Ogden & Northwestern Railroad

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This page was last updated on April 19, 2022.

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In September 1889, Will Swan and his associates organized the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad to build from the Ogden north city limits, north along Washington Avenue to North Ogden, then west to the Hot Springs health resort, which they had organized on the same day, as the Ogden & Hot Springs Health Resort Co. They apparently had larger plans for their railroad before its actual organization, as its original name was to have been the Ogden Belt Railroad, but a handwritten name change to the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad was added to the typed incorporation papers at the time of its filing.


(Read about the predecessor companies, Ogden & Hot Springs Railway, and the Ogden & Hot Springs Health Resort Co.)

In 1901, David Eccles and his associates bought the Swan properties, both the railroad and the health resort. (Hyman, Marriner S. Eccles, p. 34)

As early as March 1902, the Hot Springs line was referred to as "Ogden & Northwestern Railroad." The line between North Ogden and "the Springs" was being upgraded from 20-pound rail to 30-pound rail. A new roundhouse, 27x75 feet, had just recently been completed. (Ogden Standard, March 29, 1902)

April 20, 1902
Service started on the renovated and repaired Ogden & Northwestern Railroad. During March 1902, the line had been upgraded with thousands of new ties, new 30-pound rails replacing 20-pound rails, and cinder ballast. the road was seven miles long, from the junction just below Five Points to "the Springs." It was ten miles from the Broom corner to the Springs. The railroad had "three motors" at fifty horsepower each. Only one motor was to be used. During a trip for the benefit of several newspapermen, "At North Ogden took water from a tank...", meaning that the road was steam powered. Seven miles in 23 minutes, making six stops. The news item included a description of the Hot Springs hotel. (Ogden Standard, April 19, 1902)

March 12, 1903
The Ogden & Northwestern was nine miles in length, and was being operated with two steam motors and four cars. A new standard, small pattern steam locomotive was to arrive within 60 days. (Ogden Standard, March 12, 1903)

October 3, 1903
The Ogden & Northwestern Railroad was organized. (Utah corporation index number 4373)

November 5, 1903
The Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad and Health Resort Company was divided into two new companies: Ogden & Northwestern Railway and Ogden Hot Springs & Sanitarium Company. Corporation papers for the two companies were filed on November 5, 1903 with the county clerk. The officers and directors for both companies include David Eccles, Thomas D. Dee, and H. H. Spencer. (Ogden Standard, November 6, 1903, "yesterday"; Salt Lake Herald, November 7, 1903)

The railroad and health resort were separated in October 1903, and Eccles and his associates organized the Ogden & Northwestern Railroad to operate the Hot Springs line and extend it to Brigham City. The line was completed to Brigham City in 1907, and electrified at the same time.

April 12, 1904
The new Porter locomotive made its initial trip on the afternoon of April 12, 1904. The first public trip was to be the following Sunday, when the engine was to be put with the new 60-foot cars. (Ogden Standard, April 12, 1904, "New Locomotive for the Ogden-Northwestern")

April 17, 1904
The new Porter engine made it first public trip on Sunday, April 17, 1904. The trip was well patronized. (Ogden Standard, April 19, 1904, "North Ogden News Notes")

December 1904
Beet growers in Plain City met to ask Ogden & Northwestern to build a spur into their area. (Ogden Standard, December 12, 1904, "Want Dummy Line")

The Ogden & Northwestern built a branch to Plain City. This 8.5-mile branch line was completed in 1909 with new construction that left the Ogden Rapid Transit Washington line at Five Points (Second Street). The new route headed northwest to Harrisville, then meandered in a general westerly direction to Plain City, all at an initial cost of $48,000. For the first seven years, the motive power on the Plain City Branch was by steam dummies (a roundhouse was built at 19th Street). The line was used mainly for freight traffic to serve the agricultural area north and west of Ogden. In 1916 the Plain City line was electrified, and in 1918, it was extended to Warren.

October 10, 1906
It was announced that the Ogden & Northwestern was to be electrified, at a reported cost of $40,000. (Ogden Standard, October 10, 1906, "Electric Line To Brigham")

December 15, 1906
Ogden & Northwestern began the surveys to extend its line from Hot Springs north to Brigham City. The extension was to be complete by early Spring 1907. A franchise along the county road had been granted "last summer" and the new route will be built on the county road through Three Mile Creek and Willard, except in a few places where cuts are needed. New right-of-way will be purchased at those locations. (Ogden Standard, December 15, 1906)

April 1907
The material to electrify the railroad between Ogden and Hot Springs was en route. The rights to extend the line from Hot Springs to Brigham City had been secured and grading was to begin soon. (Ogden Standard, April 8, 1907; Intermountain Republican, April 9, 1907)

May 2, 1907
The work started to electrify the Ogden & Northwestern between Ogden and Hot Springs. A force of 70 men were at work. (Ogden Standard, May 2, 1907)

June 30, 1907
There were a total of six cars in service on Ogden Rapid Transit, with two to be used in service to Hot Springs when that line is fully electrified. (Salt Lake Herald, June 30, 1907)

July 4, 1907
The electrification of the Ogden & Northwestern line between Ogden and Hot Springs was to be completed by July 4, and "cars will be running by that date." Ties and poles had been received and large force of men was about to be put to work. (Ogden Standard, June 6, 1907, "Random References")

August 2, 1907
The first trip using electricity was made over the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad. "It wll be some time before the line is completed." (Salt Lake Herald, August 3, 1907, "yesterday")

August 23, 1907
The first new interurban cars for the Ogden & Northwestern arrived and were taken to the company shops to be prepared for service. The two cars were 41-feet long, three-feet longer than the cars in service on Ogden Rapid Transit's Washington Avenue line, and could seat 50 people. Each car was equipped with two 85-horsepower electric motors. (Ogden Standard, August 23, 1907)

August 29, 1907
A trial inspection trip for officers and dignitaries was run over the new electrified Ogden & Northwestern. There had been numerous delays due to material problems and labor problems. Each of the two new cars was equipped with two trolley poles. (Ogden Standard, August 29, 1907)

September 10, 1907
The destination for the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad, previously known informally as Utah Hot Springs, was officially named "Hot Springs" by the U. S. Post Office. The two interurban cars were being used on the Ogden Rapid Transit line. (Ogden Standard, September 10, 1907)

September 12, 1907
The first public service on the newly electrified Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad was opened on Wednesday September 12. In Ogden, the cars leave from the intersection of Twenty-fifth Street and Washington Avenue. (Ogden Standard, September 13, 1907, "yesterday")

November 1, 1907
Ogden Rapid Transit took over the operation of Ogden & Northwestern Railroad on November 1, 1907. (Ogden Standard, November 1, 1907)

March 15, 1908
Emil S. Rolapp was serving as trustee for the Ogden & Northwestern Railroad during the suits by the bondholders for lack of meeting semi-annual interest payments on the bonds issued in 1904, and on promissory notes in the amount of $54,000. (Ogden Standard, March 14, 1908; Intermountain Republican, March 15, 1908) (See also: Ogden Standard, October 3, 1904 for the first round of debt)

August 25, 1908
Ogden & Northwestern Railroad reduced it fares from 20 cents to 15 cents, with a round trip costing 25 cents. Stations were shown to be at the north Ogden city limits, the Pleasant View Store, and at Hot Springs. Service was being offered every 40 minutes on weekends, and every 90 minutes on week days. (Ogden Standard, August 25, 1908; Intermountain Republican, August 26, 1908)

April 20, 1909
Judge J. A. Howell of the Second District Court ordered that the property of the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad be sold to satisfy the claims of the road's bondholders and trustees. The road was being operated by the Ogden Rapid Transit Company. (Salt Lake Herald, April 21, 1909, "yesterday") (The article has a good description of the assessments and indebtedness, as well as the unusual issue of bonds for the road, which was always owned and controlled by David Eccles and his associates.) (The decision was reversed by the Utah Supreme Court and returned to the lower court for settlement.)

July 30, 1910
The new line of Ogden Rapd Transit had been completed to Willard. A trip to Willard was made for dignitaries and company and city officials using two of the new interurban coaches recently delivered from St. Louis. The track had not yet been ballasted, and the overhead wire was not yet strung. The trip to Willard was made using the electric cars' own power from Ogden to Hot Springs. From Hot Springs to Willard, the cars were coupled to one of the line's dummy engines. (Ogden Standard, July 31, 1910, "yesterday afternoon")

October 2, 1910
The Ogden Rapd Transit was completed between Hot Springs and a point less than one mile from the Box Elder county courthouse in Brigham City. To escape the grade and shorten the distance, an entirely new line was completed between Ogden and Pleasant View, but the original Ogden & Northwestern line through North Ogden will still be used by a single car. (Salt Lake Herald, October 2, 1910)

October 5, 1910
The Ogden & Northwestern Railway was sold at auction on October 5, 1910 by Sheriff Barlow Wilson. The road was sold to John Pingree to satisfy bonds and debt in the total of $17,981.22, subject to the judgement and settlement of a "friendly suit" brought by Pingree. (Salt Lake Herald, October 6, 1910; Salt Lake Telegram, October 6, 1910) (The affiliated Ogden Hot Springs and Sanatarium Company was sold at auction on January 23, 1910, see Ogden Standard, January 23, 1910)

In June 1911, the entire Ogden & Northwestern Railroad line from the Ogden north city limits to Brigham, and the line from Five Points to Plain City, was sold to Ogden Rapid Transit, both companies being controlled by Eccles.

(The story continues with the Ogden Rapid Transit company)


Ogden & Northwestern Railroad Locomotives -- Information about the locomotives used by Ogden & Northwestern Railroad.

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Ogden & Northwestern Railroad corporate information