Like so many other interurbans, this line began as a steam railroad in 1891 to connect Salt Lake City and Ogden. It wasn't until 1908 that Ogden was reached. In 1910 the Salt Lake and Ogden Railroad electrified its line between those two cities. The railroad was built by Simon Bamberger and had been completed to Ogden in 1905. In 1917 the company became the Bamberger Electric Railroad.
Simon Bamberger was elected governor in 1917, as the Progressive candidate. Ironically it was the improved road and highway system that he promoted while he was in office which led to the eventual demise of the interurban railroad system in Utah. As people were better able to get around in their own cars, they were less inclined to take the electric-powered trains into and between Utah's major cities.
The improved road system also allowed trucking companies to become more competitive, and they gradually took the lucrative package express business away from the interurban lines. The interurban railroad companies were able to gain back some of the lost traffic by offering their own trucking services between the cities that they also served with electrified railroad service.
The station in Salt Lake City on Temple Square was built in 1923. Passenger service was hourly until the 1950s. Lightweights were added in 1939. But in 1952 the shops burned. Service was cut back, and abandonment came on September 6, 1952.
Freight service was always important, and the business continued to grow. During the war, diesels were acquired to supplement the electrics, but after passenger service ended, only diesels were operated.
In 1956, the road was sold to the Murchisons from Texas, and in 1959 it was abandoned. The terminal in Salt Lake City was purchased by the Rio Grande, and the north end of the line was purchased by the Union Pacific, who also acquired the locomotives.
Last Update 01/29/01
This page and its underlying code, © 2000-2002, Utah Rails. All rights reserved.