Kenilworth & Helper Railway

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on December 11, 2018.

(Return To Utah Railroads Index Page)


The Kenilworth & Helper Railway was the common-carrier railroad organized by Independent Coal & Coke Company to ship coal from its mine at Kenilworth, to a connection with Rio Grande Western at Spring Glen, Utah, about a mile south of Helper. Independent Coal & Coke had been organized in October 1906 as the first large coal company in Utah that was not controlled by a railroad.

Construction on the Kenilworth & Helper started in late December 1906, and was completed in August 1907. At first, they leased a locomotive from RGW, but a new Shay locomotive arrived in less than a month. Over the next six years, three more standard-gauge Shay locomotives were delivered.

Two 42-inch gauge Shay locomotives were purchased in 1917 and 1920 to operate a new in-plant railroad built to connect a new mine opening at Bull Hollow with the original loading tipple at Kenilworth. This in-plant railroad was about one and a half miles long and connected with the base of the incline tramway up Bull Hollow to the Bull Hollow mine. This incline tramway was 42-inch gauge, and the Shays were set at this same gauge to allow them to move the mine cars directly to the Kenilworth tipple where they were dumped.

The Kenilworth & Helper remained in operation until it was replaced by D&RGW's Kenilworth Branch in 1926.

The following comes from Volume 26 of the ICC Valuation Reports, pages 860 and 861:

The Kenilworth and Helper Railroad is a corporation of the State of Wyoming, having its principal office at Evanston, Wyo. It is controlled by the Independent Coal & Coke Company through ownership of the outstanding capital stock. On the other hand, the Kenilworth and Helper Railroad does not control any common-carrier corporation. The property of this company was operated by its own organization from the date of acquirement, July 19, 1911, to January 15, 1915. From the latter date to December 31, 1917, it was operated by the carrier (D&RG). The common-carrier property of the company was taken over for operation by the United States Railroad Administration on January 1, 1918, as a part of the system of the carrier, and it is so operated on date of valuation.

The Kenilworth and Helper Railroad was incorporated July 15, 1911, under the general laws of the State of Wyoming.

The railroad owned by the Kenilworth and Helper Railroad was purchased from the Independent Coal & Coke Company on July 19, 1911. The property had been constructed by the vendor in 1907, and operated by the vendor as a plant facility from 1907 to July 19, 1911 (using the name Kenilworth and Helper Railway).


December 1906
Grading for a railroad line from the mine in Bull Hollow to a point on the D&RG about a mile east of Helper was begun in late December 1906. (Zehnder, Chuck. A Guide To Carbon County Coal Camps And Ghost Towns, page 15)

August 10, 1907
Independent Coal & Coke shipped its first coal, over its new railroad using a leased Rio Grande Western locomotive. Their first Shay locomotive had not yet arrived. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 15, 1907)

September 1907
Independent's new locomotive, a Shay with road number 100, arrived in early September 1907, having left the Lima Locomotive Works factory in Lima, Ohio on August 24, 1907. (Koch, builder's record)

March 1908
The Kenilworth mine was producing about 300 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 12, 1908, p. 3)

September 1908
The Kenilworth mine was shipping 600 tons per day and could not keep up with the demand. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, September 24, 1908, p. 3)

December 1908
The second Shay locomotive had left "the East and would soon be in commission out of Helper hauling coal down for the Independent company." The mine was producing an average of 10 cars per day. (Eastern Utah Advocate, December 31, 1908, page 5, "Of A More Or Less Personal Nature")

Early 1909
During early 1909 the Kenilworth & Helper's Shay locomotive was used to haul water to the mining camp at night, and haul coal down to Kenilworth Junction at Spring Glen during the day. A second Shay locomotive had been ordered. (Eastern Utah Advocate, February 4, 1909, p. 1)

February 6, 1909
Kenilworth & Helper received a new Shay locomotive, "The new Shay engine arrived last Saturday, as the production of the the mine is becoming so great that one could not handle all the traffic." (Carbon County News, February 13, 1909) Mr. William Griffin, representative of Lima Locomotive Works, builder of the new Shay locomotive, accompanied the new locomotive and returned to Lima on Thursday, February 18. (Carbon County News, February 20, 1909)

Kenilworth & Helper's second Shay locomotive, number 101, arrived in early February 1909, after having been completed by the Lima factory on January 21, 1909. The arrival of the second Shay gave the coal company two 70-ton locomotives to move its coal to the D&RG connection. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 14)

During 1910, the railroad was operated using two 72-ton Shay locomotives. (Higgins: Independent, p. 19)

August 1910
A depot was built at Spring Glen by the Independent company for use by the Kenilworth & Helper Railroad. (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 30, 1910, p. 38)

September 1910
Production at the Kenilworth mine had reached 1,500 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, September 8, 1910, p. 2)

June 20, 1911
Independent Coal & Coke received a new, third Shay locomotive. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 22, 1911)

The formal completion date for this locomotive, with road number 150, was on May 31, 1911. (Koch, builder's record)

July 15, 1911
The Kenilworth & Helper Railway was incorporated, in Wyoming, by the owners of Independent Coal & Coke Company. On July 19th the railroad company purchased and commenced operation of the coal company's railroad property, which they had built in 1907. (26 ICC 860)

In 1911 the Independent Coal & Coke Company incorporated the Kenilworth & Helper to operate their already constructed rail line, which remained in operation until it was replaced by the D&RGW's Kenilworth Branch in 1926. (105 ICC 720)

The Kenilworth & Helper Railroad was incorporated in Wyoming and was 100 percent owned by Independent Coal & Coke Company. The railroad was leased for operation for a ten year period to D&RG on December 1, 1914. Shay locomotives were used on a separate tramway by the coal company to bring coal down to the No. 1 tipple. Shay locomotives of the Kenilworth & Helper had a capacity of twelve cars over the line's 6-1/2 percent grades. Seven empties could be brought up from the D&RG connection at Spring Glen. Twelve to fifteen loaded cars could be taken down from the mine to the D&RG connection. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 868)

September 20, 1913
A fourth Shay locomotive was completed on September 20, 1913. Its road number was 151. (Koch, builder's information)

D&RG leased for operation the Kenilworth & Helper Railway. (LeMassena, p. 129)

August 1914
The Independent Coal & Coke Co. contracted with Utah Construction Company to complete two large fills on its Kenilworth & Helper Railroad. (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1914, p. 28)

December 1, 1914
The entire property of the Kenilworth and Helper Railroad was leased to Denver & Rio Grande for a period of 10 years, until December 1, 1924 -- "Entire property; term 10 years from Dec. 1, 1914; the lessee maintains the property and performs transportation service at rates regulated by the lease agreement, but pays no rental. (Under an agreement dated March 26, 1915, as later supplemented, the Independent Coal & Coke Company pays to the Kenilworth and Helper Railroad 7.5 cents per ton of coal shipped from its mines over the railroad company's tracks, and in addition pays an amount equal to the taxes of the Kenilworth and Helper Railroad. These payments are stated to be in consideration for the Kenilworth and Helper Railroad having entered into the contract of Dec. 1, 1914, with the carrier for the operation of the railroad property.)" (Interstate Commerce Commission Valuation Reports, Volume 26, page 847; "26 Val. Rep. 847"; See also: page 778 and 779) (105 ICC 720)

Under the terms of the lease, D&RGW was to lease the locomottives of the Kenilworth & Helper company, and to retain them and maintain them for the sole benefit of the Kenilworth & Helper company, and not to sublease or sublet them to any other party for any other purpose.

March 1915
The Kenilworth & Helper expanded its plans and filed an amendment to its articles of incorporation that would allow it to build from Helper to Salt Lake City, and from Kenilworth northeasterly through the "Vernal country" to a connection with a railroad from Colorado, presumably the Moffat Road. The roster of officials and directors of the railroad were identical to that of the Independent Coal & Coke Company, and included C. V. Strevell, Salt Lake, president and general manager; James H. Patterson, Salt Lake, vice president and treasurer; F. A. Druehl, Salt Lake, secretary; Walter Parker, Peoria, Illinois; Charles W. Buckley, Chicago; Normal B. Holter, Helena, Montana; M. H. Walker, Salt Lake; Joseph Geoghegan, Salt Lake; and H. C. Edwards, Salt Lake. (New Railroads, p. 17)

January 15, 1915
D&RG began operation of Kenilworth & Helper Railway. Organized in July 1911 by the Independent Coal & Coke Company to operate the railroad line that it had built in 1907. (26 ICC 860)

The Kenilworth & Helper Railroad operated its own property from July 19, 1911 until January 15, 1915. The D&RG took over the operation of the Kenilworth & Helper on January 15, 1915. (26 ICC 860,861)

The lease of the Kenilworth & Helper Railroad to the D&RG was at no cost to the parent Independent company. (Independent: 1914, p. 7)

Kenilworth & Helper Railroad was 6.39 miles long, including 3.525 miles of main track and 2.865 miles of yard and side tracks. (26 ICC Val. 781; D&RGW ICC Valuation Docket 960)

D&RGW leased two locomotives from Kenilworth & Helper Railroad. (26 ICC Val. 785; D&RGW ICC Valuation Docket 960, research completed on July 30, 1982)

December 1917
The Independent Coal & Coke accepted delivery of a Shay locomotive with road number 1. This locomotive was isolated to the coal company's forty-two inch gauge tramway from the new mine opening in Bull Hollow, hauling loaded mine cars from the mine to the tipple in Kenilworth, at the base of the original gravity tramway. The new tramway was referred to as the "Bull Hollow Tramroad and Incline", with the original tram from the Kenilworth opening being called the "Shelf and Incline Tramway." (Independent: 1918, p. 29)

The trackage at the Kenilworth loading tipple could hold 100 cars, and another 150 cars at the nearly four miles of yard tracks at Kenilworth Junction. The motive power for the Kenilworth & Helper during 1918 was the two 90-ton Shays and one of the two 70-ton Shays. (Independent: 1918, p. 20)

March 1918
The new Bull Hollow portal and new Shay operated tram road was in operation by March 1918. (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 30, 1918)

October 1920
A second 42-inch gauge Shay locomotive for the Bull Hollow tramroad was delivered as road number 2 in late October or early November 1920, having been completed by the factory on October 22, 1920. (Koch, builder's record)

Kenilworth & Helper Railway sold its two original 70-ton, three-truck Shay locomotives, numbers 100 and 101. The two remaining 90-ton three-truck Shay locomotives, numbers 150 and 151, remained and were operated by the railroad until the entire railroad was leased to the D&RGW for operation in 1926. The two 90-ton Shays remained as locomotives leased for operation to D&RGW until 1928 and 1929, being replaced by a D&RGW 3300 class Mallet assigned out of Helper.

September 1, 1925
The lease of Kenilworth & Helper to D&RGW expired on September 1, 1925, after being extended several occasions after the initial expiration date of December 1, 1924. (D&RGW legal department files held by Colorado Railroad Museum)

D&RGW built the Kenilworth Branch to replace the steep Kenilworth & Helper Railway, which was leased for operation by D&RGW and operated with K&H's Shay locomotives. Five miles of new construction. (LeMassena, p. 145)

September 1926
Kenilworth & Helper Railroad received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to abandon its railroad line. The railroad company was incorporated in Wyoming and was 100 percent owned by the Independent Coal & Coke Company. The railroad was leased for operation for ten years to D&RG on December 1, 1914. The first coal was shipped in October 1907. Shay locomotives of the coal company were used on a separate tramway to bring the coal down to the No. 1 tipple. Shay locomotives of the railroad company had a capacity of twelve cars over the line's 6.5 percent grades; seven empties up from the D&RGW connection at Spring Glen, and twelve to fifteen loads down. Current production was 2,200 tons per day and the old Kenilworth & Helper railroad could not handle the new, additional tonnage from the newly opened No. 2 mine. John H. Tonkin, president of the railroad company, was also general manager of the coal company. (Utah Public Service Commission case 868)

December 9, 1926
D&RGW made its first shipment over its new Kenilworth Branch. (Coal Age magazine, December 9, 1926)

January 28, 1926
Kenilworth & Helper Railroad and Denver & Rio Grande Western filed a joint application for the abandonment of the Kenilworth line, operated under lease by the D&RGW, and to construct a branch line of the D&RGW extending from a connection with the D&RGW mainline at or near Spring Canyon Junction, in a general easterly direction for 6.28 miles to Kenilworth. The Kenilworth's line, as operated by D&RGW, was 3.75 miles long and extended from a connection with D&RGW's mainline at Kenilworth Junction (Spring Glen) to Kenilworth. The daily production of the Kenilworth mine in 1926 was about 2,000 tons, or about 40 fifty-ton carloads. In 1924 the Kenilworth mine's production amounted to 382,336 tons (about 7,600 carloads, about 21 cars per day) and projections for 1925 production called for an increase of about 21 percent, to 465,000 tons, or five more carloads per day. The Kenilworth line had grades in excess of six percent and its operation required the use of a Shay locomotives, which required increased maintenance and operating expenses. The coal company was about to expand their No. 2 mine which was projected to produce an additional 2,000 tons, or 40 carloads, per day, and construct a new loading tipple and tipple yard, and the current railroad would not be able to handle the increased traffic at a reasonable expense. The coal company desired to construct an alternate line with more capacity and reduced operating expenses. This was projected to cost $469,000.00 for its construction, and the projected traffic was 600,000 tons for the first year, increasing to 1,000,000 tons by the fifth year. The land for the right-of-way for the new line was donated by the coal company. The new line was laid with 85-pound rail and was constructed with three percent grades westbound (loads) and 1.5 percent eastbound (empties), and was projected to be complete and in operation by October 1, 1926. (105 ICC 720; map accompanying application)

The abandonment was approved by the ICC on March 23, 1926, but was not to take effect until the new D&RGW Kenilworth Branch was completed and placed into operation. (ICC Finance Docket 5323; applied March 9, 1926; Decided March 23, 1926; Published in ICC Reports Volume 105, page 719 -- 105 ICC 719)

November 24, 1926
The new D&RGW Kenilworth Branch shipped its first coal traffic on November 24, 1926. (Coal Index: The Sun, November 26, 1926, p. 1, "last Wednesday")


Kenilworth & Helper Locomotives -- Information about the four standard-gauge Shay locomotives, and two narrow-gauge Shay locomotives used by Kenilworth & Helper Railway.


Kenilworth Railroads -- A Google Map of the railroads that served the Kenilworth mines, including the Kenilworth & Helper Railway.

More Information

Kenilworth & Helper Railway -- Corporate information.

Kenilworth Coal Mines -- A collection of information about the coal mines at Kenilworth.