About the Project

For information about submission guidelines, please read to the bottom of this page.
The Desert Empire Project was started by Joshua Bernhard in 2012 to document the quickly fading remnants of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway in Utah. After a few years of inactivity, he realized that the digital age has plunged railroading into a "silent era", when future generations will look back and find little to no documentation on the events, nuances, strategies and accomplishments of the era. In the 19th and 20th centuries, railroads were very much in the public eye, and even minor derailments often appeared in Newspapers. This is not the case any more, and now that record keeping is moving to digital computing and cloud storage, there won't be any dispatcher's reports or authorities for expenditure to leaf through in the archives of future railroad museums.

After realizing the incredible resource of Facebook groups such as James Belmont's Rails Through the Wasatch and Chris Fussel's Utah Rail Enthusiasts, both of which are frequented by both current and former railroaders from the D&RGW, SP, and UP, he decided that it was time to consolidate the information quickly being lost to the bowels of the Facebook feed and compile it into one easily-readable source. With that, Jacob Lyman, Schon Norris and Matt Liverani, each with their own knowledge base and field of expertise, joined in to make the Desert Empire team.

Our goal is to provide meaningful, high-quality trip reports, event reports, and current histories of railroading within the Intermountain West (Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada). Our articles, when appropriate, are subject to peer review to guarantee accuracy. If we happen to make a mistake somewhere, please leave a comment so that we can update our information. If interest and demand allow, in the future the best articles from this blog may be compiled and printed. Stay tuned to find out more about that...

Submission Guidelines
Desert Empire Project accepts articles relevant to the Great Basin/Rocky Mountain area (Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah). We are looking for well-written, factual trip reports, news bulletins, and location or equipment spotlights to further the goals of DEP. We especially welcome news and reports from museums and preservation societies and invite such organizations to use Desert Empire Project as a platform to publicize your events and projects. Keep in mind that the DEP editors reserve the right to not accept an article.

Basic guidelines:
  • Submissions must relate to railroading in the states of Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah. Occasionally we will accept an article relevant to an area outside of these geographical boundaries if it discusses an interesting subject of railroading in general or the topic is especially unique. The states in blue are the intended boundary; content about states outlined in red may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • All statements must be verifiable. Personal opinions must be kept to a minimum and no politics allowed. While rumors are unavoidable in the railfan community, you must be able to prove that they originate from a reliable source.
  • It must be well-written. We understand that the qualities of good writing are subjective, but we will only accept articles that are clear and cohesive. The DEP editors reserve the right to make changes to improve clarity, although we will notify the author about any suggested edits.
  • Photographs must be of good quality. We do not require the high standards of Railpictures.net, but photographs must be clearly composed and illustrate the subject of the article. You must own the rights to said photographs or have written permission from the actual photographer to include them.
We cannot offer compensation for your articles or photographs at this time.

To submit an article, contact us through the Desert Empire Project Facebook page or at deserteempireproject AT gmail.com. Please send us a the subject of your article, a brief selection of your writing, and two example photographs. If the editors approve your idea then send a full draft to be reviewed. The editors will do their best to communicate with you through this process.

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