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Iron Mountain Railroads

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This page was last updated on January 5, 2021.

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Union Pacific (1925-2006)

Union Pacific, through its Los Angeles & Salt Lake subsidiary, completed its Cedar City Branch in 1925. The Cedar City Branch provided railroad service from Lund, Utah, on the Los Angles & Salt Lake mainline, to Cedar City, a distance of 32.5 miles.

Iron Springs was 21 miles east of Lund, and was the connection with the Iron Mountain Branch. The earliest portion, 3.9 miles long, served the Desert Mound iron mine, and was completed at the same time as the Cedar City Branch, in 1925.

In 1935, the Iron Mountain Extension extended what was known as the Desert Mound Spur from the Desert Mound mine, south for a distance of 10.8 miles to the Iron Mountain mine.

(Read more about Union Pacific's Cedar City Branch)

Utah Southern (2006-2012)

Utah Southern Railroad (USRC) was a shortline railroad operating over the Comstock Subdivision of Union Pacific's Cedar City Branch, between the re-opened iron mines at Iron Mountain, and UP's Cedar City Branch at Iron Springs, Utah. Rail access to the nation's railroad network is provided via UP's Cedar City Branch between Cedar City and the Salt Lake City-to-Los Angeles mainline at Lund, Utah.

In September 2006, Palladon Iron Corporation made a lease of the former Union Pacific Comstock Subdivision. Rail service was contracted by Palladon to a new company called Iron Bull Railroad, but the name was changed to Utah Southern Railroad in September 2008. The two locomotives were delivered in October 2008, and the first test train was operated a week later.

(Read more about Utah Southern of 2006-2012; includes locomotive roster)

CML Railroad (2012-2015)

CML Railroad (CMLR) was a railroad operating over the Comstock Subdivision of Union Pacific's Cedar City Branch, between the re-opened iron mines at Iron Mountain, and UP's Cedar City Branch at Iron Springs, Utah. Rail access to the nation's railroad network is provided via UP's Cedar City Branch between Cedar City and the Salt Lake City-to-Los Angeles mainline at Lund, Utah.

(CML = Comstock Mountain Lion, the name of the mining claim where the mine is located.)

CMLR leased from Union Pacific, a rail line known as the Comstock Subdivision, extending between milepost 0.1 at or near Iron Springs and milepost 14.7 at or near Iron Mountain, a distance of approximately 14.6 miles in Iron County, Utah.

The original lease by Union Pacific, which went into effect on August 22, 2006, was to the PIC Railroad, which on the same day assigned the lease to Iron Bull Railroad, which later assigned the lease to Utah Southern Railroad. PIC Railroad derived its name from its original owner, Palladon Iron Company. In January 2010, control and ownership of Palladon Iron Company passed to CML Metals Corporation.

(Read more about CML Railroad of 2012-2015; includes locomotive roster)

Black Iron LLC (2015-2020)

July 9, 2020
An on-site visit found that the four locomotives were being repaired and made ready for either movement to another location, or for service for Black Iron LLC, which purchased the interests of CML Metals in 2015. Many of the hopper cars were also being repaired. As of late June 2020, Black Iron LLC was getting ready to begin mining operations. As yet there is no public information concerning how the iron ore was to be moved to domestic or foreign customers.

September 13, 2020
Two of the repaired Black Iron (ex CML) locomotives were seen in operation, moving rail cars in the vicinity of the reactivated iron ore mine.

Utah Iron LLC

September 29, 2020
According to public filings for the Utah Bankruptcy Court, the plan for the bankrupt Black Iron LLC to be reorganized as Utah Iron LLC took effect on September 29, 2020.

October 12, 2020
The first iron ore train from the reactivated Comstock Mountain Lion iron mine was received at the Port of Long Beach, and began unloading. Utah Iron LLC used its own locomotives to move the iron ore from the mine, over tracks it leases from Union Pacific (UP's Comstock Division), to an interchange with UP at Iron Springs. UP then moved the train to the Port of Long Beach.

As of mid December 2020 Black Iron LLC has emerged from bankruptcy and has been reorganized as Utah Iron LLC, with mining operations resumed as planned. The leased HLCX SD40s (owned by Helms's successor Wells Fargo) are idle and five ex BNSF GE's are being leased to move the hopper cars to and from the UP connection at Iron Springs.

Sources

Reports by interested persons to various email discussion groups, including LocoNotes and RR Rosters on groups.io.

Reports by interested persons to various groups on Facebook.

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