San Pete Valley Railway (1874-1890)

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This page was last updated on April 22, 2024.

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The San Pete Valley Railway Company was incorporated June 29, 1874, somewhat before the standard-gauge Utah Southern Railroad, which was to be the S.P.V.'s connection to the outside world, arrived at Nephi, the S.P.V. 's intended western terminus and connection with the Utah Southern. Grading appears to have been undertaken in early February 1875 (Salt Lake Herald, February 7 and 14, 1875), but evidently this work ended until late 1879 (Salt Lake Herald, November 4, 1879), and was completed from Nephi to Wales (and its coal mines) by mid-1880 (Salt Lake Herald, July 2, 1880).

Although ties were apparently set on some of this 30-odd miles of grade, no rail was immediately laid; indeed, it seems that rail was not acquired in any quantity until mid-1881. Tracklaying finally began in September of 1881 (Salt Lake Tribune, September 21 and 25, 1881), and seems to have proceeded rather slowly, there being no motive power yet on hand, and probably not yet any cars, either, until the S.P.V. acquired nine flat cars and one box car ($2,500 the lot) from the Utah & Northern in October of 1881, with the rolling stock apparently being delivered in late November 1881 (Salt Lake Tribune, November 2, 1881).


June 29, 1874
San Pete Valley Railway was organized. (Reeder, page 418)

February 7, 1875
"Railroad into San Pete", having slight reference to the San Pete Valley, to be built soon. (Salt Lake Herald, February 7, 1875)

February 14, 1875
Grading is in progress on the San Pete Valley Railroad. (Salt Lake Herald, February 14, 1875)

January 1, 1878
The San Pete Coal and Coke company, and its narrow gauge railroad, was sold to Charles Bennett of Salt Lake City. Simon Bamberger as the superintendent of both the coal mine and the railroad. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1878)

September 17, 1878
"The Provo and San Pete railroad has one and a half miles of track laid, and the first engine was put on yesterday." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 17, 1878)

May 9, 1879
The tracks of the Utah Southern Railroad Extension company were completed to Nephi on May 9. (Territorial Enquirer, May 10, 1879)

July 1879
The Central Pacific Coal and Coke Company, Limited, began advertising in English newspapers to sell its bonds, with the coal lands of the company, and the San Pete Valley Railway acting as collateral for the mortgage.

November 4, 1879
"Work on the narrow gauge road up Salt Creek Canyon was commenced on Thursday last. The company intends pushing it right along." (Salt Lake Herald, November 4, 1879)

March 18, 1880
"The Wales and Nephi railroad is graded four miles beyond Wales." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 18, 1880)

June 6, 1880
"The Sanpete Valley Railroad. Work on the Sanpete Valley narrow-gauge railroad is progressing with great rapidity. All of 400 persons are working on it, with probable 175 teams. Contracts for the entire grading of the road have been let, and the contractors are now at work. Contracts for ties have also been let, amounting in all to 80,000. The road will run a distance of thirty miles, from Wales to Nephi, and it is expected the grading will be completed by July 4th. An effort is now being made to have the road running within three months, in which event it will commence the hauling of coke and coal from the coal beds at Wales Messrs. T. Marshall, S. Bamberger and M. T. Burgess constitute the local board of directors." (Salt Lake Herald, June 6, 1880)

June 15, 1880
An article by C. R. Savage in regard to San Pete Valley, and the new railroad. He was down that way recently, and reports that 500 tons of 40-lb. rail is on the way, engines and cars are ordered, and the grade to Wales (from Nephi), some 30 miles, is to be completed by the 4th of July. Ties are now arriving along the route of the railroad. Savage also mentioned that Sir Henry Tyler of London was the railroad's president, and Sydney I. Smithers, also of London, was secratary, with Simon Bamberger as managing director of both the railroad and the coal and coke company. (Salt Lake Herald, June 15, 1880)

June 23, 1880
"San Pete Valley Railroad" item, says grade between Nephi and Wales will be done next month; also, that the rails have been ordered. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 23, 1880)

July 2, 1880
The grade of the San Pete Valley railroad has been completed from Nephi to Wales. (Salt Lake Herald, July 2, 1880)

September 15, 1880
Seven cars of rails passed over the Utah Southern on Monday, for the San Pete Valley at Nephi. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, September 15, 1880)

July 9, 1881
The San Pete Valley has two engines and some cars " on the way." (Ogden Herald, July 9, 1881, quoting the Provo Enquirer)

September 6, 1881
Iron is arriving daily for the San Pete Valley Railroad. (Ogden Herald, September 6, 1881)

September 21, 1881
Two engines and a number of flats expected to arrive this week for San Pete Valley; the track now being laid. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 21, 1881)

September 25, 1881
"San Pete Railroad"; an interview with Bamberger yesterday; rail is 40-pound; yard at Nephi is laid, and track easterly is started; "A locomotive is expected next week..." and "Another locomotive is expected in a month..." 30 coal and a number of flat and other cars also supposedly on the way. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 25, 1881)

October 16, 1881
"Mr. S. Bamberger ... reports the work of embedding the ties on the San Pete Railroad is progressing well, and thinks they will be all laid before the frost can interfere with the work. When they are down, the iron can be laid at any time. The managers are impatiently waiting the arrival of their iron and rolling stock, which have been on the road for an unreasonable length of time." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 16, 1881)

October 16, 1881
San Pete Valley equipment has not yet arrived. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 16, 1881)

October 22, 1881
San Pete Valley iron has arrived, and three miles laid, and Simon Bamberger has gone East to find the equipment. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 22, 1881)

November 5, 1881
"Track has been laid on the San Pete Valley Railroad for a distance of six miles. The engines and cars ordered in the East some time ago have not arrived." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 5, 1881)

January 1, 1882
"Big Coal Enterprise" "The Progress of the San Pete Valley Railway" Item discusses the operations of the Central Pacific Coal & Coke Company, the mines of which are located in Big Canyon, near Wales; the railroad is owned by the coal company. The following comes from the January 1, 1882 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper:

Much delay has been experienced during the past three months, through the impossibility of procuring the necessary cars and locomotives -- a significant comment on the activity of the country. At length, last month (December 1881), a sufficient supply of flat and box cars for construction, about thirty coal cars and a new Baldwin locomotive of the Mogul pattern, weighing 48,000 pounds, were procured and delivered; and another locomotive, together with a full supply of passenger and mail coaches, as well as additional box and flat cars, is expected daily.

The work of completion is now rapidly drawing to a close. All the ties are bedded ready for the rails. The track is laid through Salt Creek Canyon, and the depots, engine and section houses will soon be finished. As soon as weather will permit, the company intends to erect a brick round house and repair shop at Wales.

May 26, 1882
"Central Pacific Coal and Coke Company Railroad." "The Sanpete Valley narrow-gauge railway has passed into the hands of the above new company, and is being successfully managed. This little road runs from Nephi to the coal fields near to the settlement of Wales, in Sanpete Valley, a distance of some twenty-eight miles,..." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, May 26, 1882)

May 30, 1882
"Sanpete Valley R. R." timetable, as of 1 June 1882: lv. Wales at 9:05 a.m., arr. Nephi at 11:20 a.m. Iv. Nephi at 2:05 p.m., arr. Wales at 4:20 p.m. dated 28 May 1882, over the signature of F. S. Cahill, Sup't. This ad was published daily for some weeks. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, May 30, 1882)

June 13, 1882
"Another Railroad" filed its articles of Incorporation on the 12th, this being the "California Short Line Railway Company," some of whose incorporators were the Bambergers, J. E. and Simon, and Geo. A. Lowe. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 13, 1882)

(Read more about the California Short Line Railway)

January 1, 1883
"A new passenger coach has lately been added." "A plan for the extension of the San Pete Railway has in fact been seriously thought of here, that a Company was incorporated by some of our prominent citizens last summer, under the name of the California Short Line, whose object is to build south and north from either terminal of the San Pete road, and to connect at Springville with the D&RG. Railway surveys and locations were made during the past season." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1883)

July 17, 1883
"Superintendency Abolished. Office of the Sanpete Valley Railway. F. C. Hand having resigned as Superintendent, the office of Superintendent at Wales is abolished, and all business hereafter will be transacted by the undersigned at the general office in Salt Lake City.; S. Bamberger, Manager; F. R. Morris, Secretary; Salt Lake City, July 16th, 1883." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, July 17, 1883)

April 27, 1884
"Railroad Racket" "Superintendent Bamberger, of the San Pete Valley road, informs us that it is the intention to extend this road from Wales to Manti, a distance of twenty miles, this season, and that it is probable other extensions to the road may be made before winter, but in which direction Mr. Bamberger does not state." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, April 27, 1884)

August 29, 1884
"The construction of the Sanpete Valley Railroad is progressing. Track laying is going on, and the grading is completed from a point where the line diverges from the main way, half way between Fountain Green and its present terminus, Wales." (Salt Lake Herald, August 29, 1884)

September 17, 1884
An interview with Simon Bamberger: "The terminus of our road has for some time been the coal mines near Wales, but we have always intended to branch off from Draper (a small place three miles west of Moroni), and to run east and south through the line of settlements in Sanpete Valley, touching Moroni, Ephraim and ending ultimately at Manti. This year we have carried out part of our intention, and finished to Moroni." (Salt Lake Herald, September 17, 1884)

October 6, 1884
"The Sanpete Valley Railway is running into Moroni and grading is done six miles further on." (Salt Lake Herald, October 6, 1884)

October 28, 1884
Grading of the San Pete Valley Railway had reached "central" Chester. (Salt Lake Herald, October 28, 1884)

November 13, 1884
The "headquarters" of the San Pete Valley Railway had been moved from Wales to Moroni. The tracks from Freedom to Wales had been removed. (Salt Lake Herald, November 13, 1884)

December 8, 1884
San Pete Valley Timetable of December 8, 1884, shows service from Nephi to Moroni, leaves Moroni at 9:00am, arrives at Nephi 11:00am, leaves there at 12:09pm and arrives back at Moroni at 2:00pm; no Sunday service; S. Bamberger, mgr., and H. S. Kerr, agent. (Manti Home Sentinel, May 15, 1885)

With its new timetable dated December 8, 1884, the San Pete began operating passenger trains between Nephi and Moroni. The train left Moroni at 9 am and arrived at Nephi at 11 am. The return trip left Nephi at 12:09 pm and arrived back at Moroni at 2:00 pm. No service was offered on Sunday. (Manti Home Sentinel, May 15, 1885)

December 12, 1884
San Pete Valley Railway had an agreement with Utah Central Railway for the Utah Central to ship all of the railroad traffic moving from San Pete County to Salt Lake City. The San Pete Valley company covered 28 miles of the distance, and the Utah Central covered 91 miles of the distance, yet the San Pete Valley company received 40 percent of the fees. The variation in split was allowed by the Utah Central as a way "to build up the country." The local San Pete merchants were complaining of the high rates, and the San Pete Valley company's response was that if the merchants would agree to ship all of their business by railroad, the rates would be lower. The current situation was that the merchants only used the railroad when the roads were difficult due to weather, or when all of the teams and wagons were busy. The railroad was losing money, and unable to pay its bond interest and could not survive in the current situation, or extend its line from Moroni to Manti without capital and assurances of regular shipments. (Salt Lake Herald, December 12, 1884)

May 8, 1885
Mr. Kerr says there is enough rail at Moroni for four or five miles of San Pete Valley track -- to build towards Ephraim. (Manti Home Sentinel, May 8, 1885)

May 22, 1885
H. S. Kerr is shown as Agent for San Pete Valley Railway, and Simon Bamberger is shown as Manager. A solicitation for grain shipments shows that the minimum car load was 20,000 pounds, and the maximum was 24,000 pounds. Two hours was to be allowed to load or unload an entire car load of grain. (Manti Home Sentinel, May 22, 1885)

May 29, 1885
"News from Moroni" "The S. P. V. Railroad employees are putting in a 'Y', or main, and they promise ere July smiles her heated smile that Chester, her future coal yard., shall greet her engine No 2." (Manti Home Sentinel, May 29, 1885)

June 15, 1885
Track is about one mile south, beyond Moroni; the old track to Wales mines is being taken up and relaid on the extension beyond Moroni; H. S. Kerr is the agent of San Pete Valley as well as Construction Engineer. (Manti Home Sentinel, June 15, 1885)

July 1, 1885
Simon Bamberger is shown as President of two stone companies: Utah Lime and Cement Company; and Sanpete Palace Stone Company. (Salt Lake Herald, July 1, 1885; the same advertisement ran daily through November 22, 1885)

August 17, 1885
New timetable took effect, from the August 21, 1885 issue of The Manti Sentinel:

On and after August 17, 1885, , trains will leave daily, Sundays excepted, as follows:

Going north,
Leave Chester, at 8:25 a.m.
Arrive at Moroni, at 8:40 a.m.
Leave Moroni, at 9:00 a.m.
Leave Draper, at 9:15 a.m.
Leave Fountain Green, at 9:40 a.m.
Leave Pleasant Hill, at 9:50 a.m.
Leave Hollaway, at 10:13 a.m.
Arrive at Nephi, 10:40 a.m.

Going south,
Leave Nephi, at 11:55 a.m.
Leave Holloway, at 12:25 p.m.
Leave Pleasant Hill, at 12:45 p.m.
Leave Fountain Green, at 1:00 p.m.
Leave Draper., at 1:20 p.m.
Arrive at Moroni, 1;30 p.m.
Lease Moroni, at 1:50 p.m.
Arrive at Chester, 2:00 p.m.

Stages connect at Chester for all parts of San Pete and Sevier.
Breakfast and Dinner at Moroni.

Nothing but Car load lots will be received at Chester until completion of station house.

S. Bamberger, Manager
H. S. Kerr, Freight Agent

April 30, 1886
Flatcars being fitted out as excursion cars for May Day trip. (Manti Home Sentinel, April 30, 1886)

May 1, 1886
The San Pete Valley Railway hosted a May Day excursion train, sponsored by the Moroni Brass Band. One train departed eastbound from Nephi, and a secon train departed westbound from Chester. The two trains met at Pleasant Hill, about midway on the route.

(Read more about the "Grand Gala May Day Excursion," as told by Garrie Tufford.)

December 16, 1887
Another interview with Bamberger; only item of note is that most San Pete Valley shop work and the like is now being done in Salt Lake City. (Manti Home Sentinel, December 16, 1887)

December 16, 1887
San Pete Valley timetable of August 17, 1887 is finally printed in paper -- one train a day from Nephi to Chester. (Manti Home Sentinel, December 16, 1887)

January 13, 1888
"The people of this vicinity will be glad when friend Bamberger gets a new engine on the road..." in reference to the numerous delays.

"Moroni Items" "The S.P.V.Ry. failed to make mail connections at Moroni yesterday; cause: an unusual deposit of snow on the Divide. An engine as helper had to be sent. This morning the train consisted of two engines and one coach." (Manti Home Sentinel, January 13, 1888)

March 21, 1888
$285 raised yesterday towards purchase of depot grounds in Manti. (Manti Home Sentinel, March 21, 1888)

April 4, 1888
On the San Pete Valley, Simon Bamberger has been replaced as the general manager by Theodore Bruback, by order of the English owners, done at a meeting held over in England on the 25th of February. To that point, Bruback had been secretary of the company. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 4, 1888)

April 4, 1888
Iron is piling up at Nephi for the extension to Manti; Bamberger replaced as manager and Superintendent; all passes issued to date are recalled; Theodore Bruback is new manager, and Kerr is superintendent, by order of the English owners. (Manti Home Sentinel, April 4, 1888)

July 14, 1888
At the annual meeting of the stockholders of the company, held at Nephi on Saturday July 14th, it was revealed that the road would be extended to Manti "before the snow flies." Theodore Bruback was elected as president and general manager of the company, and H. S. Kerr as the secratary treasurer. (Salt Lake Herald, July 17, 1888)

August 31, 1888
"The S.P.V.Ry. received a first-class engine yesterday from the Utah & Northern Ry. Company. It made its pioneer trip into San Pete last evening." (Ensign, Nephi, August 31, 1888)

September 12, 1888
Bamberger and Morris are suing the San Pete Valley for $70,000.00. (Manti Home Sentinel, September 12, 1888)

November 16, 1888
San Pete Valley timetable No. 3, in effect Monday 22 October 1888, is printed in the paper, replacing one effective 17 August 1887 that had appeared up through 9 November 1888. (Ensign, Nephi, November 16, 1888)

April 18, 1890
"S.P.V.R.R. SOLD -- The Union Pacific Co. being the Purchasers -- It will be Extended" "...the bargain was completed last week, when the first installment was paid over,..." "The price is stated to be $120,000.00." (Manti Home Sentinel, April 18, 1890)

(Read about the San Pete Valley Railway after 1890, when Union Pacific took an interest)


(Read more about the locomotives used on San Pete Valley, both narrow gauge and standard gauge)