Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another one bites the dust

A year or so ago the Utah State Historical Society placed a notice on their web site about the old D&RGW freight depot in Salt Lake City. Essentially, Utah Transit Authority owned it, and had plans to raze it after converting a portion into the Intermodal Hub building...the conversion left the southern half unrecognizable, but the northern half was just as the Rio Grande left it. The USHS was making a plea for someone to save it as one of the few original D&RGW facilities left in Utah, the Salt Lake City station and the Ogden freight depot being two others.
Looking north from the south east corner.
A while later I looked for the page again and couldn't find it, and I was immediately worried - had the building been torn down already? Someone said it hadn't, so when the opportunity (namely, free passage on Frontrunner South) presented itself I headed up to  SLC to photograph it before it met its fate.
Looking due west from the middle of the building. Interestingly, the concrete was braced with rails.

I was shocked to find myself facing a pile of rubble. I was only two days late! Wrecking equipment still on the site, I had missed an opportunity. The reall kicker is that I have never, EVER, seen any photographs of the building anywhere. People tend to focus on the nearby passenger depot and ignore the other, just as important structures. While I'm sure that a few pictures do exist somewhere in the world, it still doesn't lessen the impact of this loss.
Looking south.

End of rant, but lesson learned: don't procrastinate when it comes to preserving history. Here's a few more pictures:
 Looking south from the northeast corner.
Looking east; you can see the red hip roof of the D&RGW/WP Union Station in the background.
Below: Here's what the modernized southern half looks like. Nothing like the original, believe me...about the only thing UTA saved was the concrete skeleton and the framework for the bay awnings.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

News: Truckload of apples shuts down Spanish Fork Canyon reports:

"SPANISH FORK — Three people were hospitalized Thursday after a semitrailer hauling apples rolled off of U.S. 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon.
"The accident occurred about 10:25 a.m. when the tractor-trailer rolled over the jersey barrier and down onto Union Pacific railroad tracks below. All three passengers in the cab of the truck were ejected, said Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Rich Nielson.
"One passenger was flown by medical helicopter and two others were taken by ambulance to hospitals.
"Troopers believe speed was a factor in the crash, Nielson said. Investigators were still trying to determine if any of the occupants were wearing seatbelts.
"Union Pacific shut down all train traffic in the area because the wreckage was sitting atop the rails on a line that runs parallel to the highway. The accident also split the trailer open and cartons of apples were littered throughout the crash site.
"U.S. 6 was restricted to one lane in each direction."

Source article here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Detour to Wonderland

Here's a neat promotional film sponsored by the Rio Grande, showing the national parks and monuments in southern Utah. Year unknown, but probably early 1950s.

Monday, November 12, 2012

News: Rockslide on the Potash branch

On November 5th a rockslide damaged the Potash Branch in Grand County - and pictures can be found at the article here: Massive rockslide damages rail, road
Above, courtesy Moab Times-Independent; below, courtesy Intrepid Potash Inc.

The rockslide effectively disrupted this weekend's outbound potash shipment. According to the article, repairs should be completed this Monday (November 19).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Caboose 01457

The Utah State Railroad Museum holds in its collection a couple of pieces from the Denver & Rio Grande Western, which will be expounded upon in later posts. For this one, here is caboose 01457, built at the Burnham ( Denver) shops in 1947 as part of series 01450-01459. These cabooses were radio equipped, with PRR rooftop induction antennae, and painted black with white "flying Rio Grande" and two horizontal yellow stripes to designate the radio feature.
The windows were originally four-pane wood frames; the car was repainted in 1975 in the all-orange/black lettering “Action Road” scheme that it wears today. The four-pane windows were rebuilt to double pane, then blanked over in September 1985. At some point the interior was stripped of appliances and seats.
In the background of the above picture can be seen the roof of caboose 01504, which will be the subject of a later post when I gather more information.

This caboose currently sits on the Burton-Walker Spur at the north end of the museum, behind a UP CA-3 caboose and 0-6-0 switcher. The Museum has outfitted the interior for events and offers it for daily rent as the "birthday caboose"; it has been fitted with electricity and an air conditioning unit. There are plans in place to repaint the car in its original black paint scheme; money is the only problem.

Sources: Don Strack,   Accessed 25 March 2011

Monday, November 5, 2012

History: D&RG foreign offices on the RGW (1895)

These tables list the Denver & Rio Grande foreign offices on the Rio Grande Western when the two companies were separate. Taken from Official Roster No. 31, October 1st 1895.
NOTE: B.G. denotes broad gauge (now considered standard gauge)

Foreign Offices, D&RG Express
Rio Grande Western
Agent Name
Agent Name
American Fork
U.G. Merrill
F. Fouts
I.H. Rogers
Mount Pleasant
Web. Green
Bingham Junction
D.W. Ammerman
H.A. Lamdin
Castle Gate
J.W. Ray
W.H. Shermer
Clear Creek
B.W. Rice
Pleasant Valley Jct.
W.H. Sweet
C.J. Fisher
A.J. Mead
W. Allen
W.N. Dusenberry
J.A. Todd
C.L. Jensen
F.H. Barry
J. Ricks
F.W. Cole
Salt Lake City
A.C. French
Green River
F. H. Fike
E.W. Pitcher
J.H. Roylance
Silver City
M.A. Boyden
J.A. Parrott
Spanish Fork
E.R. Hunt
J.B. Lindsey
Spring City
J.D. Simpson
W.F. Welsh
G. P. Thompson
Lower Crossing
W. Allan
W.R. Olin
Mammoth Mill
W.M. Moss
W.H. Mitchell
C.B. Atterbury
C.E. Ingalls

Track Scales – R.G.W. Railway.
50 Tons
42 feet
Salt Lake
50 tons
42 feet
Salt Lake
40 tons
34 feet
Bingham Junction
50 tons
42 feet
50 tons
42 feet
30 tons
28 feet

Saturday, November 3, 2012

News: A Lesson on who wins (Wellington)

An excellent lesson on looking both ways before crossing the tracks, on the old D&RGW main line through Carbon County. On November 2nd a man was filming a train in Wellington and caught a construction truck crossing the tracks in front of it - and the full hit as the truck is ripped in two and tossed aside.

You can read the full story  at the Article. So please remember - Stop, Look, and Live. The train will win every time - and the railroad isn't responsible for your own negligence.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Victorian Advertising of the Rio Grande

Rio Grande Western advertisement, from the back cover of a mining guide for Mercur (then part of the Camp Floyd mining district) entitled Utah Revealed. No publishing date is known.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Photos: Tintic Branch MP 0 (Springville)

This little dwarf signal and accompanying switch stand control the junction with the Tintic Branch at approximately MP 0 (D&RGW main MP 695.8; Union Pacific MP 75) in Springville.

All taken September 2012.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

History: Thistle coal track, 1965

In the future I will be posting digitized Authorities for Expenditure like this one, most of which have been copied from Colorado Railroad Museum collections by Jerry Day. These are invaluable in pinning down dates that locomotives, cars, structures and tracks were constructed or scrapped.

Authority for Expenditure No. 6557
Location: Thistle, Utah (Joint Utah Railway)

Date to be Started: April 1965
Date Completed: May 1965

Retire 840 Track Feet of Track No. 104 Rv. Including two turnouts.

Purpose and Necessity:
This trackage should be retired since the coaling facilities previously retired
and new sanding facilities recently constructed have made it no longer necessary
for Railroad purposes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

History: Castle Gate and Victorian Poetry (1887)


“Stand, stranger, stand. The castle gate
Through which you pass to fairy land
Is mine to guard. What happy fate
Bids you within its border? Stand!”

Warder of this stately castle,
Stay the menace of your hand,
I am but a simple singer
Singing songs throughout the land.

Through the time-stained rugged portals
I can catch a glimpse afar,
Where the light shines on the woodland
Like the light of the morning star.

Let me pass, Oh stern-faced warder,
Through the wondrous castle gate;
Let me walk within the garden

Led by fancy and by fate.
For the sunlight and the moonlight
And the starlight, as they fall,
Seem replete with happy fancies
Making pictures on the wall.

Gateway to a happy valley,
Open wide and let my feet
Wander in the flowery meadows
Where the shining waters meet.

Frowning cliffs lift up to front me,
Sunset hues the rocks that rise,
But my eyes have caught a vision
Of green fields and violet skies.

Lying over Soldier Summit
In the valleys of the West,
With the bloom and Blush of Eden
Lying softly on their breast,

Vales of splendor, vales of beauty,
Meet to melt a heart of stone;
Vale of Tempe pales in glory
When beside they brightness shown.

Other lips have uttered fancies,
Other eyes on thee have shone,
Other feet have walked these meadows,
Passing through the gate of stone.

But my lips can not keep silence,
Or my eyes their rapture bate,
As they catch a glimpse of Eden
Through the cliff-crowned Castle Gate.

“Pass, stranger, pass, the olden time
Was full of song of mirth and cheer;
Sing any song that suits your rhyme,
And let it echo round the year.”
-From Rhymes of the Rockies, published by the Denver & Rio Grande Passenger Department.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

History: October 14, 1909

 The Ogden Standard: Random References.
"Box Car Robbery – The sheriff’s office was advised this afternoon that a box car in the Rio Grande Western freight yards was burglarized last night and about 75 pairs of pants stolen. The company officials were unable to tell whether the theft was committed in Ogden or between Ogden and Salt Lake."