Pleasant Valley Branch Facts
Pleasant Valley Branch History
The original line to the coal mines near Scofield was constructed as Utah & Pleasant Valley in 1878 and 1879. The lightly-built narrow gauge started from Springville (near Provo) and worked southward along the Spanish Fork River, eventually reaching the mines near Scofield. The U&PV was completed and opened for business in November of 1879.
The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway purchased the U&PV in 1882, in order to secure the Springdale-Tucker (Tucker was then called, confusingly, Clear Creek) segment as part of their new narrow gauge mainline to link Salt Lake and the Colorado portion of the system at Grand Junction. The D&RGW Rwy quickly found the U&PV's choice of switchbacks south of Tucker to be unsuitable. Thus, a new line was pushed south and east of Tucker - a line that would become today's Soldier Summit main. In order to eliminate the switchbacks completely, a new connection was built from the east side of Soldier Summit in late 1882. The new Pleasant Valley Branch broke away from the mainline at Pleasant Valley Junction (today's Colton), and followed the upper Price River down to the old line just north of Scofield. The old route was immediately abandoned and removed.
Two major changes to the branch occurred over the years. Along with the route over Soldier Summit, the Pleasant Valley Branch was converted to standard gauge in 1890. 1925 brought about the construction of the Scofield Reservoir. Since this would drown part of the branch, a six mile diversion was built around the new high water line between Hale and near Scofield.
In 1899, the Carbon County Railway - the same one that constructed the Sunnyside Branch - built an additional 6 miles of track southward from the end of the Pleasant Valley Branch at Scofield. This six mile spur reached both the Utah Mine, 2.6 miles south of Scofield, and the Clear Creek Mine, at 5.9 miles out. The original Carbon County Railway became a fully-owned subsidiary of the Rio Grande Western in 1900, and was officially consolidated into the parent company as part of the 1908 creation of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad?. Thus, eventually the line was just considered part of the Pleasant Valley Branch.
Note: This Carbon County Railway should not be confused with the later Carbon County Railway, which was organized in 1922 by Utah Coal & Coke / Columbia Steel and ran south from East Carbon towards the Columbia and Geneva Mines.
The branch had two significant mine spurs. The first was a two mile standard gauge branch was added between Scofield and Winter Quarters to serve a new mine in 1891. The second spur was built in 1901 - a 1 mile spur from Scofield to the Union Pacific Mine, just to the northwest of town. Both mines ceased significant production in the late 1920s, and both branches were removed in 1933.
The line continues today as Union Pacific's Pleasant Valley Subdivision.
Pleasant Valley Branch Timetable