Park City Branch Facts
Park City Branch History
The Park City Branch was originally constructed by the Salt Lake & Eastern Railroad in 1888-1890 to connect the rich silver mines of Park City, UT?, with the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway at Sugar House?, just south of Salt Lake City?. Construction began in 1889 and rails reached Park City? in April 1890.
In 1890, shortly after completion, the Salt Lake & Eastern was consolidated the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas and Utah Western Railway to form the second Utah Central Railway. The UCR was then purchased by the Rio Grande Western Railway? in 1898, and continued to operate as a subsidiary under its own name until being rolled into the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad? in the 1908 consolidation.
The climb to Parley's Summit required a tortuous grade, up to 6.5% in places. In 1900, when the line was converted to standard gauge, nearly the entire route over the summit from Sugar House? to Gogorza? was realigned. The Altus Tunnel? was bored through the summit to facilitate the alignment change. Grades were eased from 4% on the western approach and 2.5% on the east.
Silver mining in Park City wound down down near the end of World War II. As a result, there was little remaining traffic that the Union Pacific Park City line couldn't handle. In 1946, the line was pulled from Park City? to a cement plant in Parley's Canyon. Ten years later, the branch was further removed back to Sugar House?.
The remaining 2.7 miles of line - the connector that the D&RG built from Roper Yard? to Sugar House? that eventually became known as the Sugarhouse Branch - was sold to the Utah Transit Authority? on 22 May 2002 for possible commuter use. The line has since been converted for UTA light rail, and will be placed in service in 2011.