Rio Grande in Utah, 1908 to 1988
(Denver & Rio Grande Railroad)
(Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad)
This page was last updated on July 15, 2015.
(This is a work in progress; research continues.)
July 31, 1908
August 1, 1908
Denver & Rio Grande Railroad (Consolidated) incorporated. Rio Grande Western Railway was merged with Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, along with Carbon County Railway, Castle Valley Railway, Copper Belt Railroad, San Pete Valley Railway, Sevier Railway, Tintic Range Railway, Utah Central Railroad, and Utah Eastern Railway. (LeMassena, pp. 115, 117)
According to Le Massena, page 67, the mechanism used by both D&RG and by RGW to build branchlines was to encourage a group of individuals, or a particular shipper, to organize a new company to build a spur or branch, contracting the actual construction to the railroads' construction crews. The railroads would then refund all costs of construction to the organizing company or individuals in the form of haulage credits until the full cost was fully recovered. Formal ownership, deed and title would then pass to the railroads.
D&RG added five miles of second track between Helper and Castle Gate, and another five miles of second track between Kyune and Colton. (LeMassena, p. 123)
The route had been surveyed and staked for additional double track between Helper and Castle Gate, and work was to start at once. The contractor was Utah Construction Company. This work is in preparation for the additional traffic from the Panther mine being opened midway between Helper and Castle Gate. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 17, 1909, Utah Digital Newspaper Project)
May 5, 1909
D&RG split its Utah Lines into two new divisions; the new Salt Lake Division (with A. B. Apperson as its new superintendent) was created to manage the road between Ogden and Helper; the new Green River Division was created to manage the road between Helper to Grand Junction. (Carbon County News, May 6, 1909; Eastern Utah Advocate, May 6, 1909; Richfield Reaper, May 6, 1909, "yesterday")
August 8, 1909
A. E. Welby died. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 12, 1909) Garfield Junction, where the Garfield Branch left the Bingham Branch, was renamed to Welby in his honor.
(Stocking's history of the Welby township, page 2, states that in commemoration of Welby, in 1909 the station originally called Garfield Junction was changed to Welby. Garfield Junction was where the Garfield Beach Extension, built in 1905 to serve the Magna copper mills and Garfield copper smelter, connected with the Bingham Branch in the center of Salt Lake Valley.)
D&RG and WP built Salt Lake City Union Depot in Salt Lake City. (LeMassena, p. 123) Construction started in 1907, under the name of Salt Lake City Union Depot & Railroad Co., incorporated on May 29, 1907. (Utah corporation index 6383)
D&RG began operation of both Southern Utah Railroad and Castle Valley Railroad, using their own equipment. (LeMassena, p. 123)
Utah Copper Co. built its own Bingham & Garfield Railway because the copper company was not satisfied with D&RG's service between the copper company's mine in Bingham Canyon, and its smelters 16 miles north near Great Salt Lake via D&RG's Garfield Branch. (LeMassena, p. 123)
In his summary for the year 1911, LeMassena wrote on page 123, "Copper ore, in tremendous tonnages, which had been routed from Bingham through Welby to Garfield, dwindled to but a fraction of the former quantities. The reason was simple enough: the copper company wanted more reliable service. The D&RG ignored this request, with the result that the copper company eliminated the D&RG completely by building the Bingham & Garfield railroad."
D&RG added three miles of second track between Welby and Loline Junction to relieve the congestion of copper ore traffic between Bingham Canyon and the mills and smelter at Garfield. (LeMassena, p. 123)
June 22, 1910
The D&RG depot in Price burned to the ground. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 23, 1910, p. 1) It was replaced in December 1911. The new depot was opened on December 18, 1911. The first train through was No. 6, the Atlantic Coast Limited, pulled by locomotives 781 and 790. The new depot was under construction for three months, at a cost of $15,000.00. (Eastern Utah Advocate, December 21, 1911)
August 13, 1910
D&RG changed its old Salt Lake City depot to the new Salt Lake City Union Depot on August 13, 1910, a Saturday evening. The last train out of the old depot was Train No. 3; first train out of the new depot was the San Pete Local. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 25, 1910, "Passing of Salt Lake's Old Depot")
D&RG announced that it would build a new line from Mesa, in north Utah County, south along the western shore of Utah Lake to Elberta, then to Nephi, to connect with the San Pete Valley branch. (Eastern Utah Advocate, October 1910)
January 2, 1911
A new all-brick Union Depot was opened at Provo, Utah; to be used by D&RG and UP. (Salt Lake Herald, December 23, 1910)
A newspaper item says that D&RG was concerned about a survey being done in Salina Canyon by "Harriman interests". (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 3, 1911)
September 5, 1911
Thistle depot burned completely on the morning of September 5, 1911, including the restaurant and baggage room. (Eastern Utah Advocate, September 7, 1911)
September 14, 1911
Utah Copper Company began operation of its Bingham & Garfield Railway. Construction had begun in April 1910. Utah Copper had asked D&RG to expand its facilities (more locomotives and cars and double tracking of its "Low Grade Line" and Garfield Branch) and D&RG had refused. The copper company had organized the B&G in July 1908, hoping to "scare" the D&RG railroad into making the needed improvements. The copper company went ahead with the construction because they could see advantages to controlling their own transportation facilities. (106 ICC 459)
D&RG added six miles of second track between Thistle and Detour in preparation for the line change between Detour and Soldiers Summit. (LeMassena, p. 125)
D&RG began work on the double tracking of its line from Castle Gate to Kyune. The contractor was Kilpatrick Brothers. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 11, 1912, p. 1)
D&RG began reconstruction of their own line over Soldier Summit, between Castle Gate and Thistle. The $1.5 million contract for the new "detour" line over Soldier Summit was let in Denver on November 19, 1912 to Utah Construction Company. The new D&RG construction was for a new double track line between a new connection with Utah Railway at Castle Gate, over Soldier's Summit to Thistle, and a connection with Utah Railway's own, new line into Provo. (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 21, 1912)
November 19, 1912
D&RG let a $1.5 million contract for the "detour" around Soldier Summit to Utah Construction Company. (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 21, 1912) During January 1913 there were six steam shovels working on D&RG's detour line over Soldier Summit. (Eastern Utah Advocate, January 23, 1913) Work was well under way by February 1913. There were twenty-three steam shovels working above Tucker. (Eastern Utah Advocate, February 6, 1913) There 1,000 men and 250 teams at work. (Eastern Utah Advocate, February 20, 1913) The work on D&RG's Soldier Summit detour was the site of one of Utah's first labor problems. Wattis and Bechtel, subcontractors to Utah Construction Company, had 750 workers go on strike demanding $2.50 for ten hours work, preferring nine hours of work. They also wanted bath tubs. Utah Construction had 7,000 men working; 3,000 near Tucker; and 4,000 in Price River Canyon and Spanish Fork Canyon. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 12, 1913, "Shorter Hours; Bath Tubs Also") Wattis & Bechtel resumed work after the strike was broken. Membership in the striking union was down to twenty men. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 19, 1913, pp. 6, 8, "Agitators Jailed; Strike Broken")
D&RG added nine miles of second track between Castle Gate and Kyune, and 14 miles of relocated double track mainline between Soldiers Summit and Detour, giving the railroad a full double track mainline across Soldiers Summit from Helper to Thistle. (LeMassena, p. 125)
D&RG surveyed the route for a branch to Huntington Canyon. (Eastern Utah Advocate, January 23, 1913)
D&RG bought the railroad of Spring Canyon Coal Co. between Spring Canyon Junction (near Helper) and Storrs, in Spring Canyon. Built by the coal company in late 1912. (LeMassena, p. 125)
D&RG began operation of Ballard & Thompson Railroad, between Thompson on D&RG and the coal mine at Sego. (LeMassena, p. 125)
D&RG leased its Wasatch Branch between Sandy and Wasatch to Salt Lake & Alta Railroad, which agreed to reconstruct and operate the branch. (LeMassena, p. 125)
D&RG began reconstruction of its line between Salina and Nioche, after the line was washed out in 1904. (LeMassena, p. 125) (see also the entry in 1902, LeMassena, p. 111)
late June 1913
Negotiations between Utah Railway and D&RG for a joint trackage agreement over Soldiers Summit began. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 26, 1913)
June 18, 1913
"Spectacular Fire Razes Denver & Rio Grande Car Shops; Loss is Estimated at Half Million," in a fire that was yesterday, the 18th, the alarm being turned in at 7:33 p.m. Fire is stated to have started in the Paint shop, and destroyed that building as well as the blacksmith shop, planing mill, pattern shop, car foreman's office and all records, and 25 box cars and six passenger cars that were in the paint shop at the time of the fire. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 19, 1913)
The fire started at about 7:35 pm in a freshly painted coach that was in the Coach Shop for repairs. The fire destroyed the coach and paint shop, which were in the same building, along with the woodworking mill, the blacksmith shop, the general car forman's office (including part of the car records kept there), the wheel shop, part of the boiler house, five passenger cars, including the pay car, and 25 freight cars, along with six cabooses. A total of 600 to 700 men were thrown out of employment as a result of the fire. The nearby coaling chute and two tanks holding 6000 gallons of fuel oil were saved by deluging them with water, along with large amounts of lumber and similar material in a nearby storage yard. The fire was kept to the south side of the Fourth South viaduct, and the roundhouse and engine shops on the north side of the viaduct were never in danger. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 19, 1913, "yesterday")
U.S. government files suit against D&RG over its ownership of Utah Fuel. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 17, 1913, p. 2) (RESEARCH: Find court proceedings.)
October 1, 1913
D&RG announced that stone for its new freight terminal in Ogden would be furnished by Utah Consolidated Stone Company, which was also furnishing stone for the state capitol and the new LDS administration building, both in Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 2, 1913) (The stone is shiped by way of the Salt Lake & Alta Railroad, which was leasing D&RG's Little Cottonwood Branch between Little Cottonwood Canyon and Sandy.)
November 10, 1913
The new D&RG Soldier Summit detour line was opened to general traffic. The new line was projected to save $600,000.00 per year in operating costs. Work began in February. (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 13, 1913)
Passenger trains began using the new D&RG detour during mid November 1913, their operation over the new line had been waiting for the completion of ballasting. (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 20, 1913)
On November 1, 1913, Utah Railway and D&RG signed a joint operating agreement for 20.6 miles of Utah Railway owned single track trackage between Thistle and Provo, along with 19.8 miles of D&RG owned single track trackage between the same two points. Also included were 51.35 miles of D&RG owned double track trackage between Thistle and Utah Railway Junction. (141 ICC 574,575; Utah Railway: Manual, p. 22)
On November 4, 1913, the Utah Railway and the Denver & Rio Grande signed a joint trackage and operating agreement for their lines between Castle Gate (Utah Railway Junction) and Provo. The agreement called for Utah Railway to abandon its construction between Castle Gate and Spanish Fork. (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 6, 1913)
Utah Railway built a parallel line to D&RG between Provo and Thistle. (LeMassena, p. 125)
D&RG leased for operation the Kenilworth & Helper Railway. (LeMassena, p. 129)
February 28, 1914
D&RG began moving into its new freight depot in Ogden. Construction of the new D&RG freight depot in Ogden began on September 9, 1913. Construction started on September 16th, after D&RG surveyors marked off the site of the new building. Operations were moved from the old freight depot, to the new location on February 28, 1914, with the first day of full operation planned for Monday morning, March 2, 1914. (Ogden Standard, September 8, 1913; September 16, 1913, "this morning"; February 12, 1914, "nearing completion"; February 28, 1914, "this afternoon and tomorrow")
late June 1914
The Utah Railway line between Provo and Thistle went into service as a second track for Denver & Rio Grande. Fourteen miles of Utah Railway's own line between the mines and Castle Gate (Utah Railway Junction) was complete, with the remainder to be complete by September. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 25, 1914)
D&RG began operation of Utah Railway trains over the joint D&RG/Utah trackage, and Utah's own trackage, between Provo and the mines at Hiawatha and Mohrland. (Eastern Utah Advocate, December 17, 1914)
D&RG ceased its operation of Southern Utah Railroad. (LeMassena, p. 129)
January 15, 1915
D&RG began operation of Kenilworth & Helper Railway. Organized in July 1911 by the Independent Coal & Coke Company to operate the railroad line that it had built in 1907. (26 ICC 860)
D&RG and UP both announce that they will build into the Uintah Basin; D&RG from Soldiers Summit, UP from Park City Branch. (The Sun, October 15, 1915)
The survey for D&RG's extension into the Uintah Basin ran from Myton to Independence, east to the confluence of the Dry Gulch and Uintah Rivers, one mile south of Fort Duchesene, over Sandridge, then east. (The Sun, December 17, 1915) After the survey was completed, the decision for the construction of D&RG's Uintah Branch was up to the directors in New York City. The officers of the road were in New York making a presentation during the meeting to determine the annual budget. (The Sun, December 31, 1915)
D&RG removed the old four-percent grade between Detour and Soldiers Summit. (LeMassena, p. 129) Today, this abandoned line is the route used by U. S. Highway 6.
D&RG filed a proposed route with the U.S. Land Office in Vernal for its branch into the Uintah Basin. (The Sun, February 25, 1916, p. 2, "From Colton To Uintah Country")
D&RG is considering a separate corporation to build its road into the Uintah Basin. The construction was expected to cost $5 million. SPLA&SL announced that it would send surveyors into the Uintah Basin, as soon as snows permit. (The Sun, March 31, 1916, p. 7)
D&RG ended its operation of Utah Railway. (LeMassena, p. 129) Utah Railway had become dissatisfied with D&RG's operation of its trains, and with assistance from UP, Utah Railway bought its own equipment and hired its operating personnel.
D&RG leased its line between Wasatch and Alta to Little Cottonwood Transportation Company. By this time, the still narrow gauge line had been long unused and was mostly disintegrated. Little Cottonwood Transportation agreed to reconstruct the line. (LeMassena, p. 131) (Link to other information about Little Cottonwood Transportation Co.)
D&RG took over the operation of its Little Cottonwood Branch between Midvale and Wasatch, terminating the lease of the Sandy to Wasatch portion by Salt Lake & Alta. (LeMassena, p. 131)
D&RG bought the railroad of the Standard Coal Company, between Storrs and Standardville in Spring canyon. (LeMassena, p. 131)
D&RG removed the portion of the former San Pete Valley Railway between Manti and Sterling. (LeMassena, p. 131) The line paralleled D&RG's own line between the same two towns and was about seven miles long including the spur to the abandoned Morrison coal mine. The Morrison Branch was constructed by the San Pete Valley in 1894 to serve the coal mine of the Sterling Coal & Coke Company at the mouth of Six Mile Canyon. The branch and coal mine had been inactive since about 1900. (Peterson, San Pete Scenes, p. 47)
The two lines were parallel between Ephraim to Sterling, with the former San Pete Valley line being on the west side of the D&RG line. The two lines crossed just north of Manti, then the San Pete Valley line was along the D&RG's east side to Sterling and a mile further to the Morrison coal mine. It is unknown if they interchanged at any other locations.
D&RG completed the construction of a two mile branch from Kingsville Junction to Kingsville. (LeMassena, p. 131) Kingsville Junction was on the Hooper Branch in south Weber County, which connected to the Salt Lake City to Ogden mainline at Roy. Kingsville was the location of of a beet dump owned by Amalgamated Sugar Company, and later the point where the Farnsworth Spur connected.
D&RG completed the construction of a one mile extension of the Hooper Branch, west from Hooper to Cox. (LeMassena, p. 131)
D&RG removed the five mile stone quarry spur from Kyune to Potters. The spur was constructed in 1892 from Kyune on the mainline (known then as Jennings Junction) for three miles to the Jennings quarry, then extended for two miles from Jennings to the Potters Quarry in 1900. The combined spurs were removed in 1917 after the closure of both stone quarries. (LeMassena, p. 131)
The Jennings and Potter Spur left the mainline at or very near to West Kyune. The spur was 4.97 miles long and headed almost due east to the quarries. The present-day Emma Park Road is on most of the roadbed. At a spot today known as Matts Summit, the spur turned due north for about a mile and ended at the quarries. Most of the roadbed not used by the Emma Park Road is visible in the TerraServer photos, especially where it crossed Horse Creek on an S curve, while the present day road is straight. There was not a wye at Jennings Jct., where the spur left the mainline. (part from a telephone conversation with Jim Ozment, retired D&RGW Utah Division Engineer, November 2, 2004)
June 25, 1917
In late June 1917, hurried and inadequate engineering of a earthen dam brought about a disaster that would affect railroad transportation in Carbon County for the next six months and cause the abandonment of the Southern Utah Railroad. At about noon on June 24, 1917 the dam of the Mammoth reservoir of the Price River Irrigation Company began leaking. The leak grew steadily worse and the dam finally gave way in the early afternoon of Sunday, June 25th. The dam, located on Gooseberry Creek, a tributary of the Price River above Scofield, was about forty miles upstream from Price, and the resulting flood carried 11,000 acre feet of water, or about 3.6 billion gallons down Price River Canyon and out into the Grassy Trail desert. The raging torrent destroyed four bridges and about seven miles of D&RG's Scofield Branch, along with eight bridges and twenty miles along D&RG's mainline down Price River Canyon. The Southern Utah's wooden bridge over the Price River at Price was also washed out, effectively shutting down the railroad. There was ample warning of the pending disaster, with the only death being that of a female sightseer who backed her car into the flooded river. The crest of the flood reached Price on Monday night at about 11 p. m. The flood stranded D&RG's Scofield switcher. Five D&RG trains were marooned between Helper and Colton, along with two mallet helper engines. (Kleinschmidt, pp. 52-56; The Sun, June 29, 1917, p. 1, "Mammoth Dam Is Gone") The D&RG's mainline tracks in Price River canyon were returned to service on July 4th. Most of the damage on the mainline was between Kyune and Utah Railway Junction, with 1,500 feet of track being washed out at the Nolan tunnels. (The Sun, July 6, 1917) By August 10th, most of the D&RG double track between Utah Railway Junction and Kyune was back in service, except for two sections, one at Cameron and another near Kyune, and within two weeks those were also back in service. The first train out on the repaired Scofield Branch was operated in the early evening on August 20, 1917. (The Sun, August 10, 1917, p. 6; August 24, 1917, p. 6) D&RG used state prison convicts to rebuild its line after the Mammoth dam break. (News-Advocate, January 18, 1918)
December 1, 1917
Utah Railway took over operation of its trains using its own locomotives and cars.
December 28, 1917
D&RGW, along with a U. S. railroads, came under the control of the federal government, by Presidential order dated December 26, 1917. The United States Railway Administration was created in March 1918 to administer the federal control of the railroads.
January 25, 1918
D&RG was forced into receivership to cover its own debt, along with the debt of the WP. D&RG had begun not paying the WP debt in March 1915. (Athearn, pp. 224-237)
Utah Fuel Company was sold to satisfy some of the combined D&RG and WP debt. (Athearn, p. 236) (QUESTION: Sold to who?)
December 27, 1918
Goshen Valley Railroad was incorporated by the mine owners to build a branch line to their Tintic Standard Mine, Iron King Mine, and South Standard Mine. (Utah corporation index 13600) Portions sold to D&RGW in 1927.
D&RG began operating the newly completed Goshen Valley Railroad, under contract. (LeMassena, p. 131)
D&RG bought the railroad of the Carbon Fuel Company, between Standardville and Rains in Spring Canyon. (LeMassena, p. 131)
Article about D&RG's new Salt Lake City freight terminal. (Railway Age, Volume 66, Number 18, ca. June 1919, pages 1083-1085)
August 5, 1919
D&RG was ordered by the Utah Public Utilities Commission to construct and maintain a depot at Sigurd, to answer complaints of the town's residents. (Utah Public Service Commission case 181)
March 1, 1920
D&RG released from USRA control. (LeMassena, p. 131)
On March 1, 1920, the United States Railway Administration had returned control of the nation's railroads, from government control due to World War I, back to the railroad companies. Included in the enabling Esch–Cummins Act was a provision to allow the ICC to control the railroads profits and rate of return for investments. (Esch–Cummins Act) (USRA)
Utah Terminal Railway was organized by coal companies in Spring Canyon because D&RG was not providing satisfactory service, including insufficient numbers of empty cars. (72 ICC 91)
(Built by Utah Railway, later leased and sold to them.)
Reconstruction of Salina to Nioche branch resumed, after work was discontinued in 1914. Construction continued through 1922 and 1923. (LeMassena, p. 135)
August 23, 1922
Ballard & Thompson Railroad received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to do business as a common carrier. The railroad was 5.25 miles long and served the coal mines of the American Fuel Company at Sego. (Utah Public Service Commission case 564) On September 29, 1922 the ICC denied the Ballard & Thompson's request to participate in interstate commerce. (ICC Finance Docket 2494, in 72 ICC 644)
January 20, 1923
Carbon County Railway (second) received ICC approval to construct its line of railway. (ICC Financial Docket 2505, in 76 ICC 485) The company had received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval on August 24, 1922. (Utah Public Service Commission case 571)
December 29, 1923
Utah Public Utilities Commission approved D&RGW to discontinue train numbers 203 and 204 between Salt Lake City and Bingham. (Utah Public Service Commission case 684)
D&RGW's ex Copper Belt Railroad line in Bingham Canyon was removed because of the copper mine's expansion, including the line from Bingham up canyon to Copper Belt Junction on the low grade line, and the former Copper Belt branch from Bingham to the Yampa smelter. (LeMassena, p. 139)
May 3, 1924
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency and station at Kaysville. (Utah Public Service Commission case 688)
August 23, 1924
D&RGW retired and demolished the five-stall roundhouse at Colton. (D&RGW AFE 1705, dated August 23, 1924, courtesy of Jerry Day)
October 29, 1924
Control of D&RGW passed to Western Pacific and Missouri Pacific Railroads. (Athearn, p. 256)
LeMassena, page 139, says that on October 29, 1924, D&RGW was sold under foreclosure to Equitable Trust and to Kuhn, Loeb & Co., representing the road's bondholders, making D&RGW jointly owned by Missouri Pacific Railroad and Western Pacific Railroad Corporation (parent company of Western Pacific Railroad.)
Little Cottonwood Transportation Co. ceased its lease and operation of the Wasatch to Alta portion of the Wasatch Branch. Portion of line later operated by private parties. (LeMassena, p. 145)
Portion of Scofield Branch, from Hale to Scofield, relocated because of Scofield Reservoir. Six miles of new construction. (LeMassena, p. 145)
Removed portion of former San Pete Valley Railway, from Ephraim to Manti, that paralleled the Marysvale Branch. Not operated for several years. (LeMassena, p. 145)
Removed entire Lake Park Branch, from Lake Park Junction to Lake Park, west of Farmington. (LeMassena, p. 145)
Reconstruction of the Salina to Nioche branch was resumed. Construction continued through 1926. (LeMassena, p. 145)
D&RGW dismantled the roundhouse at Welby in 1925. The school closed in 1920, the telegraph office closed in 1931, and the bunkhouses were removed in 1940. (Deseret News, September 30, 1981, "Commuters Shoot By Where Welby Stood")
September 21, 1925
D&RGW sold its Bingham Low Grade Line, the Copper Belt Branch, and the Yampa Branch to Utah Copper's Bingham & Garfield Railway. (D&RGW Agreement 4163 and Deed U-3267)
(Expansion of the copper company's operations required that they move these tracks, along with others that were connected with them.)
D&RGW board of directors approved construction of 131 miles of new railroad line from Soldiers Summit to Vernal. (Coal Index: The Sun, May 23, 1925, p. 1) Estimated cost was $6,195,500.00. (Coal Index: The Sun, July 10, 1925, p. 2)
A. B. Apperson is shown as president "of the Cameo Coal Company, the largest shipper of coal over the D&RG lines." Apperson was part of the group of railroad and coal company executives, including D&RG and Sevier Valley Coal Company and Salina Canyon Coal Company, that toured Salina Canyon and the proposed route for a D&RG branch in the canyon to serve coal mnes that were being developed. (Richfield Reaper, May 21, 1925)
August 26, 1925
D&RGW let the contract to build its railroad in Salina Canyon to Utah Construction Company. (Coal Index: The Sun, August 28, 1925, page 1, "last Wednesday")
D&RGW built the Kenilworth Branch to replace the steep Kenilworth & Helper Railway, which was leased for operation by D&RGW and operated with K&H's Shay locomotives. Five miles of new construction. (LeMassena, p. 145)
Kenilworth & Helper Railroad received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to abandon its railroad line. The railroad company was incorporated in Wyoming and was 100 percent owned by the Independent Coal & Coke Company. The railroad was leased for operation for ten years to D&RG on December 1, 1914. The first coal was shipped in October 1907. Shay locomotives of the coal company were used on a separate tramway to bring the coal down to the No. 1 tipple. Shay locomotives of the railroad company had a capacity of twelve cars over the line's 6.5 percent grades; seven empties up from the D&RGW connection at Spring Glen, and twelve to fifteen loads down. Current production was 2,200 tons per day and the old Kenilworth & Helper railroad could not handle the new, additional tonnage from the newly opened No. 2 mine. John H. Tonkin, president of the railroad company, was also general manager of the coal company. (Utah Public Service Commission case 868)
Moffat Tunnel completed. Construction had begun in 1923. (Athearn, p. 271) As an aside, Simon Bamberger organized his Salt Lake & Denver Railroad, but promised to build it only if the tunnel was built. (Athearn, p. 266)
D&RGW purchased portions of Goshen Valley Railroad: from Pearl to Dividend (seven miles), and from Flora to Iron King (two miles). The Goshen Valley Railroad connected with D&RGW's Tintic Branch at Eureka. (LeMassena, p. 145)
April 26, 1927
D&RGW received ICC approval to control the Goshen Valley Railway. (124 ICC 397)
May 20, 1927
D&RGW withdrew its application to the Utah Public Utilities Commission to purchase the Goshen Valley Railroad. No reason was given. The application was made on November 6, 1926. (Utah Public Service Commission case 929)
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to discontinue train numbers 101 and 102 between Salt Lake City and Park City. The trains would be replaced with mixed train service. (Utah Public Service Commission case 964)
March 27, 1928
D&RGW converted a retired engine tender for use as a water car for added capacity of its 3400-series 2-8-8-2 (Class L-95) locomotives assigned to the Bingham Branch. (D&RGW AFE 3711, courtesy of Jerry Day)
December 31, 1928
D&RGW's new water treatment plant at Westwater was placed into operation. (D&RGW AFE 3872, courtesy of Jerry Day)
D&RGW built four miles of new line in Bingham Canyon from Upper Junction to Midas to serve the Midas and Congor mines. The new spur was removed in 1931. (LeMassena, p. 147)
March 1, 1929
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to discontinue train numbers 409 and 410 between Springville and Silver City, over the Tintic Branch. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1071)
March 3, 1929
The last remainder of the old Utah Central/Salt Lake & Eastern line in Sugar House, the coal spur to the state prision, was abandoned in March 1929. This abandonment was needed as part of Salt Lake City's extension of 1300 East Street across Parley's Canyon, between 2100 South and a connection with Highland Drive at 2700 South Street. A large fill of 55,000 cubic yards of material was to be created as part of the project, along with an underpass for the tracks of D&RGW's Park City Branch, and a concrete flume for Parley's Creek. The abandonment of the prision coal spur took away the need for a second underpass. (Salt Lake Telegram, March 3, 1929)
May 22, 1929
D&RGW and LA&SL received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the joint agency at Silver City. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1103 and 1104)
D&RGW completed the 18-mile Nioche Branch east from Salina to the coal mine of the Sevier Valley Coal Company. Development of the mine was begun by the mining company in 1924 and had continued until 1926, when the work was halted. Development work started again in 1930 when the railroad completed the spur. (USGS IC 6378, p. 2)
(LeMassena, p. 147, says the line was completed in 1929. On page 149, he says that the portion of the line from Crystal to Nioche was removed in 1936, having been idle since its construction. On page 156, LeMassena says that the remaining portion portion of the line from Salina to Crystal was removed in 1942.)
D&RGW removed the four miles of new line in Bingham Canyon from Upper Junction to Midas to serve the Midas and Congor mines. Continued expansion of Utah Copper's Bingham mine forced the removal. (LeMassena, p. 147)
May 4, 1931
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Westwater. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1211)
June 5, 1931
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Sunnyside. Carbon County Railway had no equipment, all train service was provided under contract by D&RGW. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1213)
August 21, 1931
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission to close agency station at Castle Gate. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1230)
September 29, 1931
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Dividend. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1231)
December 3, 1931
The Salt Lake City Commission, as part of the project to extend 13th East Street between 21st South and Highland Drive, approved plans for a concrete "viaduct" for D&RGW's Park City Branch, and the adjacent Penitentiary Spur that served Hygeia Ice and several warehouses along the south side of 21st South. This viaduct was to be built in two sections, one for the spur, and the other for the mainline of the Park City Branch. (Salt Lake Telegram, December 3, 1931)
December 28, 1931
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Bingham. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1244)
May 6, 1932
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Spring City. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1274)
D&RGW removed the UP Mine Spur, between Scofield and the UP coal mine, which was no longer active. (LeMassena, p. 149)
D&RGW removed the Winter Quarters Spur, between Scofield and the coal mine at Winter Quarters, which was no longer active. (LeMassena, p. 149)
April 14, 1933
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency at Colton. After May 8, 1931 the agency was only open between April 15th and June 30th and between September 1st and October 31st. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1305)
April 28, 1933
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon the 1.7 mile Winter Quarters Spur, from the Scofield wye to Winter Quarters, including 1.3 miles of yard tracks at Winter Quarters. Utah Fuel Company had closed their mine at Winter Quarters in 1928 and they removed all of the machinery in September 1930. (193 ICC 21; Sun-Advocate, April 6 1933, p. 6; see also LeMassena, p. 149)
September 6, 1933
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon 6.8 miles of the Little Cottonwood Branch between Sand Pit and Wasatch. The line was built as narrow gauge in 1873 by the Wasatch & Jordan Valley Railroad. Operation was discontinued in 1899 and the line was relaid as standard gauge in 1913. It saw daily service from 1913 to 1917, while leased to the Salt Lake & Alta Railroad. Between 1917 and 1923 there was only irregular service, about two or three times per week. There was only occasional use after 1923, with two trips made in 1932 and none in 1933. No shipments of ore were made after June 1930. There was no service on the branch after June 1932. Car loadings of granite building stone furnished "considerable traffic, but all of that traffic now moves by truck". (193 ICC 461)
(LeMassena, p. 149, says that the line between Sand Pit and Alta was removed in 1934.)
May 16, 1934
D&RGW retired its 60-foot turntable at Bingham. (D&RGW AFE 5227, courtesy of Jerry Day)
Dotsero Cutoff in Colorado was completed. (Athearn, p. 298) Work was begun in September 1932, after eight years of delays because of trackage agreements between D&RGW and D&SL, and later by lack of finances for D&RGW to build the cutoff. The cutoff was built by Denver & Salt Lake Western Railroad, as a subsidiary of the Rio Grande. (Athearn, pp. 274-299)
August 3, 1934
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Riverton. The Salt Lake & Utah Railroad operated ten trains a day through the business center of town. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1524)
November 30, 1934
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Moroni. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1523)
State Road Commission received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct an underpass at the UP and D&RGW crossing of State Street near Midvale. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1725)
D&RGW placed into receivership, with Wilson McCarthy and Henry Swan appointed as receivers. (Athearn, p. 307) D&SL was also placed into receivership in December 1934 with McCarthy appointed as the receiver. (Athearn, p. 304)
Bids were opened for the construction of the underpass of 3300 South Street under the D&RGW tracks. Within one month, the state road commission condemned 42 pieces of property on both sides of the tracks to allow construction of the underpass. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 3, 1935; November 23, 1935)
D&RGW removed the eastern portion of the "Castle Valley Branch" from Crystal to Nioche, the line having been idle since its construction in 1930. (LeMassena, p. 149)
State Road Commission received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct underpass of D&RGW and Utah Railway grade crossing in Springville. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1828)
State Road Commission received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct an underpass for the D&RGW crossing of Janet Street in Helper. (Utah Public Service Commission case 1872)
D&RGW built the three-mile Farnsworth Spur, from Kingsville to Farnsworth. This was a spur to serve sugar beet loading and a cannery west of Roy in Weber County. (LeMassena, p. 151)
The Farnsworth Spur connected at its northern end to the south end of the Kingsville Spur, which connected to the Hooper Branch, west of Roy. These spurs were all located in the southwest corner of Weber County, very near the Davis County line, and all served the agricultural region immediately east of Great Salt Lake.
D&RGW built the Alta Lodge at Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 30, 2006)
June 25, 1940
Gomex at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon was changed from Moark. The name was changed to Gomex, and a new spur was built to serve the plant of Illinois Powder Manufacturing's Gold Metal Explosives Division, "Gomex". (Source, D&RGW ICC valuation drawing)
Illinois Powder Manufacturing Co.
(Gold Metal Explosives Division)
Industrial track 3873'
3 spur tracks 690', 620', 190'
2 side tracks 1065' and 730'
Permission to cross U. S. Hwy 50
The explosives manufacturing plant at Gomex was projected to be completed in placed in operation in December 1940. The projected production rate was reported as 1,250,000 pounds per month. About 100 to 110 men were to be employed. (Deseret News, September 13, 1940)
Illinois Powder Manufacturing Company was sold to American Cyanamid on August 29, 1957. American Cyanamid was one of the oldest manufacturers of explosives in the nation. At the time of the sale, American Cyanamid had two explosives manufacturing plants and 34 "magazines" in 15 states. Illinois Powder had two manufacturing plants, including the plant at Gomex, Utah, and 50 magazines in 24 states. Illinois Powder, by court action of the Fourth District Court on December 10, 1957, voluntarily withdrew from doing business in Utah. (Daily Herald, August 11, 1957, and December 12, 1957)
The Illinois Powder Co. built the factory in 1940, then sold it in 1957 to the American Cyanamid Co. Subsequent owners were Cytec Industries of New Jersey and IMC Group, Inc., which later became Mallinckrodt Inc., of Missouri.
The plant, under a series of owners, has been manufacturing explosives at the mouth of the Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah since the 1940s. Corporate predecessors of Mallinckrodt acquired the plant in 1967, and Mallinckrodt sold the plant and related assets to the Trojan Corporation in 1982. Ensign-Bickford Industries acquired the Trojan Corporation in 1986-1987 and has operated the plant since that time. Ensign-Bickford closed the plant in February 2006.
October 29, 1940
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close agency station at Goshen. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2425)
D&RGW relocated a 10-mile portion of the Heber City Branch, between Vivian Park and Charleston due to the construction of Deer Creek Reservoir. (LeMassena, p. 155)
February 18, 1941
State Road Commission received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct an underpass of D&RGW's Park City Branch at Altus, east of the summit of Parley's canyon, as part of the improvement of U. S. 40. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2446)
June 10, 1941
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency station at Fairview, on the Marysvale Branch. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2454)
August 4, 1941
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct the Small Arms Spur, to serve the Remington Small Arms Plant in Salt Lake City. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2484)
(LeMassena, p. 156, says that the Small Arms Plant Spur, from Roper to Ordnance Plant, 2 miles of new construction, was completed in 1942 as part of the Salt Lake City terminal as joint track with Western Pacific.)
D&RGW removed the remaining portion of the "Castle Valley Branch" from Salina to Crystal. Not operated since 1933. (LeMassena, p. 156)
May 22, 1942
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon the Castle Valley Branch, between Salina and Nioche. (ICC Financial Docket 13700, in 252 ICC 807)
May 27, 1942
D&RGW approved the retirement of the spur track that served the "U. P. Mine." (D&RGW AFE T-9412, dated May 27, 1942, courtesy of Jerry Day)
The Union Pacific Mine at Scofield was served by a switchback spur from the Scofield yard. (D&RGW Branch Line Report, 1938)
September 4, 1942
State Road Commission received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct an overhead crossing, for 2100 South (State Road 201) over D&RGW's Roper Yard in Salt Lake City. Twenty-first South was the main access to the new Remington Small Arms Plant. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2610)
D&RGW constructed a spur for the construction companies that are building housing at Sunnyside for the workers at Columbia Steel and the Defense Plant Corporation's Horse Canyon coal mine. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2626)
March 6, 1943
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon 1.4 miles of the Little Cottonwood Branch, between Sandy and Sand Pit. In 1924 a connection was constructed with UP at Sandy to allow the shipment of locomotive sand from the sand pit at the end of the branch. The operator of the sand pit ceased operations and dismantled the machinery in 1938. There had been no operations on the branch since January 1939. (ICC Finance Docket 14097, in 254 ICC 822; full report in Utah Public Service Commission files)
(LeMassena, p. 156, says that the portion of the Little Cottonwood Branch from Sandy to Sand Pit, was removed in 1943, adding that "The mines at the ends of these branches [Little Cottonwood Branch and Tintic Branch] had closed down, eliminating the need for trackage which served them.")
November 4, 1943
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon the 3.49 mile portion of the Tintic Branch between Eureka and Silver City, including D&RGW's half interest in the 0.85 mile joint trackage between Mammoth Junction and the Mammoth Mill at Mammoth. Silver City has a population of 500 people. Service was provided by a train from Provo to Silver City on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, returning to Provo on alternate days. Traffic consisted of 66 cars with 3,583 tons in 1941, 7 cars with 348 tons in 1942, and 3 cars with 167 tons in the first six months of 1943. All the traffic in 1941 and five of the cars in 1942 were ores and concentrates. The other two cars in 1942 and the 3 cars in 1943 were "mine products". (ICC Finance Docket 14342)
(LeMassena, p. 156, says that the portion of Tintic Branch from Eureka to Silver City, was removed in 1943.)
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency at Park City. Only eleven empties were received and eleven loads were shipped from Park City during December 1943. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2757)
Before Grant Tower, D&RGW passenger trains to Ogden used the joint trackage north along 500 (Fourth) West, turning west at South Temple and used trackage jointly owned by WP and D&RGW. Then at 700 (Sixth) West, they turned north along the D&RGW mainline to Ogden. There is a map on page 24 of Jeff Asay's "Track and Time" book about WP.
After Grant Tower, the track due north along 500 (Fourth) West, the east leg of the wye, was D&RGW track to where it met the north leg of the wye, which was owned by D&RGW. from there north, it was joint D&RGW-OSL to 500 (Fourth) North. The south leg of the wye at Grant Tower was owned by OSL.
Also after Grant Tower, WP and D&RGW split the joint passenger line east of 700 (Sixth) West, with WP taking the portion between 700 (Sixth) West and the west curb line of 500 (Fourth) West. D&RGW took the line in and along 500 (Fourth) West, including the turnout for the east leg of the wye, to allow them to serve the industries along that part of the line.
September 1, 1944
D&RGW renewed the joint operation agreement for the Salt Lake City Union Depot & Railroad Co. with Western Pacific. (ICC Finance Docket 14695, approved on October 25, 1944, in 257 ICC 816). The original agreement was dated November 1, 1908. The SLCU&D was incorporated in Utah on May 29, 1907.
May 21, 1945
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct a spur to serve the plant of Otto Buehner & Company, on the Park City Branch, at 6th East in Salt Lake City. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2854)
June 26, 1945
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to construct a spur to serve Ken's Salvage Yard, at 21st Street and Wall Avenue in Ogden. Also to remove a spur in the same vicinity that served Rocky Mountain Packing Company. (Utah Public Service Commission case 2856)
September 9, 1946
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon 24.10 miles of the Park City Branch, between Cement Quarry and Park City, including 2.5 miles of joint trackage in Park City with UP. (ICC Finance Docket 15259, in 267 ICC 802)
(LeMassena, p. 161, says that the portion of the Park City Branch from Cement Quarry to Park City [24.3 miles] was removed in 1946, adding that "Although the branch did have a small amount of traffic, part of its right of way was needed for a multilane highway.")
October 24, 1946
D&RGW received ICC approval to purchase the former Salt Lake & Utah trackage between Provo and Orem. (ICC Finance Docket 15455, in 267 ICC 807)
(LeMassena, p. 161, says that D&RGW purchased 6 miles of the former Salt Lake & Utah interurban line, from Provo Junction to Orem, in 1946.)
(D&RGW also purchased ownership of the SL&U spur that served the Del Monte cannery at Spanish Fork, from D&RGW's Tintic Branch, then east along Center Street, then south along Main Street to the cannery.)
December 31, 1946
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close the agency station at Kearns. The station was used exclusively for the movement of military property and personnel to and from the U. S. Army's Camp Kearns, which has been closed. (Utah Public Service Commission case 3059)
April 11, 1947
Property of the D&RGW was sold to the reorganized D&RGW, merging the old D&RGW with the Denver & Salt Lake Railway, the Denver & Salt Lake Western Railroad (the Dotsero Cutoff), the Rio Grande Junction Railroad, and the Goshen Valley Railroad. (Athearn, p. 328; LeMassena, p. 163)
May 18, 1947
The following comes from Jerry Day, via email dated September 8, 2012:
Authority for Expenditure: 1060
Location: MP 8.19 to MP 32.29 -- Park City Branch and entire Ontario Branch.
Date Work Begun: May 18, 1947
Date Work Completed: May 20, 1948
Abandonment and retirement of Park City Branch from MP 8.19 to MP 32.29 and sale of 3039.1 feet of trackage and 2.20 acres of land to the Union Pacific RR, Trustees Deed #u-3640.
Retirement and sale of D&RGW CO's undivided one-half interest in the jointly owned D&RGW RR Co and UP RR CO's Ontario Branch.
D&RGW received Utah Public Utilities Commission approval to close and remove the grade crossing at 9th South in Provo. (Utah Public Service Commission case 3100) (OTHER POSSIBLE SOURCES: Utah Supreme Court case 7416. U.S. Third District Court, Central Division Bankruptcy case 16112. Civil Court case 770.)
November 13-15, 1947
GM's Train of Tomorrow visited Utah, coming from Denver by way of D&RGW. On public display at D&RGW/WP depot in Salt Lake City on November 13th and 14th. Moved to public display at Ogden at the D&RGW freight depot on November 15th. From Ogden, the train "will proceed to west coast cities." (Salt Lake Telegram, November 2, 1947)
The Train of Tomorrow returned to Salt Lake City by way of D&RGW rails, and was turned over to Western Pacific to continue its tour to Oakland, California. (see also: "The Train Of Tomorrow", by Ric Morgan, Indiana University Press, 2007)
December 2, 1947
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon 23.21 miles of the San Pete Branch, between Moroni and Nephi. (ICC Finance Docket 15476, in 267 ICC 807)
(LeMassena, p. 163, says that the portion of the San Pete Valley Branch from Moroni to Gypsum Mill, 32.8 miles, was removed in 1948.)
(The portion at the western end, from Nephi to Gypsum Mill to Nephi, 1.9 miles, was sold to Union Pacific's LA&SL subsidiary, also in 1948. UP operated the line as its Nephi Plaster Mill Spur until October 1953, when it was retired and removed. The spur ran down the middle of Nephi's main east-west thoroughfare, First North Street, which was also desiganted as Utah Highway 132. The state highway department wanted the tracks removed to allow improvements along the state highway.)
D&RGW completed removing its Park City Branch between the cement quarry in lower Parleys Canyon (MP 8.19), and Park City (MP 32.29).
The following was found by Jerry Day while doing research at Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado:
DENVER & RIO GRANDE WESTERN RR
Authority for Expenditure: 1060
Location: MP 8.19 to MP 32.29 -- Park City Branch and entire Ontario Branch.
Date Work Begun: May 18, 1947
Date Work Completed: May 20, 1948
Abandonment and retirement of Park City Branch from MP 8.19 to MP 32.29 and sale of 3039.1 feet of trackage and 2.20 acres of land to the Union Pacific RR, Trustees Deed #u-3640.
Retirement and sale of D&RGW Co's undivided one-half interest in the jointly owned D&RGW RR Co and UP RR Co's Ontario Branch.
D&RGW completed a line change in 1948-1951 to move its 600 West line in Salt Lake City over to the east, along UP's line along 400 West. At the same time, the Grant (also known as Grant's) Tower interlocking was completed. The Grant Tower interlocking did not show up in UP's employee timetables until 1955-1958. The 400 West/600 West Line Change was completed to allow the state highway department to construct a super highway, which today is known as Interstate 15.
June 24, 1948
D&RGW received ICC approval to purchase the former Bingham & Garfield Sand Spur at Garfield. The B&G had been abandoned in May and Kennecott Copper still needed the sand. (ICC Finance Docket 16094, concurrent with ICC Finance Docket 16093, the abandonment of the B&G, in 271 ICC 804)
D&RGW sued UP over better freight rates and car routing at Ogden, Utah; this was the opening event in the Ogden Gateway case. (LeMassena, p. 170; "Released from a long era of financial serfdom [with the end if its receivership and its reorganization in 1947], the D&RGW now took on a Goliath, in the form of the Union Pacific, by filing with the ICC a complaint that it should be allowed to participate in the non-discriminative routing of through freight via Ogden. This was the beginning of an attempt to open the Ogden Gateway, which Harriman had closed almost 50 years earlier.")
August 27, 1949
Passenger service on the Marysvale Branch ended. (Ephraim Enterprise, May 8, 1969, "Your Heritage and You")
(According to D&RGW Salt Lake Division employee timetable No. 117, dated December 4, 1938, it was Trains 11 and 12 that operated on the Marysvale Branch; Train 12 left Salt Lake City at 2:15 am and arrived at Thistle at 4;05 am; then left Thistle at 4:30 am and arrived at Marysvale at 9:30 am; Train 11 left Marysvale at 12:45 pm and arrived at Thistle at 5:50 pm; departed Thistle at 5:55 pm and arrived at Salt Lake City at 7:45 pm. It appears that Train 11 operated ahead of Train No. 1, The Scenic Limited, from Thistle to Roper, where No. 1 passed No. 11, arriving at Salt Lake City just after.)
Hearings continued at the ICC concerning D&RGW and UP, and the division of traffic at Ogden, Utah, known as the "Ogden Gateway Case". (LeMassena, p. 170, "Hearings on the Ogden Gateway were held before the ICC all during the year, without clear-cut indication of the eventual outcome, although the D&RGW appeared to have a strong case of discrimination against it by UP.")
D&RGW ended its contract operation of the Ballard & Thompson Railroad, with the contract having been in place since 1913. (LeMassena, p. 170)
May 19, 1950
D&RGW retired the old Ballard & Thompson branch between Thompson and Sego. The coal mine at Sego was being operated by the Chesterfield Coal Co. 29,183 feet of track (5.58 miles). (see also contract 11801, dated November 10, 1938, and Chief Engineer Agreement 4133, dated June 1, 1925) (D&RGW AFE 2341, approved on May 19, 1950, research completed at Colorado Railroad Museum, July 20, 2005)
The enginehouse at Marysvale, at the south end of the Marysvale Branch, was retired and removed. (D&RGW AFE 2582, information from Jerry Day via email dated September 4, 2012)
Salt Lake City, Utah, locomotive shops were closed in June 1951. All heavy overhauls on both steam locomotives and diesel locomotives were moved to Denver shops. D&RGW 3614, an L-132 class 2-8-8-2, was the last steam locomotive to receive heavy repairs at Salt Lake City. (Stagner, page 13)
D&RGW's yard office at Ogden was replaced by a $40,000 building in September 1951, at a location known as Transfer, where D&RGW trains were handed over to Southern Pacific. The new building replaced an old boxcar that had been serving as an office for many years. The 13 office employees who had been working in the old boxcar now had a modern, air-conditioned office. It also included radio communications via loudspeakers located in the yard. Floodlights had been installed a year earlier. (Ogden Standard Examiner, September 19, 1951) (Tim Morris reported that the building was demolished by Union Pacific in January 2013.)
ICC hearing into the Ogden Gateway case continued. (LeMassena, p. 171, "The summer of this year brought frustration to the D&RGW; the ICC ruled that the Ogden gateway case should be completely re-argued since the Commission now had two new members.")
D&RGW removed the western one-mile portion of the Hooper Branch, from Hooper to Cox. (LeMassena, p. 174)
ICC hearings on the Ogden Gateway case ended; UP ordered to establish equitable rates, but only for certain commodities to and from Colorado and the Pacific Northwest. (LeMassena, p. 174, "The ICC, finally, decided that the D&RGW did have a reasonable complaint and it ordered UP to establish equitable freight rates, but only on a few commodities. Disagreeing with this piecemeal decision, the D&RGW promptly went to Federal court in hope of obtaining a more liberal ruling.")
October 1, 1953
D&RGW abandonment (possible in Utah). See ICC Finance Docket 18174, listed in 290 ICC 806. (not yet examined)
November 25, 1953
Retire 8 stalls of Salt Lake City roundhouse
Approved November 25, 1953, completed July 3, 1954
December 1, 1953
D&RGW abandonment (possibly in Utah). See ICC Finance Docket 17889, listed in 290 ICC 803. (not yet examined)
December 25, 1953
Last run of the Prospector passenger train between Salt Lake City and Ogden.
The federal court hearing D&RGW's suit about the Ogden Gateway sent D&RGW back to the original court in Denver where D&RGW had initiated the Ogden Gateway case in 1949. (LeMassena, p. 174, "The Federal Court at Omaha (the UP's headquarters) decided that the ICC had gone too far, thus forcing the D&RGW to return to the court in Denver to ask again for what it had first sought back in 1949.")
D&RGW completed the construction of three miles of new track from Snyder to Lark on the Lark Branch. The new construction was necessary to avoid the continued growth of Kennecott Copper's Bingham open pit copper mine, specifically, the growing waste dump. (LeMassena, p. 174)
A recently discovered D&RGW engineering department map shows that the northern portion of the new track at Lark, which connected with the existing Lark Branch, was on a parcel of land purchased from Kennecott Copper on March 21, 1955. The southern portion that actually served the new facilities at Lark, was on a parcel of land purchased from United States Smelteing Refining & Mining Co. on August 23, 1955. the new plant at lark was at the lower portal of a new Bingham-Lark tunnel completed in 1952, and constructed by Kennecott for USRR&M to replace the original Mascotte Tunnel. Kennecott was expanding its open pit mining operations in Bingham, and the old Mascotte tunnel along with its connection to the Niagara tunnel in Bingham, was in the way. Kennecott constructed the new tunnel that allowed USSR&M to access it underground holdings at Bingham. (More information about the United States mining company and its operations in Bingham and at Lark)
February 16, 1954
D&RGW abandonment (possibly in Utah). See ICC Finance Docket 18361, listed in 290 ICC 810. (not yet examined)
May 20, 1954
Retire 9 stalls of Salt Lake City roundhouse
Approved May 20, 1954
During May 1954, due to a downturn in traffic levels, D&RGW reportedly had only three steam locomotives in operation: two 2-8-0s switching in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a single 2-8-0 in local service in Alamosa, Colo. (Stagner, page 19)
In June 1954, the last 12 steam locomotives were transferred from the Salt Lake Division (Ogden to Helper, Utah), with D&RGW 3610, an L-131 class 2-8-8-2, being the last steam locomotive in operation on the Salt Lake Division, as it moved under its own power to be used in helper service at Minturn, on the west slope of Tennessee Pass. (Stagner, page 19)
The Ogden Gateway case continued. (LeMassena, p. 174, "The court in Denver ordered the entire Ogden Gateway case reopened, which gave the D&RGW renewed hope for a more favorable ruling by the ICC.")
June 6, 1955
Install CTC between Salt Lake City and Woods Cross
Approved June 6, 1955
July 25, 1955
Construct Roper diesel house
Approved on July 25, 1955, completed in 1957
The Ogden Gateway case continued. (LeMassena, p. 174, "The Denver court upheld the ICC's original order and the Union Pacific conceded the struggle, establishing through rates on certain commodities routed via the D&RGW. Not content, the D&RGW prepared for another attempt to obtain a more equitable division of freight traffic at Ogden.")
D&RGW removed the Farnsworth and Kingsville spurs, from Farnsworth to Kingsville, and from Kingsville to Kingsville Junction on the Hooper Branch in southwest Weber County. (LeMassena, p. 175)
D&RGW removed the portion of the Park City Branch between Alexander and Cement Quarry. (LeMassena, p. 175)
January 4, 1956
D&RGW operated the last train to the lime rock cement quarry in Parleys Canyon on the old Park City Branch. The quarry was owned by Utah Portland Cement, and the rock was hauled by D&RGW to the company's cement plant on 900 South. The end of operations was on a three-mile segment of the branch and was needed to support the beginning of construction of a new highway in the canyon. The branch was to have a new end-of-track at Alexander, at the mouth of the canyon, under the Stillman Bridge. The last train was made up of five loaded GS gondolas, a caboose, and an F-M switcher. Almost immediately after the last train, Utah Department of Transportation contractors bulldozed 18 feet of fill dirt over the tracks as part of the new highway construction. (Deseret News, January 5, 1956, courtesy of Dave Gayer via email dated February 17, 2004)
January 5, 1956
The construction of a 120-car siding was approved at Columbia Junction on the Sunnyside Branch, where D&RGW interchanged coal traffic with Carbon County Railway. (More information about D&RGW's Sunnyside Branch)
August 31, 1956
The depot at Sunnyside was retired. Office space for D&RGW agent at Sunnyside would be rented from Kaiser Steel Company, and the former depot was sold to a private party. (D&RGW AFE 4359, dated August 31, 1956, courtesy of Jerry Day)
D&RGW opened the new diesel shop at Roper Yard. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 30, 1956, p. 168)
The Ogden Gateway case continued. (LeMassena, p. 175, "The railroad requested the ICC to void the 1923 Central Pacific - Union Pacific agreement to route central and southern California and Oregon freight preferentially over the UP east of Ogden. In effect, this was another means of opening the Ogden Gateway.")
D&RGW removed the portion of the Park City Branch between Sugar House and Alexander, at the mouth of Parleys Canyon. (LeMassena, p. 175)
The Park City Branch became the Sugarhouse Branch with the removal of trackage east of 1300 East Street in 1956-1957 after the former state prision grounds were sold to Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County for the purposes of public space; Sugarhouse Park was created in July 1957.
D&RGW purchased a four-mile segment of the abandoned Bamberger Railroad, consisting mainly of the industrial spurs along 200 West in Salt Lake City. (LeMassena, p. 175)
November 21, 1958
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon the Hooper Branch. (ICC Finance Docket 20343)
November 25, 1958
D&RGW received ICC approval to purchase the former Bamberger trackage in Salt Lake City. (ICC Finance Docket 20338, in 307 ICC 803)
December 31, 1958
Salt Lake & Utah trackage in Salt Lake City along 200 West (First West; changed to Second West in 1972) was sold to Bamberger Railroad on December 4, 1946. The Bamberger trackage was sold to D&RGW on December 31, 1958. (D&RGW engineering drawing for former Bamberger line, South Temple to 13th South, Utah State Archives, Index H-232)
The Ogden Gateway case continued. (LeMassena, p. 194, "The ICC refused to void the SP-UP Agreement, thus forcing the D&RGW to solicit its own Pacific states traffic.")
D&RGW constructed 36 miles of new line between Brendel and Potash. (LeMassena, p. 194, "Adhering to the undulating profile of local drainage out on the eastern Utah desert, this line dropped into the canyon of the Colorado River to tap a huge new potash mine. However, the first outbound revenue train did not operate until early 1965.")
Cane Creek Branch, completed
The State of Utah was allowed to assemble the land parcel for the potash mine, trading school trust lands in other parts of the state for federal lands where the potash reserves were located, which in turn allowed the schools of Utah to benefit from any and all royalties coming from the development of the potash reserves at Cane Creek. (Deseret News, February 8, 1963)
D&RGW joined Trailer Train. D&RGW's connecting partner at Salt Lake City, WP, had joined Trailer Train in 1959, at the same time starting its trailer-on-flat-car (TOFC) service, also known as "piggyback" service, between Salt Lake City and Oakland. Competing roads UP and SP had joined Trailer Train in 1960. (The Tioga Group, Intermodal Timeline, 1954 to 1966) (http://www.tiogagroup.com/page22.html) (broken link)
(The date that D&RGW built its piggyback facility at Roper is not yet known. This facility used circus-style trailer loading and was stub-ended with four tracks. The loading ramp was at the south end of the facility. Back in 1984 I photographed several of D&RGW's out-of-service GP9s and SD9s that were being stored at this facility.)
D&RGW removed the remaining two-mile portion of the Little Cottonwood Branch, from Midvale to Sandy. (LeMassena, p. 195)
In a ceremony on the morning of Thursday April 9, 1964, D&RGW removed the remaining tracks of the old Bingham Canyon and Camp Floyd Railroad from the middle of Center Street in Midvale. "The tracks are being removed and the railroad relocated as part of a project to improve Center Street westward to Redwood Road." (Deseret News, April 9, 1964)
D&RGW named freight trains, as of September 1964:
- RMS: Rock Island Merchandise Special
- LSD-(xx): Lumber Special via Denver (with xx being that day-date of departure from Oregon)
- RBX: Red Ball Extra
- MWMD: Midwest Merchandiser
- SPF-(xx): SP Forwarder via Pueblo (with xx being that day-date of departure)
- SPD-(xx): SP Forwarder via Denver (with xx being that day-date of departure)
- A-(xx): Advance (with xx being that day-date of departure)
- (Source: Trains magazine, April 1965)
D&RGW constructed three miles of new line on the Bingham Branch to avoid the continued growth of the waste dump of Kennecott Copper's Bingham open pit copper mine. The portion of the old Bingham Branch that would not be affected by the growing waste dump became part of the Lark Branch. (LeMassena, p. 195)
In the summer of 1966 D&RGW operated one of the very last 'Heber Local' runs up from Provo to Heber on the Provo Canyon Branch. Rail traffic at Wasatch County's largest city had declined with improvements to parallel Highway 189. The depot had been boarded up by then, with weeds lining the right of way. Back in the 1930's, Heber City was the largest shipper of sheep by rail in the United States. There was a weigh scale adjacent to the depot, for documenting the transfer of gilsonite, trucked from Vernal, Utah to the railhead at Heber City. In November of 1968, the mothballed line was reopened by the D&RGW to haul the National Christmas Tree (harvested in nearby Daniel's Canyon) from Heber via a specially equipped trailer flat toward Washington, DC. It was a somewhat glorious ending to service the branch. Of course the line's history took a positive turn when the upper 18 miles were preserved in 1970 for a tourist operation that continues to this day. Unfortunately, the former D&RGW Heber yard area has been stripped of it's trackage. The now 'trackless' D&RGW depot survives to this day, utilized by a private business on 6th West at Center Street. (James Belmont, January 30, 2011)
May 28, 1967
Last run of the Prospector passenger train. (Trains magazine, September 1967, page 17, "Rio Grande ' s overnight Denver- Salt Lake City Prospector expired May 28. After loss of mail contract, Nos. 7 and 8 could come up with passenger receipts of only 71 cents a train-mile vs. operating expenses of $4.58 a mile.")
July 27, 1967
Last run of the Royal Gorge passenger train.
The Ogden Gateway case, D&RGW's bid to end the SP-UP preferential solicitation at the Ogden gateway for each other, imposed by ICC order in 1923 when Central Pacific and Southern Pacific were merged, had been won by D&RGW before the ICC in January 1966, and by a 2-to-1 decision by a three-judge District Court in December 1967, and was on its way to the Supreme Court to defend against an SP-UP appeal. (Jerry A. Pinkepank, in Extra 2200 South, Volume 6, Number 11, April 1968, page 11, "General News")
In November of 1968, D&RGW's inactive Provo Canyon Branch was reopened to haul the National Christmas Tree (harvested in nearby Daniel's Canyon) from Heber via a specially equipped trailer flat toward Washington, DC. (James Belmont, January 30, 2011)
In 1968 D&RGW and UP began operation of a unit coal train between Sunnyside, Utah, and the Kaiser steel mill in Fontana, Calif. The train used dedicated full trains of high-sided gondola cars that were loaded at Sunnyside and unloaded at Fontana. The trains also used dedicated sets of SD45 locomotives from both Union Pacific (12 locomotives) and D&RGW (six locomotives).
D&RGW sold the 19.3 mile eastern portion of the Provo Canyon Branch, from Olmstead to Heber, to the Wasatch Mountain Railway. (LeMassena, p. 202)
March 22, 1970:
D&RGW's operation of the California Zephyr between Denver and Salt Lake City was cut back from daily service, to three-times-weekly service on March 22, 1970. The train's western connection with Western Pacific to Oakland was severed when the federal Interstate Commerce Commission allowed WP (decision dated February 13, 1970) to discontinue its portion of the California Zephyr on that same day in March 1970. The remaining D&RGW service between Denver and Salt Lake City became known as the "Rio Grande Zephyr", or just RGZ.
At the same time, SP's City of San Francisco between Ogden and Oakland was also changed from daily service to three-times-weekly. By ICC direction, SP was to provide a western connection, a "stub train", for D&RGW passengers at Ogden via a cross-platform transfer at Ogden with SP's City of San Francisco. At first, this was done by allowing D&RGW to enter Ogden Union Station with a connection with D&RGW's RGZ, that consisted of single passenger car pulled by a single locomotive (usually SP FP7 6447, either leased or loaned to D&RGW).
The Salt Lake City to Ogden connecting service usually consisted a single car (either a coach or a dome-coach) and a single locomotive. At times two or even three cars were used, including a diner, depending on the number and type of passengers. An SP locomotive was usually used, usually SP 6447, unless a steam generator was not needed. In such cases, a single D&RGW without steam capability was used. The connecting service was replaced by limousine service on June 14, 1971. (Rio Grande In Color, Volume 2: Utah, pages 123, 124, three photos)
With the startup of Amtrak on May 1, 1971, and the first run of Amtrak's new San Francisco Zephyr just a year after the connecting service was begun, the D&RGW "stub" train was substituted with "limousine service". Because SP joined Amtrak and D&RGW did not, SP was forced to charge $953 per day for use of Ogden Union Station during May 1971, the first full month of operation of the RGZ Ogden connection. As a consideration of Amtrak's startup, both SP and D&RGW appealed the requirement for the stub train to the ICC and limousine service was substituted for the single locomotive and coach that were making the Salt Lake to Ogden connection. (part from Extra 2200 South, May-June 1971, page 29, "Passenger Train News", reported by Jim Davidson)
The limousine service was likely a contract operation between SP, D&RGW, and local motor carrier such as Lewis Brothers Stages. As late as October 1974, it was a standard 15-passenger van operated by a contract carrier, and on one particular trip, there were five or six passengers. The Salt Lake City to Ogden limosuine service apparently continued for just six years, until Amtrak's Pioneer service began between the two cities on June 7, 1977.
WP OUT, D&RGW AND SP IN BUT TRIWEEKLY ONLY: Reasoning that Western Pacific's tonnage can't subsidize an essentially "sightseeing excursion," the ICC has allowed WP to drop its Salt Lake City--San Francisco leg of the California Zephyr (last runs: March 21). Rio Grande, which also wanted out, was ordered to run its Denver--Salt Lake City CZ link on a triweekly schedule; and Southern Pacific was permitted to reduce its Ogden--San Francisco end of the City of San Francisco from daily to triweekly frequency. D&RGW and SP trains must connect between Salt Lake City and Ogden over what is at present freight--only trackage of the former. (Trains magazine, April 1970, page 8)
June 14, 1971
The connecting service from D&RGW's Rio Grande Zephyr at Salt Lake City, to Amtrak's San Francisco Zephyr at Ogden, was changed from rail equipment to limousine service. (Rio Grande In Color, Volume 2: Utah, pages 123, 124, three photos)
USSR&M closed its Lark mine, and its Midvale mill and concentrator. The concentrate was being shipped to the International smelter near Tooele. (Deseret News, November 12, 1971)
The Lark mine and the Midvale mill and concentrator were large sources for traffic on D&RGW.
"Before CTC killed the need for current of traffic and trainorders, the Rio Grande had twice as many crossovers and sidings as today. When CTC was installed between East Soldier Summit and Springville in 1975, out came every side track. In fact, all of the east pass sidings were removed with the exception of short stub MOW set out tracks at Narrows, Detour, and Gilluly. The Grande once had full passing tracks off the eastward (upgrade) track at Thistle, Rio, Narrows, Detour, Gilluly, Scenic, and Soldier Summit." (James Belmont, email to Trainorders.com on October 18, 2007)
June 7, 1977
Amtrak's Pioneer, Trains 25/26, between Seattle, Wash. and Salt Lake City, Utah, began service, thus doing away with the need for D&RGW to provide a limousine connection between their Rio Grande Zephyr at Salt Lake City, and Amtrak's San Francisco Zephyr at Ogden.
"THE GRAND JUNCTION ZEPHYR -- The D&RGW has petitioned the ICC to cut back service on its Denver-Salt Lake City Rio Grande Zephyr to a Denver-Grand Junction, Col., operation. It is a asking to drop the Grand Junction-Salt Lake City segment on January 31, 1978, citing a savings of $800,000 per year on a present deficit of $2.1 million. The non-Amtrak domeliner is considered one of America's finest passenger trains and caters primarily to travelers more interested in the Rocky Mountain scenery than transportation to Salt Lake City." (Railfan magazine, March 1979, page 15 "Railnews")
December 31, 1978
D&RGW dissolved the Salt Lake Union Depot & Railroad Company, after buying WP's 50 percent interest on June 20, 1978. (Utah corporation index 15068)
"THE ZEPHYR F'S -- The D&RGW realized a substantial fuel savings this summer  when it replaced its traditional A-B-B F9 set on the Rio Grande Zephyr with a GP40-2/F9B set. GP40-2 3116 was kept in pristine condition for the passenger assignment, and converted Alco PB 253 was used throughout the summer as the steam generator unit. With the coming of winter weather, the need for more steam boiler capacity has brought the return of the A-B-B F9 set, led by the D&RGW's sole remaining F9A, 5771, at least until next spring. The GP40-2 will probably be used each summer as long as the D&RGW's motive power surplus continues; the Fs, however, will be kept ready." (Railfan magazine, March 1983, page 24, "Railnews")
January 1, 1983
Union Pacific control of Western Pacific took effect. Merger of UP/WP was approved by federal court on December 22, 1982. UP control of WP effectively shut D&RGW out of its connection to California. Although D&RGW interchanged with SP at Ogden, most of its California traffic went west by way of WP.
By 1983, all non-railroad subsidiaries of Rio Grande Industries had been sold, leaving only minor companies Leavell Development Co. (which owned the corporation's office building in Denver), and the near defunct Rio Grande Motorways. (Pacific News, Issue 249, April 1984, page 25)
January 28, 1983
D&RGW operated its first train into Kansas City, Kan., using trackage rights over former Missouri Pacific lines from Pueblo, Colo., to Kansas City, Kansas, granted as provision of UP's control of Missouri Pacific in December 1982. To support this new service, additional motive power (23 former Conrail GP40s) was first leased in November 1983, then purchased in January 1984.
March 16, 1983
"Amtrak Takeover Approved ... On March 16, the Amtrak board of directors formally voted to re-route the San Francisco Zephyr over the D&RGW between Denver and Salt Lake City. Amtrak service began on April 25, as originally planned. Wyoming officials have continued to express displeasure at the loss of passenger trains in their state, and they have threatened to file suit if they can find legal grounds. But legal action is not really anticipated, since the reality of the situation is that many Wyoming passengers are present or past UP employees riding on passes, while the more scenic route through Colorado will naturally attract more paying passengers. Railfans will certainly mourn the loss of the celebrated Rio Grande Zephyr, but the railroad could not reasonably be expected to run the train at a loss indefinitely. The Amtrak decision will at least provide daily trains over the route for the foreseeable future. Amtrak will acquire the RGZ dome coaches for use elsewhere (after they are converted to head-end power), but the D&RGW will retain the dome observation-lounge Silver Sky for use on directors' trains and other specials. Leonard J. Bernstein, jovial and popular director ofD&RGW Passenger & Dining Car Services will remain on the scene to handle liaison between the Rio Grande and Amtrak. As early as midMarch, Bernstein was observed proudly sporting an Amtrak tie bar!" (CTC Board magazine, April 1983, page 6)
Thistle Mud Slide - April to September 1983
Between April 15, 1983 and July 4, 1983, all D&RGW trains between Salt Lake City and Denver were detoured over UP tracks across Wyoming due to mudslide at Thistle, Utah. The first Thistle tunnel was completed on July 4, and the second was completed in early September.
April 15, 1983 -- In the early morning hours, the last westbound train passed the point of a mud slide just east of Thistle, that would close the railroad for almost 90 days. The second to last train had been the westbound Rio Grande Zephyr, just before midnight the previous night.
April 27, 1983 -- Construction began on a tunnel to bypass the Thistle mud slide. On the previous day, April 26, construction began of a diversion tunnel for the flow of the Spanish Fork River past the dam caused by the mud slide. (Sumsion, pp. 44, 47)
early June 1983 -- Work began on laying new track from "New Thistle" on the east end, and from "New Rio" (MP 684.2) on the west end, with plans to meet at the new tunnels as the tunnels were completed and ready for track. (Sumsion, p. 66)
July 3, 1983 -- The first tunnel was "holed-through". Track was in place right up to where the machines were working. Track was laid immediately upon completion of the tunnel. (Sumsion, p. 67)
July 4, 1983 -- The first train, No. 146 eastbound, operated through the new Thistle tunnel, at 3:12 p.m. (Sumsion, p. 73)
July 16, 1983 - The first eastbound Amtrak California Zephyr operated through the Thistle tunnel. (Sumsion, p. 75) The routing of the train had previously been via Union Pacific through Wyoming. The new routing replaced the Rio Grande Zephyr, which was canceled.
August 31, 1983 -- The second tunnel at Thistle was "holed-through," but the tunnel was not yet complete. (Pacific News, Issue 248, February 1984, page 23)
early September 1983 -- The second Thistle tunnel was completed and the second track was placed in service.
The following is from Railfan & Railroad magazine's November 1983 issue, page 30:
THE NEW TUNNEL -- On April 14, 1983, just moments after the passage of the westbound Rio Grande Zephyr, a mud slide just north of Thistle, Utah, blocked Spanish Fork Canyon and created a lake which put the town of Thistle, Highway 6/50 and the main line of the D&RGW under almost 200 feet of water. When the extent of the slide became apparent, plans were made to reroute the D&RGW around the flood. The Army Corps of Engineers bored a diversion tunnel to stabilize the level in "Lake Thistle" to prevent possibly catastrophic erosion of the newly formed earthen dam, and the D&RGW laid out a new six-mile path for its main line on the hill to the north and east of the flooded area. Beginning at Milepost 684 north of Thistle, the new line climbs at a steady two percent up the east wall of the canyon to the flank of Billies Mountain, just above the mud slide at about Milepost 681.5. There the line enters a new tunnel, 3,100 feet long and laid on a four-degree curve, bored by Morrison-Knudsen and other contractors. Emerging eastward on the north wall, the line continues up the canyon to rejoin the original alignment about Milepost 678. The new line is slightly shorter than the old and is presently single track, although boring has already begun on a new tunnel about 50 feet inside the radius of the first one to make the entire bypass double track.
Weather Blocks Lines ... More slides at Gilluly and in the Spanish Fork Canyon closed the Utah main line on May 16. The slides were cleared a few days later, but meanwhile all important trains, including the Amtrak California Zephyr, were detoured over the UP through Wyoming (humorously, the DRGW news release said that the trains were routed over the Amtrak line!). Hotshot piggyback #100 of May 17 did not arrive in Denver until the following day. Motive power consisted of 5343/5381/ SP8936/SP8257/SP9352 (2 SD40T-2's/ SD45/SD40T-2/SD45T-2). Unfortunately, much of that part of Utah remains thoroughly water-soaked and unstable so that the possibility of more serious trouble remains. (CTC Board, July 1984, page 15)
The Rio Grande was forced to detour its trains over the Union Pacific during May because of mud slides in Utah and high water in Colorado which closed their route between Denver and Salt Lake City. On May 28, 1984 a westbound Rio Grande freight crosses Sherman Hill on mainline number 3 at milepost 550.4 near Perkins with UP SD40-2 3144 leading. (CTC Board, July 1984, page 15, photo caption)
October 1, 1984
Rio Grande Industries accepted a purchase offer from TAC Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation specially formed for the purpose of acquiring RGI. Anschutz Corporation was a large Denver-area oil and land development company. On October 1, 1984, RGI and Anschutz announced an agreement for Anschutz to purchase at least 51 percent (controlling interest) of RGI. (Pacific RailNews, Issue 254, January 1985, pages 4, 23) By November 7th, Anschutz had acquired 91 percent of Rio Grande Industries stock. (New York Times, November 7, 1984) By November 29, 1984, Anschutz had purchased 92 percent of RGI stock. (Pacific RailNews, Issue 256, March 1985, page 23)
In an interview with Railway Age in almost ten years later, Phillip Anschutz stated that he became interested in purchasing Rio Grande Industries to prevent a hostile takeover by another company. (Railway Age, May 1993)
February 27, 1984
Rio Grande Industries retained Morgan, Stanley & Co., to represent them in any potential merger or acquisition discussions. (Pacific News, Issue 250, June 1984, page 22)
Merger Talks Terminated ... On May 17 the DRGW ended months of speculation by announcing that it had ended all merger talks with other railroads. Instead, the Rio Grande will seek to be granted trackage rights (or the right to purchase lines) over the the SP between Ogden on the east and Oakland, San Jose and Portland on the west, as a condition of the ATSF+SP merger now pending before the ICC. During the past several months, the DRGW has conducted intensive marketing studies which showed that the railroad could indeed thrive as an independent if it had a main line stretching from Kansas City to the west coast. On June 4 it formally filed its position with the ICC. But when the decision was announced, Rio Grande Industries stock plummeted, which would certainly make it easier for another company to obtain a controlling interest. Events during the next two years will be very, very interesting for the "Action Road." (CTC Board, July 1984, page 15)
Between October 1 and November 19, 1984, Anschutz Corp., purchased just over 92 percent of Rio Grande Industries stock, giving it control of the holding company and its D&RGW railroad. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 256, March 1985, p. 23)
The following coverage of the sale comes from Pacific RailNews magazine's December 1984 issue, page 5:
OIL FIRM PROPOSES RIO GRANDE PURCHASE -- Anschutz Corporation, a privately held Denver-based oil and gas exploration and development concern, offered to purchase the 9.9 million outstanding shares of Rio Grande Industries (parent of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad) for $496.5 million, or $50 per share, on October 1. Its offer, to expire October 29, was contingent upon acquiring at least 51 percent of the shares. Anschutz said it planned no changes for the railroad but was seeking to diversify its interests. Rio Grande has been an attractive merger target since it serves major low-sulfur coal fields in Utah and Colorado and provides a strategic route through the Rockies as part of its 1,800-mile system. Its assets include $200 million in cash. The RGI board approved and recommended the merger. The railroad has suffered losses the past two years due in part to consolidation of its competitor's routes which have lured away traffic. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 253, December 1984, page 5)
CTC Board magazine, November 1984, page 4, reported that Rio Grande Industries was "sold" to Anschutz on October 1, 1984, the date of the agreement between RGI and Anschutz Corporation.
Rio Grande Being Sold ... On October 1, 1984, a surprise announcement was made that Rio Grande Industries was being sold to multi-millionaire Philip Anschutz. Anschutz, a Denver oil and real estate magnate reported to be worth more than $1 Billion, is offering $496.5 million for the parent company which includes the railroad. That $496.5 million works out to $50 per share which is five dollars more than Rio Grande stock had been trading for on the New York Stock Exchange.
The sale of the parent corporation is contingent on the Anschutz Corporation obtaining 51 percent (controlling interest) by October 23, 1984. If the 51 percent is acquired the Rio Grande will be merged into a newly formed Anschutz subsidiary.
Wall Street was caught somewhat off guard as Anschutz had not been considered as a suiter in the years-long courtship of the Rio Grande. Considering the position of the railroad it was pretty much known that Rio Grande would become more attractive, but to other railroads, not Anschutz.
Many analysts said the $50 share price was too low, claiming the Rio Grande should have been sold for $65 to $70 per share and the speculation is that Anschutz is buying the railroad on speculation hoping to sell it later at a higher price.
On the other hand, Rio Grande stock has been up for sale at $45 per share with only bites on the fishing line prior to the Anschutz offer. So while some analysts fueled speculation that a bidding war will erupt pushing up the price of Rio Grande stock there are those that feel that the Rio Grande is being sold for more than its worth and that is why no other railroads have made any moves before now. The railroad is valuable, it's a question of just how valuable.
People inside the Rio Grande feel the sale is a very good deal and for the most part seem optimistic about the Rio Grande's future. Only time will tell on this one. (CTC Board, November 1984, page 4)
Additional coverage from CTC Board, December 1984:
Rio Grande Sale Finalized ... At the close of business on October 29, the deadline for the $50 per share tender offer, Denver billionaire Philip F. Anschutz had captured 8,120,000 shares of the common stock of Rio Grande Industries, Inc. -- or 82% of the 9.93 million shares outstanding. Anschutz, reputed to be one of the 12 wealthiest men in America, formed a new company -- TAC Acquisition Corporation -- to acquire the Rio Grande. The actual price worked out to be about $496.5 million in cash. Interestingly, at the end of 1983 the total assets of the company were reportedly worth $805 million. Considering that the DRGW had cash on hand amounting to almost $217 million, the purchase price paid by Anschutz is very close to the scrap value of the railroad. Those who said that the Rio Grande was nothing more than a scrapyard during the infamous Perlman years when the company used doubtful tactics to abandon and scrap its narrow gauge lines will perhaps find some satisfaction in the fact that the entire railroad was sold for little more than its scrap value! Be that as it may, we expect to see the DRGW remain a viable and highly competitive company under the ownership of Anschutz, who has no plans to scrap the "Action Road."
No Other Bidders stood in line to buy Rio Grande Industries. Many analysts opined that the price offered by Anschutz was far less than the true value of the Rio Grande, and some predicted that a fierce bidding war would erupt for control of the company. But no other offers were forthcoming. Santa Fe Southern Pacific showed no interest in acquisition of the DRGW, explaining that such a purchase would delay or at least complicate its own merger plans. The big question posed by Wall Street was why railroad management was anxious to encourage the sale for such a bargain price. The most common answer was that officials may have lacked faith in the ability of a comparatively small, regional carrier to compete with the transcontinental giants. Other analysts observed that Rio Grande Industries had been on the auction block for one year and that there were no takers until Phil Anschutz came on the scene. Actually, negotiations for the Anschutz purchase began last April, but the agreement was not reached until the very end of September. While the vast Anschutz fortune came from the oil and gas business, Philip Anschutz also has extensive holdings in real estate, mining, ranching, pharmaceuticals, and a cement company. Purchase of the Rio Grande was said to be a logical extension of his western interests.
No Immediate Change in Management is contemplated now. For the time being, there will be no big changes in the operation of the railroad. William J. Holtman, who is widely respected as a shrewd, intelligent and tough railroad executive, will continue as president. However, Anschutz efficiency experts have been carefully surveying over-all railroad activities. At present, no one knows whether Anschutz actually intends to keep the railroad or merely hold it for spectulative purposes, but his considerable financial resources could certainly give the DRGW more clout. (CTC Board, December 1984, page 3)
Publication of Green Light, the D&RGW employee magazine, was terminated with the August-December 1984 issue, due to the retirement of its editor, Jeanne Gustafon. (CTC Board, March 1985, page 39)
The following comes from the December 1984 issue of CTC Board magazine:
Income Increases Sharply ... In the face of the Anschutz purchase, Rio Grande Industries reported greatly increased earnings of $9.75 million for the third quarter of 1984 as opposed to $7.71 million for the same quarter last year. Net income and continuing operating income for the first nine months of 1984 were also dramatically higher. Looks as though Anschutz made a good deal for himself. The Rio Grande has come a long way after two bankruptcies and a tumultuous history. After many years of serious financial struggles, the DRGW worked its way into a solid position by the 1960's under the talented leadership of G. B. Aydelott and W. J. Holtman. It is sad to see that era come to a close. (CTC Board, December 1984, page 3)
The use of cabooses ended on the Utah Division, from Grand Junction to Salt Lake City, on February 5 and 6, 1985. (CTC Board, April 1985, page 3; Pacific Rail News, Issue 258, May 1985, page 25)
May 2, 1985
Rio Grande Industries offered $180 million on bonds through Morgan Stanley & Company, with $100 million due in 1995, and $80 million due in 2005. According to the New York Times, the "proceeds from the sale of notes and debentures are to be used to repay the bank debt used by the Anschutz Corporation to acquire the railroad holding company in 1984. Anschutz, a privately held energy and real estate company, acquired Rio Grande for $496.5 million." (New York Times, May 3, 1985)
The use of cabooses on the Colorado Division ended on October 1, 1985, along both the Moffat Tunnel route and the Royal Gorge route, but not on the Joint Line. Cabooseless operations on coal trains on the Colorado Division, between Craig and Denver, were tested during late July and early August 1985. (CTC Board, August 1985, page 15; CTC Board, September 1985, page 3; CTC Board, October 1985, page 3)
October 22, 1985
Union Pacific and D&RGW exchange trackage rights on their separate lines between Ogden and Salt Lake City (D&RGW operating on UP), and between Salt Lake City and Provo (UP operating on D&RGW). (CTC Board, December 1985, page 43, reported by Ryan Ballard)
Salt Lake Trackage Rights Agreement . . . The Union Pacific and the Denver and Rio Grande Western entered into a historic trackage rights agreement on October 22, 1985. As of that day, freight traffic of both the UP and DRGW was concentrated onto certain mainlines within the Salt Lake Basin of Utah. To the north of Salt Lake City, the Rio Grande has moved all of their trains over to the UP's mainline to Ogden, and the connection with the SP's Overland Route. Meanwhile, south of Salt Lake City to Provo, the UP's heavy mainline trains now take the nearly level DRGW mainline.
Besides the usual decrease in the overall cost of maintenance for both companies, there are other factors that helped bring about this agreement. The DRGW's line between Salt Lake City and Ogden is at a lower elevation, and much closer to the waters of the Great Salt Lake, which has risen tremendously over the past four years. In places, the DRGW has been forced to raise their trackage five to six feet to keep it above the waters of the lake. It is expected that the Rio Grande will keep their tracks in place for the eight miles between downtown Salt Lake City to Woods Cross, and may just abandon the remaining 28 miles into Ogden. Union Pacific trains between Salt Lake City, and the DRGW connection with UP's Provo Subdivision at Geneva, will now avoid the grades on the UP's line at Point of Mountain, just north of American Fork, as well as many areas of slow running through residential areas between Salt Lake City and Provo. Most of the UP's trains are heavy unit trains moving to or from the United States Steel plant at Geneva, or off of the Utah Railway's connection at Provo. But due to the number of industries along the UP's 40 miles of railroad, this portion of the Provo Subdivision will still see daily use by local trains.
As of mid-November, the UP trains on the Rio Grande, and Rio Grande trains on the UP were using pilot crews. It is expected that by the end of December, all crews will have taken the rules tests for the other railroad, allowing both railroads to run trains without pilot crews.
At the same time, UP and D&RGW removed the angled crossing at Lakota Junction, near Orem, and replaced it with a switch that allowed UP trains direct access to the D&RGW mainline to Salt Lake City. (James Belmont, message posted to Trainorders.com on March 19, 2005)
The crossing at Lakota had a movable point frog. The crossing was originally installed by D&RG in 1881, to cross the original Utah Southern railroad. In later years the crossing was controlled by automatic block signals, with no need for a manned tower to control the crossing. In 1985, the crossing was replaced a a pair of facing-point turnout switches. (James Belmont, message posted to Trainorders.com on April 5, 2003)
Rio Grande Fighting For Survival . . . At present the Rio Grande receives most of its eastward freight from the SP at Ogden, Utah. Already suffering from the effects of the UP-MP-WP merger, the Rio Grande realistically fears that, if the SPSF merger is approved without conditions, the SP will no longer route vital traffic to it at Ogden. For that reason, the DRGW has urgently petitioned the ICC for the right to purchase outright the SP Overland Route. Chairman W.J. Holtman recently said that the Rio Grande will be "in the meat grinder" without the SP line, for which it has offered to pay approximately $43 million. Obviously, the Rio Grande is truly waging a fierce battle for its very life. The DRGW has vigorously sought -- and won -- the support and encouragement of important large shippers such as PPG Industries, U.S. Steel, Cargill, Inc., Ford Motor Company, and Miller Brewing Company. Now that the Justice Department has gone on record as opposing the SPSF merger (the first time in fifteen years that it has opposed a railroad merger), it seems more and more obvious that the ICC will necessarily have to take appropriate action to protect smaller railroads such as the Rio Grande. (CTC Board, January 1986, page 44)
D&RGW began the operation of the "Railblazer" trains on February 2, 1986. These trains were premium service, intermodal trains, operated with just a single crew change at Grand Junction, Colo. Dedicated motive power consisted of two GP40-2s, operating back-to-back. The trains operated with two-person crews, and without a caboose. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 270, May 1986, page 21) The last Railblazer trains operated on June 26-27, 1990, following operational changes due to SP merger. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 322, September 1990, page 19)
The car shop at Helper was demolished. The wood and corrugated steel structure dated back to some of the original building in Helper yard. (date from James Belmont)
May 5, 1986
Grant tower in Salt Lake City was closed. The facility controlled the crossing of D&RGW's double track mainline between Roper (Salt Lake City) and Ogden, and UP's ex LA&SL mainline, and WP's line to Oakland. There were at times up to 80 movements per day through the tower trackage. Control was taken over by two screens on the D&RGW dispatcher's station in Denver. (CTC Board, May 1986, page 12) (More information about the "Grant Tower Interlocking")
Changing Of The Guard . . . The Rio Grande has taken another step in maintaining its position of modernization. Grant Tower, milepost 745.5 on the Utah Division, Seventh Subdivision, was to be closed Monday, May 5th.
The tower, located adjacent to the Union Pacific's depot in Salt Lake City, controls a massive and complex layout of trackage. The Rio Grande's double tracked mainline northbound from Salt Lake City to Ogden is crossed by the Union Pacific's two mainlines, one being the original Los Angeles and Salt Lake, and the other the old Western Pacific. All movements were controlled by a manual interlocking system with the levers operated by a towerman which was on duty twenty-four hours daily.
Effective with the closure of the tower, control of the interlocking is transferred to Denver under the auspices of Dispatcher Five. The facility is both large and complex enough to require two displays on the CRT to contain it. Up to eighty movements per day utilize the junction and special programs have been added to the D&RGWs computer controlled dispatching system just for the purpose of handling the complexity of this section of track.
late August 1986
D&RGW given formal permission by ICC to abandon the Marysvale Branch. The 132 mile branch was severed due to the April 1983 Thistle slide. There had been much interest by the state of Utah and local business people to reopen the branch, but D&RGW had figured that it would cost $15 million to reconstruct the branch and reconnect it to its relocated mainline. Between 1896 and 1900, the branch had originated some coal traffic at Spearmint. In later years, most of the traffic had been in-bound grain destined for Moroni Spur, 52.8 miles south of Thistle. Most of this grain was turkey feed bound for large turkey farms at Moroni, and which originated at the Cargill elevator at North Yard in Denver. Since the Thistle slide, the grain had been sent to spur tracks at the Spanish Fork sugar works (10 miles south of Provo on the Tintic Branch) where it was trucked to Moroni. (CTC Board, December 1986, page 16)
late 1986 through early 1987
Ties and rails on D&RGW's Marysvale Branch were removed between September 1986 and spring 1987 by contractor A&K Salvage. After the work was completed, there were large stacks of ties stored at Salina. (James Belmont, message posted to Trainorders.com on June 5, 2003)
late October 1986
Amtrak moved its ticket and waiting room facility from UP's depot in Salt Lake City, to D&RGW's depot, eliminating a time consuming backup move. (CTC Board, December 1986, page 17)
October 1986 to January 1987
The former D&RGW depot at Provo was demolished. (Information from Steve Belmont) (Photo taken in January 1987, showing the building partially demolished)
late December 1986
Interchange traffic with SP at Ogden had dropped to an average of two trains per day. Interchange traffic with the former WP, merged with UP in late 1982, is non-existent. (CTC Board, January 1987, page 9)
February 1, 1987
Crew change at Helper was eliminated, along with the crew change at Bond, Colo., allowing D&RGW to operate trains between Denver and Salt Lake City with just a single crew change at Grand Junction. Helper remained as a home terminal for crews on coal trains and for helper engines. (CTC Board, February 1987, page 8)
September 25, 1987
Rio Grande Industries announced its intention to purchase the Southern Pacific Transportation Co., from the Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation, the merged parent company of the two AT&SF and SP railroads. With the failed SPSF merger, denied by the ICC on June 30, 1987, the ICC ordered SFSP Corp., to divest itself of one or both of its railroads. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 290, January 1988, page 36)
The D&RGW Ski Train was discontinued in late 1987; replaced by ANSCO Corp., a new subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation, with the operation of the new ANSCO ski train contracted to D&RGW. (Pacific Rail News, issue 292, March 1988, page 32)
December 28, 1987
Santa Fe Pacific Corp., announced its intention to sell the Southern Pacific Transportation Co., to Rio Grande Industries. RGI announced that it would file the intended sale with the ICC on or about February 22, 1988. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 291, February 1988, pages 7, 12)
Rio Grande Control of SP
Anschutz's Rio Grande Industries Inc. announced plans in 1987 to buy Southern Pacific Transportation Co. for $1.8 billion, agreeing to pay $1 billion and assume $780 million in debt. It is a gamble Anschutz takes with his reputation, but very little of his money. To do the deal, Morgan Stanley & Co. issues $200 million in high-interest junk bonds, receiving a 25 percent stake in the railroad. Anschutz then borrows the rest from banks. The deal creates the nation's fifth-largest railroad. In years to come, the highly leveraged deal gets dicey, forcing Anschutz to cut jobs, shed assets, restructure debt and sell stock, but he is ultimately successful. (Denver Post, August 18, 2002)
February 23, 1988
Rio Grande Industries filed its application with the federal Interstate Commerce Commission to acquire the Southern Pacific Transportation Company from its parent company, Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation. The ICC approved RGI's request for an expedited schedule for consideration of the application, which follows a formal purchase agreement that Rio Grande Industries,a unit of Anschutz Corporation, entered into with Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation. (New York Times, February 23, 1988)
May 6, 1988
Sale of SP to RGI was approved by the U. S. Justice Department. (Pacific RailNews, Issue 295, June 1988, page 7)
August 9, 1988
Rio Grande Industries received ICC approval for its purchase and control of Southern Pacific Transportation Company. (August 9, 1988 Rio Grande Industries news release; Pacific Rail News, Issue 300, November 1988, page 4; Trains, Volume 48, Number 12, October 1988, page 8; CTC Board, Issue 154, July 1988, page 3, full page of coverage)
The sale of SP to RGI was objected to by Kansas City Southern Industries, who had itself made a bid for SP, in the form of $1.25 billion in cash and securities. The KCSI bid was questioned by the ICC due to its court judgment of $600 million in antitrust and contract violations in a South Dakota coal slurry pipeline case. SP's parent company, Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corp., had agreed to the sale of SP to RGI in December 1987, pending ICC approval. (Wall Street Journal, August 9, 1988)
The ICC approved the sale of Southern Pacific Transportation Co. to Rio Grande Industries, for the amount of $1.02 billion. The new combined D&RGW and SP system will be 15,000 miles in 15 states, and will be the fifth largest railroad in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal, August 10, 1988; Pacific Rail News, Issue 299, October 1988, page 7)
August 25, 1988
The Interstate Commerce Commission approved the acquisition of control of the Southern Pacific Transportation Company by Rio Grande Industries, Inc., SPTC Holding, Inc., and the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Company (DRGW). (Rio Grande Industries, et al.–Control–SPTC et al., 4 I.C.C. 2d 834)
October 13, 1988
Rio Grande Industries took control of Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (CTC Board, Issue 159, May 1989, page 18)
(All events on former D&RGW trackage and locations after October 1988 -- covered as part of the coverage for Southern Pacific in Utah.)