John Speller's Web Pages Utah & Northern Railway (UPRR)

John Speller's Web Pages - US Railroads

Utah & Northern Railway (UPRR)
Although the Northern Pacific Railway was chartered as early as 1864 progress was slow and other interests took the opportunity to try and be first to exploit the rich deposits of copper and other minerals in Montana. First on the scene was the Utah & Northern Railway which linked Helena and Butte, Montana with the Union Pacific Railroad's main line in Salt Lake City, Utah. The line was promoted by Mormon interests and construction of the 165-mile 3 ft. 6 in. gauge line was begun on 24 August 1871. Following the financial panic of the early 1870s, construction halted in May 1874, and the bankrupt line was sold under foreclosure in 1878. At this point railroad baron Jay Gould began to take an interest and the Union Pacific Railroad purchased the line and resumed construction in April 1878. The line opened to Butte on 26 December 1881. The gauge was converted to 4 ft. 8 in. in the summer of 1886. The line ran a daily passenger express from Salt Lake City to Butte, "The Butte Special," which lasted until 1971. A branch line to the west entrance of Yellowstone Park was opened on 11 June 1908.
Map of the Utah & Northern Railway
Utah & Northern Railway bridge at Eagle Rock (Idaho Falls), Idaho circa 1880 with railroad shops in background. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Utah & Northern Railway 3 ft. 6 in. gauge 4-6-0 No. 3 "Franklin," built by Grant Locomotive Works in 1872
On the narrow gauge Utah & Northern Railway near the Green River Butte, Montana, shortly after opening in 1881. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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