Kenilworth & Helper Railroad History

Kenilworth & Helper Railroad Facts
From: Independent Jct, UT
To: Kenilworth, UT
Miles: 6.39
Built: 1906-1907 (SG)
Abdnd: 1926

The Kenilworth & Helper Railroad was built by the Independent Coal & Coke Company in 1906-1907 from the Rio Grande Western (soon to be D&RG) connection at Independent Junction (aka Kenilworth Junction, which became modern-day Spring Glen, UT) up northwest to their coal tipple at Kenilworth, UT.

The branch consisted of 2.9 miles of yard and 3.5 miles of steep mainline, with grades up to 6.1%. In order to operate the line, geared locomotives would be needed. The first 70-ton geared Shay-type locomotive was received from Lima during September of 1907, with a second 70-ton received two years later, followed by two 90-ton units in 1911 and 1913. The two 70-ton units (#100 and #101) were kept by IC&C after the Grande leased the line, but the two 90-ton units (#150 and #151) later became part of the Rio Grande roster.

Up until 1911, the line was operated as a company railroad for IC&C Co, but on 15-Jul-1911, it was spun off as the Kenilworth & Helper Railroad. The line had trouble making it on its own, and the route was leased to the D&RG for operations starting on 15-Jan-1915.

By 1926, the D&RGW determined that the line's steep grade and slow Shays were expensive and inefficient to operate. Consequently, they replaced the line that year with the Kenilworth Branch, which ran out of Helper and followed a much more reasonable grade to the loadout point.

On an interesting note, the Independent Coal & Coke Company's #2 mine portal (the Bull Hollow access) was actually about three steep miles up beyond Kenilworth. In 1915, they constructed a 42", 1.4 mile long narrow gauge line, powered by two 30-ton Shays and called the Bull Hollow Tram, to bring coal from the mines to the tipple in town.

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  Last modified on March 19, 2006, at 03:59 PM
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