Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway
Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway

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This page was last updated on August 16, 2022.

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This road was incorporated in September of 1891 as the Saltair Railway. The name being changed to Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway in June 1892, and again changed in October 1916 to Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. The name change was to avoid confusion with the Union Pacific subsidiary Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, which itself had been renamed from San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake RR in August 1916.

Starting out as a steam railroad, the railroad was electrified in 1919 (the date most often given as August 4, 1919). Electric passenger operations ended in 1952. In its steam years, the railroad owned a total of three (3) steam locomotives, two bought new in the early days of the road, the third bought second-hand in 1906; all were of the 4-4-0 type.

Organized in 1891 as Saltair Railway; name change in 1892 to Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway; name change in 1916 to Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway.


Saltair Railway (1891-1892)

May 2, 1890
Although a vote by the Salt Lake City council on May 2, 1890 approved "the use of steam motive poser known as Steam Dummies" on the tracks of the Saltair Railway on the streets of Salt Lake City, there is no known example of the Saltair Railway actually owning one of these unique small steam locomotives. The approval of a franchise to operate over city streets included the approval of the use of steam dummies along Third South, from Sixth West, west to the city limits. The Saltair Railway later became the Salt Lake, Garfield and Western. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 1890)

September 6, 1891
Saltair Railway was organized. (Utah corporation index 976)

September 25, 1891
Saltair Railway was incorporated in Utah. (Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1920, page 1203)

September 26, 1891
The Saltair Railway filed its articles of incorporation "yesterday." (Salt Lake Tribune, September 27, 1891)

October 15, 1891
Construction of the Saltair Railway began. The company's accounting began on October 20th. (97 ICC 493, 500)

February 1892
"Road opened." (Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1898, page 271)

March 29, 1892
The Saltair Railroad has ordered a locomotive from the Rhode Island Locomotive Works. The contracts for construction of the railroad had not yet been awarded. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 29, 1892)

April 17, 1892
"Work has begun on the Saltair Railway in earnest, and its is now stated that the road can occupy South temple street without causing the rails of Union Pacific ro be removed." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 17, 1892)

May 23, 1892
Engine No. 1 has arrived for Saltair road, and setup and tested by the RGW. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 23, 1892)

May 28, 1892
Saltair engine No. 1 is a 4-4-0, weight 45 tons, 17x24-inch cylinders, and 62-inch drivers, which are painted red. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 28, 1892)

Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway (1892-1916)

May 17, 1892
"The first spike of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles railroad was driven yesterday." No trumpets, no brass bands, no speeches. Nothing but the blow of the sledge hammer. (Salt Lake Herald, May 18, 1892)

May 31, 1892
The board of directors of the Saltair Railway met to vote on changing the name of the railroad to the Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway. (Notice published in newspapers, May 6th through May 27th, 1892)

June 1, 1892
Saltair Railway was graded almost to the beach. (Salt Lake Journal of Commerce, June 1, 1892, Volume 5, Number 14)

June 4, 1892
The Saltair Railway name was changed to Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway. (Amendment to original incorporation papers, Utah corporation index 976)

June 30, 1892
First listed in ICC statistics as operating 0.14 miles of track, "owned and in use."

July 12, 1892
Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway formally took over the operation of the former Saltair Railway. (Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1920, page 1203)

July 15, 1892
The name change was formally filed with the county clerk. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 15, 1892)

June 1, 1893
Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway operations began. (Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1896, page 346)

June 30, 1893
Shown in ICC statistics as operating 15 miles of track, "owned and in use."

March 14, 1893
N. W. Clayton of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles road says that the St. Charles car company will ship in April the two combination coaches ordered for his road, and the new engine is to be shipped on 10 April. The excursion coaches are to arrive next month also. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, March 14, 1893)

March 29, 1893
"The two combination coaches purchased by President Clayton, of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles road, are expected to arrive from the east this week." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, March 29, 1893)

April 13, 1893
The Salt Lake and Los Angeles, heretofore using RGW passenger cars, yesterday received two new combination cars. Another locomotive, ordered some time ago, to be shipped on the 15th from the builder in the East. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 13, 1893)

April 25, 1893
"A train is run over the Saltair road every day, leaving the depot at 2 p. m. There are a good many people going out on each train, to see how the work is progressing, and a large number of tourists take advantage of it to see the waters of the famous Great Salt Lake and breathe the exhilarating salt breeze." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1893)

April 25, 1893
"The Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway Company have ten excursion cars on the way to this city, and they will be here and ready for use in a few days. The cars are from the car works St. Charles, Missouri. They have another engine from the Rhode Island locomotive works which is all finished and on the way to this city. Two engines are all that will be required to run their business." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1893)

April 25, 1893
"The ten new excursion cars for use on the Saltair line arrived yesterday morning and are ready for the opening of that Saltair resort." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 26, 1893)

May 7, 1893
A large passenger engine arrived yesterday for the Salt Lake & Los Angeles, from the Rhode Island Locomotive Works. Also five passenger coaches, it says, from St. Charles; likely are excursion cars. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1893)

June 8, 1893
The Saltair Beach resort officially opened this date. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 8, 1893)

September 19, 1893
Salt Lake & Los Angeles used RGW tracks and depot yesterday for the last time. Salt Lake & Los Angeles locos and cars not in use at present are stored in their roundhouse at the Jordan River. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 19, 1893)

January 1, 1895
Salt Lake & Los Angeles -- has so far been using the RGW depot, but is threatening to build it's own this year. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1895)

June 15, 1897
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles has received four new excursion cars from St. Charles; cost nearly $20,000, are about four feet longer than the Pullman-built cars, will seat 92 persons, and are painted dark green. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 15, 1897)

Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1898, page 271, reported that an agreement had been reached between this Salt Lake & Los Angeles railroad, and the Oregon Short Line railroad, for the Salt Lake road to take over the narrow gauge line of the OSL from Salt Lake City and Terminus (37.32 miles), widen it to standard gauge and extend the line to Ophir, about 10 miles. In return, the Salt Lake road would give the OSL a $300,000 mortgage that would pay for the change of gauge. Two locomotives, 16 passenger cars, 2 flat cars.

January 25, 1898
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles has an option to purchase the Garfield line of the OSL. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 25, 1898)

July 5, 1899
The OSL loaned engine no. 208 to the Salt Lake & Los Angeles for yesterday's traffic. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 5, 1899)

December 31, 1899
Salt Lake & Los Angeles have two engines and 19 cars. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 31, 1899)

February 5, 1900
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles has bought three flat cars from the OSL, to be used in hauling shale out to the resort to fill in most of the trestle/pier out to the resort. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 5, 1900)

April 12, 1900
"The Salt Lake & Los Angeles is having all its passenger cars repainted and relettered." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 12, 1900)

June 21, 1900
"Freight Cars Burned" at Salt Ponds, on the Salt Lake & Los Angeles, "at a late hour on Tuesday night," which was the 19th. Two cars were being loaded at night by salt company workers, and it is believed that they left a lit candle when they quit for the night. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 21, 1900)

July 5, 1900
"Nineteen cars were taken out in one S.L.& L.A. train. OSL engine 318 pulled it and over 2100 passengers were aboard." "The new excursion cars of the RGW were ... loaned to the Saltair people.:." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 5, 1900)

February 1910
"Central Terminal For The Saltair Road" Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway was planning on a new terminal to be located on Pierpont Street (Pierpont Avenue, about 250 South), between West Temple Street and Main Street, on the then-existing site of the McCoy stables. Tracks were to be laid from North Temple Street and First West (today's 200 West), south along First West to Pierpont Street, then east along Pierpont, across West Temple Street and into the center of the block between West Temple Street and Main Street. the new depot was to be located along a 50-foot frontage on Second South, just west of the Cullen Hotel. A controversy arose from adjacent land owners, the Utah Light & Railway street railroad (over whose tracks the SL&LA trains would be run), and several persons who owned homes and businesses along the route, due to increased rail traffic and noise. The plan was being presented by the railroad's owners, Mr' Langford and Mr. Nelson, who already owned the property in question. (Salt Lake Herald, February 11, 1910)

Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway (1916)

Organized in 1891 as Saltair Railway; name change in 1892 to Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway; name change in 1916 to Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway.

October 28, 1916
The name of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway was changed to Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. Of the 3,000 shares of the company, 2,996 were owned by J. E. Langford and Joseph Nelson. (Amendment to original incorporation papers, Utah corporation index 976)

January 13, 1917
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway, along with the Saltair Beach Company, was sold to the new Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. The purpose of the new organization was to finance the electrification of the railroad, with a new corporation being able to offer the needed $600,000 in bonds to pay for the improvements. The Saltair Beach Company passed out of existence, with the new railroad company taking full ownership and control of the resort and the railroad. (Salt Lake Telegram, January 13, 1917)

May 8, 1918
The Utah PSC denied SLG&W's application to cross the tracks of WP, LA&SL, and B&G at Garfield. An amended application was filed on March 7, 1918 asking for permission to use the B&G's sand spur crossing of the WP and LA&SL. That application was also denied. The SL,G&W was only permitted to cross the B&G's sand spur. (Thus the railroad was barred from reaching its namesake city.) On September 1, 1916 $300,000 in bonds were sold to improve and electrify the railroad. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 14; Grade Crossing Permit No. 22.)

August 4, 1919
Salt Lake, Garfield & Western was converted from steam operation, to electric operation.

(no date)
SL,G&W and the Inland Railway received Utah PSC approval to increase rates. "Inland Railway little more than an industry track, operated to facilitate the movement of salt to the market, no outlet, but merely connects the industries it serves with the SL,G&W." Balance sheet for the Inland Railway shows $6,840.00 investment in steam locomotives and $10,000.00 in capital stock. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 135)

March 5, 1923
The federal Interstate Commerce Commission found that the connecting Inland Railway was not a common carrier for the purposes of interstate commerce, but was instead a plant facility of the salt company. The Inland Railway was fully controlled by stock ownership by the Inland Crystal Salt company since its incorporation in 1916. (ICC Finance Docket 11362; Submitted February 17, 1923; Decided March 5, 1923; reported in 78 ICC 59)

The ICC printed report provides extensive review of the history and operations of Inland Railway, the Inland Crystal Salt company, and the connecting Salt Lake, Garfield & Western railway, along with summary of the salt business served by SLG&W.

(Read the ICC report concerning the Inland Railway; PDF; 8 pages, including map; 4.1MB)

(Read more about the Inland Railway, and its parent company, Inland Crystal Salt Co.)

October 18, 1930
SL,G&W received Utah PSC approval to discontinue passenger service to Garfield. Garfield Station on the SLG&W is located about one mile from Garfield Townsite. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 1196)

September 4, 1933
Saltair closed for the season after the Labor Day holiday on Monday September 4, 1933. Trains departed from the depot located at 434 West Second South. (Salt Lake Telegram, September 4, 1933)

May 30, 1934
When the Saltair resort opened for the 1934 season on Decoration Day (Wednesday May 30, 1934), the railroad depot had been moved to a new location at 10th West and North Temple street. (Deseret News, May 26, 1934)

(The original depot site at 434 West 2nd South was reportedly sold in 1947.)

August 1940
SLG&W received Utah PSC approval to install a grade crossing over North Temple at 21st West for a spur to the new U. S. Army Air Base being built on 166 acres to house a Bomber Squadron. Project No. FAP 120-C, at the expense of the U. S. government. Application was filed by Salt Lake City for the U. S. government. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 2404)

The Saltair resort was closed due to the war, and remained closed until summer 1946. The closure, along with Lagoon on the Bamberger railroad, were ordered to allow railroads to provide essential services only, and to release workers for war-related employment. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 29, 1945)

(The actual closure is not covered in available online newspapers, but it appears that trains continued to run as late as the end of the regular season on Labor Day, and until September 10th for bathers only after the resort itself had closed.)

April 1, 1943
SLG&W leased some of its open-air excursion cars to the Army for transportation of workers at Hill Field, allowing the workers to ride a train for the 1-1/2 mile distance from the Bamberger station at Arsenal, to the newly completed warehouses on the southeast section of the air field. (Ogden Standard Examiner, April 6, 1943)

May 17, 1943
Both Saltair and Lagoon were to remained closed for the duration of the war, due to a shortage of manpower, transportation supplies and equipment. The Bamberger trains were being used at full capacity serving Hill Field, Clearfield Naval Depot, and Ogden Arsenal. The SLG&W trains were being used at full capacity serving the salt industry, and serving the warehouses at the Army Air Base at the Salt Lake City Municipal airport. (Deseret News, May 17, 1943)

June 1946
When passenger service to Saltair resumed, the railroad continued to use its depot at 10th West and North Temple Street. (Deseret News, June 8, 1946)

August 16, 1951
The last electric passenger train ran between Salt Lake City and the Saltair resort on August 16, 1951. (Gilbert Rattenbury, via email dated January 1, 2014)

July 1954
Head-on collision; leased U. S. Steel GE center cab number 17 until Christmas 1954.

April 16, 1956
During the previous year, Salt Lake, Garfield & Western moved 116,400 tons of salt and salt products from the Morton Salt plant near Saltair. The railroad also moved 178 tons of cattle in April that were unloaded an moved to winter grazing pastures on Antelope Island. The cattle were unloaded at the railroad's small pens, and then herded across the flats to the dike that connected with the island. The cattle would return in June, and would be moved to summer pastures in Summit County. The railroad also moved 385 tons of wool from the sheep ranch on Antelope Island. Additional rail traffic included 84,000 tons of coal for Utah Power & Light's Gadsby plant, along with 1,638 tons of poles and cross-arms for the utility company. The railroad also delivered 3,000 tons of fresh water to the Morton Salt plant, and to the Saltair resort. Both destinations received all of their required fresh water by railroad car. (Deseret News, April 16, 1956)

The final year for passenger service to the Saltair resort was 1958, the year it closed. (Gilbert Rattenbury, via email dated January 1, 2014)

May 20, 1961
The last passenger train was operated between the Morton Salt plant, west to the decaying Saltair resort. Nearly 400 people rode in open-air cars provided by the railroad for the nostalgic last run, sponsored free-of-charge by the local newspaper. The last train was made up of 44-ton GE DS1, de-motored cars 501 and 502, and the last surviving open-air trailers, 305 and 306. (Trains magazine, September 1961, page 52-53)

Depot on North Temple was sold.

Back in its heyday, passengers for Saltair boarded the train at the railroad's depot on 2nd South, at about 450 West. This was until after World War II, when passenger business dropped off severely. The depot was then moved to North Temple, across from the state fair grounds, at the tail of a wye that was built across what today is a big parking lot. The past passenger trainwas run in May 1961, and the depot property on North Temple was sold in 1962.

August 1972
SLG&W received its new D.S. 3 switcher, a GE 45-ton center cab (Extra 2200 South, Issue 38, January-February 1973, page 28)

[Photo Caption] The military's recent policy of selling equipment of a certain age, regardless of make (a troublesome 15 year old Davenport, etc., may be retained over a GE in better running condition but 30 years old), has put a number of drop-cab Caterpillar 17000 powered four motored GE 45-tonners built in 1944-1945 on the used locomotive market. Salt Lake Garfield & Western bought U. S. Army 8519 (27597, 5/44) as their D.S. 3 at Salt Lake City, shown here on January 18, 1973, joining two standard 44 ton units, D.S. 1 and D.S. 2. (Photo by Ken Ardinger)

October 29, 1977
Utah Department of Transportation invited bids to relocate the Salt Lake Garfield and Western to a route adjacent to the UP and WP between 9th West and approximately 40th West. This would move the SLG&W tracks away from the proposed alignment of Interstate 80. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 29, 1977)

December 13, 1981
Salt Lake, Garfield & Western was a profitable short line due to its coal-hauling for Utah Power & Light's Gadsby plant, and the carload freight business it was moving into and out of the warehouses of the Salt Lake International Center, west of Salt Lake City International airport. The railroad's parent company, Hogle Associates had previously owned the 4,000 acres of undeveloped land that later became the International Center. Hogle had purchased the site in 1963 from the Ashby Snow family, and had sold the 4,000 acres to the LDS church. Several years later, the church sold the land to a consortium of investors that developed the site as the International Center. For the coal business, the Garfield railroad was moving three unit trains weekly, each with 40 cars, from its interchange with Union Pacific, to the Gadsby plant. During 1981, over 4700 cars of coal were moved. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 13, 1981)

October 1985
SLG&W received its new D.S. 7 SW9 switcher. (CTC Board, December 1985)

The SLG&W has purchased a used locomotive to help out with their motive power problems. The "new" locomotive is former BN- 160, which is an SW9. This unit had a few minor mechanical problems when delivered in late October by the UP, but was ready to go to work about a week after delivery. This unit will be numbered D.S. 7, and is the largest locomotive on the former interurban diesel roster. It will be painted similar to their Alco S6, the D.S. 4, but with a few modifications. The body will be white, with blue and red stripes and lettering.

The "Saltair Route" is currently in a motive power crunch due to the leasing of some of their power, and the problems with finding parts for their old GE's. The Argee Corporation, which is the contractor cleaning up the radioactive waste from that site adjacent to the D&RGW's Roper Yard in Salt Lake City, is using two of the SLG&W's locomotives in their operations. At the site in Salt Lake City, ex-Army 65-ton centercab D.S. 5 is being used to shove hopper cars around. This replaces the D.S. 2, which is a former New York, Ontario and Western GE 44-ton locomotive, which was having engine problems. At Clive, which is along the former WP mainline west of the Great Salt Lake, and where the UP is hauling this waste for disposal, the 65-ton centercab D.S. 6 is being used. This left only the other 44-tonner, the D.S. 1, and the D.S. 4, which is former SP-1207, for power. The Salt Lake, Garfield and Western operates every weekday, starting about 08:00. Now with the SW9, they will use it and the Alco in a rotating schedule to switch the on-line industries, which include the large Morton Salt plant at the end of the line. Also, once or twice per week, the D.S. 4 and the new D.S. 7 will team up to haul a 30 car unit coal train from the DRGW interchange to the Utah Power and Light power plant on South Temple Street. (Ryan Ballard)

July 1988
SLG&W D.S. 7 was sold to Simplot at Don, Idaho, shipped on July 19, 1988. (Locomotive Notes II, Number 116, page 7, reported by Ryan Ballard)

Union Pacific's web site shows the following information for SLG&W:

SLG&W's current operations were summarized by Ryan Ballard on February 26, 2007:

SLG&W has three SW units, including two ex UP SW10's and a ex SP SW1200 2254, leased from Omitrax but stored at present out of service. They have good customers in an area northwest of Salt Lake in the International Center, and do switching there on Monday thru Friday. The D.S. 9 is used for the mainline train while D.S. 10 does the yard work, and is used for the mainline when D.S. 9 is down. I've never seen them MU'd together but it could happen one day if the trains get heavy enough.

Sale To Patriot Rail

October 28, 2020
The following selected text comes from a joint press release dated October 28, 2020:

Patriot Rail Company LLC (Patriot), a leading U.S. operator of short line and regional freight railroads, rail services, and integrated port logistics companies, today announced it has entered an agreement to acquire short line operator Salt Lake Garfield & Western Railway (SLGW) and its related entities Caballero LLC and Caballero 2 LLC, storage and transload service providers.

Salt Lake City-based SLGW has added both track and transload services over the past few years and has plans to expand in 2021. As a family operated business, SLGW has grown, especially over the last five years.

In continuous operation for over 125 years, SLGW currently handles more than 6,000 loaded railcars annually within its 26-mile line. Its location, in the heart of Salt Lake City's industrial corridor, is at the center of the region's logistics. Neighboring the recently redeveloped and expanded Salt Lake International Airport, and a planned inland port authority and district comprising over 4,000 acres of developable land, known as the Northwest Quadrant. The line runs adjacent to two major interstates and connects with the Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway.

Patriot Rail Company LLC is owned by Sydney, Australia-based global asset manager First Sentier Investors. First Sentier Investors manages US$157 billion in assets (as of September 30, 2020) on behalf of institutional investors, pension funds, wholesale distributors, investment platforms, financial advisers and their clients worldwide. Formerly Colonial First State Global Asset Management, the firm was acquired from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in August 2019 by Mitsubishi UFJ Trustand Banking Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

The Salt Lake Garfield & Western Railway Company (SLGW) was formed in 1891 with local and regional rail lines serving the Salt Lake City valley. In continuous operations for over 125 years, today SLGW is a Class III short line railroad company that serves the local rail transfer, rail storage and rail-served warehouse requirements of a wide range of customers who are moving commodities into and out of the Greater Salt Lake City area.

(Caballero LLC was incorporated in Utah in June 2014. Caballero 2 LLC was incorporated in Utah in April 2016. Caballero operates under the name Salt Lake Transloading Services in Salt Lake City, Utah.)

January 4, 2021
Patriot Rail Company LLC formally completed its purchase and control of Salt Lake Garfield & Western Railway. (Patriot Rail LLC press release dated January 4, 2021, "today announced")

January 7, 2021
A fire damaged the railroad's wooden bridge over the Jordan River. A replacement steel bridge was completed within a week.

Locomotives and Equipment

SLG&W Steam and Electric Locomotives and Equipment Roster -- Roster listings of Salt Lake, Garfield & Western steam, electric and equipment.

SLG&W Diesel Locomotives Roster -- Roster listings of Salt Lake, Garfield & Western diesel locomotives.

More Information

Interurbans of Utah -- Extract of Salt Lake, Garfield & Western portion of Ira Swett's Interurbans of Utah.

Saltair Ry. Corporate information -- Information about the corporate organization of the Saltair Railway.

SLG&W Corporate information -- Information about the corporate organization of the SLG&W.