Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway (1875-1881)

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The Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway, incorporated December 11, 1875, does not seem to have done much work until some grading was done in 1877; apparently no track was laid prior to the acquisition of the U&PV company by Charles W. Scofield (who already owned the Bingham Canyon and the Wasatch & Jordan Valley roads) in 1878. He had, in effect, financed what little construction work had been done (prior to his acquisition of the company) by having bought most of the U&PV's issued first mortgage bonds. Scofield obtained stock control in 1878, and appears to have begun laying track about August 29, 1878, about 11 miles being completed by mid-September, at which time 'an engine' was put on the line.

It is believed that all of this former American Fork material (rails, rolling stock, locomotive, etc.) went to Scofield's then-abuilding Utah & Pleasant Valley railroad project; the rail, when taken up from the A.F.RR., was stockpiled for awhile in American Fork town (see Salt Lake Tribune, June 23, 1878), and when tracklaying began (finally) on the U&PV, the Tribune noted August 29, 1878, that "...the rails are being sent down from American Fork,..." Expectedly, little work was done on grading or track-laying during the winter of 1878-79, but by early November of 1879 the main-line, from Springville, about five miles south of Provo, on the Utah Southern Railroad, into the Pleasant Valley coal fields, was completed. In 1880, an extension of the main-line from Springville north to Provo was completed, the first coal train into Provo being on Thursday, October 21, 1880. This was essentially the state of the railroad when officially acquired by the D&RGW Ry on June 14, 1882.

In 1878 Scofield purchased the American Fork Railroad, in its entirety, from its owners, the New York firm of Howland & Aspinwall, for some $50,000 (which transaction became the subject of a suit for non-payment when Scofield failed to pay the last $10,000 or so, plus interest, whereupon Howland & Aspinwall sued for $11,050).

The former American Fork Railroad engine, appears in the "Engines in Utah Service" as U&PV number 2. Why was the American Fork engine numvered as U&PV number 2? One possibility would be that the first number '1' on the U&PV was lighter and smaller than the former A.F.RR. engine. A newspaper item (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, January 7, 1880) indicates that this earlier number 1 may have been as much as nine tons lighter than the Baldwin Mogul number 3, which itself only weighed 20 tons itself, so the first number 1 may have been as light as a mere 11 tons. A very light locomotive, considering the long stretches of 4 percent grades, and a good deal of snow trouble, and would have struggled to haul a commercially-viable tonnage of coal from one end of the line to the other.


August 19, 1875
Fifty-five men went south yesterday morning to start work on the grade of the narrow gauge line up Spanish Fork Canyon. (Salt Lake Herald, August 19, 1875)

December 11, 1875
Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway was organized by Milan O. Packard, M. P. Crandall, and Nephi Packard, all of Springville. These were the same individuals who had just recently organized the Pleasant Valley Coal Co., beginning the commercial development of the coal resource in what is now Carbon County. The new railroad was organized to build a rail line between Provo and the owners' new mine in Pleasant Valley. (Utah corporation, index number 4301)

Winter 1875-1876
John Nelson and Abram Taylor camped at the site of Winter Quarters to stake out a coal mining claim on the area for the Pleasant Valley company. The town and mine were given its name in their honor. (Powell, Labor, p. 14)

Spring-Fall 1876
A wagon road was constructed to move the coal from the Winter Quarters mine to Springville. The first opening for the Winter Quarters mine was made that summer of 1876. The coal was mined and packed by mule down the hillside and loaded onto wagons for the trip into Springville. The Pleasant Valley Coal Company began shipping coal in the fall of 1876, by way of the new wagon road to Springville, the round trip taking four days. At Springville the coal was sold locally for $4 to $5 per ton. (Watts: First Mine, pp. 33-35)

The Pleasant Valley Coal Co. mine owners had difficulties finding financial support for their Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway until they could show that it had sufficient traffic to pay its way. To show that the traffic truly existed, it was necessary to develop the coal mine and begin shipping the coal to market by wagon prior to building the railroad.

"In 1877 Milan Packard projected and commenced to build the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railroad. Early in the spring the surveyors, Smith & Doremus, had located the line, which was commenced at the Utah Central yards down Center street. This Utah Central Railroad, so named at first, started at Ogden and had been completed through Utah county in the autumn of 1873. From this depot, one and one-fourth miles from town, the Utah & Pleasant Valley started, running thence east to the corner of the Square, thence turning south and running in the middle of State street out in the direction of the Big Hollow, and thence to Spanish Fork canyon. Early in the spring men and teams were at work upon the grade. The oracles said it would never be completed, but Mr. Packard kept on and the work steadily progressed. On the 27th of April while the camps were at work at the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon a big snow storm set in and kept falling until twenty-five inches had fallen on the level. The grading progressed up to Thistle this year and toward autumn contracts for ties were let for the "Calico road," as it was facetiously called for the reason that Mr. Packard paid principally out of his store, which he had started the previous year and was the first one to come in conflict with the Co-op store." ("A Brief History of Springville, Utah" published by William F. Gibson, editor of the Springville Independent newspaper, September 1909, 124 pages, page 85)

March 20, 1877
"U. & P. V. R. Co." "At a recent meeting of the stockholders of the Utah and Pleasant Valley railway company, arrangements were made for immediately completing the first twenty mile section of grade from Springville." (Salt Lake Herald, March 20, 1877)

March 21, 1877
"Utah and Pleasant Valley Railroad. -- A meeting of the stockholders of the company was held recently in Salt Lake City, and arrangements were made to begin the first twenty miles of grading for the rails from Springville to Pleasant Valley, and it is proposed to complete that much as soon as practicable." (The Utah County Enquirer, Provo, March 21, 1877)

April 1877
Grading for the new railroad line was begun at Springville. Warren G. Childs of Ogden was the principle contractor, keeping between 160 and 300 men on the project throughout the summer through early winter 1877. By year's end, the road's construction engineer, J. Fewson Smith, reported that twenty-six miles of grading had been completed. (Reeder, p. 370, from Deseret News, March 28, 1877, May 30, 1877, December 26, 1877, Salt Lake Tribune, June 10, 1877, Salt Lake Herald, December 21, 1877)

May 1877
Utah & Pleasant Valley began grading. (Territorial Enquirer, May 9, 1877)

May 9, 1877
Crandall Brothers have a grading contract on the U&PV line and are at work; they were apparently using some sort of small tramway, with a steam locomotive, to move dirt around, as E. Crandall, being unfamiliar with the thing, managed to wreck it on the 5th. (The Utah County Enquirer, Provo, May 9, 1877)

May 23, 1877
"Utah and Pleasant Valley Railroad Company. -- This company is fully organized with M. Packard, President; M. P. Crandall, Superintendent; and George A. Poage, Secretary. The grade is now completed a distance of seven miles and a half, and the remainder of the road to take it to Springville is contracted for, and men busily working at it." (The Utah County Enquirer, Provo, May 23, 1877)

May 30, 1877
Utah & Pleasant Valley -- M. P. Crandall, superintendent, and S. F. Pritchard, one of the owners, called on the editor on the 28th Monday; say that from a point 9-1/2 miles from Springville, to the other side of the Warm Springs, is already graded, and the space in between, to Springville, is being done now. Packard's first name is Mylan (or Milan). (The Utah County Enquirer, Provo, May 30, 1877)

July 11, 1877
Twelve miles of grading now done on the U. & P.V. (The Utah County Enquirer, Provo, July 11, 1877)

September 1877
Utah & Pleasant Valley had been graded for a distance of sixteen miles. (Deseret News, September 5, 1877)

June 1878
Development work on the new Winter Quarters No. 1 mine began, with the prospects of the soon to be completed Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway. Twelve beehive coke ovens were built, but they found that the coal had poor coking qualities. (Watts: First Mine, pp. 35-37)

By mid-1878 the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway had not yet laid any rail, and was having problems paying the interest on its construction bonds, which meant that it might not be able to complete its line to the mines. It was rescued in October 1878 by Charles W. Scofield, an investor from New York City who had also saved and taken control of both the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd Railroad and the Wasatch & Jordan Valley Railroad, two narrow gauge lines which traversed the Salt Lake Valley between the mining camps of Alta and Bingham Canyon, meeting and connecting with the Utah Southern Railroad at Sandy. (Reeder, p. 372)

With Scofield's support the Utah & Pleasant Valley was able to complete its line into Pleasant Valley and the coal company's mine there. In return Scofield was given control of the railroad which meant that he and his associates controlled three of the most important rail lines within the state at that time.

By the end of June 1878, the American Fork Railroad had been abandoned and the rails taken up. At some time between late June and late August 1878 Charles Scofield bought the rolling stock and rails of the American Fork company and used them in the construction of the Utah & Pleasant Valley. Apparently Scofield did not complete payment for the American Fork equipment and materials, which resulted in a suit by the owners of the American Fork line suing Scofield for $11,000 in unpaid debt. (See Scofield's Financial Troubles, below)

(Read more about the American Fork Railroad)

August 29, 1878
Tracklaying began on the Utah & Pleasant Valley line at Springville. (Reeder, p. 370, from Salt Lake Daily Tribune, August 29, 1878)

August 29, 1878
"Tracklaying on the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railroad is to be commenced today at Springville. Superintendent Goss, who is just up from there, says the rails are being sent down from American Fork, and that the construction train will start out with horses, doing the transporting in that manner until the track is laid a distance of three or four miles, after which an engine will be put on the road to complete the work thirty miles the present season. The ties are being rapidly delivered, and work on the new road is being pushed generally." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, August 29, 1878)

September 7, 1878
The construction of the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway, the "Calico Road", was started. (Mendenhall, p. 150)

September 16, 1878
Utah & Pleasant Valley's first locomotive was put on the rails, after a mile and a half of track was laid, using a construction train pulled by horses. (Reeder, p. 371, from Salt Lake Tribune, September 17, 1878)

The locomotive was a Porter & Bell 0-6-0, with a four-wheel tender. This first Utah & Pleasant Valley locomotive came from the defunct American Fork Railroad, and had been the American Fork company's second locomotive, purchased in 1874. The American Fork Railroad had shut down just two months earlier, in June 1878. (Reeder, p. 208, from Deseret News, June 12, 1878)

September 18, 1878
"The citizens of Springville had a grand time yesterday riding on the new narrow gauge rail." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 18, 1878)

October 1878
Although organized in December 1875, Utah & Pleasant Valley was not able to start construction until spring 1877. Scofield and his associates took formal control of U&PV at the October 1878 stockholders meeting.

With Scofield's support, the Utah & Pleasant Valley was able to complete its line into Pleasant Valley and the coal company's mine there. In return Scofield was given control of the railroad which meant that he and his associates controlled three of the most important rail lines within the state at that time: Utah & Pleasant Valley; Wasatch & Jordan Valley, and Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd.

November 9, 1878
"The first car load of new rails for the Utah and Pleasant Valley Railroad has arrived and is the first of a consignment sufficient to finish the road a distance of about thirty miles." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 9, 1878)

December 4, 1878
"The Provo Enquirer says that nine car loads of iron for the Pleasant Valley Railroad passed over the Utah Southern one day last week." (Ogden Junction, December 4, 1878)

December 4, 1878
Nine cars of iron for the Utah & Pleasant Valley went south over the Utah Southern one day last week. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 4, 1878)

March 15, 1879
"We are informed that the work on the Pleasant Valley railroad has commenced again; only a few hands are employed at present. More men will be put on when the weather gets warmer and the frost is out of the ground in the canyon." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, March 15, 1879)

March 26, 1879
"Work on the narrow gauge in Spanish Fork Canyon is being vigorously prosecuted." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, March 26, 1879)

April 2, 1879
"Over seventeen miles of the Utah & Pleasant Valley railway are now completed and the track-laying progresses at the rate of half a mile a day." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, April 2, 1879)

April 4, 1879
"The Provo Times says that over seventeen miles of the Utah and Pleasant Valley Railway are now completed and the track-laying progresses at the rate of half a mile a day." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 4, 1879)

At about this time, possibly in Spring 1879, the Utah & Pleasant Valley built its first depot, very near its starting point in Springville.

May 1, 1879
"The Utah & Pleasant Valley Railroad has received several car loads of iron and will immediately commence laying track from the point where they left off last fall, about eight miles from Springville. The iron now on hand will build about twenty miles, and the company design completing the road to the coal beds of San Pete by September." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 1, 1879)

May 3, 1879
"The Narrow Gauge. -- Thirty-five miles of grading and twenty miles of track-laying are now done on the route of the Utah & Pleasant Valley narrow-gauge railroad. The ties are bedded some thirty miles on the grading, and it is anticipated that the whole of the track - about 52 miles in length - will be laid by the 1st of July next. Then we shall have an abundance of good and cheap coal." "Five car loads of rails were received at Springville, on Thursday, for the Utah & Pleasant Valley narrow-gauge railroad." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, May 3, 1879)

During the construction of the new Utah & Pleasant Valley line, coal was loaded from the wagons to the rail cars at the end of track, where ever that might be as construction proceeded up the canyon. By early and mid May 1879 coal was being hauled into Springville by rail. On May 9th, five cars of coal was received at Springville. (Territorial Enquirer, May 10, 1879)

The new line was built using rails that weighed twenty pounds to the yard (compared to today's regular use of 133-pound rails). Coal was hauled in five-ton wooden cars with twelve cars making up a train, sixty tons of coal per trip. (Watts: First Mine, pp. 35,36) (Today, a single coal car carries 100 tons, nearly twice as much coal as that early entire train.)

May 31, 1879
"Several new cars passed over the Utah Southern yesterday for the Utah and Pleasant Valley narrow-gauge railroad." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, May 31, 1879)

June 1, 1879
"The Pleasant Valley Railroad received twelve cars the other day." (Salt Lake Herald, June 1, 1879)

June 7, 1879
"Fifteen car loads of rails went over the Utah Southern on Wednesday for the Pleasant Valley railroad." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, June 7, 1879)

June 10, 1879
"The Provo & Springville road is completed a distance of thirty miles, and will reach the San Pete coal fields this fall." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 10, 1879)

June 13, 1879
"The Enquirer says, about thirty miles of the Pleasant Valley railroad is completed; it will reach the coal fields by fall." (Ogden Junction, June 13, 1879)

July 10, 1879
"The Pleasant Valley R.R. is within about fifteen miles of the coalfields." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, July 10, 1879)

July 29, 1879
"The narrow gauge road is completed forty miles from Springville, and will strike the coal fields about the middle of September." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 29, 1879)

August 27, 1879
Nephi Packard, of Springville, called yesterday, and says that the narrow gauge is within eight miles of the Pleasant Valley coal beds; they are not now laying track, because have no spikes.--Herald, 26th. (Ogden Junction, August 27, 1879)

October 8, 1879
"Pleasant Valley Railroad. -- Parties just in from Pleasant Valley report that the railroad is completed within one mile of the coal beds, but will proceed no farther this season." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, October 8, 1879)

October 9, 1879
"The Pleasant Valley road is expected to reach its coal field terminus tomorrow." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 9, 1879)

October 18, 1879
"The first installment of rails for the extension of the Utah and Pleasant Valley railroad was deposited at Provo yesterday. Soon the line will be laid between this city and Springville." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, October 18, 1879)

October 26, 1879
"The Pleasant Valley road, which has been pushing ahead in a quiet manner all summer, is now completed to the great coal fields." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 26, 1879)

October 30, 1879
In an article on "Railroad Projects," the U.& P.V. is mentioned as being "...in operation between Pleasant Valley and Springville, where connection is made with the Southern. It is contemplated building the road to Provo, which point is expected to be reached this winter. During this season some forty miles of rail have been laid, making the line fifty-six miles long." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 30, 1879)

November 5, 1879
President Scofield of U&PV has petitioned Provo City Council for rights-of-way into Provo, to include use of parts of streets. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, November 5, 1879)

November 5, 1879
Utah & Pleasant Valley railroad was completed to the mines, and it immediately began hauling coal to Springville. (Reeder, p. 371, from "Spanish Fork", in Railway World, November 15, 1879)

(A. C. Watts, chief engineer of Utah Fuel, in his article in the March 15, 1913 issue of Coal Age magazine, wrongly stated that the Utah & Pleasant Valley commenced operations between the Pleasant Valley mines and Springville in 1876. This was the date that wagon operations began.)

November 7, 1879
"Eight flat cars for the U. & P. V. R. R. passed through the city yesterday for Springville." (Salt Lake Herald, November 7, 1879)

November 12, 1879
"The Pleasant Valley Railroad" "Up to the present, the road has been unable to supply the demand for coal. The company is now going to run an extra train of twenty cars, so that within a very short time coal will be delivered in any required amount." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, November 12, 1879; Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 13, 1879, from the Provo Times of November 12, 1879)

November 19, 1879
Spanish Fork town, 2-1/2 miles from the U&PV, wants a branch built. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, November 19, 1879)

November 19, 1879
"The Utah and Pleasant Valley Railroad have received more flat cars. This company is continually receiving new cars..." (Salt Lake Herald, November 19, 1879)

November 26, 1879
"The grading of the roadbed of the U. & P. V. R. R. is being pushed along as rapidly as the weather will permit." Steel rails are en route from the East. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, November 26, 1879)

December 6, 1879
"The grade of the U. & P. V. R. R. is nearly half constructed between Provo and Springville. The work will be prosecuted as rapidly as the weather will permit." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, December 6, 1879)

December 10, 1879
"Snowed In. -- We received information Monday that the coal train on the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway was snow-bound in Spanish Fork Canyon. We are informed, however, that such will not happen again, as the company intends putting on snow plows, and the road is to be kept open all winter." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, December 10, 1879)

December 10, 1879
"The Pleasant Valley-road is experiencing some trouble by reason of the snow piling up on the track." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, December 10, 1879)

December 13, 1879
"Snow Bound. -- Both coal trains, on the U.& P.V. Railway, were snowbound in Spanish Fork Canyon, on Thursday. Men were sent from Springville to clear the track." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, December 13, 1879)

December 17, 1879
"To Clear The Way. -- The Utah and Pleasant Valley Railway company started two engines with snow plows attached, up Spanish Fork Canyon on Monday. It will probably take a couple of days to clear the track from snow, after which coal will be supplied equal to the demand." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, December 17, 1879)

January 7, 1880
"Our Railroads," The Utah & Pleasant Valley is in operation, Springville to Pleasant Valley, some 66 miles, it says; equipment not mentioned. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 7, 1880)

January 7, 1880
Article on "The Coal Outlook"; the railroad still stuck in the snow; the U&PV is 'connected', as the paper puts it, with the W&JV and BC&CF lines, and supplies all of their coal, somewhat to the irritation of the locals. The only good item in this puffy piece is that "Supt. Goss intends having a new engine shortly, weighing nine tons more than either of those now on the road, and it is thought that with it and the snow plows the road can be kept open." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, January 7, 1880)

January 10, 1880
"The Utah and Pleasant Valley coal trains have at last got through the blockade, and on Wednesday night two car loads were shipped here. But two car loads wouldn't fill a gnat's eye, figuratively speaking." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, January 10, 1880)

January 13, 1880
"The Pleasant Valley Railroad is expecting two new locomotives from the Baldwin works, Philadelphia." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 13, 1880)

January 16, 1880
"The Pleasant Valley road is free from obstruction, but is behind with its coal orders. The new engines will help it out. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 16, 1880)

January 21, 1880
"Fifteen carloads of coal arrived from Pleasant Valley, yesterday morning, at Springville. The road is now open and will continue so long as the good weather lasts." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, January 21, 1880)

March 10, 1880
"Snowed in Again" U&PV coal trains have not made it through for nearly two weeks now. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, March 10, 1880)

March 20, 1880
The U&PV is still having much trouble with ice and snow; some days the train is moved but 1/2 mile, on account of ice having to be picked off the rails. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, March 20, 1880)

March 24, 1880
A coal train of 11 carloads reached Springville on Monday, 22nd. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, March 24, 1880)

September 15, 1880
"J. Fewson Smith, Esq., came to Provo on Saturday to finish the surveying of the extension of the U. and P. V. railway, from Springville to this city. He thinks that trains will be running into Provo from the coal mines inside of three weeks." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, September 15, 1880)

October 20, 1880
"Completion." "The Utah and Pleasant Valley railroad is expected to be completed to this city by tomorrow. The work of tracklaying has been vigorously prosecuted between Springville and Provo for two or three weeks, and the long expected termination of the road is now almost an established fact. It is expected that all mail matter for Springville will hereafter be carried by the U. and P. V. Railway Co., and that freight coming over the Utah Southern for that place will likewise be transferred at Provo." "The track at Springville, where it runs westward to the Utah Southern depot, from the turning point to Provo, has been taken up and utilized in the extension." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, October 20, 1880)

October 21, 1880
"Completed. -- The Utah and Pleasant Valley railway is now completed to Provo, the locomotive having run into the depot for the first time on Thursday night (October 21st) with several carloads of coal. Shipments have already begun, four carloads of coal having yesterday been transferred over the Utah Southern to Juab and two carloads to Salt Lake." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, October 23, 1880)

October 24, 1880
"The narrow gauge railroad is now completed, and coal is being delivered to Provo." This, of course, is the U. & P. V. Ry. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, October 24, 1880)

November 20, 1880
The newspaper editor thinks U&PV ought to be bringing in more coal than they do. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, November 20, 1880)

November 27, 1880
Received five carloads of coal in Provo on Thursday night; by 9:00am Friday not a pound was left. U&PV says they will bring three cars a day. (Provo Territorial Enquirer, November 27, 1880)

December 10, 1880
The Utah & Pleasant Valley are putting up an office and an enginehouse in Provo; and the road is well supplied with snow plows, and hopes to be able to keep the road open this winter. (Salt Lake Herald, December 10, 1880)

February 1881
Scofield regained control of Utah & Pleasant Valley from the bondholders. G. M. Young was named as Superintendent, he also held the same position for the Wasatch & Jordan Valley. (Provo Territorial Enquirer, February 26, 1881)

(Utah & Pleasant Valley was apparently reorganized and refinanced in February 1881. This reorganized company may have been when Scofield began to operate his three companies as a single enterprise, and could be a reflection of Jay Gould's influence as a new source of financial backing; Palmer may be equally involved by this time since Gould was also in control of D&RG. Rumors persisted that D&RG was either interested in, or had purchased control of the Scofield roads as early as October 1880.)

February 24, 1881
G. M. Young, formerly of Scofield's Wasatch & Jordan Valley road, was appointed manager of Scofield's Utah & Pleasant Valley road, account James Cochrane has resigned. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, February 24, 1881)

February 26, 1881
A new company has been organized in New York for the Utah & Pleasant Valley; DeGraff has resigned the presidency and Cochrane the management. Scofield assumes the president's spot, and G. M. Young the management of the line. Young was the Superintendent of the W&JV. Scofield had been connected with the company before, and got into financial troubles, but is back now, and reportedly richer than ever. (Provo Territorial Enquirer, February 26, 1881)

April 8, 1881
Long item lifted from the Denver Tribune of the 5th, relative to the extension of the Denver & Rio Grande into Utah; says that the D&RG bought the Utah & Pleasant Valley in January or February of 1881; or, more exactly, "...parties in the interest of the Rio Grande company, purchased the Pleasant Valley road..." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 8, 1881)

By September 1881, Spackman and Palmer owned the majority of bonds of the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway. (Territorial Enquirer, September 24, 1881)

(Reeder, on page 382, says that on September 22, 1881, Palmer wrote a letter to the U. S. Secretary of the Interior announcing that he held controlling interest in the Utah & Pleasant Valley.)

D&RGW Takes U&PV

(The story of two of the Scofield railroads [Wasatch & Jordan Valley, and Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd] continues from here.)

When the Denver & Rio Grande Railway changed its destination from El Paso to Salt Lake City in 1880 it soon found that the only practical and construction-cost effective route open to it from the east was by way of the Price River Canyon. To accomplish all of the construction in the territory of Utah, a new company by the name of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway was organized in July 1881.

Rumors persisted that Palmer was either interested in, or had purchased control of the Scofield roads (U&PV, W&JV, BC&CF) as early as October 1880, although formal possession did not occur until June 14, 1882 upon completion of the D&RGW tracks into Salt Lake City. (Wilson, pp. 71-76)

The chief engineer of the D&RGW, Micah T. Burgess, was making surveys east of Clear Creek (later Tucker) toward Colorado as early as the summer of 1881.

April 1881
D&RGW had surveyors on the ground, looking for possible routes along the Price River as early as April 1881, with the surveys showing connection with Utah & Pleasant Valley at what later became Pleasant Valley Junction, and today is known as Colton. Construction by Mormon crews began at almost the same time, as soon as survey crews located the route. Progress was rapid on the easier portions. "The Denver and Rio Grande railroad company had got possession of this road [Utah & Pleasant Valley] some months before [in relation to mid November 1881]. It was in mid November 1881 that Frank Hodgman was instructed by telegram to move his crews to Clear Creek on the U&PV and begin construction of the new D&RGW line over Soldier Summit. ("Into The Mountain Of Utah" by Jackson Thode and James L. Ozment, in Dreams, Visions and Visionaries, Colorado Rail Annual Number 20, Colorado Railroad Museum, 1993)

The Utah & Pleasant Valley had been completed in late 1879 by building up Soldier Creek to a point where South Fork of Soldier Creek turned south as Soldier Creek itself turned east toward Soldier Summit. The U&PV construction crews had continued south along the South Fork, crossing over the ridge and into Pleasant Valley through the use of a unique double switchback, which was difficult and expensive to operate. To build its new railroad east to Colorado, the Denver & Rio Grande had to find a new, easier route to replace the original U&PV's route.

July 1881
To accomplish all of the construction in the territory of Utah, a new company by the name of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway was organized in July 1881. To shorten the construction time needed to reach Salt Lake City, the D&RGW made a deal with C. W. Scofield to take over his three railroads - the Utah & Pleasant Valley to shorten the line and the Wasatch & Jordan Valley and Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd lines to provide it with ready sources of traffic when it got to Salt Lake City. The three Scofield lines were purchased in December 1881 and the Rio Grande's rails reached Salt Lake City in June 1882. (Reeder, p. 387)

August 3, 1881
"On Monday one engine, one coach and some six freight cars were sent from the Bingham Canyon Railroad to the Pleasant Valley line." ("Monday" would have been August 1, 1881.) (Salt Lake Herald, August 3, 1881)

August 6, 1881
"A new Pullman car was put on the Utah & Pleasant Valley railway yesterday, which has just been received from the East. It's a daisy." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, August 6, 1881)

The corporately-combined Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd, and Wasatch & Jordan Valley lines were acquired by D&RGW interests on September 1, 1881, and the Utah & Pleasant Valley line was purchased at a foreclosure sale in June 1882. , although formal possession did not occur until June 14, 1882 upon completion of the D&RGW tracks into Salt Lake City. The Utah lines, called the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway, connected with the Colorado lines, called the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, on March 30, 1883, with the actual traffic beginning on April 1st. In April 1882, the D&RG had formally leased the D&RGW. (Wilson, pp. 71-76)

September 20, 1881
Item refers to Pleasant Valley branch of the D&RG. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 20, 1881)

(Reeder, on page 382, says that on September 22, 1881, Palmer wrote a letter to the U. S. Secretary of the Interior announcing that he held controlling interest in the Utah & Pleasant Valley.)

By September 1881, Spackman and Palmer owned the majority of bonds of the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway. (Territorial Enquirer, September 24, 1881)

(Wilson, on page 71, says D&RGW bought the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd on September 1, 1881.)

(Hilton, on page 530, says "The D&RG bought the bankrupt Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd in September and the Wasatch & Jordan Valley in December [1881].")

September 24, 1881
A few days ago, recorder Daniels, Provo, copied some papers he received from attorneys of the D&RGW Railway, wherein it is shown that Wm. M. Spackman of Philadelphia, and William J. Palmer of Denver, own a majority of the bonds of the Utah & Pleasant Valley, by reason of which fact they removed H. P. Graaf and Theo Wilkins as trustees of the bonds, and 'duly appointed' L. H. Meyer of New York and George A. Lowe of Salt Lake City as trustees of the said bonds. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, September 24, 1881)

December 31, 1881
D&RGW bought the Wasatch & Jordan Valley (which was the 1879 consolidation of the old Wasatch & Jordan Valley and the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd) (Reeder, p. 192)

(Athearn, on pages 115 and 116, says D&RGW bought the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd and Wasatch & Jordan Valley "Toward the end of the year...")

Sale To D&RGW

June 13, 1882
"Railroad Sale" at Provo yesterday (Monday, the 12th), being the public sale of the Utah & Pleasant Valley, as ordered by the Court. "It is no secret that the purchase is made in the interest of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Company, of which Mr. Spackman is the treasurer..." The agent for Wm. M. Spackman was Charles S. Hinchman, who did the actual buying at the sale. The sale was the result of foreclosure action. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 13, 1882)

June 13, 1882
Sale held yesterday at the courthouse in Provo, at 2:00pm, of the Utah & Pleasant Valley; it was bid in by Wm. Spackman, in the interest of the Denver & Rio Grande. The D & R G Western folks who went down to Provo yesterday, for the sale of the U & P V., took the Utah Central in the morning, but were able to come back up to Salt Lake in the afternoon on the Western, which had just barely been connected. The line lacks but 1500 feet or so of track in Salt Lake City to connect it with the depot grounds. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 13, 1882)


Utah & Pleasant Valley Locomotives -- A roster listing of the locomotives used by Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway.

More Information

Reeder -- Clarence Reeder's research about Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway

Charles Scofield -- Information about Charles W. Scofield.

Corporate Information for Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway

Excerpt from Locomotives of the Rio Grande, by Colorado Railroad Museum

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