Western Interurban Electric Railroads - 1930's - 1940's
Bamberger Railroad
Salt Lake & Utah Railroad
Utah Idaho Central Railroad
Utah Rapid Transit Company


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The Utah Idaho Central (UIC), Utah Rapid Transit (ORT), Bamberger (B), and the Salt Lake and Utah (SL&U) Railroads were a quartet of Utah interurban electric railroads running down the spine of Utah from the southern Idaho town of Preston, through Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo to the central Utah town of Payson, a total of 198 miles, plus a 13 mile branch up Ogden Canyon to resort areas and Huntsville, Utah. The Bamberger was by far the most successful of the four lines, for several reasons. It was built to high standards, by Simon Bamberger, served the populated cities of Ogden and Salt Lake City, was connected with many key industries and military installations, such as the US Arsenal and Hill Field, and provided excellent freight carload and passenger interchange service. This 36 mile line t was one of the most successful electric interurban lines in the country. It ran passenger cars until 1952 when a fire destroyed it's maintenance and parts plant. It continued freight operations until after Bamberger interests were sold in 1956. The Utah Idaho Central was built by the Eccles interests, and was much less successful than the Bamberger, running 97 miles north from Ogden through sparcely populated towns to Preeston, Idaho. It purchased too many passenger cars for its needs, and quickly reduced it's passenger runs until they were completely discontinued in 1947. It did handle a good amount of freight including coal, sugar beets and other farm products and interchange with the Bamberger at Ogden. In later years the passenger traffic was largely "school" children. The UIC closed down in 1947. Another Eccles interest was the Utah Rapid Transit, Affiliated with the UIC, and under common management this branch up the Ogdenn Canyon 13 miles Ogden to Huntsville served commuter and resort traffic from about 1915 to 1932wwhen auto traffic and the Ogden Dam overflow caused it to shut down. The Salt Lake and Utah Railroad, was built south from Salt Lake City through Provo to Payson, 67 miles, by W.C. Orem. It was also known as the "Orem Line". The Orem was a fairly successful freight carrier during the 20' and 30's, carrying coal, sugar beets and other agricultural products, including carload interchange with Eastern and Midwestern roads to reach Salt Lake City. It had frequent passenger service in uts early years, with heavyweight steel cars, including parlor cars, but it's passenger traffic fell off drastically during the 30's and 40's. The revenues deteriorated rapidly in the early 40's and the Orem Line was sold at auction in 1945. Remnants survive as part of the UP system, but most of the SL&U is abandoned.
Short History of the Utah Interurban Electric Railroads
Bamberger Railroad(B)
The Bamberger Railroad, while the shortest of the three north-south Utah interurbans, was the strongest and most successful since it operated between the two major cities of Utah, Salt Lake City and Ogden.
1891 - Simon Bamberger, a coal mine operator, projected a steam railroad to run north from Salt Lake City to Ogden and Coalville. The road was named the Salt Lake & Ogden.
1908 - Progress was slow and Ogden was not reached until 1908. A distance of about 36 miles,
1910 - Because of threatened competition it was decided to electrify the line and this was completed in May 1910.
1910-16 - Heavyweight Nile & Jewett cars purchased for passenger service. Carload freight service also started.
1917 - The line was renamed the Bamberger Electric Railway.
1923 - The B built a modern depot in Salt Lake City shared with the Salt Lake and Utah. 1923 -27 - Hourly passenger car service provided. Much traffic was shopper-commuter, and resort traffic, interchange with Utah Idaho Central in Ogden, and connections south on the Salt Lake & Utah provided added revenue.
1927 - Bus service also introduced but primary travel mode remained electric rail.
late 30's - Much double track removed and automatic block signals installed. Cars converted to one man operation.
1933 - B, hit by depression, is in receivership.
1938 - Five, almost new, lightweight cars acquired from Fonda Johnstown and Gloversville.
1939 - Line emerges, inder same control, as Bamberger Railroad.
1941-45 - War years provide large volume of traffic. Freight business expands and service is provided to many warehouses, the US Arsenal, and Hill Field. Some diesels introduced.
1945-52 -- Business declines but is still substantial.
1952 - Fire destroys maintenance and parts plant in North Salt Lake and service is reduced sharply.
1952 - Passenger service discontinued. Freight is dieselized.
1956 - Line sold by Bamberger to Murchison Texas interests.
1959 - B is abandoned.
UTAHmap


Bamberger
Bamberger
September 23, 1940
The Utah Idaho Central
The UIC was an Eccles venture, owned by the Eccles, Browning and Scowcroft families.
1891 - A steam "dummy" line is built from Ogden to Hot Springs, about nine miles.
1907 - The line is extended along the mountains in the Cache Valley, to Brigham, 21 miles north of Ogden, and is electrified.
1909 - A steam branch is completed to Plain City>
1912 - The Logan Rapid Transit system placed a 7 mile line in service from Logan north to Smithfield.
1915 - The LRT extended north to Prestom, Idaho and south to Wellsville, Utah for a total of 39 miles.
1915 - Link from Wellsville, across the Collinston divide, using abandoned right of way of the Utah Northern, to Brigham, 45 miles is completed. Brigham to Ogden line is relocated away from mountains.
1915 - 18 cars purchased from American Car Company, more than enough for the light traffic. Initially 16 trains a day were operated on the main line. Cars connected with the Bamberger at Ogden but no through car service was initiated.
1915 - Through service established Preston to Ogden, 95 miles. City streets used in most towns. In Ogden the terminal is shared with the Bamberger.
1915-18 - Branch from Lewiston to Qwinney and Blaine is completed. The Plain City branch is electrified and extended to Warren.
1926 - Line in receivership and is reorganized with shared ownership with the Singleton interests of St. Louis. Name is Utah Idaho Central Railroad.
1931 - Service on main line is down to 6 trains a day. . Plains City branch down to 2 trains a day.
1939 - Plain City branch passenger service discontinued.
1940 - Main line down to 3 trains a day.
1947 - Operations ended on the UIC. Bamberger takes over some Ogden spur lines.
- The Utah Rapid Transit [Ogden Rapid Transit] (ORT)
The Utah Rapid Transit (Ogden Rapid Transit before 1930) was another Eccels interest associated with the UIC. 1909 - Bamberger and Eccles are interested in building up Ogden Canyon to resort areas northwest of Ogden.
1909 - The Eccles group (ORT) builds to Hermitage.
1910 - Line extended to Idlewild.
1915 - Line becomes a portion of the Ogden Logan and Idaho and arrives at Huntsville, 13 miles from Ogden.
post 1915 - ORT carries much seasonal and resort traffic with heavyweight UIC cars. These are later replaced by city transit cars often run in four unit consists,
1920\s - Auto traffic cuts passenger revenue.
1926 - Line probably in receivership along with UIC, and emerges with shared ownership and common management with UIC as the Utah Rapid Transit Company.
1930 - Passenger service down to 3 runs per day, Ogden to Huntsville.
1932 - Passenger service discontinued.
1935 - In December, the Ogden Dam Lake inundated portions of the OTC (UTC) and the line was shut down.
The Salt Lake and Utah Railroad
1912 - The Salt Lake and Utah Railroad was incorporated by W.C.Orem, and was known as the "Orem Line".
1913 - The line extended south from Salt Lake City along the west side of the Salt Lake Valley, and through the Jordan Narrows into the Utah Valley, reaching Provo, 49 miles.
1913 - Hall-Scott motor cars provide service until electrification is completed in July.
1916 - On May 20 the line reaches it's terminus at Payson, 67 miles from Salt Lake City.
1916-1930's - Very heavy steel cars used in multiple unit operation, with parlor observation cars on some trains.
1916 - Initual service was hourly.
mid-1920's - Service cut ro two hour intervals.
1920-30's - SL&U does well with coal, sugar beets and other agricultural product, and carload freight from eastern roads through to Salt Lake City, Important interchanges were with the Rio Grande and the Utah Railroad at Spanish Fork.
late 1920's - Road in receivership.
1938 - SL&U sold to Eccles and Browning (owners of UIC).
1939 - Passenger service down to 4 trains per day with supplemental bus service.


SL&U
Salt Lake & Utah
January 2, 1939
1940-45 - Road deteriorates badly, and revenues decline.
1945 - SL&U in receivership.
1945 - In March the property was sold at public auction. The Bamberger bought switching spurs at Salt Lake City, and the Rio Grande some industrial spurs.

UICmap
Utah Idaho Central - Utah Rapid Transit
April 14, 1930
SL&U
Salt Lake and Utah - January 2, 1939

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia(wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
The Electric Interurban Railways in America-Hilton & Due- pp 383-87
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Copyright Richard Parks, April23, 2009