In Utah, a substantial percentage of the first transcontinental railroad grade is abandoned. A portion of this grade, constructed and maintained by Central Pacific Railroad Company, is the subject of this monograph (Fig. 1).
The original grade follows a route eastward from Lucin, Utah, near the Nevada border, around the northern end of the Great Salt Lake over Promontory Summit to Ogden. This grade was eventually abandoned in favor of a shorter route via trestle between Lucin and Ogden across the Great Salt Lake. The original grade became known as the Promontory Branch and saw only sporadic use after completion of the "cut off" in 1904. Railroad facilities and dependent towns were soon abandoned. The rails of the Promontory Branch were removed in 1942.
This monograph provides a documentary and historical perspective to the abandoned grade, its railroad stations, and associated features stretching from Lucin, eastward to the Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit. First a historical sketch provides information on the building, maintenance, and abandonment of the route now known as the Promontory Branch. Afterwards we furnish a history and description of the railroad structures and settlements along the abandoned route. Finally, a brief discussion describes the features and artifacts encountered along the route today.
The study integrates previously published and unpublished documents with extensive field work along a 90-mile stretch of the original transcontinental railroad grade in northwestern Utah. Nineteenth century railroad maps, including engineering profiles, station plans, right-of way and track plats, and miscellaneous inventories provide valuable guides to locating and identifying 28 railroad stations, associated facilities, and settlements. Newspaper accounts, oral histories, historical documentaries, and photographs provide perspective. The study primarily concentrates on the surface remains and history of building and operating the railroad in northwestern Utah between 1869 and 1904. It is chiefly intended for land managers, historians, and archaeologists, requiring a basic study from which subsequent interpretational programs, archival research, and field work may be pursued.
Last Updated: 18-Jan-2008