Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway (1883-1897)

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The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway was organized in 1883. The road's general route was along 800 South in Salt Lake City east from the D&RG mainline at 700 West, to 700 East, then along 700 East to 900 South, then along 900 South to about 1000 East. It split there, with one line turning north mostly along 1000 East, meandering up the bench to about 1300 East and 2nd Avenue, then looping back and entering Fort Douglas, then across Fort Douglas to Red Butte Canyon. A depot was built at 800 South and Main Street, although the exact location is not known at this time. At the same location, in 1890 the railroad (by this time, known as the Utah Central) built an engine house and a wye track.

The Salt Lake & Eastern Railway was built from the junction at 900 South and 1000 east, south generally along the west bank of the Jordan & Salt Lake Canal (along today's McClelland Street), to where the alignment became today's Highland Drive at 2100 South. It continued along the canal (Highland Drive) to the alignment of Parleys Creek. The Utah State Penitentiary was located in the block along 2100 South east of 1300 East, so whenever the south end of the line is mentioned, the Penitentiary is also mentioned, although the tracks actually continued farther south to Parleys Creek. The SL&E continued east along Parleys Creek and Parleys Canyon, all the way to Park City.

In 1891, a third rail was laid along side the narrow gauge rails to allow standard gauge cars of the Rio Grande Western to serve the "suburban points" to allow RGW excursion trains to operate directly between the southeast Salt Lake City suburbs and RGW's Lake Park Resort west of Farmington.

Financial problems for the Utah Central Railway began in 1893, like so many other western roads that depended on Eastern investors for their expansion funding. Rio Grande Western began investing in the road to improve its access to the Park City ore traffic, and soon controlled it. In 1894 the road's receiver made the decision that the road needed to be standard gauge, and they started making the needed improvements in the form of heavier and larger equipment, that would allow more traffic to be moved, along with widening the cuts and fills, and rebuilding the many bridges along the line.

The Utah Central Railway was reorganized as the Utah Central Railroad in December 1897. It was still narrow gauge at the time, and the reorganization was to finance the conversion to standard gauge. The new railroad was completely controlled by Rio Grande Western Railway, and with that road's deep pockets, the pace of the improvements increased, including a tunnel under the summit of Parleys Canyon. The conversion to standard gauge was completed in July 1900.

The trains stopped running north of 900 South to Fort Douglas by early 1895. In November 1896, the city council ordered the railroad to remove the tracks, in accordance with the franchise given to it in late 1883. They started removing the tracks north of 900 South in March 1897.

The line along the canal between 900 South and Sugar House was replaced by the RGW's Sugar House Branch in March 1901, being the east-west track along 2200 South between Sugar House and Roper Yard at 700 West. The tracks were removed between 900 South and Sugar House, and along 800 South to the mainline at 500 West in June 1901.

At Sugar House, after the Sugar House Branch was completed in 1901, RGW built a branch south along the already completed SL&E grade, to the site of the Salt Lake Pressed Brick Company (later Interstate Brick Company) at about 3000 South and 1100 East. The "Brickyard Branch" was in service until at least the late 1960s. Interstate Brick closed the site in November 1972 and moved to West Jordan. The site is now the Brickyard Plaza shopping mall.

After the September 1888 organization of Salt Lake & Eastern Railway, the operating departments and locomotive rosters of the two companies (SL&FD and SL&E) were apparently operated as one company, sharing the "mainline" from the D&RGW connection east along 800 South and 900 South. The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas split off at 900 South and 1000 East and turned north and east to reach the fort and the quarries in Red Butte and Emigration canyons. Salt Lake & Eastern split off and turned south along the Jordan & Salt Lake Canal to reach Sugar House and the line being constructed east up Parleys Canyon to Park City. This was the apparent operation from September 1888 until April 1890 when Utah Central Railway was organized, with Salt Lake & Fort Douglas becoming a separate company. More research is needed to find how SL&FD was operated after 1890, and until it was torn out in 1897.


September 15, 1883
The first Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway was organized by Union Pacific interests to build a railroad into Red Butte and Emigration canyons to access the building stone quarries. (Utah incorporation index 246)

This first SL&FD was organized by Union Pacific interests as a competitive move to keep the newly completed D&RGW from building along the same route. The line was usually referred to as a branch of UP's Utah Central.

September 29, 1883
Incorporation papers filed yesterday for the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway Company, in office of Secretary Thomas. Road is to be three-rail to the Fort, narrow gauge beyond into Red Butte and Emigration canyons. (Earlier in the paper had been discussion of a branch of the Utah Central, to do what the SL&FD is now going to do; the Utah Central branch was also to be dual gauge.) (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 30, 1883, "yesterday")

December 12, 1883
"Right of Way Asked" by Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway Company in a petition dated December 10, 1883, handed to City Council on December 11, 1883; the railroad's line was to run from Utah Central Railway to Red Butte and Emigration canyons. (Salt Lake Evening Chronicle, December 12, 1883)

December 16, 1883
"Red Butte Rock Railway," which is the "proposed Salt Lake and Fort Douglas railway,..." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, December 16, 1883)

January 3, 1884
Committee has recommended against SL&FD petition, above. (Salt Lake Evening Chronicle, January 3, 1884)

October 23, 1884
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway changed its route to include D&RGW as a connection in Salt Lake City, and Big Cottonwood Canyon as a terminal at its far end. (Utah incorporation index 246)

This date in October 1884 was when John W. Young became one of the company's directors and majority shareholders. At about the same time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also became heavily invested in the finances of the company. The church's investment came after an October 4, 1884 meeting between John W. Young and George Q. Cannon, one of the Twelve Apostles of the church.

December 2, 1884
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway was organized to purchase the interests of the earlier Union Pacific-controlled company by the same name. This second company was controlled by John W. Young, holding 291 of the initial 300 shares.. (Utah incorporation index 246)

January 14, 1885
According to Stayner, John W. Young is in San Francisco to arrange for rail for the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas railroad. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, January 14, 1885)

February 25, 1885
"This morning, we saw at the depot, an engine which is to be used on the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway. It is one of the smallest locomotives that ever came to this country, being almost a toy in comparison with the giant iron engines in use on the Union Pacific." (Ogden Herald, February 25, 1885)

February 28, 1885
"The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas railroad continues its operations. An engine belonging to the Company has made its appearance, and it is expected that by next week rails will be laid along the track." (Salt Lake Herald, February 28, 1885)

August 4, 1886
"That still-born affair, engine No. 1 of the Salt Lake & Ft Douglas Railroad, has been fired out of the Western's roundhouse, and unless it is called for pretty soon, it will find its own and proper abode in the scrap-heap." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, August 4, 1886)

August 11, 1886
"The rails of the Fort Douglas railway, laid on Eighth South Street, were utilized yesterday for the first time by the D.& R.G., in carrying passengers from the lower wards to Lake Park resort." (Salt Lake Herald, August 11, 1886)

November 20, 1886
"The engine needs a patch on the boiler, so Bro. Croft says & so says Bro. McDonald. Shall it be done? or will you make other arrangements for power? The D & R G people have needed the roundhouse room and have set the Engine outside." (Letter, Stayner to JWY, November 20, 1886, Letterbook, MS 1237, box 2, fd 4, page 235, LDS Church Historian's Office)

From late November 1886, when it was first used, through mid October 1887, when an additional locomotive arrived, SL&FD's very small locomotive, purchased secondhand from an as yet unknown source, was found to be in very poor condition. It was repaired by D&RGW in the shops in Salt Lake City, apparently on several occasions. Even with the repairs completed, the locomotive was severely underpowered for the work it was needed for, and its limited ability to move only small numbers of rail cars loaded with construction materials caused of small numerous delays in the completion of the railroad.

December 1, 1886
"Grading was began yesterday on the Fort Douglas Railway, near the brewery." ("Local Railway Notes", Salt Lake Tribune, December 1, 1886, Utah Digital Newspapers Project)

December 15, 1886
Work is in progress on the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas, and their engine number 1 is being worked on in the D&RGW shops. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 15, 1886)

February 5, 1887
"The Liliputian Fort Douglas railroad is now in operation, with its five-flea power locomotive and single dirt car, hauling gravel and sand from the east bench along the south end for street grading." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, February 5, 1887)

February 28, 1887
"The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas railroad continues its operations. An engine belonging to the company has made its appearance, and it is expected that by next week rails will be laid along the track." (Salt Lake Herald, February 28, 1887)

March 27, 1887
"Three flat cars and a little tea-pot of an engine of about five-flea power constitute the munificent equipment. The tea-pot ran off the track the other day near the D.& R.G. roundhouse. The master mechanic says one of the boys went out, put his shoulder to it and shoved it right on the track again." Also, there are two or three miles of rails on cars in the D&RGW yard, for the Fort Douglas line, awaiting payment of freight charges. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 27, 1887)

July 22, 1887
"The ties on the Fort Douglas Railroad are laid up to the brewery, and the rails will be down next week, so that cars of freight will be run up to the brewery in ten days." (Utah Digital Newspapers, Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 22, 1887, "Local Railway Notes")

August 2, 1887
"Local Railway Notes." "The rails on the Rock railroad are now laid beyond Fuller's Gardens." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, August 2, 1887)

September 9, 1887
"Local Railway Notes." "The Fort Douglas railroad has reached the head of South Temple Street. It is being solidly built." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 9, 1887)

October 29, 1887
"The people of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas railway are now purchasing right of way down Eighth East street, through the farms and fields as far south as Smith's Mill." (Salt Lake Herald, October 29, 1887)

Late October 1887
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas received the first of five former Utah & Northern 2-6-0 locomotives, which had been made obsolete by the conversion to standard gauge of U&N's line north of Pocatello in July 1887. They were purchased second hand after SL&FD's Master Mechanic, Robert Croft, had visited the storage line in Pocatello to make the necessary selections.

November 1, 1887
"In Railway Circles" "A large number of teams were at work yesterday on the grade of the S. L. & F. D. Railway, between the city and Sugar House Ward,..." Cash is being paid for the rights of way now being purchased, and "A new 39,000-pound engine has arrived, and several flat and box cars are on the way for use on the road." (Salt Lake Herald, November 1, 1887)

November 9, 1887
"City Council Meeting." "John W. Young Wins." The Committee on Streets and Alleys reported for adoption a resolution: "That the Fort Douglas road be given perpetual right-of-way whereon to operate a two- or three railed steam railway, along the west bank of the Jordan and Salt Lake canal, to a point 1,000 feet south of the Penitentiary Road, and in consideration of this..., $6,000 is to be paid to the city by the Railway Company:... The Railroad Company agreed its road shall be completed within six months from the date of the signing of this agreement..." (item continues) (Salt Lake Herald, November 9, 1887)

November 18, 1887
"The Salt Lake and Fort Douglas railroad placed an advertisement in the want column of the Herald for 20,000 ties. The advertisement was to remain 10 days, but it brought the ties on the first morning." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, November 18, 1887)

November 25, 1887
"Local Railway Notes." "Johnny W.'s Railway." "The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway is not so much of a toy concern as it has been supposed to be. It is growing much faster than is generally known. Starting from the D. & R. G. W. track, down at Eighth South street, it was pushed east to the bluff in the eastern part of the city, and far enough up the bluff to make a good gravel road for improving the streets. Two blocks east of Liberty Park the main line turned southward and has been pushed as far as the road running west from the penitentiary, which place will be reached to-day by the track layers, providing the bridge across the Salt Lake City and Jordan canal is ready for the rails. The road appears to be heading for Parley's Canyon, to the mouth of which grading has been going on all along the line. It is probable that the iron work for the cells at the penitentiary will be delivered by rail very near the spot on which it is to be used, instead of at Leffler's mill two miles north, from which point the stone and iron for the buildings have so far been hauled. This little road is liable to yet assume an important position through affording entrance for some eastern road to the heart of the city, and its first great importance may come through forming a short line to Park City." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 25, 1887)

December 3, 1887
"The track of the S. L. & F. D. has reached the old Sugar House, a little this side of the Pen. Grading has been completed to a point at least two miles farther on. Somewhere between 80 and 90 men are now employed." (Salt Lake Herald, December 3, 1887)

December 4, 1887
"Local Railway Notes." "There are nearly 300 graders and track layers working on the Rock Railway's Park City extension, necessitating an expenditure of $1,500 per day." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 4, 1887)

December 6, 1887
"Local Railway Notes." "John W. Young's railroad has reached Sugar House ward, four miles south of the city, and is being pushed southward. Where it is going is kept a secret as far as possible, but it is moving so rapidly that its final destination will be heralded by the toot of the locomotive, if the company keeps up its present speed of advancement. A large force of graders and track layers are employed, and the company appears to have ample means to push ahead with the road." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 6, 1887)

December 18, 1887
"Local Railway Notes" "East siders now have their coal brought up on the Fort Douglas Railway." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 18, 1887)

December 21, 1887
"The D. & R. G. now runs coal trains over the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas as far as the bluff east of Butcherville. It is a great convenience to the residents of that locality." (Salt Lake Herald, December 21, 1887)

March 23, 1888
"The Fort Douglas railroad people ...have bought a couple of engines and several passenger and box cars from the Utah & Northern Railroad, and are happy." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 23, 1888)

May 1888
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas began construction of a branch south along the Salt Lake & Jordan Canal (through what is today Sugar House) in the direction of the Cottonwood Canyons. This branch was not completed beyond the north bank of Mill Creek, but another branch was started into Parley's Canyon to get shale from shale beds located in the canyon.

May 29, 1888
The track of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas reached Fort Douglas. (Salt Lake Herald, May 30, 1888; Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 30, 1888, "last evening.")

June 1, 1888
First passenger train was operated as an excursion to the Fort. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 2, 1888, "yesterday")

June 1, 1888
The 'formal opening,' as the paper would have it, of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad was held with an excursion to the Fort being run to honor the late President Brigham Young, whose birthday it would have been; most of the excursionists were relatives of Brigham's. (Salt Lake Herald, June 2, 1888, "yesterday")

June 3, 1888
Two passenger cars were said to be the limit of one engine on the grades of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas road. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 3, 1888)

Mid June 1888
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas crews were grading at the mouth of Parley's Canyon. (Park Record, Park City, June 16, 1888)

June 25, 1888
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas published its first public timetable, identified as No. 1, dated June 25, 1888. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 26, 1888)

Timetable No. 2 followed soon after, being dated July 2, 1888, showing the following stations:

August 4, 1888
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas graders were at work between the mouth of Parleys Canyon and Mountain Dell. (Park Record, Park City, August 4, 1888)

August 30, 1888
The offices of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railroad were moved into the Beehive House, lower front part. John W. Young lives in the upstairs part at present. (Salt Lake Herald, August 30, 1888)

August 31, 1888
"The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway received two new engines yesterday." (Salt Lake Herald, August 31, 1888) (ex Utah & Northern 2-6-0s numbers 24 and 25)

September 5, 1888
Track of SL&FD completed to quarries in Red Butte canyon yesterday, and shipment of stone is to begin this week. (Salt Lake Herald, September 5, 1888)

September 7, 1888
"The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas carried its first lady passenger yesterday." (Salt Lake Herald, September 8, 1888)

September 21, 1888
The Salt Lake & Eastern Railway was organized. (Salt Lake Herald, September 22, 1888, "yesterday")

(Read more about Salt Lake & Eastern Railway)

September 22, 1888
Tracklayers are now at work at the mouth of Parley's Canyon. "The rails along the old Utah Eastern road bed are being taken up and shipped to Salt Lake for use in constructing the Salt Lake and Ft Douglas Railway." (Park Record, Park City, September 22, 1888)

October 28, 1888
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas has reached Henry Wagener's brewery at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, first train is to be "today." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 28, 1888)

The Salt Lake Daily Tribune published SL&FD timetable No. 4, effective October 28, 1888, showing service to the Fort and to Wagener's.

(Read more about the Wagener brewery)

December 11, 1888
In the "Hotel Arrivals" column, under The Cullen, the arrival of H. S. Williams, of Lima, Ohio, is noted; his arrival was probably on the 10th, with the Shay for the SL&FD. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 11, 1888)

December 11, 1888
"The Fort Douglas road people brought in a new engine from Ogden yesterday, and after securing trackage from the Utah & Nevada road for the transfer of the same, left the track in such a condition that the road had great trouble in clearing it." (Shay 226) (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 11, 1888)

December 12, 1888
"Local Railway Notes." "The Fort Douglas railroad has received a very singular-looking engine from Ohio. The engine and tender are on one frame, and there are three upright cylinders on one side of the boiler acting on a rod connecting the engine and tender wheels, instead of two cylinders acting one on each side of the boiler in the usual way. It weighs 28 tons, and is claimed to be powerful enough to haul 400 tons more than a Baldwin consolidated engine. The machine will be used on the East Bench grade where there is such heavy hauling to do." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 12, 1888)

December 14, 1888
Item on the new engine, "somewhat of a curiosity," recently received by the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas. "The engine is being run over the track at random in order to acclimate it before the final test is made." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, December 14, 1888)

December 18, 1888
The government has granted permission to the SL&FD to remove the old stables on the fort grounds, and to build at that point a station and side track. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 18, 1888)

December 21, 1888
"The New Engine Tested," being the new Shay locomotive, which has three cylinders, 10 x 10 inches, 28 inch wheels, and weighs 28 tons. It cost at the factory $4,700. The test was made yesterday afternoon, with a train of four cars of rock and a caboose, on the 6 percent grade in Red Butte canyon. Gross weight of the train (not counting the engine) was 81 tons, and no difficulty in starting same was experienced. Robert Croft, the master mechanic, is impressed with the Shay's performance. The messenger sent out with the engine from Lima was a Mr. Williams, who returns to Lima this evening. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, December 21, 1888)

January 29, 1889
Shay 226 was involved in a fatal runaway in Red Butte Canyon. The cause of this runaway was found to be slippery rails and lack of experience on the part of the train's crew. The locomotive was repaired and returned to service within six months, with its road number being changed from no. 226 to no. 7, in proper numerical sequence with the road's other locomotives. (Read more about the runaway of the Shay locomotive -- from the Salt Lake Herald on January 30 and 31.)

May 2, 1889
"Savage has taken 50 different views on the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas and Salt Lake & Eastern." (Salt Lake Herald, May 2, 1889)

July 31, 1889
The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas branch on 4th West was nearly completed to the Utah Central depot. (Salt Lake Herald, July 31, 1889)

November 15, 1889
An item notifies the people that on and after November 15, 1889, all trains of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas, and its sister company, Salt Lake & Eastern will use the depot of the Utah & Nevada Railway, located on the southeast corner of First South and Fourth West (today's 500 West). (Salt Lake Herald, November 15, 1889)

December 25, 1889
During an excursion and tour of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway, and during a brief stop at Wagener's Brewery, Mr. Wagener himself provided some statistics of the railroad traffic coming per year to the brewery. This traffic was to come in the form of 1.5 million pounds of coal, two hundred tons of coke, fifty carloads of barley, and many more carloads of empty kegs and bottles. Along with hops and other miscellaneous freight, the total for the brewery amounted to 4.5 million pounds of railroad freight per year. (Salt Lake Herald, December 25, 1889) (Sounds like a lot, but simple math indicates about 75 carloads of 30-ton capacity cars, or about 1.5 cars per week.)

January 7, 1890
"Two narrow gauge consolidation engines are waiting in the Union Pacific yards for delivery to the Fort Douglas road when a little misunderstanding about freight charges is settled. They are compact, powerful-looking machines. Two Utah Western cars are also there awaiting delivery. 'Utah' on one car is spelled 'Eutah."' (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 7, 1890)

(These two locomotives were ex Cleveland & Canton Railroad numbers 6 and 13, lettered as Utah Western numbers 10 and 11, although only number 11 is documented as such.)

April 5, 1890
"Railway Rumbles." "The New Narrow-Gauge Short Line Reaches Park City." "The rails of the Salt Lake & Eastern, the narrow gauge short line, have at last reached the lower part of town and the tooting of the whistles can be plainly heard. By to-night the construction train will be able to get up as far as the U. P. coal switch, just below the electric light works." Regular trains are expected to commence on the 13th; location of the depot is undecided." (Park Record, Park City, April 5, 1890)

(Read more about Salt Lake & Eastern Railway)

(Read more about Utah Central Railway)

April 9, 1890
Utah Central Railway was organized to take over the interests and properties of Salt Lake & Eastern Railway, and (unbuilt) Utah Western Railway. (Utah incorporation index 4325)

(Note that Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway was missing as being part of the new company.)

April 17, 1890
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway amended its organization to change its route as follows:

George Pitchard wrote:

Judging from the state of such records as still exist, John W. Young seems to have lost interest in his Utah railroad projects along about 1891 or 1892, leaving active management to the company secretary, or to his lawyer. Financial difficulties had always been a problem and the famous "Silver Panic" of 1893 helped bring about receivership in November of 1893. During the receivership, operation of the Salt Lake & Ft. Douglas line above and beyond the wye at 9th South and 10th East, to Ft. Douglas and the branches to Red Butte and Emigration canyons, was suspended. The last known operation on these lines was in 1894, after which the track lay unused until taken up in 1897.

The Cottonwood branch also appears to have been shortened early on in the receivership period, leaving only that portion south from the junction with the Park City line (by now the mainline for Salt Lake & Eastern/Utah Central) in the Sugar House district, to a brick works in an area known to this day as 'the Brick Yard,' and at which time it seems to have become known as the Mill Creek Branch. The easterly extension beyond Park City, what little that had track laid on it, was lost early in the receivership; and of course the Utah Western line never had track to lose.

(ed note: It was in October 1891 that Young was pressured to resign from his leadership position in the Mormon church due problems stemming from his financial difficulties and his so-called lavish lifestyle.)

February 4, 1893
Charles B. Taylor yesterday filed in 3rd District Court a suit against the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway company, alleging damages in the amount of $4,500 to his property on account of the railroad unlawfully entered the property adjacent to his, built a track thereon which caused his property to depreciate by the amount sued for. Building a track diagonally across U Street is the specific act complained of. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, February 4, 1893)

February 18, 1893
"A Railway Damage Case." "The case of Martha Ann Coombs vs. the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas and Utah Central Railway companies was taken up before Judge Bartch yesterday. The plaintiff alleges that the first named company constructed a railway track diagonally adjacent to her property at the intersection of U and First streets in 1888, and that the other company has continuously run trains over the said track since that time. It is further alleged that the operation of said road has greatly injured plaintiff's property and that the egress and ingress has been destroyed by the construction of a certain 'Y' at the junction of U and First streets. Hence the plaintiff prays that an injunction may be granted against the defendants and for damages in the sum of $2,000 or whatever sum may be deemed as just and equitable. Also for the sum of $6,000, or whatever the court may deem just and equitable, on condition that the plaintiff deed the said property to the defendants." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, February 18, 1893)

February 28, 1893
"The Coombs Damage Case." "In the case of Martha Ann Coombs vs. the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas and the Utah Central Railway Companies, et al., before Judge Bartch, judgment in favor of plaintiff for $2,500 was entered and an injunction, pending payment of judgment, was denied. The plaintiff was allowed thirty days to prepare bill of exceptions on appeal from denial of injunction." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, February 28, 1893)

March 22, 1893
"In the case of Martha Ann Coombs vs. the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway company, judgment was rendered yesterday in favor of the plaintiff for $3,397.50." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, March 22, 1893)

January 30, 1894
Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway was put into financial receivership. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 31, 1894)

January 31, 1894
"Thomas Marshall, et al., trustees, began suit against the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway Company, et al., yesterday to foreclose mortgages in the sum of $800,000. The Utah Central Railway Company, its receivers and others are made party defendants, and the receivers of the Utah Central are appointed receivers in the present case." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January31, , 1894)

July 1, 1894
"The Pioneer Canyon railway is still in the fight. On the 4th of July they will run steam cars up to Wagener's Grove and carry all the people, old and young, that want a cool and pleasant day." Fare, 25 cents. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 1, 1894)

October 23, 1894
Street Committee of the City Council discussed last night the removal of the abandoned SL&FD tracks, at least where they impede travel, in the eastern part of the city. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 23, 1894)

October 24, 1894
More of the above -- again says the tracks of the SL&FD in the eastern part of the city are abandoned; Council says the railroad is to bring its tracks to grade where they cross South Temple, First South and Second South within 60 days. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 24, 1894)

July 3, 1895
"To Lease the Utah Central." Chief Justice Merritt yesterday signed an order authorizing McGregor and Cary, as receivers of the Utah Central, to lease to Henry Wagener that part of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas railroad between Fort Douglas and his brewery. Wagener is to report on the 10th of every month the number of passengers carried, and to pay to the U. C. Rwy. 8 & 1/3 cents per passenger. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, July 3, 1895)

September 10, 1895
"Fort Douglas Franchise" "Council Committee is Adverse to its Forfeiture" "The committee on streets of the City Council met last evening and wrestled long and earnestly with Councilman Cohn's resolution providing for the forfeiture of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway company's franchise, for alleged violation of its charter, by failure to operate trains and keep its crossings in proper repair. Mr. Cohn and Charles Baldwin appeared for the resolution, and Parley L. Williams, attorney for the railroad company, opposed it. After listening to the arguments, the committee considered the matter briefly and decided to recommend to the council that the resolution be not adopted." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 10, 1895)

November 7, 1896
"Newell's Plan Failed" "Fort Douglas Railway" "Three members of the Committee on Streets submitted a resolution directing the City Recorder and City Attorney to notify the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway company to comply with the conditions of its franchise or remove its track between Eighth South street and the military reservation. As the report was only signed by three of the six members of the committee, it was not considered." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 7, 1896)

December 6, 1896
"Court Orders and Notes" "Martha Ann Coombs vs. the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway Co., et al., motion for order to compel the receiver to tear out tracks granted." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 6, 1896)

1897 - The End of Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway

The events of Salt Lake & Fort Douglas during 1897 were taking place at the same time as the end of Utah Central Railway's receivership, and subsequent reorganization of its remnants along with those of Salt Lake & Eastern, Utah Western, and Salt Lake & Fort Douglas, all as the Utah Central Railroad, controlled by Rio Grande Western.

March 19, 1897
"Utah Central Sale" to be 17 April 1897, of the U.C., its branches and the Salt Lake & Ft. Douglas and Salt Lake & Eastern. The sale will be conducted by Special Master in Chancery Geo. D. Loomis. No bid will be accepted for less than the amount required to pay the liens and expenses that are judged to be superior to the claims of the bondholders - these amounts the court has set as follows: for the S.L.& Ft. D., $22,500; for the S.L.& E., $117,000; and for the Utah Central, $21,500. These amounts the purchaser will have to pay in cash. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 19, 1897)

March 30, 1897
"Removing Fort Douglas Tracks" yesterday at 13th East and 1st South, about 75 feet removed, by Deputy street supervisor Clark and crew. Clark says he will have all crossings out soon, if he is not first arrested for contempt of court, as the receiver has promised to do. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 30 March 1897)

March 31, 1897
"Accused of Contempt." "Tearing up of Fort Douglas Track Stopped." "Judge Hiles issues a Writ." "The removal of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas railway tracks by the Street Department was brought to an abrupt termination yesterday." The railroad is under the protection of the court, and not to be tampered with; Clark, et al., must show cause as to why they should not be cited for contempt, at a hearing scheduled for the 3rd next. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 31, 1897)

March 31, 1897
"Tearing Up the Rails" of the Utah Central, Fort Douglas branch, by city workers. The company has "ceased for years" to run trains over this track. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, March 31, 1897)

April 11, 1897
Deputy Street Supervisor Clark, and crew, were in court yesterday to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for tearing up the SL&FD tracks; their defense was, basically, "We were just following orders," of the City Council. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 11, 1897)

April 17, 1897
Judge Hiles decided the contempt matter in favor of the railroad, and against the city and its employees. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 17, 1897)

May 7, 1897
There was a washout of Utah Central tracks at the mouth of Parleys Canyon, just below Suicide Rock at the location of the city water reservoir. The waters took out 150 feet of embankment underneath the Utah Central tracks, leaving the tracks suspended from the rails. It happened at 4 a.m. on the morning of May 7, 1897. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 8, 1897, "4 o'clock yesterday morning")

May 9, 1897
The large trestle on the SL&FD, at 10th East and 7th South being removed, timbers going to repairs in the Parley's Canyon mess. Utah Central requested special permission from its bankruptcy court judge for the line's receiver to remove the timbers of the old Salt Lake & Fort Douglas wooden bridge to repair a washed-out bridge at the mouth of Parleys Canyon. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 9, 1897)

May 8, 1897
The Salt Lake & Fort Douglas (along with the Utah Centyral) was sold at auction, held at the west entrance of the state capitol building, at 11 a.m. on the morning of May 8, 1897. Purchasers Henry Graff and Anthony J. Dittmar were two of the largest bondholders; SL&FD sold at $40,500; the SL&E at $210,500; and the Utah Central at $21,600. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 9, 1897)

The following description of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas comes from the May 9, 1897 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper:

The line of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas begins at the tracks of the Rio Grande Western on Eighth South street and runs east to Seventh East and then south one block to Ninth South and then east one block to Tenth East across the Jordan & Salt Lake canal. It then proceeds in a northeasterly direction past the Salt Lake City Brewing company's works to a point where First South and Thirteenth East intersect, then north to First street and then easterly to and across the reservation to the stone quarries in Red Butte canyon with one branch to the quarries at the mouth of Emigration canyon and another branch to the mouth of Big Cottonwood canyon, or rather the right of way for a branch for the latter as the track is not all laid there.

May 10, 1897
"Railroad Notes" "At 9 o'clock Saturday night workmen commenced tearing down the bridge where the Utah Central crosses the east end of Seventh South street on a big fill. By noon yesterday the familiar landmark was gone." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 10, 1897)

This was the location of the combination fill and wooden trestle that Salt Lake & Fort Douglas used to climb the bench lands as it headed to Fort Douglas.

At this same time, railroad service to Wagener's brewery came to an end, since the service to the brewery at the mouth of Emigration canyon depended on the railroad line being complete to and through Fort Douglas.

(Read more about the Wagener brewery)

September 13, 1897
"Visit Of Col. Dodge" "Option Of His Company On The Utah Central" " is interesting to note that the Utah Central has lost its franchise up Tenth East from the Ninth South street curve. All the track through the old Fuller Hill property has been taken up, in compliance with the order of the city council. The bridges have all been removed and the tracks also torn up in Red Butte Canyon." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 13, 1897)

December 28, 1897
Utah Central Railroad was incorporated in Utah for the purpose of "buying, owning, maintaining, operating, and further extending ... the railroads, rights, properties and franchises recently belonging to the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway Company, the Salt Lake & Eastern Railway Company and the Utah Central Railway Company ... which have recently been sold under judicial proceedings..." The incorporators are the same names as local officers of the Rio Grande Western Railway. (Articles of Incorporation, Utah Central Railroad Company, dated December 28, 1897)


Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway Locomotives -- A roster listing of the road's locomotives.


Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway and Salt Lake & Eastern Railway -- A Google Map of these two railroads and their routes in the Salt Lake Valley.

Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Bird's Eye, Shops -- A photocopy of a portion of a historical bird's eye of Salt Lake City, showing the SL&FD shops at the corner of Eighth South and Fourth West.

Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Bird's Eye, Fort Douglas -- A photocopy of a portion of a historical bird's eye of Salt Lake City, showing the SL&FD route from Eighth South and Tenth East, up the East Bench to Fort Douglas, including the loop at Thirteenth east and First Avenue.

Salt Lake & Fort Douglas, Map of Fort Douglas Trackage -- A detail of a larger map, showing the SL&FD tracks on Fort Douglas, and the extended line to the Wagener brewery.

More Information

Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway, 1883-1897, Corporate Information

John W. Young's Railroads -- An index page for all of John W. Young's railroads.

Salt Lake & Fort Douglas entry from George W. Hilton's American Narrow Gauge Railroads (Stanford University Press, 1990)

Two New Railroads In Utah -- The text of an article in the January 12, 1889 issue of The Globe, about the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas railroad.