Tooele Valley Railway

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Tooele Valley Railway
Tooele Valley Railway 3 at Middle Canyon Trestle.jpg
Tooele Valley Railway #3 a 0-6-0 crossing the Middle Canyon Trestle in an undated photograph from the early 1900s.
Headquarters Tooele, Utah
Reporting mark TOV
Locale Tooele, Utah
Dates of operation19081982
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length9.42 miles (15 km)
Website Tooele Valley Museum and Historic Park
Tooele Valley Railway
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International Smelting and Refining Co.
Elton Tunnel
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Tooele Station (Broadway & Vine St.)
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Main Street Ticket Booth
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Union Pacific
Warner Station
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Warner Branch
Western Pacific

The Tooele Valley Railway was a railroad founded in 1908, and owned by the Anaconda Copper corporation. The line ran from a connection with the Union Pacific Railroad and the Western Pacific Railroad at Warner Station on the western edge of Tooele, Utah, to a terminus at the International Smelting and Refining Company smelter operations on the eastern edge of Tooele. The line was abandoned around 1982, nearly a decade after the smelter closure and the end of production at the nearby Carr Fork Mine.


The Tooele Station has been preserved to form the Tooele Valley Museum and Historic Park and has been registered on the National Register of Historic Places as the Tooele Valley Railroad Complex. [1] [2]


The Tooele Valley Railway was founded in 1908, by the Utah Consolidated Mining Company [3] to connect the International Smelter to the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad (later bought out by the Union Pacific Railroad). In 1917 the Western Pacific Railroad built a branch line to connect with the Tooele Valley Railway [4] The line ran from a connection with the mainline on the west end of Tooele, Utah, to the smelter located on the bench of the Oquirrh Mountains. A large portion of the Tooele Valley Railway was a street running railroad, traveling through Vine Street until reaching Tooele Station. The grade traveled out of the city until crossing a wooden trestle at the mouth of Middle Canyon. In later years the trestle was filled in with rock overburden to stabilize it. The grade continued along the mountain bench until reaching the smelter. In 1937 a branch line was built connecting the line to the Elton Tunnel. The smelter closed in 1972, and the railroad lost its main revenue source. The railroad briefly served the Carr Fork Mine project during the late 1970s. The last revenue train ran on July 7, 1980. [5] The line was abandoned by 1982. [6] Reclamation of the grade was performed as part of the Superfund program. [7]


The Tooele Valley Railway owned several steam locomotives. During the majority of the steam era, the line owned four 2-8-0 locomotives, numbers #9 through #12. The line also operated an 0-6-0 locomotive #3, and a 2-6-0 locomotive #2. The majority of the line's steam locomotives were retired in 1955, when an EMD SW1200 locomotive #100 was purchased, later an EMD SW900 locomotive was purchased from Pickering Lumber Company in 1966, becoming locomotive #104. Locomotive #11 was kept as a back up for the diesel locomotive until 1963. [8]


Tooele Valley Railway #11 on static display in Tooele City in 2018. Snow Storm at Tooele Valley Museum.jpg
Tooele Valley Railway #11 on static display in Tooele City in 2018.

Locomotive #11 and #12 were built as part of an order of 2-8-0's for the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad by the American Locomotive Company at their Brooks Locomotive Works in 1910. [9] Bankruptcy caused the Buffalo and Susquehanna to cancel the order, and ALCO kept the locomotives until selling them. #11 and #12 were sent to the Tooele Valley Railway in 1912. [10] Locomotive #11 would be preserved after retirement in 1963. #12 was scrapped in 1956, with the tender being used to mount a snowplow. #11 would be the last steam locomotive in Utah to be used in revenue freight service. First displayed near the intersection of Vine Street and 200 West, #11 was moved to the Tooele Valley Railroad Museum in 1982 via rail. The museum also preserved the snowplow mounted to locomotive #12's tender, several pieces of Maintenance of way equipment, and a pair of caboose from the railway. Locomotive #100 and #104 were sold to new owners. [11]

See also

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  2. Penrod, Emma. "Crossroads". Tooele Transcript Bulletin. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  3. Strack, Don. "International Smelter at Tooele". Utah Rails.Net. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  4. "Western Pacific Utah Branchlines" . Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  5. "James Belmont Photo Collection" . Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  6. "Tooele Valley Railway". Utah Rails.Net. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  7. "International Smelting and Refining Superfund Site" (PDF). EPA. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  8. Terry, Jeff. "Tooele County Railroad Museum". Steam Locomotive Information. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  9. "Tooele Valley Railway Co. No. 11". Steam Locomotive.Info. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  10. "The Last Buffalo and Susquehanna Steamer".
  11. "Tooele Valley Railway Locomotives". Utah Rails.Net. Retrieved 4 November 2012.