C. V. Spur Loadout
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This page was last updated on January 22, 2019.
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What today is known as C.V. Spur was constructed in 1976-1977 by D&RGW for the benefit of a company using the name of Castle Valley Railway. Although the entire railroad was never completed, its intended route was from a connection with D&RGW at or near Price, Utah, then south along the Castle Valley to Utah Power & Light's Hunter power plant near Castle Dale, 34 miles south of Price. UP&L was putting the second unit of the power plant into commission, and needed the ability to receive coal by rail from locations in the region. The railroad was not completed, except for a short 2.4 mile spur to serve a site where coal from area coal mines would be transloaded from trucks to rail cars. Had the rail line to Hunter been completed, rail cars would then have moved the coal to the power plant.
The site was first known as Acco, and was built by Utah Power & Light as a coal loading site south of Price in the late 1970s. It was intended as a site to transload coal from trucks, from UP&L's coal mines in the area, to rail cars for shipment to other customers, including UP&L's own coal-fired power plants in other locations such as their Gadsby plant in Salt Lake City.
When Intermountain Power Agency began construction of their Intermountain Power Project coal-fired electrical generation plant near Delta, Utah, they also began arranging for a steady supply of coal that could be used by the plant, about 12,000 tons per day. Several contracts were signed with coal mining companies to ensure a continuing supply of coal, which was to be transported by unit coal trains from points on D&RGW and Utah Railway, over Soldier Summit to Provo, then south by Union Pacific to the IPP plant near Delta. (Read more about IPP)
Three large coal loadouts were constructed to serve these IPP unit coal trains. First was the already existing C. V. Spur, south of Price. The second was a new flood loader on Utah Railway for the Star Point mine (formerly the Wattis mine), which went into service in January 1986. The third site was a new flood loader at Wildcat, also on Utah Railway. (Read more about Wildcat) (Read more about the Star Point mine)
Utah Power & Light was approved by the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining to use the original site. The permit was transferred to Swisher Coal Company in October 1977, expanded in April 1978, and transferred to Arco Coal Company in 1980 when Arco bought Swisher Coal. (Documents on file at Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining; Permit C0070022)
February 10, 1976
William Teel of Denver has incorporated the Castle Valley Railroad company to build a 65-mile rail line linking Emery with the Price-Wellington area. The expected cost was reported as $70 million. If the federal Bureau of Land Management approves the environmental impact statement, the new line could be in operation by November 1, 1979, with the primary purpose being to serve the coal mine of the Consolidation Coal company. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 10, 1976)
July 2, 1977
Utah Power & Light lost its right to use Acco as a loadout for its trucks after an out-of-court settlement of a law suit from an adjacent farm owner, who sued because of coal dust drifting across his fields. Utah Public Utilities Commission gave UP&L an authorization for single-car shipments of coal from Mohrland, on Utah Railway. The destination was UP&L's Gadsby plant in Salt Lake City. The newspaper account reported that UP&L was loading trucks at Acco for the highway trip to Gadsby. Three railroads, Union Pacific, Utah Railway, and Salt Lake Garfield & Western, were granted authority to establish single-car rates. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 1977; Provo Daily Herald, July 4, 1977)
In addition to loading coal at Acco on the C.V. Spur south of Price, D&RGW was also loading coal at Salina, on its Marysvale Branch.
December 14, 1977
U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration documents show that the Acco site became active on December 14, 1977.
Acco, Utah, was the terminal for a pair of trains operated by D&RGW in the fall of 1981. This pair of unit coal trains, known as trains 766/767, operated by way of D&RGW between Island Creek's loadout at Acco to Provo, then by Union Pacific to Nevada Power's coal-fired power plant at Moapa, Nevada.
September 7, 1982
"Rio Grande Industries said it had agreed in principle to a $70 million venture with the Du Pont Company's Consolidation Coal Company to build and operate a 62-mile railroad between Acco and Emery, Utah. Construction is to start early next year, and the intention is to complete the line by the end of 1984 to help Consolidation and others to develop coal reserves." (New York Times, September 8, 1982)
D&RGW and Consolidation Coal Co. (Consol) announced that the plan to build a 62 mile line from Acco, Utah, to Consol's coal holdings at Emery, Utah, had been suspended due to low coal prices. No grading or construction was completed. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 252, published in October 1984, page 32)
(Read more about Consolidation Coal's Emery mine)
Adjoining to the south of the Acco loadout, is the site of Swisher Coal Company's coal preparation and unit train loadout.
The second site at C. V. Spur was first developed in September 1979 by Swisher Coal Company as a coal preparation plant and unit train loading facility for coal shipped by truck from its various mines in Carbon and Emery counties. The facility was designed and built by McNally Pittsburg Manufacturing Company with the reported capacity of 400 tons per hour, with a planned capacity of loading one million tons per year (500,000 tons were planned during 1979).
(Read more about Swisher Coal Company)
September 3, 1975
Swisher Coal company was sold to General Exploration company of Dallas, Texas. The Swisher coal mine was producing about 250,000 tons per year. The General Exploration company also had mines in Huntington canyon in Utah, and other mines in Ohio and Kentucky. (Helper Journal, September 3, 1975)
Swisher Coal company announced its plans for $65 million expansion of its coal washing facilities and construction of a unit train loading operation. The expansion was needed as part of a new contract to supply of 13 million tons over a 15-year period to a new coal-fired power plant in Mississippi. (Coal Age magazine, April 1977, page 53)
General Exploration Company announced that its subsidiary, Swisher Coal Company, would build a new preparation plant and a unit-train loading facility, and will add a third mine (two are already operating) in order to produce 1.5 million tons per year of coal. The plans called for the new 400 tons per hour preparation plant to be completed by early 1979. The existing preparation plant at Wildcat would remain in operation to serve Swisher's local and spot market customers. (Coal Age magazine, July 1978, page 152)
(The coal preparation plant of Swisher Coal company at C. V. Spur was the subject of a six-page article in Coal Age magazine, July 1978. The article included several photos of the plant operations, and a flow diagram of the coal preparation process.)
The site was sold to Beaver Creek Coal Company, a subsidiary of Arco Coal Company. Arco Coal (formerly Anaconda Minerals, as a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Company) had purchased Swisher Coal Company in January 1980, managing Swisher under its Beaver Creek subsidiary.
(In 1985, Anaconda sold the last of its copper and molybdenum operations and became solely a coal mining company, as Arco Coal. Beaver Creek Coal Co,. was shown as its only operation in Utah. -- Coal Age magazine, June 1985, page 24)
"One of our coal terminals, located in central Utah, receives and stockpiles coal from multiple mines and loads it into unit trains and trucks. Our teams manage our customers' inventories, provide blending and other services, and coordinate their rail logistics. This site handles more than 5 million tons of coal and ships more than 500 unit trains per year." (Savage Industries, Terminal Operations; accessed November 19, 2013)
September 9, 1994
Savage Industries purchased the Swisher/Beaver Creek/Arco site on September 9, 1994. (Documents on file with the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration)
The permit from Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining was transferred on July 6, 1995.
A list of coal mines served by BNSF in July 2004 showed the following coal mines:
- Andalex Aberdeen, Tower Division (2.0 million tons in 1999; 1.5 million tons in 2000; Wildcat only)
- Andalex Genwal (3.6 million tons in 1999; 3.8 million tons in 2000; shared with Savage Coal Terminal)
- Andalex West Ridge (0.5 million tons in 1999; 2.0 million tons in 2000; shared with Savage Coal Terminal)
- Canyon Fuel Skyline (3.8 million tons in 1999; 3.0 million tons in 2000; Savage Coal Terminal only)
- Canyon Fuel Dugout (0.2 million tons in 1999; 0.5 million tons in 2000; Savage Coal Terminal only)
- Canyon Fuel Sufco (5.7 million tons in 1999; 5.9 million tons in 2000; Savage Coal Terminal only)
Canyon Fuel Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Arch Western Bituminous Group, LLC, constructed a new coal preparation plant at the Savage Coal Terminal in Wellington, Utah. The new plant uses the same structure that once housed the old ARCO Coal plant. The plant uses a heavy media process and has a cleaning capacity of 2 million tons per year. Canyon Fuel plans to operate the plant to optimize coal quality specifications. The plant will enable Canyon Fuel, through its sales agent Arch Coal Sales Company, to offer a premium product with consistent ash and heating values. Processed coal tonnage numbers are unavailable for 2008. (Utah Geological Survey, 2008 Annual Review and Forecast of Utah Coal Production and Distribution, page 18)
Savage was approved by state regulators to add the capability to transload crude oil from truck tankers into rail tank cars. In January 2014, the name of the facility was changed from "Savage Coal Terminal" to "Savage Energy Terminal." (Savage news release dated January 7, 2014)
More information is available at the web site of the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining. Search for Permit C0070022, Savage Coal Terminal.
(Unfortunately, the web address seems to change on a regular basis due to administrative changes, and varying budgetary issues.)