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History of the Railroad in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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The development of Utah's abundant mineral resources also included the building of a large network of railroad branch lines to serve the transportation needs of the mining industry. The availability of low-cost transportation did much to help Utah gain its reputation as one of the nation's treasure houses.

The earliest railroad lines built to move Utah's minerals were the American Fork Railroad, completed in 1873, and the Utah Southern Railroad extension, built to serve the rich Horn Silver Mine near Milford in 1880. Other early mining railroads included two built by Charles Scofield that are sometimes called the Scofield lines. They were the Wasatch and Jordan Valley line and the Bingham Canyon and Camp Floyd line, built to tap the silver mines in Little Cottonwood Canyon and in Bingham Canyon; both were completed in 1873. A third Scofield line, the Utah and Pleasant Valley, went south from Springville in 1879 to reach the newly discovered Winter Quarters coal mines.

The large quantities of coal in eastern and central Utah were just being discovered in the early 1880s when the Denver and Rio Grande Western completed its line into Salt Lake City during 1883. The Denver and Rio Grande Western was able to improve its position in Utah by purchasing all three of the Scofield lines. The former Utah and Pleasant Valley track shortened the Denver and Rio Grande's route between eastern Utah and Utah Valley. The purchase of the other two Scofield lines gave the company some guarantee of holding the highly valued mining traffic once it reached the Salt Lake Valley.

The construction of the Rio Grande line through what is now Carbon County provided transportation for the coal from the mines as they were discovered and developed. The discovery of coal mines in Price Canyon was followed by the development of other coal mines at Sunnyside.


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