugar Company, but because of lack of sugar beets being grown in the region, the factory still was not working at full capacity and was sold to the Utah Idaho Sugar Company in 1920. The Utah Idaho company was only able to get 419 growers to plant 10,291 acres in sugar beets in 1921, harvesting 53,498 tons of beets. Production was low because of disease in the beet plants with production for 1922 being even lower than low crops of both 1921 and 1920. The sugar company closed the factory in 1923 and dismantled it in 1927, sending the machinery to a new factory in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Sugar beet production resumed in the late thirties, with the availability of disease resistant beet plants, but beets were shipped to other sugar factories located in Spanish Fork, West Jordan and Gunnison. (Arrington: Beet Sugar, pages 192, 193)
LA&SL began a modernizing program which included replacing many bridges along the route. The railroad gave a contract for thirty new steel and concrete bridges to Houghton Construction Company of San Francisco. The headquarters for the project was at Milford. The LA&SL, along with the WP, also filed a condemnation suit against J. L. Wilson for a right of way for the relocation of their lines at Garfield, to allow expansion of the Utah Copper tailings pond. (Salt Lake Mining Review, April 15, 1917, pages 40, 43)
Utah Copper expanded its original tailings pond near Magna from the original 1500 acres to 5000 acres. This forced the Union Pacific (LA&SL) and Western Pacific tracks to be relocated to the north along a new alignment. As part of the 1917 line change between today's 5600 West and Smelter station, the two railroads created a new station named Garfield as a connection to Utah Copper's railroad. This Garfield station remained in place until replaced by a new Garfield created in 1997 when UP moved its mainline again to allow expansion of the Kennecott tailings pond. (Utah History Cyclopedia; Union Pacific condensed track profile)
December 1, 1917
LA&SL purchased the Riverside, Rialto & Pacific Railroad from Riverside Portland Cement Company.
December 28, 1917
USRA assumed control of the nation's railroads, including LA&SL. (Trottman, page 377)
Mammoth Mining Company was complaining of the high rates that LA&SL was charging to ship the ore from the Mammoth Mine down to Mammoth, via the former New East Tintic Railway. In 1917 LA&SL had charged $7,500 to move 40,000 tons of ore in 840 cars over the two-mile line. The mining company threatened to build an aerial tramway from their mine down to the D&RG at Mammoth. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 30, 1918, page 40)
March 21, 1918
The United States Railway Administration (USRA) took over the operation of America’s railroads (including UP and its LA&SL subsidiary) on March 21, 1918 to improve the efficiency of America’s railroads during World War I. It continued to operate and “administer” the railroads until March 1, 1920. One review has stated that over 100,000 freight cars and over 1,900 steam locomotives were built for the USRA, at a cost to the government of $380 million.
LA&SL completed the 3.35-mile Hinkley Branch which connected with the Delta Branch at Moody (Mile Post 4.5). The branch was built to serve the sugar beet growing area west of Delta. (ICC Valuation drawing, ICC Financial Docket 9538, 187 ICC 642)
August 29, 1918
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to abandon service on southern 13.3 miles of the Fairfield Branch between Topliff and Boulter, where the branch connected with the main line of the Leamington Cut-off. The Fairfield Branch was the former Salt Lake & Western. The abandonment was protested by the Scranton Mining & Smelting Company, for its Del Monte Mine located a few miles east of Del Monte Station on the branch. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 85)
The station of Fairfield on the old Salt Lake & Western was the interchange point for the Salt Lake & Mercur Railroad, which operated a steep and curving, standard-gauge railroad from Fairfield up Manning canyon, and over the Oquirrh ridge to the mining camp of Mercur. (Carr: Rails, pages 127-129) The last ore mined from the Mercur mine of Consolidated Mercur Gold Mines came to the surface on March 30, 1913. The mill was dismantled in 1917 and the equipment removed over the Salt Lake & Mercur line. The railroad shut down on October 13, 1918. (Conversation with Grant Pendleton at Utah Power & Light in reference with an L. L. Nunn biography, circa March 1982; Tooele, pages 370, 375)
March 1, 1920
The United States Railway Administration (USRA) returned control of the nation's railroads (including UP and its LA&SL subsidiary), from government control due to World War I, back to the railroad companies. Included in the enabling Esch–Cummins Act was a provision to allow the ICC to control the railroads profits and rate of return for investments.
April 27, 1921
W. A. Clark and his associates sold their remaining half interest in LA&SL to Union Pacific. Clark was 82 years of age in 1921 and had become a distant interest in his management of SPLA&SL from about 1913 on, leaving the road to the care of his younger brother J. Ross Clark, who along with UP's W. H. Bancroft, managed the railroad in the joint interest of the shared ownership. (Signor, page 87)
April 27, 1921
Union Pacific agreed to acquire the Clark half interest in LA&SL; the purchase was mostly completed by the end of the year. On January 1, 1922 Union Pacific began including the business of the LA&SL in its System statements and reports. (Poor's, 1929, page 1066)
"On April 27, 1921, the Union Pacific Railroad Company reached an agreement with W. A. Clark and associates whereby it purchased the remaining half of the capital stock. Effective January 1, 1922, the properties will be included in reports." (Union Pacific Annual Report for 1921)
(The other half interest in LA&SL was owned by OSL, which itself was owned by Union Pacific.)
May 25, 1921
Union Pacific purchased the one-half interest of Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad it did not already own. The purchase was by the exchange of stocks and bonds, in the amount of $29 million (dollar-for-dollar) of LA&SL securities, in exchange for securities of other railroads already in Union Pacific's treasury.
The sale was covered extensively in numerous newspapers across the nation, dated both May 25th and May 26th. The most detail was in the Wall Street Journal of May 26th, which included direct quotes by Clark and Lovett. W. A. Clark's brother, J. Ross Clark, living in Los Angeles and vice president of LA&SL, was not notified of the sale, but was quoted as not objecting to it, and stating that he anticipated no problems or changes because of it.
"New York, May 25 -- The Union Pacific Railroad, which for several years has owned a half interest in the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, has acquired full ownership of that road through the purchase of stock and bonds held by former United States Senator William A. Clark." "For the $29,000,000 of the 4% bonds of the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Co. held by Senator Clark and his friends, Union Pacific is giving in exchange dollar for dollar approximately $6,000,000 of the Southern Pacific's San Francisco Terminal 4% bonds; $8,500,000 of the Southern Pacific Railroad first refunding 4% bonds; and $14,500,000 of Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation first and refunding 4% bonds now in the Union Pacific treasury." "The Union Pacific's statement declared the transfer assured the permanency of the position of its system in Southern California, with its rails into Los Angeles and to the Pacific Ocean at San Pedro Harbor." (Christian Science Monitor, May 26, 1921)
LA&SL System Employee Timetable No. 60 was dated May 29, 1921. LA&SL Los Angeles Division Employee Timetable No. 61 and LA&SL Salt Lake Division Employee Timetable No. 61 were both issued March 26, 1922.
May 10, 1921
Topliff (Mile Post 37.0) to Boulter (Mile Post 43.32) on Boulter Branch was abandoned. (Union Pacific AFE 3321, dated September 22, 1927, Work Order 7636, from LA&SL drawing 562-11)
(The name of shortened branch was changed to the Topliff Branch.)
December 21, 1921
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to discontinue passenger trains 57 and 58, from Smelter to Warner (Tooele). After the change, Trains 57 and 58 only operated between Salt Lake City and Smelter, where they were turned on the wye. Trains 51 and 52 operated between Salt Lake City and Tintic, by way of the Leamington Cut-off. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 481)
October 18, 1922
LA&SL received ICC approval to construct the 32.5-mile Cedar City Branch. To be completed by December 31, 1923. (ICC Finance Docket 2527)
(The branch was to be constructed to serve the developing iron ore mines in the district west of Cedar City.)
LA&SL completed construction of the 32-mile Fillmore Branch. The construction had been approved by the ICC on July 1, 1922, in their Finance Docket 2360. Between the spring of 1923, when the branch was opened to traffic, and June 1929 passenger service on the branch was provided with a locomotive and passenger cars. On June 10, 1929, to reduce costs, the railroad began using a gasoline motor car. Just nine months later, in late March 1930, the Public Service Commission of Utah granted the railroad's request to discontinue all passenger train service between Delta and Fillmore, and replace it with auto bus service. During the time of motor car operation, between November 1929 and February 1930, the motor car had been operating mostly empty, and never with more than two passengers. The approval was in effect after April 3. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1160)
LA&SL to construct Fillmore Branch, approved July 1, 1922. (ICC Finance Docket 2360; 72 ICC 147)
Two years later, in March 1932, the Utah Public Utilities Commission approved the transfer of operation of the Delta-to-Fillmore auto bus service to a private contractor, Mr. Moyle Sargent. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1268)
June 7, 1923
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct the 1.87-mile Columbia Steel Spur across the D&RGW, Utah Railway, and Salt Lake & Utah to serve the plant of Columbia Steel Company that is under construction. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 652)
July 1, 1923
LA&SL and Union Pacific ran the first passenger train between Lund and Cedar City. Shown on the timetable as Trains 603 (Lund to Cedar City) and 600 (Cedar City to Lund), the first train departed the Lund station at 10:30 a.m. and arrived at Cedar City at 12:01 p.m. The schedule allowed connections with Trains 3 and 4 from Salt Lake City. A second "mixed" train between Lund and Cedar City, shown as Trains 703 and 700, allowed similar service, with a 4:30 p.m. connection at Lund with the "Continental Limited" between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. (Salt Lake Telegram, June 30, 1923)
February 27, 1925
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to discontinue regular service between Frisco and Newhouse. The line was constructed in the latter part of 1904 for the Newhouse Mining Company and the Cactus Mining Company. By 1925 the town of Newhouse had been dismantled and the railroad's only traffic was tank cars of water for the local sheep ranches. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 741)
March 23, 1927
LA&SL received ICC approval to operate 1.87-mile Columbia Steel Spur to the Ironton steel plant of Columbia Steel. The spur was built in 1923 and crossed the mainline tracks of the D&RGW, the Utah Railway, and the Salt Lake & Utah Railroad. The spur's purpose was to deliver materials needed for the construction of the steel plant. The approval was protested by the Salt Lake & Utah Railroad interurban line because they felt that they should be receiving a large portion of the traffic from the steel plant. The LA&SL spur crossed both the D&RGW and the SL&U, with the portion from the D&RGW crossing to the steel plant being operated as joint trackage because the steel plant received its coal from the Carbon County coal mines served by the D&RGW and the Utah Railway. The steel plant received its other raw materials from sources on the LA&SL, including iron ore from Iron County on the LA&SL Cedar City Branch, limestone from the Topliff quarries in Juab and Tooele counties on LA&SL's Fairfield Branch, and manganese from Pioche, Nevada on LA&SL's Pioche Branch. (ICC Finance Docket 5543, decided March 23, 1927; 124 ICC 207)
In July 1927 the decision of March 23, 1927 was protested by the Salt Lake & Utah, but the protest was denied by the commission. (ICC Finance Docket 5543, decided November 12, 1927; 131 ICC 463)
In April 1928 the decision of March 23, 1927 was protested again by the Salt Lake & Utah, but the protest was again denied. (ICC Finance Docket 5543, decided May 8, 1928; 138 ICC 635)
October 31, 1927
LA&SL retired the southern 13.32 miles of the Fairfield Branch, from Mile Post 30.0 (Topliff) to Mile Post 43.32 (Boulter, connection to Leamington Cutoff main line). Operations were discontinued on September 6, 1918, after the August 29, 1918 approval for abandonment by the Utah Public Utilities Commission. The abandonment was protested by Scranton Mining & Smelting Company, for its Del Monte Mine located a few miles east of Del Monte Station on the branch. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 85) Mile Post 37.0 to 43.32 was abandoned on May 10, 1921. (Union Pacific AFE 3321, dated September 22, 1927, Work Order 7636, from LA&SL drawing 562-11)
April 18, 1928
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to discontinue Sunday passenger service on the Cedar City Branch. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1018)
October 26, 1928
ICC approved the abandonment of the St. John & Ophir Railroad, which connected with LA&SL at St. John. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1076; ICC Financial Docket 7108, in 145 ICC 611)
May 22, 1929
LA&SL and D&RG received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the joint agency at Silver City. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1103 and 1104)
The combination of a drought in central Utah and the depressed national economy of the 1930s made for some hard times in the region around Delta. The farmers in the area were hauling wood for their fuel, instead of buying coal. On November 29, 1932 LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission's approval to close the agency station at Oasis (Mile Post 644.4, 5.5 miles south of Delta). All of the agency's business was to be moved five miles north to Delta. The depot building was converted to living quarters for the signal maintainer. The Public Utilities Commission gave its permission to remove the depot building on November 6, 1947. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1279)
March 31, 1930
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to discontinue gasoline motor car service between Delta and Fillmore, and replace it with auto bus service. The branch had been in service since spring 1923 and the motor car service had begun on June 10, 1929. Between November 1929 and February 1930 the motor car had been operating mostly empty, and never with more than two passengers. The approval was in effect after April 3. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1160)
On March 21, 1932 LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to transfer the auto bus service between Delta and Fillmore to Mr. Moyle Sargent.
August 11, 1930
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to discontinue Trains 67 and 68 between Salt Lake City and Garfield. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1181)
Union Pacific (LA&SL) was operating Trains 3 and 4 between Salt Lake City and Lund, and Trains 103 and 104 between Lund and Cedar City. In October 1930 the Public Utilities Commission approved the road's application to discontinue all four trains and only operate passenger train service to Cedar City during the tourist season. During the off-season the service was to be provided using motor buses of the Union Pacific Stages. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1197)
March 15, 1931
The LA&SL Salt Lake Division was extended to Daggett, California. The territory of OSL superintendent at Pocatello, Idaho, was extended to include the Salt Lake Division of LA&SL. The superintendent of the LA&SL Salt Lake Division was transferred to the Los Angeles Division, with headquarters at Los Angeles. (Ax-I-Dent-Ax magazine, Utah Railway parent USSR&M employee magazine, April 1931, page 21)
December 11, 1931
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency at Cutler. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1249)
December 31, 1931
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency at Juab. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1218)
February 2, 1932
Public Utilities Commission approved LA&SL's application to discontinue the remaining passenger service on the Tintic Subdivision. In March the state agency granted a private individual by the name of George Forsey permission to operate an auto stage company that would provide all of the mail, baggage and express business between Tintic Junction and the nearby towns. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1259, 1267)
Almost two years later, in October 1933, the railroad received the Public Utilities Commission's approval to close the depot and discontinue the agency at Mammoth.
LA&SL retired and removed the entire 3.35-mile Hinkley Branch, from Moody (Mile Post 4.59 on the Delta Branch) to the end of track at Hinkley. The railroad also retired and removed five miles of the Delta Branch, from Nelson (Mile Post 8.4) to end of track at Lucerne (Mile Post 13.5). (187 ICC 642; ICC Finance Docket No. 9538; Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company, Abandonment; Submitted September 30, 1932, Decided October 20, 1932)
June 13, 1933
LA&SL received the approval of the Utah Public Utilities Commission to close the agency station at Clear Lake (Mile Post 631.2). Business for the agent was primarily accepting railroad owned water hauled to the station for the railroad's own use. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1304)
July 1, 1933
LA&SL closed the agency station at Beryl (Mile Post 526.2). The Utah Public Utilities Commission had approved the closure on December 7, 1932. The Beryl agency was temporarily reopened in the spring of 1948 to accept materials for the installation of centralized traffic control on the Utah Division. The agency was again closed upon completion of the CTC project in early 1950. (Public Service Commission of Utah case 1280)
October 13, 1933
LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency at Mammoth. (Public Service Commission of Utah case 1311)
Between May 1, 1924, the date that Columbia Steel Corporation opened the Ironton plant, and 1934, the plant produced: 1,189,598 tons of pig iron; 825,574 tons of coke; 44,702 tons of sulfate of ammonia; and 35,939 tons of benzol. The pig iron that is produced at Ironton is shipped to plants in Pittsburg and Torrance, California. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1658)
During the month of July 1934 LA&SL retired and removed the remaining 7.7 miles of the Delta Branch, from Mile Post 0.8 to the end of track at Nelson (Mile Post 8.5). The abandonment was approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission on October 20, 1932. In the application for abandonment Union Pacific showed that the traffic had been decreasing steadily since 1927, with only 1,932 tons being shipped in 1931, 750 of which was mining ores. The shipment of ore had decreased from over 9,700 tons in 1930.
Both the Delta and Hinkley Branches were constructed in about 1917 to serve a developing sugar beet industry. Beet dumps had been built at Erwin (Mile Post 5.2), Abbott (Mile Post 6.7), Wilson (Mile Post 8.4), Gordon (Mile Post 9.3), and at Sugarville (Mile Post 11.5 on the portion that was abandoned in December 1932). Also at Wilson the railroad built a 50 x 320 foot stockyard with a double deck loading chute, to replace a portable stock chute that been placed there earlier.
The production of sugar beets was inadequate to sustain continued operation of the sugar factory at Delta and the factory was dismantled in 1927. The revenues from the other traffic on the branches after the closure of the sugar factory, including coal, hay, sheep and ore, was not sufficient to meet the expenses of the branch line operations. (ICC Financial Docket 9538 187 ICC 642)
May 31, 1935
LA&SL began construction of the 11.31-mile line between Desert Mound and Iron Mountain, as an extension of the Cedar City Branch, to serve the iron ore mines that are being developed there. (ICC Financial Docket 10622)
January 1, 1936
Union Pacific leased the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad for operation, along with Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation Company, and the Oregon Short Line Railroad. ("Union Pacific Unification", ICC Finance Docket 9422, dated July 26, 1935, in 207 ICC 543.)
"LEASE OF PROPERTIES OF SUBSIDIARY RAILROAD COMPANIES --- For many years the properties of the Union Pacific Railroad Company and those of the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company, Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Company, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company and The St. Joseph and Grand Island Railway Company have been operated under one control and management but the operations of the properties of each company were for its account and it was necessary to keep accounts and statistics and make separate reports to regulatory commissions and others for each company. Effective January 1, 1936, the properties of the other companies were leased to and are being operated by the Union Pacific Railroad This made possible the centralization at Omaha of all accounting and treasury work in connection with the railroad operations and the discontinuance of the separate Accounting and Treasury Departments which had been maintained by the lessor companies at Salt Lake City, Portland, Los Angeles and St. Joseph, with a resultant saving in expense (after the first year) estimated at $472,000 annually." (Union Pacific Annual Report for 1936)
The visible evidence of the 1936 merger was that Union Pacific lettering was placed on the sides of locomotive tenders, while ownership initials were placed on the rear of the tenders and in smaller letters on the cab side below the locomotive numbers.
One of the measures that helped Union Pacific survive the 1930s was a consolidation of UP with its subsidiary roads, which was first proposed by the road's Chairman, Judge Lovett who had controlled the company since Harriman's death in 1909. Lovett's proposal for consolidation was presented to the Interstate Commerce Commission just before his death in June 1932, but was not approved until July 1935, and took effect on January 1, 1936.
This consolidation brought together Union Pacific Railroad, Oregon Short Line Railroad, Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation Company, and Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, along with several smaller railroad companies. Because of a wide variety of collateral and bonding arrangements, the component companies remained as separate corporations, and leased their railroads to Union Pacific for their operation thereby allowing much needed economies of scale that cut costs and helped the railroad's bottom line ($472,000 in the first year alone).
The story of LA&SL after 1936 continues as part of Union Pacific in Utah.
Burning Coal On The San Pedro -- An article about the use of coal on the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad.
Hemphill, Mark. Union Pacific Salt Lake Route (Boston Mills Press, 1995)
Klein, Maury. Union Pacific, The Rebirth, 1894-1969 (Doubleday, 1989)
Myrick, David. Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Volume II, The Southern Roads (Howell-North Books, 1963; reprinted University of Nevada Press, 1992)
Oregon Short Line Railroad Company. Corporate History of Oregon Short Line Railroad Company, As of June 30th, 1916
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. Corporate History of San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company, As of June 30, 1914
Signor, John. The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, Union Pacific's Historic Salt Lake Route (Golden West, 1988)
Trottman, Nelson. History of the Union Pacific (Augustus M. Kelley, 1923, reprinted 1966)
Wood, J. W. Pasadena, California, History and Personal (J. W. Wood, 1917; Google Books)
ICC Valuation -- Link to the 181-page valuation of the SPLA&SL by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission, at the HathiTrust online archive.
After 1936 -- Information about Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad in Utah after UP's lease of LA&SL in January 1936.
1936 Lease -- Information about Union Pacific's lease in 1936 of its OSL, OWRR&N and LA&SL subsidiaries.