San Pete Valley Railway

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This page was last updated on June 18, 2019.

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(Note: Two spellings are used here: San Pete and Sanpete. San Pete is the name of the railroad and the valley. Sanpete is the name of the county and the general region. see below)

(This narrative does not cover the D&RGW Marysvale Branch, from Thistle, south to Marysvale, which was completed in stages between 1890 and 1900. The two lines paralleled each other between Ephraim and Manti, a distance of seven miles.) (Read more about D&RGW's Marysvale Branch, built as the Sevier Railway in 1891 to 1900)


The San Pete Valley Railway was a narrow-gauge railroad organized in 1874, but not put into operation until May 1882. The delays were mostly due to limited funds. It was built as three-foot narrow gauge, but was converted to standard gauge in 1896. The railroad was owned by a group of English investors, who also owned the nearby coal mines and stone quarries.

In 1907, the road's owners sold their interests the Rio Grande Western Railway, and in 1908, San Pete Valley Railway was included in the consolidation of companies in Utah and Colorado that, along with RGW, created the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The line became D&RG's San Pete Valley Branch, and remained in operation until the portion in Salt Creek Canyon, between Nephi and Moroni, was abandoned and removed in 1947-1948. The portion in and near Moroni remained in place as part of D&RGW's Marysvale Branch, until the Marysvale Branch was abandoned due to the Thistle Flood in 1983.

The San Pete Valley Railway was organized in June 1874 by the owners of the San Pete Coal and Coke Company. The railroad was chartered specifically to furnish low cost transportation for the company's coal by building a rail line from the settlement of Manti to Nephi, where the railroad was to connect with the trains of the Utah Southern Railroad. The story of how the San Pete Valley Railway was built, who built it, and why begins with the discovery of coal in San Pete Valley.

The following comes from "The History of Sanpete and Emery Counties," published in 1898.

The Sanpete Valley railway, the pioneer road of this county, length fifty-one miles, connects with the Oregon Short Line at Nephi and extends through Juab and Sanpete counties to Morrison. This road was surveyed and partly graded in the 70's by residents of Salt Lake City, then sold to an English syndicate, who constructed the line to Wales in 1881 to tap the first coal beds opened in the Territory. The coal not possessing sufficient commercial value to pay high prices for mining and expense of long freight hauls, the mines were abandoned, and in 1884 the track from Draper to Wales was taken up, a new grade made to Moroni, thence to Chester, which was the terminus till 1893. Theodore Bruback, the president, succeeded in reorganizing the company and placing it on a sound financial basis, after which the road was extended to Manti, reaching that city on Thanksgiving day, 1893.

In 1894 the road was extended to Morrison, its present terminus, and in 1896 the gauge was changed from narrow to standard. The general offices of the company are in the McCornick Block, Salt Lake City, Theodore Bruback president and general manager, S. T. Pearson, secretary and treasurer. Local headquarters, Manti; H. S. Kerr, general superintendent and general freight and passenger agent. The policy of the company is to employ local men to the exclusion of transients. The good service, courteous treatment and satisfactory management gives this road its share of the local and through freight and passenger traffic. A direct connection with the Oregon Short Line at Nephi makes a through line from Salt Lake City to Manti, and business from and to Eastern points is interchanged with the Union Pacific at Ogden. At Morrison terminus are located time extensive coal mines of the Sterling Coal and Coke company.

San Pete Coal

During the pioneer era, from 1847 to 1869, most of the coal mining in Utah had been done on an individual basis for local use, with some coal being freighted in small quantities to Salt Lake City by wagon. Until the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, wood was the only readily available fuel. Coal was only available on a very limited basis. According to the 1883 and 1884 report on the nation's mineral resources, the United States Geological Survey stated that the earliest coal development in Utah was at the Acme Coal Company at Coalville in 1864. About a hundred men were employed working a twelve foot vein, with most of the coal being consumed chiefly at the Park City silver mines. (USGS: 1883-84 Mineral Report, p.89)

The coal mine at Wales in the San Pete Valley in central Utah was the first commercial venture involving coal mining in Utah. The location of coal at what was called Coalbed, and later Wales, was first discovered in 1854 by John Rees and John Price. Rees and others developed the coal mine to furnish coal that was used mostly within the local surrounding areas. Some of the coal was purchased at the mine for $4.00 per ton and hauled by wagon to Salt Lake City where it was sold for $30.00 to $35.00 per ton. The coal from Wales soon gained a reputation as being good for the making of coke, which is coal after it has been "distilled" with heat in the absence of air, producing a high quality source of fuel. In the west, coke was used mostly for blacksmithing. In fact, Wales' coal was previously known as the best blacksmithing coal in Utah.

During the 1860's the demand for coke grew rapidly along with the mining industry throughout the western states and territories. In Utah's growing mining industry, which didn't begin serious development until 1869 with the coming of the railroad, the major use of coke was in the smelting process. The Superintendent of the Germania Works smelter in Salt Lake City stated in December 1874 that the "coking properties of San Pete coal is equal to the St. Louis product", which had previously been used there. During 1873, Utah imported over 7,000 tons of coke for use in its new smelting industry. This new coke product came from the San Pete coal field, located four miles from the town of Moroni, which had coal seams of from three to five feet thick. (Engineering and Mining Journal, December 5, 1874, p.353)

Prior to the availability of coke from the Winter Quarter's Mine in 1878, the Wales mine was the best source for coking coal in the region and many attempts were made to develop the resource.

The smelter industry in Utah began with the earliest silver smelters of the early 1860s, and the new industry needed coal and coke as fuel for their steam boilers, the source for their mechanical power. Smelting of gold, silver, lead and copper requires coke, a fuel made by burning the combustibles and impurities out of the coal and leaving a very high carbon-content fuel that makes for the very hot fires needed by the industry's smelting fires. There was great pressure to locate a source of coal that could be made into coke. During 1875, coke was being imported to Utah's, and Nevada's, silver smelters from Pennsylvania. The 2,000-mile transportation of the much needed commodity forced the price per ton of coke up to a dizzying figure of $35 to $40. (Engineering and Mining Journal, September 18, 1875, p.288)

Early Railroads for San Pete

Because of this coal resource waiting to be developed, the region of the San Pete Valley was one of the destinations for the five railroads organized in September 1872 as part of an anti-Mormon land grab, designed in part to wrest control of Utah's economy from Brigham Young and the Mormons. The particular railroad that was proposed for the Sanpete region was the Salt Lake City and Manti Railroad. The organizers were able to gain the support of Congressman Negley of Pennsylvania, a supporter of strong anti-Mormon legislation, and one of the members of Congress who encouraged then-President Ulysses S. Grant to launch a crusade against the Mormons. Negley introduced legislation in December 1872 to allow a right-of-way and a land grant to the Little Cottonwood Railroad, one of the five railroads organized in September. Utah's non-voting Territorial delegate William H. Hooper was able to gain enough support in Congress to defeat the measure and kill the proposed law before it reached the House floor for consideration. The entire scheme came to light in February 1873 and the various pieces of legislation allowing each of the proposed railroads huge, unusual land grants were all defeated in congressional committee. The potential fraud, encompassing five companies and over five hundred miles of railroad lines, all in Utah Territory, would have surely had the desired effect of non-Mormon control of the local economies.

During late 1872 and early 1873, in response to the sudden interest in Utah railroading by "outsiders", the Mormon church organized several railroads with similar routes and destinations as the five "land fraud" railroads. These new railroads were likely proposed more to occupy the territory, for political reasons, than for either the benefit of the community (as was the case for the other Mormon Roads) or the actual potential railroad traffic.

These railroads included the Juab, San Pete and Sevier Railroad Company which was organized on October 3, 1872, with Brigham Young as the principle shareholder. The newly chartered company was to build a narrow gauge railroad from Nephi, through Salt Creek Canyon into San Pete Valley. It would then proceed south to Marysvale for a total distance of about 120 miles, with a twelve mile branch to the coal beds near Fairview, a six mile branch to the coal beds near Wales, and a seven mile branch to Bullion, further south in Piute County. With the three branches the projected length of the railroad totaled about 140 miles.

President Young's plan was to begin grading the road and have it ready for rails by the time the Utah Southern Railroad had pushed its way south to Nephi, which was expected to be in 1873. His son, Joseph A. Young, joined him in the enterprise along with another son, LeGrand Young. Also in the enterprise was James Jack, Hiram B. Clawson, W. W. Riter, George A. Smith, Daniel H. Wells, George Q. Cannon, all of Salt Lake City, along with prominent church leaders in Sanpete county, Orson Hyde of Spring City, and George Peacock and A. J. Moffat, both of Manti.

In 1872 the rights to the coal mine at Wales were purchased by John T. Lynnch and C. C. Perkins, who were also officials of the Land Office in the federal territorial government in Salt Lake City. However, they were unable to develop the property by themselves and the venture failed. Two years later, in 1874, Lynnch and Perkins, along with others in Salt Lake City, and G. W. Clark and James A. Williamson of Des Moines, Iowa, reorganized the property as the San Pete Coal and Coke Company. The mine's new owners asked if the Utah Southern planned to continue its road south. They received assurances that the Utah Southern would be completed at least as far as Nephi by 1875. In response to this information the coal company also organized the San Pete Valley Railway Company on June 29, 1874 to transport their coal from the Wales mine to the Utah Southern Railroad at Nephi.

Work began immediately on expanding the operations of the coal mine, along with beginning the grading of the railroad's line between the new mine and the projected Utah Southern terminal at Nephi, by way of Salt Creek canyon. The coal from the Wales mine was quite "dirty", with thin layers of dirt and shale contained in the coal seams, and required the construction of a crushing and washing works at the mine to remove foreign material in the coal that would prevent it from becoming quality coke. The expansion work at the mine also included the needed beehive coking ovens to produce coke. Construction on the railroad grade was begun in early February 1875, but was halted later in the same year after it became known that the Utah Southern would not be extending its line south from its terminus of York. York (today's Juab siding) was about 2-1/2 miles south of the low ridge that separated Utah County from Juab County, and was only about 13 miles north of Nephi. The Utah Southern had been completed to that point on February 16, 1875 and the terminus remained there for another four years. Work had stopped at York because that was where the supply of rails had run out and finances were not available for the Utah Southern to purchase sufficient rails to allow completion of the line into Nephi. The southern terminal of the Utah Southern remained at York until January 1879 when Union Pacific interests assumed control of the road and organized the Utah Southern Railroad Extension to build south to the Horn Silver Mine at Frisco.

A second Mormon railroad for Sanpete, the Southeastern Railroad Company of Utah, was chartered on December 3, 1872. This road was to be built from a connection with Utah Southern at or near Springville, proceed up Spanish Fork Canyon, cross into San Pete Valley and follow the San Pitch River to the Sevier Valley, ending at on a point on the Sevier River about 100 miles from Springville. Prominent Mormons from Salt Lake City, Provo, Springville, and Payson organized this enterprise. They included William Jennings, Horace S. Eldredge, William H. Hooper, James T. Little, all of Salt Lake City, along with Hiram B. Clawson, also of Salt Lake City, who had also been involved in the earlier Juab, San Pete, and Sevier Railroad. Also involved, among others, was A. O. Smoot from Provo and William Bringhurst from Springville. After the "Negley Land Grab" came to light, the interest in the Salt Lake City and Manti Railroad faded, as did the interest in the two Mormon railroads proposed to counteract the venture.

San Pete Valley Railway

Clarence Reeder wrote the following in his 1970 dissertation, "The History Of Utah's Railroads, 1869 - 1883".

In 1874 the Sanpete Coal and Coke Company purchased the extensive coal fields around Wales and began development work. The mines were extended, roadways graded and otherwise improved, a large mill for crushing coal was built, and extensive coke works were erected. This company was headed by General G. W. Clark and J. A. Williamson of Des Moines, Iowa, and John H. Moore, John T. Lynch, C. C. Perkins and C. C. Clements of Salt Lake City. Realizing that extensive development of the mines depended on rail transportation to the Salt Lake City markets, they sought affirmation from the Utah Southern Railroad Company that it planned to continue its road south. They received assurances that the road would be extended, at least to Nephi, by 1875. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1878).

With this assurance they incorporated the Sanpete Valley Railroad Company on June 29, 1874, to build a narrow gauge railroad from Nephi into Sanpete Valley and then to Manti.

Work on this narrow gauge began early in 1875 in Salt Creek Canyon shortly after the Utah Southern started grading south from Provo. The Sanpeters were jubilant to see actual railroad grading underway; and the Nephites, looking forward to serving as the junction between the Utah Southern and Sanpete Valley railroads, bragged about the prospects of outgrowing Provo when the roads were joined. The lines were not finished, however, as the Utah Southern brought construction to a halt at York--fourteen miles north of Nephi, and all that the Sanpete Valley road was able to accomplish, under the direction of General Clark, was about twenty-five miles of grading. (Salt Lake Herald, February 7, 14, August 26, 1875; Salt Lake Tribune, September 10, 1875)

This failure brought bankruptcy to the Sanpete Coal and Coke Company and to the railroad it had sponsored; both were purchased by C. W. Bennett of Salt Lake City who engaged Simon Bamberger to operate the coal mines. He allowed the railroad to lie dormant; but Bamberger managed the mining concern successfully, and on discovering large beds of suitable clay on the company's property, added the manufacturing of fire brick to the thriving coal business. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1878)

When it seemed certain that the Utah Southern Railroad would be completed as far as Nephi by 1878, Mr. Bamberger began negotiations with several English gentlemen representing the Central Pacific Coal and Coke Company; and they agreed to provide finances to resurrect the Sanpete Valley Railroad. (Salt Lake Herald, November 25, 1877)

This company also purchased the Wales mines from Mr. Bennett and retained Simon Bamberger as manager of both the coal company and the renewed railroad. (Salt Lake Herald, May 29, June 15, 1880)

Grading of the roadbed began in the spring of 1880 but was still incomplete at the end of the year. The economy of Sanpete County was aided, however, by the regular pay received by the local grading crews. (Salt Lake Herald, May 17, June 15, July 2, September 2, 1880)

The roadbed was readied in 1881, however, and the first few miles of track was laid. The company ordered twenty freight cars from the Utah Central Railway Company in Salt Lake City, and a locomotive purchased from an eastern concern would soon "puff defiance at old Nebo." (Salt Lake Herald, May 21, August 23, 1881)

The Sanpete Valley Railroad was finally completed to Wales in early April of 1882, just in time for the Saints of Sanpete Valley to ride all the way to the L.D.S. General Conference in Salt Lake City on Gentile rails. Simon Bamberger continued to manage the road that became a feeder line for the Union Pacific controlled Utah Central Railway Company. A considerable quantity of coal was carried during the next two years until the mines played out and were abandoned in 1884. The road was extended to Moroni in 1884 and to Manti in 1893, and it served the economy of the Sanpete and Sevier valleys by carrying grain and other farm products to market. 

The low cost transportation of the mine's products over the San Pete Valley Railway included the assumed completion of the Utah Southern Railroad at Nephi, providing the San Pete company with the rail connection to the outside world. Utah Southern reached the southern end of Utah County in 1875, but was delayed until 1879 from completing its line further south, finally reaching Nephi on May 9, 1879. The costs of the San Pete Coal and Coke Company running the Wales mine soon exceeded the revenues that the company was able to obtain by freighting the coal to local markets and the hundred mile distance to Salt Lake City.

The failure of the Utah Southern to reach Nephi in 1875 brought about the bankruptcy of the San Pete Coal and Coke Company, along with the San Pete Valley Railway that it had sponsored. The bankruptcy for both companies ended when they were purchased by Charles W. Bennett, a successful Salt Lake City lawyer. Bennett hired Simon Bamberger, who forty years later would be elected as the Governor of the State of Utah, to manage the operations of both the railroad and the coal mine. Bamberger let the railroad lie dormant but was able keep the coal mine as a successful operation. A supply of clay was discovered on the mining company's property and Bamberger added the manufacture of fire brick to the company's thriving wagon-hauled coal and coke business. (Reeder, pp.356-358)

In 1878, with the renewed prospects of the completion of the Utah Southern to Nephi, the original San Pete Coal and Coke Company, which owned and controlled the San Pete Valley Railway, was reorganized as the Central Pacific Coal and Coke Company, Ltd., a British corporation organized and promoted in London. Charles Bennett had many contacts in London, from being an attorney for some of the silver mines in Utah that were owned by London citizens, and had journeyed to Britain in search of capital to expand the operations of the old San Pete Coal and Coke Company. The President of the Central Pacific Coal and Coke Company was Sir Henry Tyler, a prominent railroad and business man in London who was also President of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada.

The Utah Southern was finally completed to Nephi on May 9, 1879. The following November construction was resumed on the San Pete Valley Railway. Work on the line was shut down for the winter and began again the following spring of 1880, with the grading work being completed to Nephi in July 1880. (Salt Lake Herald, November 4, 1879; July 2, 1880)

The grading and roadbed preparation for the San Pete Valley Railway was completed by May 1881 and the first rails were laid in August. That same August company officials stated that the difficulty in procuring locomotives in the east was the chief obstacle to the completion of the line, which they expected by October 15, 1881. At the same time they said that the company was having twenty narrow gauge freight cars made in the Utah Central shops in Salt Lake City. The line was completed and the rails laid to the Wales mine in April 1882, just in time for the Latter Day Saints in San Pete Valley to use their new railroad as the first leg of their journey to the church's General Conference in Salt Lake City. The San Pete Valley Railway received its first locomotive, No. 1, a Baldwin 2-6-0, in December 1881. The second locomotive, the No. 2, also a Baldwin 2-6-0, purchased second-hand from a road in Illinois, came in January 1882. It is also interesting to note that because of the British connection, the rails that were laid had come from the other Wales, in England, by ship to San Francisco and then by railroad flatcar to Utah. At the time they may have been some of the last iron rails in the west, all the others having been replaced by steel rails.

Almost immediately it became apparent that the coal production from the Wales mine would not be able to support the demand produced by the low cost transportation provided by the railroad. By 1884, the coal in the Wales mine played out and the mine was closed. During the years that it was in production, beginning in 1878, the mine produced only about 4,000 tons per year. With the prospects of the coal traffic for the little San Pete Valley railroad coming to an end, Bamberger soon began making plans to build another railroad line to serve the agricultural region south of the Wales mine and to the surrounding towns of Moroni, Ephraim, and Manti.

(Read more about the California Short Line Railway)

With the failure of the California Short Line as anything other than being a "paper" railroad, Bamberger set about extending the San Pete Valley. The methods used by Bamberger to extend the road are unclear. While the California Short Line is not mentioned, H. S. Kerr later wrote that Bamberger instructed him in 1885 to pull up the track to the Wales mine and relay it as far along the route beyond Moroni as possible. (Manti Home Sentinel, May 8, 1885)

The San Pete Valley's rails between Draper Junction and the Wales mine were being taken up during June and used for the extension of the road beyond Moroni. (Manti Home Sentinel, June 15, 1885)

By mid June 1885 the San Pete Valley's line had been extended one and a half miles south of the California Short Line's terminal at Moroni, and was completed almost two miles farther to Chester in August 1885. A new timetable was issued, being in effect by August 17, 1885, adding thirty-five minutes to the schedule to allow for the extra distance between Moroni and Chester. Potential shippers were also cautioned that only car load lots would be accepted for Chester, pending completion of the station house. (Manti Home Sentinel, August 21, 1885)

In September 1885 Bamberger said that the road was "scarcely paying expenses", and that it would be extended to Manti if the people in the county would grade the route. At this time the trains of the San Pete Valley Railway would have been operating over their own tracks from Nephi to Draper Junction, then over the California Short Line between Draper Junction and Moroni, and again over their own tracks from Moroni to Chester. Bamberger must have set up an agreement between the two roads permitting such an operation, possibly the San Pete Valley was leasing the other road for operation, a common practice on some lines even today.

In April 1888 the railroad's, and the parent coal company's, Board of Directors in London became dissatisfied with Bamberger's methods of operations and replaced him as Manager of the coal mine and Superintendent of the San Pete Valley Railway in April 1888, two and a half years after the line had been extended to Chester. The English owners named Theodore Bruback as the new Manager of the coal mine, and Halbert S. Kerr (known as H. S.), previously the Construction Engineer, was named as the Superintendent of the railroad. Bruback had previously been the road's secretary. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 4, 1888)

In September 1888 Bamberger began a $70,000 litigation suit against the owners of the San Pete Valley Railway, to recover unpaid lease fees that Bamberger said were owed him by the San Pete Valley company for its operation of Bamberger's California Short Line. Bruback, as general manager of the San Pete Valley company, counter sued, saying that Bamberger had "embezzled" the funds and that the California Short Line had used rails and materials owned by the San Pete Valley company. After being named as the new Manager, Bruback had set about on a reorganization of the San Pete Valley but was delayed by the litigation with Bamberger. The legal problems were settled in late July and early August 1889, with the San Pete Valley company taking ownership of the "extension" between Draper and Moroni as part of the settlement.

By the time that the litigation was settled the road was in receivership and Bruback, while on a trip to London, learned that Charles Morrison was one of the principle bondholders. Bruback was successful in persuading Morrison to undertake a reorganization and buy out the others that were interested in both the coal company and the railroad. After the reorganization was completed Morrison became the sole owner of the San Pete Valley Railway, with the exception of a small minority being owned by Bruback, who remained as the president of the road.

There was still the need for railroad service further south in the San Pete Valley. To secure financial backing for the extension of the San Pete Valley Railway from Chester to Manti, on January 24, 1889 Bruback and Kerr organized the Utah and Arizona Railway. The stated purpose of the new railroad was to complete seventeen miles of railroad between Manti and the San Pete Valley Railway at Chester. This road came to nothing because Bruback was able to reorganize the San Pete Valley line with the help of Charles Morrison in Great Britain.

(Read the Utah & Arizona Railway corporate information)

In Kerr's later brief history of the railroad he stated that the intention of the Utah and Arizona Railway was to extend the line to a connection with the Santa Fe in Arizona. Theodore Bruback died in an accident at the Daly-Judge mine in Park City in February 1904, and H. S. Kerr left the San Pete Valley Railway at the same time, after twenty years of service. Kerr later wrote that six years later, in 1910 while on a business trip to London, he learned that Charles Morrison was then over ninety years of age and was one of the wealthiest men in Great Britain. Coincidentally, Morrison died while Kerr was still in London and Kerr regretted that Morrison could not have been persuaded to give the constantly struggling San Pete Valley Railway the support that it had needed to become a first class transportation system.

(Read the timeline for San Pete Valley Railway, 1874 to 1890)

Union Pacific Interest in San Pete Valley Railway


In 1890 Union Pacific became interested in the San Pete Valley Railway, mostly to block the efforts of rival roads in their efforts to expand to California, and to block Rio Grande Western's expansion into the region. The Rio Grande Western line south from Thistle was completed to Ephraim in December 1890; to Manti in May 1891; and to Salina in July 1891. Union Pacific's interest was based on their efforts to protect their interests in and around Salt Lake City, and to block the expansion of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe by connecting with the Rio Grande Western, through western Colorado and central Utah toward California.

According to Maury Klein, in his book "Union Pacific, The Birth of a Railroad," pages 594 and 595, Union Pacific took an option on the San Pete Valley Railway to give it a line that could be built into California. (Klein, pp. 594, 595)

April 1890
In April of 1890 the U.P. took over the San Pete Valley Railroad. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1891)

April 8, 1890
Union Pacific obtained an option to purchase the San Pete Valley Railway for $5,000.00. The money was also to be used towards Bruback's asking price of $225,000.00. The option took effect on July 14. (Salt Lake Evening Times, July 15, 1890)

April 14, 1890
"Sanpete Valley Sale -- The purchase of Sanpete Valley Railway by Union Pacific is understood to mean an early extension of the railroad to Manti, and possible further. The price paid is stated to be $120,000." (Deseret News, April 14, 1890)

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)

May 30, 1890
H. S. Kerr tells paper that the Union Pacific will take possession of San Pete Valley on June 1, 1890. (Manti Home Sentinel, May 30, 1890)

June 20, 1890
The San Pete Valley to go into UP hands. (Manti Home Sentinel, June 20, 1890)

July 11, 1890
"The transfer of the S P V Railway was made last Tuesday. We may now expect to hear of the extension of the road at some time in the near future." (Manti Home Sentinel, July 11, 1890)

July 14, 1890
Union Pacific took possession of San Pete Valley Railway. (Salt Lake Evening Times, July 15, 1890, "ownership transferred yesterday")

July 14, 1890
"Ownership of the San Pete Valley transferred to the Union Pacific yesterday." (Salt Lake Journal of Commerce, Volume 4, Number 1, July 15, 1890)

Charles Francis Adams, the president of Union Pacific who had been behind the option to buy the San Pete Valley company, retired in November 1890.

On July 16, 1891, an agreement was signed by both Sidney Dillon, president of the Union Pacific, and Bruback, for the San Pete Valley, stating that Bruback would turn over to the UP all stock in the San Pete Valley as soon as he was able to make his company free from all debt. Apparently Bruback was never able to gain full control of the San Pete Valley and the deal fell through. Also, by late 1892, Union Pacific was fully involved in protecting itself from its own bankruptcy.

By March 1898 when Union Pacific was itself coming out of bankruptcy, and as the accountants finished going over all of the company's financial records, they came across the $5,000.00 that had been paid to Bruback. They made comment about the money in their report saying, "Amount paid April 8, 1890 for option and toward the purchase of the San Pete Valley Railway property, which option seems not to have been exercised."

March 6, 1898
In the account books of the Utah & Northern foreclosure of the road's First Mortgage, Volume 2, on page 349, George Pitchard found the following reference: "San Pete Valley Rwy. Co. (Theodore Bruback) - $5,000.00" "Amount paid April 8, 1890, for option and toward the purchase of the San Pete Valley Railway property, which option seems not to have been exercised." The account entry was dated March 26, 1898, being the final report of the receivers.

San Pete Valley Railway, After 1891

The San Pete Valley Railway shut down its line each year for the winter season, in about December of every year. Each April the road would be reopened for service.

January 11, 1893
"A San Pete Raise." "Since the San Pete railroad went into winter quarters, ... the Rio Grande Western has taken advantage of the situation and slapped-up rates several notches. ...President Bruback ... is now in London trying to negotiate for money to operate and extend the line,..." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, January 11, 1893)

March 22, 1893
The Wales coal mine, opened in 1855, was still shipping coal, although it was very a primitive operation still using natural ventilation. There were four men working, and the mine shipped 700 tons during 1892. (Salt Lake Herald, March 22, 1893)

March 26, 1893
"Rumbles of the Railroads." "Temporary operations on the San Pete Valley Railroad will be resumed April 1st,... The rolling stock of the road has been lying idle in the shops at Moroni since the first of the year. ...Parry, Watson and several other old employees ... will operate the trains." (ed. note: At the time, the San Pete Valley road shut down every year from December to April.) (Pitchard, Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 26, 1893)

Early April 1893
The San Pete Valley started an expansion program, after "opening up" the road on April 1; shut down for the winter since December 1892. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 12, 1893)

April 12, 1893
The San Pete Valley railway, closed down in December of 1892, reopened about April 1st, primarily for conference traffic, and will continue running for the foreseeable future. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 12, 1893)

May 2, 1893
Central Pacific Coal and Coke Company was sold to Charles Morrison, who would also purchase the San Pete Valley Railway. The coal company owned 2,000 acres of land in Utah, and owed $40,000 in Utah ($25,000 to Bruback, the manager), and $60,000 in England. The railway company had never paid its own expenses, and to satisfy the English courts, Morrison and Bruback were to raise the funds needed to pay off the debt in Utah and in England, and extend the road to Manti, the only method available for the road to survive. By February 1897, Sanpete County itself had taken ownership of the coal lands formerly owned by the coal company, with H. S. Kerr asking for a rebate of the taxes he had paid for the coal company, and which was by then owned by the county. (Salt Lake Herald, January 4, 1894; Ephraim Enterprise, February 3, 1897)

May 28, 1893
The following comes from the May 28, 1893 issue of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.

Office Of The Sanpete Valley Railway company, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 27, 1893. Notice is hereby given to all parties having claims against either the Sanpete Valley Railway company, the Central Pacific Coal and Coke company, limited, of London, England, or the receivers thereof, that their accounts will be paid upon presentation to the undersigned. Theodore Bruback, President, Sanpete Valley Railway company.

June 3, 1893
Bruback says he has paid off every dollar of the San Pete Valley's debts since his return from London. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 3, 1893)

June 23, 1893
"The Union Pacific sent down a narrow gauge engine to Nephi yesterday for use on the San Pete Valley branch." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 23, 1893)

July 8, 1893
At the annual meeting to be held "today" at Nephi, the proposition of extending the road from Moroni to Manti was to be voted on. (Salt Lake Herald, July 8, 1893)

This was the first annual meeting of the reorganized San Pete Valley Railway, with Charles Morrison as principle owner and director.

August 14, 1893
"One of the San Pete Valley engines was turned out of the Union Pacific shops yesterday, having been entirely overhauled and repaired. It was tried on the Garfield run and proved satisfactory to Master Mechanic Patterson." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, August 14, 1893)

August 30, 1893
Work on extending the San Pete Valley company to Manti was under way, and was to be completed by September 15th. (Salt Lake Herald, August 30, 1893, quoting the Manti Sentinel)

September 5, 1893
Big celebration in Ephraim on September 5th to welcome the San Pete Valley to town. Theodore Bruback is the president and general manager. Regular trains are now running and expect to be in Manti in two weeks. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 6, 1893)

September 9, 1893
Union Pacific and San Pete Valley versus the Rio Grande Western in Ephraim, regarding the San Pete Valley company's expansion south from Moroni to Ephraim. Officers of the two roads, Clinton and Kerr of the San Pete Valley and Eccles of the UP, were "huddled" in Manti. (Manti Home Sentinel, September 9, 1893)

(Between Ephraim and Manti, the two railroads were very close, at times parallel, with San Pete Valley line being west of the Rio Grande Western line.)

September 13, 1893
San Pete Valley Timetable No. 11 effective Monday September 11, 1893. Two daily trains, one freight (in am) and one passenger (in pm), with timing so arranged that one engine could do it all. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 13, 1893)

September 13, 1893
The RGW does not want the San Pete Valley to get to Manti. San Pete Valley right-of-way is to the west of RGW all the way to Manti, so the RGW built a spur at Ephraim across the San Pete Valley route, and parked several empty boxcars thereupon, with a loco standing by. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 13, 1893)

September 17, 1893
The new timetable shows trains connecting with Utah Central at Nephi (which left Salt Lake City at 8:00 a.m.), leaving Nephi at 3:30 p.m. and arriving at Ephraim at 5:50 p.m. Trains leaving Ephraim departing at 12:40 p.m. and arriving at Nephi at 2:50 p.m., with a Salt Lake City arrival via Utah Central at 6:10 p.m. (Salt Lake Herald, September 17, 1893)

November 2, 1893
The San Pete Valley is negotiating for more cars and locomotives. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 2, 1893)

November 3, 1893
Dallas & Hedges, architects, have drawn up plans for the new San Pete Valley depots at Ephraim and Manti, which are about to be built. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 3, 1893)

November 3, 1893
Rails for 10 miles of track are en route, and "Some new locomotives and passenger coaches are being purchased..." (Manti Messenger, November 3, 1893)

November 11, 1893
Eighteen cars of rails for the San Pete Valley have arrived from the Carnegie works, Pittsburgh, and were sent on to Ephraim yesterday. The grade to Manti completed, and ties nearly all laid. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 11, 1893)

November 17, 1893
H. S. Kerr, of S.P.V., is in Manti arranging for depot grounds, and so forth; rail has arrived at Ephraim, and will likely have track into Manti by December 1st. The rail came by way of Nephi, about 20 cars in all. (Manti Messenger, November 17, 1893)

November 22, 1893
No. 1 runs Nephi to Ephraim; No. 2 runs the other way, naturally enough. (Ephraim Enterprise, November 22, 1893)

November 22, 1893
New depot at Ephraim, San Pete Valley, is nearly done, and then the crews will go to Manti and build the one there. (Ephraim Enterprise, November 22, 1893)

November 24, 1893
Plans for the depot at Manti are done, and the building will start soon; there are about 80 men at work on the extension to Manti. (Manti Messenger, November 24, 1893)

November 28, 1893
San Pete Valley to be completed to Manti today. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 28, 1893)

(About a half-mile north of Manti, the San Pete Valley narrow gauge line crossed the Rio Grande Western standard gauge line.)

November 29, 1893
The San Pete Valley Railroad arrived in Manti on Wednesday November 29, 1893; at 4:00 pm the first passenger train arrived, with conductor Charles Abbott in charge; San Pete Valley president Theo Bruback, V.P. James Clinton, secretary R. L. Scannell, director George Cullins and many others on board. The depot will be completed in a few days, and the water tank, sidings, and such, are being built now. (Manti Messenger, December 1, 1893; Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 2, 1893)

December 15, 1893
Pacific Express opened an office in Manti. (Manti Messenger, December 15, 1893)

In January 1894 the expansion of the San Pete Valley continued when the road issued $75,000 in bonds (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 9, 1894) and bought a new (narrow gauge) locomotive, which was received at Nephi on January 18th. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 19, 1894)

Also in January 1894, the little road was feeling the pinch of being left out in the cold, financially. With the bankruptcy and receivership of the Union Pacific in October 1893, the UP lost its interest in the little narrow gauge line, having never exercised the purchase option from 1890. The local press reported in mid January 1894 that the Union Pacific and the Rio Grande Western "are in league with each other to freeze out the SPV".

January 1, 1894
The San Pete Valley added 17 miles in 1893, Chester to Manti. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1894)

January 9, 1894
The San Pete Valley has issued $75,000 in $1,000 bonds. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 9, 1894)

January 9, 1894
Bruback speaking at a meeting in Manti on the evening of January 9th: He has recently purchased a locomotive, a passenger coach, ten box cars, six stock cars and four flat cars. (Ephraim Enterprise, January 10, 1894; Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 11, 1894; Manti Messenger, January 12, 1894)

January 16, 1894
R. L. Scannell, Secretary of San Pete Valley, in an interview in Salt Lake City: The narrow gauge engine was purchased for cash. It was tested in Salt Lake City on January 15th, and was to go down to Nephi on January 16th via the Union Pacific. The San Pete Valley also purchased a combination coach and 10 boxcars, which have all been paid for. At present, Union Pacific and Rio Grande Western are in league with each other in trying to freeze out the San Pete Valley, so all freight and passengers on the San Pete Valley, going between Manti, Ephraim and Nephi, are carried free. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 16, 1894)

January 19, 1894
The new San Pete Valley engine went down yesterday - will be used at once. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 19, 1894)

January 26, 1894
Letter from Manti, dated 25th, notes in passing that the new equipment is being painted and lettered. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 26, 1894)

January 26, 1894
"The San Pete Valley railway is now fitted up with new and complete rolling stock. The new engine and combination coach make a fine appearance as they glide over the little road with their loads of passengers." (Manti Messenger, January 26, 1894)

January 26, 1894
Timetable No. 12, effective December 14, 1893, shows service to Manti. (Manti Messenger, January 26, 1894)

January 28, 1894
"Railway Notes." "The Sanpete Valley Railway company have lately received a new engine, a new passenger coach, ten new freight cars and a number of cattle cars.-Ephraim Enterprise." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, January 28, 1894)

February 18, 1894
A new timetable for San Pete Valley Railway, with connections to Utah Central at Nephi (Salt Lake Herald, February 15, 1894):

Leave Salt Lake City via Utah Central, 8:00 a.m.
Leave Nephi, 11:25 a.m.
Arrive Manti, 2:05 p.m.
Leave Manti, 8:00 a.m.
Arrive Nephi, 10:40 a.m.

April 20, 1894
C. V. Clinton resigns as agent of San Pete Valley at Manti and goes to U.P. at Juab; Owen Taylor takes the Manti job. (Manti Messenger, April 20, 1894)

May 1894
The San Pete Valley was reorganized with new owners, with Thomas Bruback still General Manager and Superintendent, and amended its articles of incorporation to show Salt Lake City as its northern terminus and a point on the Utah-Nevada line in Washington County as its southern terminus, with a three mile branchline from Sterling, Utah, up Six Mile Canyon to the coal lands of the Sterling Coal and Coke Company.

Morrison, the settlement that grew up at the coal mine in Six Mile Canyon, was named for Charles Morrison, the majority shareholder in both the railroad and the coal mining company, who was living in Great Britain.

May 25, 1894
"President Bruback, of the Sanpete Valley railroad, and a corps of engineers, arrived at Manti on Tuesday (May 22nd), and are at work surveying the proposed route to the (Morrison) coal mines." (Salt Lake Herald, May 25, 1894)

July 29, 1894
San Pete Valley -- contracts let for extension to Morrison -- Henry Beal of Ephraim to do grading, and ties for the eight mile line, 25,000 of them, are contracted for. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 29, 1894)

August 1894
The construction of the branch to Morrison was the only extension that the San Pete Valley would be able to complete. Construction was begun in August 1894.

August 31, 1894
Grading on the S.P.V. -- contract to expire on Sept 15th. Tracklaying to begin soon on line to Morrison; complete by October 1, 1894. (Manti Messenger, August 31, 1894)

September 7, 1894
From Timetable No. 13, effective February 18, 1894. (Manti Messenger, September 7, 1894):

South Stations North
11:25am Nephi 10:40am
11:30 Gypsum 10:35
12:10pm Holloway 10:00
12:25 Phoenix 9:53
12:27 Fountain Green 9:48
12:40 Draper 9:30
12:55 Moroni 9:15
1:06 Chester 9:00
1:23 Sand Ridge 8:45
1:40 Ephraim 8:35
  RGW crossing  
2:05pm Manti 8:00am

Train runs daily.

H. S. Kerr, Gen. Supt.

Theodore Bruback, President.

September 16, 1894
The following comes from the September 16, 1894 issue of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.

President Bruback and Secretary Scannell, of the Sanpete Valley railroad left for London last night for the purpose of meeting with the foreign stockholders of the company and attending to some special business in connection with the proposed further extensions of the road.

The grade for the eight mile extension to the coal fields south to Mann was completed last night and the ties are being distributed along the roadbed. Within the next week or two the rails for the extension will be delivered upon the ground and track laying will commence immediately following.

October 19, 1894
Robert L. Scannell, secretary of the San Pete Valley, while on a business trip to London with Bruback on railroad matters, died in London on the 6th of October, and was buried there. (Manti Messenger, October 19, 1894)

November 2, 1894
Five miles of the track to Morrison is laid, and now awaiting more rail. (Manti Messenger, November 2, 1894)

November 2, 1894
The last rail on the San Pete Valley road's extension to Morrison was laid. San Pete Valley completed their line to the Sterling coal mines at Morrison on November 2, 1894. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 3, 1894, "yesterday")

November 7, 1894
First passenger train over new line to Morrison. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 8, 1894, "yesterday")

November 7, 1894
The first official train was operated into Morrison on November 7, 1894. The plan of building the line from Salt Lake City south to the Arizona border never came to anything.

November 9, 1894
Line to Morrison is completed; the first train was on the 7th; there are at least two locomotives in operation at this time. Walter Stringham took photos of "The first train over the San Pete Valley to Morrison", one on bridge over Six Mile Creek, another in the canyon, and others. (Manti Messenger, November 9, 1894)

November 11, 1894
"In Railway Circles. Initial Trip Over The New San Pete Valley Branch. From Morrison to Moroni there is little grade and few fills, so they did not have to bother with that portion of the line. But from Moroni to Fountain Green there are fills and cuts which will require estimates. From Moroni to Morrison every third tie is standard gauge, thus making it an easy task to widen out." "Chester, Nov. 9. The writer was among those who responded to the invitation of the Sanpete Valley railway to run the initial trip on their extension to Morrison, the coal mines of the company. Starting from Manti at 3 p.m., the train traversed five miles of the main line destined to be extended south to the coast. At this point it took the spur of three miles to Morrison. At 5 p. m. the whistle blew and the train moved over a most excellent roadbed supervised by Henry Beal, Esq., of Ephraim, at the rate of forty miles an hour to Manti." (Salt Lake Herald, November 11, 1894)

Timetable No. 15 in effect August 11, 1895.

January 1, 1895
San Pete Valley -- 25 miles of track laid in 1893 and 1894, most of it, according to the paper, on standard gauge ties; S. T. Pearson is now the secretary, to replace R. L. Scannell, who died in London in October 1894. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1895)

October 1, 1895
"The Union Pacific sends down another narrow gauge passenger coach on No. 1 this morning for use on the conference specials an the San Pete Valley, which start today." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 1, 1895)

Timetable No. 16 in effect November 17, 1895.

Bruback had made at least two trips to London during 1895, conferring with the owners of the railroad and the coal mine concerning the prospects of both companies, especially the extension of the railroad as a broad gauge line north from Nephi to Salt Lake City, and south from Morrison to Monroe.

Converted To Standard Gauge

In 1896, Bruback and Kerr had been able to convince the English owners that they should improve the competitiveness of the railroad by converting it from three feet narrow gauge to four feet eight and a half inches standard gauge. Planning apparently began as early as mid February 1896, since in its summary of 1896, the January 1, 1897 Salt Lake Tribune showed February 17, 1896 as the day that "The San Pete Valley road commences to broaden its gauge." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1897, "1896 Chronology")

The conversion from three-feet narrow gauge to standard gauge was completed in two days, on July 7 to 9, 1896. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 10, 1896, "yesterday")

The extension of the line to Ephraim, Manti, and Morrison had been constructed using standard gauge length ties, with the intention of converting the line to standard gauge as soon as possible. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1895)

With the conversion of the San Pete Valley Railway from narrow gauge to standard gauge in July 1896, this left the Utah Central, between Salt Lake City and Park City, controlled by the Rio Grade Western, and the Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern's former Utah and Nevada line, between Salt Lake City and Tooele, as the only remaining narrow gauge roads in the state. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1897)

February 18, 1896
"Local Summary. Sanpete Valley railroad begins work on its change to broad gauge." (Salt Lake Tribune, February 18, 1896)

February 22, 1896
"S. T. Pearson of the Sanpete Valley railroad returned from the south Friday night and reports that the company is now employing fifty teams in grading for the broad-gauging of the road between Nephi and Chester, which change will probably be made some time In May." "The coal mines owned by the Sterling Coal company are also looking well and are showing up better every day as work progresses. At present the company is shipping about 700 tons a month." (Salt Lake Tribune, February 22, 1896)

February 29, 1896
The San Pete Valley Railway issued $250,000 in bonds to pay for the change to broad gauge. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 29, 1896)

July 1, 1896
"Sanpete Engines Arrive. Nephi, Utah, July 1. This afternoon's freight brought in two new engines for the Sanpete Valley road from the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia. They are eight-wheelers, monsters, and will do the work. A machinist from the Baldwin shops came through with them, and will remain here to set the engines up. A big crowd came down to see their arrival. A full force will be put on Monday morning to throw the rails. Within the past three months an immense amount of work has been done and the road will be first class in every particular." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 1896)

Baldwin builder records show that the two engines were shipped on June 18, 1896.

July 7, 1896
"Sanpete Improvement. Begin Changing The Gauge Today. New Equipment Comes Into Operation. The new motive power for the Sanpete Valley having arrived, the work of widening the gauge will be commenced today. Superintendent Kerr has a good-sized force ready for the work, and by Thursday night the last vestige of the narrow gauge road, which has operated through the valley for over fifteen years, will have disappeared and in its place a broad gauge road with modern equipment will be operated between Nephi, Manti and Morrison, enabling the company to run passenger and stock trains through to Salt Lake without transferring at Nephi." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 7, 1896)

July 9, 1896
The following comes from the July 10, 1896 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.

Now A Broad-Gauge. Sanpete Valley Road Up To Date. New Locomotives Prove Satisfactory.

The Sanpete Valley railroad completed the change in its gauge yesterday. Hereafter the road will be run as a standard-gauge line with new standard gauge equipment. The improvement will be of great benefit to passengers, and shippers as in many eases it will do away with the transfer to the Union Pacific at Nephi. Wool and livestock can be loaded it any station on the line and shipped through to the East without change and merchandise will he shipped directly into the valley in the same way.

The track force will work at present on straightening up the new track between Nephi end Manti and then the road from Manti to Morrison will be made standard-gauge.

The two new engines from the Baldwin works are highly satisfactory in their work. They are of the Consolidation type of ten wheels each and built expressly for the heavy grades on this road in Salt Creek canyon.

Business can he carried on over the road at once but, it will be a week or two before it can be properly ballasted for quick and regular service.

July 22, 1896
"Sanpete Valley Ballasting its Roadbed. New Box Car Equipment. A large force of men is at work on the Sanpete Valley road. Their attention for the last week has been given to ballasting the broadened roadbed. The grade and track have both been leveled up and the line is being put in first class condition. The company has just received a supply of new standard-gauge boxcars of the latest design, supplied with all up-to-date appliances." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 22, 1896)

January 22, 1898
The S.P.V. has its old narrow gauge equipment stored at Manti; the paper thinks that both the Utah Central and the Garfield line will be widened this year, so "Narrow gauge equipment will soon be cheap in Utah." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 22, 1898)

October 19, 1898
"The Sanpete Valley is overhauling and refitting a passenger coach at its Nephi shops. The old passenger schedule is to be resumed, and the new coach will be placed in service." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 19, 1898)

April 15, 1899
"San Pete Engines Sold" "The San Pete Valley railway yesterday sold to the Sumpter Valley railway two narrow-gauge locomotives. They will be shipped to Baker City early next week. These two engines are the 106 and 107, and were in service on the road up to the time it was broad-gauged, since then being in the sheds at Manti. Both are in good condition and are well adapted to mountain work. They will be put in service at once on the Sumpter Valley line. It will break the hearts of Billy Watson and Sam Parry to see old 107 go to Oregon, for they declare her to be the best narrow-gauge that ever climbed a mountain." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 15, 1899)

April 22, 1899
"The S.P.V.Ry. have sold two of their narrow gauge locomotives. They will be shipped to Oregon before long." (Manti Messenger, April 22, 1899)

April 24, 1899
"The two San Pete Valley engines sold to the Sumpter Valley road will go north in a day or two." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 24, 1899)

In 1899 the San Pete Valley road built a spur connecting with the northern portion of its line in Salt Creek Canyon, east of Nephi. The spur was completed to the Mount Nebo stone quarry in Salt Creek Canyon. The cash for the construction of the Mount Nebo Spur most likely came from the sale of the some of the railroad's old narrow gauge equipment to the Sumpter Valley Railway. The sale of equipment to Oregon included the two narrow gauge locomotives and the remaining narrow gauge cars, none of which had seen service since the conversion of gauges in 1896.

The San Pete Valley is to build a six-mile branch up Andrews canyon to stone quarries. David Eccles (Oregon Lumber Co.) is to supply the ties and other timber, and rail is to acme from the OSL. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 14, 1899)

May 20, 1899
Tracklaying on the San Pete Valley's Mt. Nebo Branch, up Andrews Canyon, began yesterday. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 20, 1899)

May 25, 1899
A mile of track has been laid on the SPV's new branch up Andrews Canyon. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 25, 1899)

June 26, 1899
The San Pete Valley's Mt. Nebo branch, up Andrews canyon, is nearing completion. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 26, 1899)

September 18, 1899
The San Pete Valley is doing a good business on its new Mt. Nebo branch to the quarries in Andrews canyon. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 18, 1899)

December 31, 1899
S.P.V. have two engines and 26 cars. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 31, 1899)

April 4, 1900
"New Stone Industry." "San Pete Valley Railway Creating Heavy Traffic." "The San Pete Valley railway has been developing a good traffic in building stone. Ever since constructing the Mount Nebo quarry spur last year,... Its latest contract is for transporting the 1,200 tons of white oolite stone to be used in the erection of Thomas Kearns' palatial residence. This stone will be quarried by E. L. Parry & Sons, of Ephraim."(Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 4, 1900)

February 18, 1904
Theodore Bruback passed away, after falling while climbing a ladder at the Daly-Judge mine in Park City. He fell 15 feet, landing on his head and broke his neck. He was only 45 years of age at the time of his death. In accordance with his will, all of Bruback's interest in San Pete Valley Railway, Sterling Coal and Coke Company, and Mt. Nebo Brown Stone Company passed to Charles Morrison of London. (Salt Lake Herald, February 7, 1905, Probate)

Bruback's accidental death was carried in all Utah-area newspapers, and across the nation in numerous other newspapers, including the New York Times.

October 1906
There were reports that Senator W. A. Clark, majority owner of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad had purchased the San Pete Valley Railroad in October 1906. He also had valuable coal holdings in the area. (Eastern Utah Advocate, October 11, 1906, "Clark After Emery Road")

November 1906
Later the same newspaper carried the story that the Salt Lake Garfield and Western, whose line ran due west from Salt Lake City, to the Saltair resort on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, had taken an option on the San Pete Valley to allow the Garfield to enter the coal fields beyond Sterling. (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 1, 1906, "May Penetrate Emery County")

January 21, 1910
The San Pete Valley Railway was dissolved as a corporation, in accordance with both a federal law, and a state law that all active corporations file with the Internal Revenue Service, and file an annual

D&RGW San Pete Valley Branch

June 1, 1907
The San Pete Valley was sold to a syndicate of eastern and Utah capitalists. The purchase included the San Pete Valley railroad, Sterling Coal and Coke Company, and Mt. Nebo Stone Company, with the purchase price being $1 million. (Salt Lake Herald, June 2, 1907, "yesterday"; Eastern Utah Advocate, June 6, 1907, "Buys Out Railroad")

Charles Morrison, of London, was shown as being 94 years old, and the third richest man in England. Morrison had paid little attention to the well-being of the railroad in Utah. The road's vice president was John William Young, also of London, was in Salt Lake City for the transfer of ownership. The sale took effect on Monday June 3, 1907. The group of eastern investors was represented by T. H. Fitzgerald of Salt Lake City, who had taken a close interest in the railroad, along with F. R. Coates, formerly the chief engineer of the Great Western Railway in England, and lately of the Wallace-Coates Construction company of Chicago. Coates was also one of the investors. The San Pete Valley company was to be extended eastward from the Morrison coal fields, to the Ferron coal fields. Later events show that this sale was actually only an option to purchase the road, and the option was allowed to lapse.

On July 11, 1907 T. H. Fitzgerald sued Morrison to recover the $20,000 of the original $25,000 he and the group of investors had paid Morrison, as part of the purchase price of $267,000, and on Monday December 13, 1909, the district court at Salt Lake City found in favor of Fitzgerald's claim, and the escrow bank in New York City returned the money to Fitzgerald. The sales contract signed on June 1, 1907 had stipulated that $5,000 was to be surrendered if the deal fell through, but that $20,000 would be returned. (Deseret Evening News, December 14, 1909; Salt Lake Herald Republican, December 14, 1909)

September 16, 1907
The San Pete Valley railway was sold to Rio Grande Western on September 16, 1907, and the transaction, which took place in New York City, was made public on Saturday September 28, 1907. Present at the sale in New York were J. W. Young, Morrison's representative, and Gould and Jeffery representing the RGW. The sale took effect immediately, and the San Pete Valley road was being operated by RGW. In addition to the San Pete Valley railroad, the sale included the Sterling Coal and Coke Company, and Mt. Nebo quarries. Unlike previous rumored attempts to buy the railroad, including an option to T. H. Fitzgerald on June 1st that had lapsed, this sale was final and complete. The purchase price was rumored as being $1 million. (Ephraim Enterprise, October 3, 1907; Eastern Utah Advocate, October 3, 1907, "Western Takes San Pete Valley")

After the San Pete Valley Railway became part of Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in July 1908, the former San Pete Valley Railway between Nephi and Ephraim became D&RG's San Pete Valley Branch.

D&RGW abandoned its San Pete Valley Branch, between Nephi and Moroni, in December 1947.

The western portion, 1.9 miles in length, between the UP connection at Nephi and the plaster mill of U. S. Gypsum Company at the mouth of Salt Creek Canyon, was sold to Union Pacific. UP continued to serve the plaster mill until October 1953, when they abandoned the spur, which ran down the middle of Nephi's main east-west thoroughfare, First North Street, which was also designated as Utah Highway 132.

(Read more about Rio Grande's San Pete Valley Branch)

(Read more about Rio Grande's Marysvale Branch)

Failed Attempts To Renovate Line

Following the abandonment of operations of the Marysvale Branch by Rio Grande in April 1983, the branch stood empty. The 20 shippers on the line were forced to use trucks, at a higher cost of transportation. In late 1985, several investors put together a plan for the State of Utah to purchase the line, then lease it to their organization for operation. They would build a new connection between the old Marysvale line and the Union Pacific at Nephi. The projected cost of the plan to establish a new railroad in the area was put at $30 to $33 million, but the group felt that the potential revenue would pay for the start up costs. (CTC Board, November 1985, p,11)

(Read more about the fate of D&RGW's Marysvale Branch after the 1983 Thistle slide)


San Pete Valley Railway Timeline -- A timeline of events, 1874-1908, on San Pete Valley Railway, drawn mostly from newspaper accounts, including separte links to the years 1890-1891 while controlled by Union Pacific, and after 1891.


San Pete Valley Railway Locomotives -- A roster listing of San Pete Valley Railway locomotives.

To be researched...

San Pete or Sanpete?

The two word version, San Pete, generally comes from older sources such as Post Office Guides, gazetteers and U. S. Geologic Survey books and maps. Newspapers of the pre-World War I era use the two-word version in their title. Most sources from the 1920s to modern times use the one word version. The articles of incorporation for the railroad specifically show the two-word version, and sources from the 1800s, too numerous to list, also use the two-word version.

It should be noted that the Deseret News newspaper, and the later Deseret Evening News, used the two-word version from the 1850s to about 1863, then the one-word version as early as 1865, and throughout the 1880s and 1890s. Whenever the newspaper referred to the railroad, it was always the two-word version.

Charles Morrison

May 25, 1909
Charles Morrison died on May 25, 1909, at age 92. He never married and never had children. His estate went to his sister and brother, nephews and nieces. (The Guardian, London, June 5, 1909)

January 21, 1910
London millionaires who die after living quietly and unknown. "Such a one was Charles Morrison, who spent his life in a dingy city office and died leaving one of the greatest fortunes in England." (Vancouver [British Columbia] Province, January 21, 1910)

Theodore Bruback

From "A History Of Utah, In Four Volumes," by Orson F. Whitney. 1904, pages 515-516...

Thomas Bruback became President and General Manager of the Sanpete Valley Railway in 1887, when it was a poorly constructed, badly equipped, narrow gauge "streak of rust," which had been unprofitable from its construction until that time. Bruback took over this property (only twenty miles in length), broadened the gauge, reconstructed it entirely and extended it, until at the present it has become a standard gauge, well constructed and finely equipped railway, some sixty miles in length, doing a profitable business, which bids fair to increase as the years go by.

Bruback developed a coal mine at Morrison, the terminus of the Sanpete Valley Railway. He developed the Nebo Brown Stone Quarry, of which he is the chief owner, and placed upon the market the finest brown stone found west of the Rocky mountains; the stone was used in the construction of Deseret News building, one of the finest buildings west of the Mississippi river.

Bruback created the Gold Belt Water Company, which supplies the mines, mills and town of Mercur with water, making it possible to live there and operate mines in the most economical manner.

Bruback was born in Pittsburg. Pennsylvania, March 7, 1851. He came west in 1877 and engaged in the mining and stock business in Wyoming Territory, where he was one of the pioneers for many years. He settled at Salt Lake City in 1886. During that year he married Jessie White McLane, daughter of Colonel John W. McLane, one of the heroes of the Civil War. Colonel Bruback has two children, Theodore McLane and Jessie Elizabeth.

February 18, 1904
Theodore Bruback passed away, after falling while climbing a ladder at the Daly-Judge mine in Park City. He fell 15 feet, landing on his head and broke his neck. He was only 45 years of age at the time of his death. In accordance with his will, all of Bruback's interest in San Pete Valley Railway, Sterling Coal and Coke Company, and Mt. Nebo Brown Stone Company passed to Charles Morrison of London. (Salt Lake Herald, February 7, 1905, Probate)

Bruback's accidental death was carried in all Utah-area newspapers, and across the nation in numerous other newspapers, including the New York Times.


San Pete Valley Railroads -- A Google Map of San Pete Valley Railroads; San Pete Valley Railway (in red); shown with D&RGW Marysvale Branch (in blue).

More Information

San Pete Valley Railway, Kerr -- First person account of the history of San Pete Valley Railway, by H. S. Kerr, the road's superintendent, published in 1940; includes his obituary.

San Pete Valley Railway Corporate Information

Reeder Manuscript -- Information about San Pete Valley Railway in Clarence Reeder's PhD dissertation.

Golden Spike on SPV -- Comments by Garrie Tufford, concerning the non-event driving of the golden spike for San Pete Valley Railway.

San Pete Valley entry from George W. Hilton's American Narrow Gauge Railroads (Stanford University Press, 1990)

D&RGW Utah Branchlines, San Pete Valley Branch -- Station names and mile posts along the D&RGW San Pete Valley Branch

"Rather A Curious One: Remembering Utah's Sanpete Valley Railway" by Richard Francaviglia, in Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, Number 1, Winter 2003, page 52