Utah Railway Miscellaneous Notes

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This page was last updated on June 11, 2022.

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Alco Era (1952-1982)

Utah Railway has purchased LASCO 2014 and 2016, to be renumbered to 600 and 601. Utah 601 has a burned out generator. (CTC Board, June 1976, page 12)

There was a report in a Pacific News (?) that in July 1977, Utah Railway canceled its order for four SD38-2s from EMD.

Leased UP SD40 Era (1977-1985)

Utah Railway began leasing UP SD40s in October 1977, including UP's eight former EMD 645 test bed SD40Xs. Later Utah began using UP SD40s and SD40-2s on a rotating basis, with the units being assigned out of the Provo yard. Because of lighter rail on the mine tracks, the Utah Railway Alcos were bumped to mine runs by the leased UP SD40s. (Pacific News, November 1977, page 25; Pacific News, March 1978, page 19)

In late 1981 the Wattis Branch was relaid with heavier rail, which allowed UP units to be used on all of the mine runs after April 1982. This in turn allowed the Alcos to be set aside and stored.

April 1982
Utah Railway Alcos are out of service by mid 1982. Wattis Branch was relaid with 110-pound rail in October 1981 to allow heavier power. UP SD40s were tested on Wattis Branch in February and March 1982. Alcos permanently set aside. Last run of Alcos was in early April 1982. (CTC Board, July 1982, page 3)

May-June 1982
"Utah Railway Coal Runs Now All EMD Powered -- Utah's own Utah Railway, long a haven for Alco lovers, has succumbed to the times as the busy coal-hauling shortline recently placed all of its Alco-built locomotives in storage and is now only utilizing leased Union Pacific EMD SD40's on its trains. The Utah, whose roster includes 14 Alcos (PACIFIC NEWS, Issue 213). has during the past few years begun to use leased UP units on the mainline trains between Martin and Provo. Earlier this year it started using UP power on mine trackage southeast of Martin, finally leaving only the "Wattis Turn," a steep branch with light rail, in the hands of the Alcos. During this spring the railroad replaced the rail on the Wattis Branch with heavier rail and late in April the SD40's were tested and proved successful thus spelling the end of the Alco era on the Utah Railway. The majority of the mechanical personnel at the Martin shops were laid off at this time and the railroad began a lease agreement with Union Pacific for more SD40's on a daily basis. Reportedly, the railroad plans to keep about six of the Alcos — numbers undecided at this time — for standby service, but it appears the Utah's Alcos. which even last year seemed safe from a total takeover. are now out of work for good." (Pacific News, Issue 239, July 1982, page 25)

November 1983
Utah Railway Alcos 300, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 401, 402, 403, and 600 (11 units) were moved two at a time from storage at Martin to Provo, then from Provo to Industrial Salvage in Salt Lake City, starting in late November 1983. (CTC Board, December 1983, page 4; Pacific News, February 1984, page 26)

All Utah Railway units were scrapped by Industrial Salvage in Salt Lake City in December 1983 and January 1984, except the three units that were unmoveable and remained at Martin, and the two units traded to Promontory Chapter, NRHS, for preservation.

By January 1984, only three Alcos remained at Martin, including Utah 301, 400, and LASCO 2016 (assigned Utah 601). (Pacific News, February 1984, page 6)

Utah 401 and 306 were traded by Industrial Salvage to the Promontory Chapter, NRHS, for scrap value in donated, former Kennecott locomotives. Both units were stored at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Utah Railway DL600B 401, ex ATSF 9823, built as ATSF 823, was sold to Chuck Wirtz, of Wyoming & Colorado Railway, who planned to lease the unit out. Unit was purchased from NRHS Promontory Chapter, Salt Lake City, Utah, who had purchased the unit from Industrial Salvage & Metals, Salt Lake City, Utah, just before it was to be scrapped.

IPP Trains

Utah Railway began operating a daily, 85-car, 8,500-ton unit coal train on June 16, 1985 for the new Intermountain Power Plant (IPP) near Lynndyl, Utah. Utah Railway had begun planning for this new, regular traffic six months earlier, and they could see that the railroad would require a cheaper source of motive power, cheaper than the lease of the UP-owned SD40-2s then currently in use.

Leased Union Pacific motive power was being used at the time (early 1985) to power Utah's then current major source of traffic, interchanging coal trains with Union Pacific at Provo. The new IPP trains would be an on-going, and possibly increasing level of traffic, so the Utah's planners went shopping for a cheaper pool of motive power. They had a good response from Helm Financial of San Francisco, which, in combination with National Railway Equipment of Illinois (a relatively new company organized by former officers of the Chrome Crankshaft Company) agreed to furnish second-hand, high horsepower locomotives, and provide the required maintenance. This was a deal that the Utah could not refuse. The first National Helm Leasing (NHL) F45s arrived on Utah property in early April 1985, just in time for the preliminary IPP trains that were being run to build up the coal stockpile at the IPP plant. The former SP SD45s arrived in June, with their arrival timed to the formal initiation of operations at the new IPP power plant.

SD45 and F45 Era (1985-1991)

In June 1985, Utah Railway and Union Pacific began operating regular 85-car unit coal trains between mines located on Utah Railway, and the Intermountain Power Plant located on Union Pacific near Delta, Utah. When the initial contracts were signed in February 1985, Utah Railway contracted with National Railway Equipment to furnish a fleet of leased locomotives to power the trains while on Utah Railway. The first units to arrive from NRE were former Burlington Northern F45s in March 1985, then in June 1985, former SP SD45s began arriving.

Former BN F45s 6606, 6607, 6608, and 6613 were delivered to UP at Albina (Portland) on March 3, 1985 for delivery to Utah Railway. (Pacific News, July 1985, page 23)

Four former BN F45s leased from National Railway Equipment (NRE) arrived on Utah Railway on April 4, 1985. (CTC Board, April 1985, page 22)

The four former BN F45s were leased to Utah Railway for 60 days and were to be used on the mine runs. (CTC Board, May 1985, page 5)

Former SP SD45 9143 was leased to Utah Railway in early June 1985. (Pacific RailNews, August 1985, page 33)

Former SP SD45s 9143, 9144, 9147, and 9149 were leased to Utah Railway in June 1985. Utah Railway inspected a group of SP SD45's at Ogden and selected the best four. These four units were to join four former BN F45s already in service on Utah Railway. The new IPP train began operation on June 16, 1985. (Pacific RailNews, Issue 262, September 1985, page 4)

June 17, 1985
The first coal train bound for the Intermountain Power Project operated over Utah Railway. (Pacific RailNews, Issue 262, September 1985, page 4; CTC Board, August 1985, back cover, two photos of first train)

The train was a joint operation of Union Pacific and Utah Railway, and was loaded at the Wildcat loadout on Utah Railway. The first train had 84 cars and operated without a caboose. Its main motive power was four UP GE locomotives, including UP 2436, 2457 and 2462. Its trip up the east side of Soldier Summit used four Utah Railway ex-BN F45s and two of the four ex-SP SD45s being tested in the new service.

[photo caption] This is the first train from the Wildcat mine near Martin, Utah (on the Utah Railway) to the new Intermountain Power Project near Delta, Utah moving on June 17, 1985. This particular train is scheduled to run about six times per month until the new power plant gets into full stride when it will require three trains of coal per day from various Utah mines. Above, the train, using UP power (it is a joint UP/Utah Railway operation) and new aluminum cars, is dropping around the middle Gilluly loop below Rio Grande's Soldier Summit. The photo below shows the same train on the 2.4 percent Price River grade near Castle Gate. The helper on the 84 car cabooseless train is four ex-BN F45's, now with Utah Railway stenciled on the sides, plus two of the SP SD45's (of a group of four) now being used on a trial basis by the Utah. The train speed, even with all this power, is about ten miles per hour. (CTC Board, August 1985, back cover)

To replace the loss of former BN F45s 6613 (which has been returned to lessor) and 6607 (currently being used for parts), the Utah Railway leased two more former SP SD45s from NRE. Like the F45s and other SP SD45s, these units are owned by National Railway Equipment. The two new ones are SP 9146 and SP 9148. The two remaining F45s and the six SD45s, were still commonly found on the mine runs out of Martin, and were used as helpers to Soldier Summit. They also made a few trips all the way to Provo with extra trains, when there was no UP power available. (Ryan Ballard) (CTC Board, December 1985)

Utah Railway relettered three of the six former SP SD45s to Utah Railway. Utah Railway was to acquire two more former SP SD45s (SP 9140 and 9150). Former BN F45 6613 was running, and 6607 was in the shop after suffering an engine fire. (CTC Board, February 1986, page 12)

To provide additonal power, Utah Railway leased former SP SD39s 5319, 5322, and 5325 from CIT Financial. (Pacific Rail News, March 1987, page 32)

The three former SP SD39s were on only a short term lease from NRE, beginning in early November 1986 on a short term lease that lasted until four more former SP SD45s arrived in . BN F45 6607 was serving as a parts source; its prime mover had been used in the 6608. The dynamic brakes of the F45s were modified by Utah Railway's mechanics to better match the SP SD45s. The SP SD45s were equipped with Pacer creep control for coal loading; the F45s had been modified to run in consist with creep control units, but could not be lead units in a creep control consist. (CTC Board, December 1986, page 45)

Utah Railway acquired former SP SD45s 9146 and 9148. (Pacific Rail News, March 1986, page 30)

Utah Railway was operating an IPP train every day, and was looking for four more SD45s, to come from NRE. When the SD45s arrive, Utah will return the three former SP SD39s. (CTC Board, July 1987, page 37)

SP SD45 8830 was renumbered to Utah Railway 9142. (Pacific Rail News, May 1988, page 16)

In April 1990, Utah Railway SD45 9147 was the first to be repainted from its SP paint scheme to new the Utah Railway color scheme of gray with white stripes. This was upon completion of it receiving a replacement main generator.

Utah SD45 9145 was ex SP 8936 (b/n 33633, b/d 2/68, f/n 7082-2). Unit was renumbered to Utah 9145 to match other former 9100-series SP SD45s in service on Utah Railway.

Beginning in July 1989, Utah Railway leased former BN SD45 6400 and former BN F45 6519. Both were leased from Helm Financial and were in service on Utah as NHL 6400 and NHL 6518, which was renumbered with one digit difference from its former BN 6519 number. NHL 6400 and 6518 were used on the daily second train for export coal traffic. This traffic is in addition to the daily IPP train. (The NHL reporting mark was for National Helm Leasing, a joint service of NRE and Helm Financial.)

NHL 6400 and 6518 were leased to Utah Railway while SD45s 9147 and 9149 were out of service due to bad main generators, and the two locomotives were returned to Helm after the SD45s were repaired and returned to service. With the completion of their reapirs, Utah 9147 and 9149 were painted gray with white stripes.

NHL 6400 and 6518 were returned to Helm by Utah Railway in November 1989. Helm leased NHL 6400 to Mexico. NHL 6518 remained on Utah Railway property and was stored out-of-service.

Ex SP SD45 8938 came to Utah Railway in November 1989, and was renumbered as Utah Railway 9140 on January 9, 1990.

Utah Railway SD45 9140 was renumbered from SP 8958 on January 9, 1990.

Utah Railway scrapped F45 6607 at Martin, Utah, during April 1991. It had been out of service since late 1985, having had its diesel engine used to repair ex BN 6608.

April 29, 1991 was the last day of service for the SD45/F45 fleet.

The NRE contract with Utah Railway expired on April 30, 1991, and was replaced by a new contract with Morrison-Knudsen, using refurbished SD40s. (Extra 2200 South, Issue 91, page 14)

Utah Railway formally returned its leased SD45s and F45s to National Railway Equipment on April 30, 1991. Four of the locomotives were using as part of NHL's national lease fleet, with four being scrapped at Martin on a spur track leased to NRE for storage.

On May 1, 1991, new locomotives leased and maintained by MK went into operation. (CTC Board, May 1991, page 5)

NHL SD45s 6518, 9141, 9142, 9146 were scrapped at Martin, Utah, by Mountain States Machinery of Price, Utah. The units were lettered for Utah Railway but were owned by National Railway Equipment and Helm Financial. Reporting marks were NHL, for National Helm Leasing.

Utah Railway 9142 and 9146 were cut up at Martin during August 1991. The frame of SD45 6518 was still there as of August 29th. Parts from the other scrapped SD45s, such as draft gear, electrical equipment, and traction motors were sent to Helm Financial. F45s 6606, 6608, 6613 were held at Martin for later sale.

SD40 Era (1991-2001)

In April 1991, Utah Railway signed an agreement with Morrison Knudsen for MK to furnish 11 locomotives, including maintenance. MK was to refurbish 11 SD40 locomotives and assign them to the lease. the refurbishment program would take some time, so in the meantime, to allow the lease to take effect immediately on May 1, 1991, MK took 14 other SD40s from its leasing subsidiary Motive Power International (MPI) lease fleet and sent them to Utah Railway. The MPI units, lettered and numbered as MPI 9001-9007, 9010-9016, a total of 13 units, remained in service on Utah Railway from the official startup date of May 1, 1991, through to early October 1991.

The refurbished SD40s for Utah Railway were to be equipped with Positive Traction Control (PTC). The MPI lease-fleet units did not have PTC, so two extra units were needed to give proper coverage. Utah Railway was to supply the crews, fuel, and operating supplies; MK was to supply the units and their maintenance.

The Utah SD40s began arriving on Utah Railway in early October; Utah 9001 and 9002 were delivered on October 8, 1991. The new units for Utah Railway (Utah 9001-9011) were refurbished, but not upgraded to SD40-2 standards. They were also equipped with PTC and Pacesetter for service on Utah Railway.

During the early and mid 1990s, almost every railfan magazine article wrongly indentified the Utah Railway SD40s as having been some sort of rebuilt and upgrade program, usually applying some railfan-created model designation such as SD40M-2. These SD40s that Morrison Knudsen supplied to Utah Railway were not rebuit or upgraded in any way. They were refurbished by MK in their Boise shop, and all of their components "qualified" for service.

PLM SD40 3041 (ex UP 3041) was used on Utah Railway from May 1993 to late September 1993; returned to M-K at Boise for rebuild to M-K lease fleet 9051.

Dated photographs from this SD40 Era show that to maintain the availablility, as specified in the contract between MK and Utah Railway, MK would on a regular basis send one or two locomotives from its lease fleet to fill in while one or more of the Utah-painted SD40s was out of service for repairs. These "loaners" were almost always SD units of various heritage, usually ex AT&SF, and carried MKCX reporting marks. There were five MKCX EMD F45 locomotives assigned to this service, including MKCX 5525-5527 and 5530 and 5531, which had been purchased from AT&SF in February 1994. hen not in service on Utah Railway, they were used as part of MK's national lease fleet and were returned to Utah when the need arose. In May 1995, MKCX 5031 was changed to Utah Railway 9013 as a thirteenth units to give Utah Railway the added motive power to operate additional trains being operated.

The entire Utah Railway SD40 fleet was removed from service on June 30, 2001, with the locomotives being scattered to numerous subsequewnt owners.

(View the roster listing of Utah Railway's SD40s)

Don Strack wrote on Facebook, Rails Through The Wasatch, October 5, 2018...

A couple years ago I was researching the Kennecott Garfield switching contract, and spent some time with the supervisor, who had worked for Kennecott before the change in 2002, and continued working for each of the contractors since then. He has since retired from Kennecott. His office was in the Kennecott engine house at Magna, which was furnished by Kennecott as part of the facilities for contract. He told me that mid 2008 the two ex Utah units (Utah 9008 and 9009) were sent to Tangent Rail (the switching contractor at Kennecott) to get them back into operating condition. But neither locomotive ran successfully, although his crew was paid to get them into operating condition. The owner Locomotive Sales & Leasing (LSCX), was unable to pay the bill to Tangent Rail, and soon went out of business. Ex Utah 9009 never ran, and 9008 ran poorly. Savage Bingham & Garfield (SVG) tried running the 9008 a couple times, but it failed regularly. He said both units needed serious electrical work, as well as needing their engines rebuilt, which LSCX could not afford. He called them junkers, and in late 2011, both were scrapped in Pocatello.

Utah 9008 and 9009 were owned at the time by Locomotive Sales & Leasing (LSCX), associated with D-H Investors and Relam Auditing Services

Many local railfans noticed Utah 9008 in service on the Savage Bingham & Garfield (SVG) in September 2008. The locomotive's owners kept trying it in service on SVG, likely at no charge to SVG, but had to keep returning it up to Magna for more work. The owners of 9008 and 9009 soon learned how expensive owning and leasing railroad locomotives really is. You need deep pockets.

(Read more about the Kennecott Garfield Switching Contract)

BNSF Trains

Following the agreement between Utah Railway and BNSF in 1996, for Utah Railway to operate BNSF's local service in Utah, BNSF assigned BN GP28M 1520, BN GP38 2163, and ATSF GP7s 2258 and 2265 to Utah Railway for its use. These BNSF units remained on Utah Railway, along with the short-term lease unit, until the arrival of the ten GP38s beginnng in March and April 1998.

MK-5000C Era (2001-present)

(Roster listing of Utah Railway MK-5000C locomotives)

The six MK5000C locomotives (Utah 5001-5006) were built in Boise, Idaho by MK Rail. As built, they were powered by Caterpillar diesel engines, and equipped with MK Rail's version of the North American safety cab. After completion August 1994 and August 1995, they were tested on UP and SP in 1994-1995, and on BC Rail in Canada for six months in early 1998.

Three units (MPEX 9901, 9902 and SP 503) initially tested on Utah Railway from late October 2000 through February 2001. All six units were purchased in November 2000, and put through an upgrade program, including several features requested by Utah Railway. Delivery began in April 2001 with the arrival of Utah 5003 and 5004 on April 8th, and continued through early December with the delivery of Utah 5006.

(see news item and photo in Diesel Era, Volume 12, Number 5, September/October 2001, page 5; also see description of upgrade in Diesel Era, Volume 13, Number 3, May/June 2002, pages 13-14)

Reliability problems with the Caterpillar-powered version resulted in all six MK5000C locomotives being rebuilt in 2003, to MK50-3 units by MPI/Boise Rail in Boise, Idaho. The locomotives returned to service in June through October 2003. The rebuild effort included using components from retired former UP (MP) SD50s, including the diesel engine, main generator, and long hood. The original remanufacture agreement was dated March 1, 2003 (see STB recordation 23517-H).

Utah Railway was purchased by Genesee & Wyoming in August 2002, and the first rebuilt MK50-3 (Utah 5005) entered service in July 2003 as the first Utah Railway locomotive to receive the G&W paint scheme of orange body with black horizontal stripes.

(see description of rebuild of the MK-5000s to become MK50-3s in Diesel Era, Volume 15, Number 3, May/June 2004, pages 45-47)

Paint Schemes

In a case of prototype railroading following model railroading, in October 1991 Utah Railway began painting its diesel locomotives to match an HO scale model painted by Gordon Cardall in February 1988. Mr. Cardall had painted the locomotive as an example of what he thought Utah Railway should paint its former SP SD45s locomotives.

(Read Warren Johnson's story about how Gordon Cardall's model being used as the example for the real Utah Railway.)