Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway

This page was last updated on June 12, 2011.

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The following comes from Locomotives of the Rio Grande, published by Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, Inc. (Colorado Railroad Museum, 1980)

The Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway Locomotives.

During 1872-73, two small narrow gauge roads were begun in Utah, both building out from the present town of Sandy. The first, the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd (originally, Bingham Canyon & Salt Lake, and frequently simply "Bingham Can­yon"), built west from Sandy up to the mining camp of Bingham Canyon. The second, the Wasatch & Jordan Valley, built east from Sandy towards the mining camps of Alta and Cottonwood. Both roads featured steep grades; the W&JV in 1875 boasted 9 miles of new snowshed to permit year-'round operation!

The two roads were begun as separate enterprises. The BC quickly came under the control of a group headed by a New Yorker named C. W. Scofield; and by 1875 Scofield was also President of the W&JV. The two roads were finally officially merged in 1878, as the W&JV.

Meanwhile, the Scofield group became interested in a new undertaking -- the Utah & Pleasant Valley. This 3' gauge road was projected and eventually built from Provo to coal mines at Pleasant Valley to the southeast -- near the present town of Scofield. Al­though indications of activity on this line occur as early as 1876, it is not recorded as completed until October, 1879.

The three little lines were apparently not a re­sounding financial success, and both the U&PV and W&JV (which still retained its merged corporate individuality to an extent) defaulted on their 7% mortgage bonds in 1881-82. A foreclosure sale was held on June 13, 1882, at which time the parent U&PV (and, subsequently, the W&JV) was pur­chased by the new Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway of Utah. The little roads were no doubt considered valuable by the Palmer forces as feeders and for their charters -- and potential nuisances if not bought up. Parts of the U&PV right-of-way were then used in constructing the D&RGW Ry. line from Ogden and Salt Lake City to Grand Junction.

No records are known to exist of the D&RGW Railway's early narrow gauge roster, but D&RG records indicate that prior to April 1883 the D&RGW Ry had nine small locomotives, numbered 1-9, which were then referred to as "Utah & Pleasant Valley" locomotives. It is believed that these nine were re­ceived by the D&RGW Ry as a result of the 1882 U&PV purchase; were used in construction and other service until completion of the D&RGW Ry early in 1883; and were subsequently used in light service in Utah for some years thereafter.

Upon completion of the D&RGW Ry, the U&PV engines carried the numbers 1-9 -- probably the numbers assigned to them by the U&PV sometime prior to 1882. To avoid confusion with D&RG Nos. 1-9, these locomotives were renumbered in April, 1883, to 110-118. However, in September, 1884, they were deleted from the D&RG roster with the nota­tion "Returned to Utah & Pleasant Valley". More likely, D&RG officials belatedly recognized that they were not D&RG property and merely dropped them from D&RG records. An 1885 list of D&RG loco­motives notes the 110-118 as "Utah" and excludes them from the total.

It should also be remembered that a contract signed on August 1, 1882, provided for operation of the Western, upon completion, by the D&RG. How­ever, subsequent financial reverses and receivership of the D&RG, and accompanying changes in man­agement, led to abrogation of the contract and a serious disruption of relations between the two roads, and resulted in independent operation of the Western for over two decades. In settlement of litigation over the contract termination, on July 12, 1886, the D&RG transferred 27 narrow gauge engines to the Western; and these, plus the remainder of the nine "U&PV" engines, formed the basis of the D&RGW Ry narrow gauge roster.

While an entry for D&RG 110-118 appears in official D&RG locomotive rosters, it is not believed to be entirely correct. The following compilation, from both D&RG and other sources, is offered as a tentative record of these locomotives.

Type Cyl. Driver
Wt. (lbs.)
1 110 0-6-0 11x16" 36" 8'91/2" 35" 26,000 W&JV #1 "Chamois", Dawson & Baily, rec'd 2/73, orig 2-6-0, six wheel tender.
2 111 0-6-0 11x16" 36" 8'91/2" 35" 26,000 W&JV #2 "Deseret", Dawson & Baily, rec'd 9/73, orig 2-6-0 or 2-4/2-0 (see below), six wheel tender.
3 112 0-6-0 12x16" 36" 8'1" 36" 30,800 BC&CF #2(?), Porter #188-1/74.
4 113 0-6-0 12x16" 36" 8'1" 36" 30,800 BC&CF #3(?), Porter #189-1/74 or 3/74.
5 114 4-4-0 12x16" 32" 4'0" 36" 30,800 W&JV #3, Dawson & Baily 1874.
6 115 0-6-0 12x16" 36" 8'11" 36" 30,800 BC&CF #4 (?), Porter #207-2/75.
7 116 2-6-0 12x16" 36" 11'8" 37" 40,000 Prob. U&PV #3, Baldwin #4048-1/77, orig Galveston, Brazos & Colorado #3, returned and resold to U&PV 12/79.
8 117 0-6-0 12x16" 32" 8'11" 36" 30,800 Prob. U&PV #2; believed built for Colorado Central RR, Porter #276-8/77, diverted and sold to U&PV.
9 118 0-6-0 12x16" 36" 8'11" 36" 30,800 Prob. U&PV #1, orig BC&CF #1, Porter 1873, transferred to U&PV ca. 1877.

Note: The precise design of W&JV #2 is somewhat of a mystery. It was described at the time as being "intended to work a grade of some 500 feet to the mile" for which purpose the "hind drivers have a grooved tire that is applied to the rail by a small steam cylinder (that) can be applied to give any amount of adhesion needed". This may have been an invention of a Col. James S. French of the Washington & Alexander RR, which involved a "third or supplemen­tary pair of driving wheels . . . swung in the rear of the ordinary drivers, and connected with the latter so as to revolve at the same rate of speed. These additional drivers have a grooved tread, and are hung in such a manner as to be lifted from contact with the track at the will of the engineer". If this marvel was intended to work on the 11% grades of the W&JV's extension from Wasatch up to the mines at Alta, it was a failure, as later accounts state that the grade was "too heavy for the most powerful engines (and) the cars are drawn by horses over this portion of the road". Apparently the oddity was rebuilt into an orthodox 0-6-0.