Eureka Ghost Rail: Tintic Range Railroad

Discussion in 'Northern Utah' started by Old Jeeper, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. Old Jeeper

    Old Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    Eureka Ghost Rail: Tintic Range Railroad (TRR)

    The Tintic Range Railroad branch was built in 1891 to service the mines in Eureka. It started at the existing track in Springville and went south to Santaquin then turned west to Elberta. From Elberta it went up Pinion Canyon and Homansville Canyon and ended in Eureka. 39 miles total. A couple of years later it was extended 4 miles to Mammoth and Silver City. The extension to Silver City was abandoned in 1943. The line from Pearl Junction, a couple of miles west of Elberta, to Eureka was abandoned somewhere around 1966 or '67. This is about the 11 mile section between Pearl and Eureka.

    tintic_special-1897 (2).jpg
    1897 Map

    Tintic RR east side.JPG
    2015 Eastern Side Map

    Tintic RR west side.JPG
    2015 Western Side Map

    UT Eureka 1949.jpg
    1949 Map

    At Pearl Junction the rails split, south to Burgin/Dividend area and north to Eureka. The rails are still in place to Burgin but have been pulled up to Eureka. I started where the rails ended and headed north for Tunnel 1.

    TUNNEL 1:

    Pearl.jpg
    Pearl

    P1000003.JPG
    Rails end at Pearl

    Tunnel 1 is 235 ft. long and is open and can be driven through.

    P1000030.JPG
    P1000036.JPG

    Tunnel 1

    Moving on about 3/4 a mile was a siding named Laguna. There's some concrete foundations there. Maybe for a loading platform?

    P1000059.JPG
    Laguna Siding Ruins

    About 3/4 of a mile beyond Laguna you come to where the Double Circle Loop used to be. It must have been quite a site watching the trains chugging around it. I found a picture from around 1870.

    Double Circle-Savage.jpg
    C. R. Savage photo

    I've read a couple of theories on what happened to the trestle. One story is it caught fire and they opted not to replace it while another claims that the newer, more powerful, locomotives were too heavy for the trestle, either way it was bypassed in 1940. The purple line on my 2015 east map is the bypass. The abutments are still there along with the concrete foundations for the supports.

    Double Circle loop.jpg
    Double Circle Loop

    P1000101.JPG
    Abutments

    P1000067.JPG
    75 (or 125?) year old ties where the loop crossed the road

    P1000115.JPG
    Hard to see but the original and bypass road beds are in the background and the beginning of the loop is in the foreground.

    TUNNEL 2:

    A little more than 2 miles above the trestle is Tunnel 2. It's 449 feet long but both ends have been sealed. I wasn't able to drive to the eastern end because of some rock fall but I could to the west end. It's an easy walk to the other side from the west end.

    Tunnel 2.jpg
    Tunnel 2

    P1000152.JPG
    East entrance

    P1000143.JPG
    Western exit

    P1000157.JPG
    An old wooden culvert

    The 1949 map shows another siding between Tunnels 2 & 3 but I didn't see any thing. So I continued on to Tunnel 3.

    TUNNEL 3:

    Tunnel 3 was 417 feet long but in 1924 the supporting timbers caught fire. The railroad declared the tunnel unsafe and cut a bypass around the hill. It has collapsed at both ends.

    Tunnel 3.jpg
    Tunnel 3

    P1000161.JPG
    East entrance

    P1000164.JPG
    West exit

    From Tunnel 3 I follow the rail bed through Homansville Canyon, across the canyon is Hiway 6. The 1992 (my 2015 west) map says there is a RGW Tunnel there. If they're thinking there's a Rio Grand Western railroad tunnel there, they're wrong. Or perhaps it refers to a mine tunnel. There is a mine above the rail bed but I didn't stop to check it out.
    I pass by the ghost town of Homansville (http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ut/homansville.html) before arriving at the siding called Saddle. Saddle has quite a bit of concrete ruins scattered about.

    Saddle.jpg
    Saddle

    P1000278.JPG
    Ruins


    After Saddle I made my way to the edge of town where I lost all trace of the rail bed so I called it quits there.

    For more information I recommend the book Utah Ghost Rails by Stephen L Carr or visit these web sites:

    Further Reading/Links/Resources:
    Book: Historical Guide to Utah Ghost Towns - Stephen L. Carr
    Book: Utah Ghost Rails - Stephen L. Carr & Robert W. Edwards
    Book: Faith, Hope and Prosperity: The Tintic Mining District - Philip F. Notarianni
    http://www.drgw.net/info/TinticBranch
    http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3963
    http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=384
    Various area Ghost Town sites
    http://utahrails.net/articles/tintic.php
     
  2. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    A lot of this grade can still be driven.. but many spots get real tight, like ATV tight.
     
  3. Kevin B.

    Kevin B. Member Contributor Registered

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    And some spots require a little creative overlanding. :rofl:
     
  4. Old Jeeper

    Old Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    True. I drove my 78 CJ7, which is not much bigger that todays ATV's, on it. If the road was not directly on the rail bed I walked it. My guess is I walked half of it.
     
  5. lordhelmet

    lordhelmet Member Contributor Registered

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    Gonna have to go visit that area
     
  6. Kevin B.

    Kevin B. Member Contributor Registered

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    That pic of the trestle is awesome. I need to print that out and go stand there. Brian, we drove right through the middle of that loop and didn't notice.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
  7. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    Excited to see more. I think I am going to go back on a dirt bike and see if I can follow the whole route..
     
  8. moab_cj5

    moab_cj5 Moderator Staff Member Supporter Contributor Registered

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    Great info! Thanks for sharing. This is on my list of places to visit!
     
  9. Old Jeeper

    Old Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    That was originally my plan too and now that I know the area better I'd still like to go with my bike. Lots of trails down there.
     
  10. LFNTMS

    LFNTMS EU Contributor Contributor Registered

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    Cool stuff. Have only been out that way a few times and barely grazed what's there. Makes me want to go back. Thanks :D
     
  11. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    We plan to go hit it early next week (Tues or Wed) on bikes.. We would LOVE to have a tour guide!
     
  12. Old Jeeper

    Old Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    Wish I could. I'll be working those days. I'm looking forward to your report.
     
  13. Maxterra

    Maxterra EU Contributor Contributor Registered

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    Great info!
    Love that area and now want to explore some more!

    Thanks for the info and great pictures!

    (whenever you're ready for another trip Rob & John...)

    Dave
     
  14. IM1RU

    IM1RU EU Contributor & Supporting Member Contributor Registered

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    Today was the day for me until Jan. But then I have some time again..... But yes, lets go please.
     
  15. Old Jeeper

    Old Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    Thanks all. It was fun doing it.
     
  16. ExpeditionUtah

    ExpeditionUtah Administrator Staff Member Contributor

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    Fantastic research and trip report!

    We've combined all of the report/pics into the top post and added this to our Feature Trail page:
    http://www.expeditionutah.com/featured-trails/

    Thanks Old Jeeper for such great documentation!
     
  17. DAA

    DAA Member Contributor Registered

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    Outstanding! Thanks Old Jeeper!

    - DAA
     
  18. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    Derek and I headed out about 1pm to try to ride this totally awesome ghost rail. We headed to Elberta, and were unloaded in no time. We started right were the RR crossed Redwood Rd, just north of the stop sign in Elberta.
    The RR is 'gated' off just a short ways from the road (looks to be cattle keeper fencing)
    IMG_5478.JPG

    We turned our handle bars West and rode right next to the tracks for about 1/2 mile before we hit another gate that crossed the tracks which was also next to a large corral area.
    IMG_5479.JPG

    We made it around the corrals, and found a culvert that ran under the tracks
    IMG_5480.JPG

    Just a short jaunt later we crossed the first trestle bridge
    IMG_5486.JPG

    The tracks split into multiple directions a little further west, which I believe is 'Pearl'. One track headed south, the other went north/west. We went west.

    After a bit of a ride we made it to the first tunnel
    IMG_5489.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  19. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    We continued along the RR grade until we made it where they made a circle around themselves. We rode straight up the mountain to the north end of where the trestle stated.
    looking south from the north side:
    IMG_5495.JPG

    We 'circled' :D around to the south end of the trustle bridge. The trees have all been 'chained', or ripped out. Can someone tell me why?

    we made it almost all the way to the south side on the bikes, but there was some funny looking stuff hanging in the tree's so we opted to walk around it..
    IMG_5496.JPG

    This is looking North from the south side
    IMG_5498.JPG

    We continued on the way, determined to stay on the actual grade. The next leg of the journey, until the grade crosses the road again was the most unused portion we rode. very little 'trail' left, with just coyote tracks in the snow to lead the way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  20. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member Contributor Registered

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    We continued on our way along the grade. We made it to tunnel 2. Still blocked :rolleyes:

    We rode to the East side as well. The ground slopes towards the tunnel, and has no water exit, so the ground was super squishy and muddy.
    IMG_5500.JPG

    We followed the grade around the mountain, alongside HWY 6 below lime peak. The RR is behind private gates for a bit as it makes it's loop through saddle/holmansville, but we were able to pick it up just a little further west.
    We stayed on the grade until we hit the fence for the School in Eureka.

    IMG_5505.JPG

    We stopped into the gas station for just a quick second, and headed back the way we came. The ride was a total blast. It was so much fun to make out the old grade and follow that bit of history.

    Thanks again to Old Jeeper for the information that allowed us to follow the trail.
    We plan to run it again in the future.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015

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