Facebook Page

Heber Valley Railroad 5/4/2019

by Chris Guenzler

I awoke early in Park City and after I took my pills, I finished yesterday's story. I then got dressed then decided to hike the Union Pacific Hiking and Bike trail. No! I don't count this as rail miles! I had a nice walk and the pictures are below.

Pictures from my hike this beautiful Park City morning. I returned to the room and wrote this before we left and headed over to Heber City for breakfast at McDonald's then we drove over to the railroad.

Heber Valley Railroad

The Heber Valley Railroad is a heritage railroad based in Heber City, Utah. It operates passenger excursion trains along a line between Heber City and Vivian Park, which is located in Provo Canyon. The HVRX carries over 94,000 passengers a year.

The railroad line is approximately 16 miles long. A typical round trip ride on the train takes about 3 hours. There are a total of four passing sidings outside of the Heber yard limit.

Notable landmarks seen from the train include Mount Timpanogos, Cascade Mountain, Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir, Provo River, Sundance Ski Resort, Tate Barn, and Soldier Hollow. A variety of wildlife including deer, eagles, fox, moose, turkeys, hawks, mountain lions (cougars), and beavers, have all been seen from the train as well.


The Heber Valley Railroad has two 1907 Baldwin 2-8-0 Consolidation-type steam locomotives: former Union Pacific No. 618 and ex-Great Western No. 75, although they are both out of service pending completion of their 1,472 day inspections and service. Also on display is former Columbia Steel Company 0-6-0 No. 300 built by Baldwin in the 1920s.

The HVRX is home to four EMD diesel-electric locomotives: Ex-Union Pacific EMD NW2 No. 1011, Ex-Union Pacific EMD NW2 No. 1043, Ex-Union Pacific EMD GP-9 No. 296, and Ex-USATC EMD MRS-1 No. 1813. As well as Ex-United States Army Transportation Corps Baldwin (rebuilt with a Caterpillar prime mover) RS4TC-1 number 4028. It also has a former United States Army Davenport 44-ton diesel-electric locomotive No. 1218, which is very similar to a GE 44-ton switcher. Recently in 2018, the railroad purchased 3 GP9's which are numbers 52, 72, and 77 from New England's Pan Am Railway. With the arrival of the GP9s, the Heber Valley's former U.S. Army MRS-1 will be retired.


The line operated by the HVRX was formerly part of a Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad branch line that connected Heber City to Provo, Utah. The branch line was completed in 1899 and operated freight (and passenger) service until the line's abandonment in 1967.

The line was saved for tourist use and was reopened in 1970 when No. 618 and other equipment was brought up the line from Provo. The track between Provo and Vivian Park was later removed and converted into a recreational trail. During the 1970s and 1980s the railroad operated as the "Heber Creeper". In the late 1980s this railroad went out of business.

Citizens in the Heber area successfully petitioned the State of Utah to help save the railroad, leading to creation of the Heber Valley Historic Railroad Authority in the early 1990s. Since this time the railroad has seen considerable growth. The railroad operates as a non-profit 50 organization.

During the 2002 Winter Olympics the railroad was part of the Olympic Steam Team, carrying spectators to the Soldier Hollow Olympic venue. The railroad's No. 618 and 75 steam-engines, were joined by the Nevada Northern Railway Museum's No. 93 steam-engine, in pulling eight-car trains full of passengers, to the Soldier Hollow depot where they disembarked and continued to the venue entrance on a horse-drawn sleigh. The day prior to the Opening Ceremony of the games, all three locomotives were combined into one triple-headed train, and used to transport the Olympic flame from Soldier Hollow to Heber City as part of the torch relay.

Current operation

The railroad's main depot is located in Heber City. Other passenger terminals are located at Soldier Hollow (near Midway, Utah) and Vivian Park. The railroad operates year-round, and features special event and evening train rides. Among its named trains are the Provo Canyon Limited, a three-hour round trip excursion to Vivian Park and the shorter Deer Creek Express to Deer Creek Reservoir. The railroad can be seen from various points along U.S. Highway 189 between Heber City and Vivian Park and the whistle can be heard throughout the valley.

Locomotive No. 618 was used in the 2006 film, Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy. The locomotive, 100 years old as of July, 2007, ran from 2008-2010 in limited capacity and was then taken out of service for a major overhaul and restoration, as required to meet Federal Railroad Administration safety standards. The non-profit railroad raised the $750,000 required for the project and the 618 engine will not be retired. The rebuild should give the engine another 30 years of service. As of July 2018 No. 618 is out of service while a 1,472-day inspection and rebuild is completed. Locomotive 75 has been under restoration since 2003 (15 years as of 2018).

Our visit

We pulled up to the corner then parked and started looking around.

U. S. Army 44 ton No. 1218 painted Heber Valley Railroad.

U. S. Army RS4TC No. 4028 painted Heber Valley Railroad.

HVRR box car 27028.

HVRR box car 27023.

Western Maryland box car 26309.

D&RGW hopper car 17488.

Union Pacific caboose 3950.

Heber Valley caboose 12300.

SLG&W wooden box car 100.

Northen Pacific wooden box car 11111.

UTLX tank car 85302.

HVRR box car 26060.

Union Pacific wooden caboose 3270. We moved the car to the parking area across the street.

HVRR Coach 3568.

HVRR lounge 7508.

HVRR Coach 3598.

Station scene

D&GRW box car 04009

Unknown box car.

Minerva Scenic Village of Minerva coach 3227.

HVRR Coach 4066 John L Martinez.

Union Pacific Chair combine 2700 concession car.

HVRR Coach 324.

U. S. Army MRS-1 No. 1813 painted as Heber Valley.

SDRX tank car 10896.

Unknown office car.

Museum scene.

Sinclair tank car 18890.

HVRR Business Car 100.

Rio Grande 850.

Boston & Maine GP-9 77.

US Steel Columbia Geneva Ironton Plant 0-6-0 300.

Our train ready to go.

Great Western GP-9 296.

Station scene.

HVRR coach 3571.

The signal bridge at the south end of the station property.

Museum scene.

The semaphore signal at the south end of the station property.

Crane and leader flat car.

Boston & Maine GP-9 77.

KCCX covered hopper 5078.

Unknown passenger car.

Unknown baggage car.

HVRR coach 7510.

HVRR baggage car 7504.

HVRR baggage car 7503.

Rio Grande caboose 0141.

Unknown caboose.

Unknown work car.

KCC flat car 538.

American Crane C-280.

Beautiful views in the Heber Valley.

Our train is still waiting to leave at 11:00 AM.

The Heber Valley Railroad Station. At 10:47 AM they started boarding the train. The train consisted of Great Western GP-9 296, Minerva Scenic Village of Minerva coach 3227, HVRR Coach 4066 John L Martinez, Union Pacific Chair combine 2700 concession car and HVRR Coach 324. We boarded and took seats in the Village of Minerva coach 3227. The train would leave on time at 11:00 AM.

Robin making his first trip on the Heber Valley Railroad.

Chris making his first trip on the Heber Valley Railroad.

Mountain views are the order of the day.

The Provo River.

The north end of Deer Creek Lake.

Snowcapped peaks rule the scene over Deer Creek Lake.

Dear Creek Lake.

Osprey in their nest.

Dear Creek Lake. I went to the vestibule to take pictures.

Two views of our train this morning.

Dear Creek Lake.

The train came to the Sparks signpost.

Looking back at Sparks.

Our route behind and ahead.

Snow capped peaks are the order of the day.

The train takes a curve on our route.

Both ways along Deer Creek Lake.

Many fishermen are out and about in their boats this late morning.

What a view from this unique train.

Can you spot the fisherman in these pictures?

The Milepost 7 sign.

A bay in Deer Creek Lake.

The train, a boat, does it get any better that this?

Beautiful view on this railroad.

The train took more curves.

More bays along our route.

The train took another curve.

More boats on the lake.

The train took another curve.

The fantastic view ahead of the train.

The train ran by Milepost 9.

The train took another curve.

US 187 rounds that peak to continue on to Provo Canyon.

Looking towards Provo Canyon.

The view looking forward.

The Deer Creek Lake Dam has come into the view.

The Milepost 10 signpost.

The train is approaching the dam.

The Deer Creek Lake Dam.

The Deer Creek Lake Dam.

US 187 is part of the dam.

That great mountain peak.

The train still heading for that great mountain peak.

At Milepost 11 the train is about to go under US 187.

Views of the Deer Creek Lake Dam.

The train enters Provo Canyon.

Taking a turn in the upper reaches of Provo Canyon.

The train, the peak and a great time riding this railroad.

The Provo River at Milepost 12.

The Provo River in Provo Canyon.

Does it ever get better than this?

Views along the Provo River.

Those peaks loom ahead of us.

We arrived into Vivian Park. We would be here for 30 minutes so we detrained.

The engine ran around the train at Vivian Park.

The engine returns to the train. We left Vivian Park?

The US 187 Highway Tunnels. I relaxed all the way back to Heber City. It had been an excellent train ride on the Heber Valley Railroad. We were first off the train and headed to the Old Goat where I had the House wings with us eating outside. We then saw a caboose and when we made our stop to park we found three things of interest for us both.

Heber City Rio Grande Station.

The Heber Valley Railroad emblem.

Utah Railway wooden caboose 53.

Heber City Rio Grande Station. We then drove back to Park City where I found my day one pictures. I wrote that and then this and at 9:54 PM I am caught up. Off to bed to be ready for another rail adventure tomorrow.