Rails East to Promontory
The Utah Stations
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Railroad use: 1869 - ca. 1904
712.8 miles from San Francisco
T. 10 N., R. 13 W., Sec. 29 SW1/4, SLM

Engineering profiles indicate that track laying crews reached the site of Matlin on April 5, 1869. Here a share of the Chinese railroad workers built section facilities and a small Chinese community (Fig. 45, 46). A wye was installed in 1900 and may have replaced a light duty turntable (Fig. 44).

Figure 44: Looking east at the Matlin siding with the wye in the foreground (BLM photo)

Figure 45: 1873 Cadastral Plat showing Matlin T. 10 N., R. 13 W. (click on image for a PDF version)

Figure 46: Matlin (compiled from Southern Pacific station plans). (click on image for a PDF version)

Population records document 15 people living in Matlin in 1870 and 25 in 1876 (Geological Survey 1900 and Rand McNally 1956). Ground evidence and vandalized dugouts reveal many Chinese artifacts attributable to the 19th Century. Completion of the Lucin Cutoff in 1904 prompted the abandonment of Matlin.


Railroad use: 1899 - 1906
717.6 miles from San Francisco
T. 10 N., R. 13 W., Sec. 13, SLM

The Romola siding was built in 1899 to accommodate increased rail traffic and local sheep ranchers (Fig. 47). Southern Pacific track plats indicate a loading platform and a train car body were located at Romola. No cultural materials were located during onsite investigations.

Figure 47: Looking west at the siding of Romola (BLM photo)


Gravel Pit - Railroad use: 1869 - ca. 1881
723.6 miles from San Francisco
T. 11 N., R. 12 W., Sec 28 NE1/4, SLM

Ombey - Railroad use: ca. 1878 - ca. 1910
722.6 miles from San Francisco
T. 11 N., R. 12 W., Sec. 33 SE1/4, SLM

The sites of Gravel Pit and Ombey are not synonymous. Gravel Pit is located approximately one track mile east of Ombey and originally served as a construction camp. An 1869 inventory, (Fig. 15), notes a 16' x 30' section house (Fig. 48) and 10' x 20' kitchen at Gravel Pit. Other facilities included a Chinese house, water tank, and a train car body. Structural and material remains are evident today.

Figure 48: Foundation of a section house at Gravel Pit (BLM photo)

An area one mile west was chosen for the location of the Ombey siding, completed prior to ca. 1879 (Fig. 49, 50). By July 1881, railroad profiles show a section house, tool house, and Chinese bunk- and cookhouses, located at Ombey, suggesting that section facilities at Gravel Pit had been discontinued and moved west. By 1882, Gravel Pit was probably abandoned. Fragments of olive-green ale, cathedral peppersauce, ginger beer, and C. Conrad and Co. Original Budweiser bottles testify to occupation primarily in the 1870's at Gravel Pit (see sketch on next page).

Figure 49: Ombey section station (compiled from Southern Pacific station plans and track plat). (click on image for a PDF version)

Figure 50: Looking at the Ombey wye siding. The townsite is located in the distance near the road cut. (BLM photo)

A wye was constructed in 1900 to turn the newer heavier locomotives and Ombey provided freighting services to regional sheep herders. Railroad profiles mark the "Summit of Red Dome Pass" near Ombey. Taro Yagi reports in the Golden Spike Oral History (1969) that four helper locomotives were often necessary to pull freight trains over "Red Dome Hill".

Original Budweiser (Manufactured between 1878-1883); Cathedral Peppersauce; Ginger Beer.

Structural (Fig. 51) and material evidence remain (Fig. 52). Materials observed from recent illegal digging reveal a Chinese occupation.

Figure 51: Chinese section of Ombey today (BLM photo)

Figure 52: Ombey surface artifacts (BLM photo)


Railroad use: 1888-?
727.3 miles from San Francisco
T. 11 N., R. 12 W., Sec. 24, NW1/4, SLM

Central Pacific track layers reached this point on April 9, 1869, but the earliest documentation of use is in 1888. Peplin consisted of a siding, a small bumper spur (Fig. 53), a train car body and a loading platform. Ground evidence suggests a small, temporary occupation.

Figure 53: Peplin siding sits in a small cut. Note remnants of railroad ties at base of cut. The Great Salt Lake is in the distance. (BLM photo)


Railroad use: 1902 - 1906
731.1 miles from San Francisco
T. 11 N., R. 11 W., Sec. 6 NE1/4, SLM

Zias (Fig. 54) was a single track siding with little railroad documentation. The siding may have served area ranchers. A small refuse dump was located on site.

Figure 54: Looking west at Zias. The siding is on the right. (BLM photo)

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Last Updated: 18-Jan-2008