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Ogden


 

 

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ogden town view wasatch pc.jpg (81446 bytes)
Town View c1900

 

ogden 25th street union depot pc.jpg (85184 bytes)
25th Street View
to Union Depot c1900

 

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Ogden, UT
Elevation  4,293 feet.
Denver 782 miles.

At the northern end of the Wasatch Front urban corridor, Ogden is the last big city on the the old trails going west, north and east. Because of this, Ogden has been known for years as the "crossroads of the west". As a major hub in the transportation system, Ogden plays a large role in the travel of goods across our nation. 

Railroad tracks entered town in 1869 as part of the first Union Pacific (UP) and Central Pacific (CP) railroad's transcontinental route. Driving of the famous "Golden Spike" which joined the first continuous band of steel rails across the continent took place nearby. Traveling northeast of Ogden and into Wyoming is the easiest eastern corridor across the Rocky Mountains, and therefore the UP chose this route for its tracks. 

Ogden has risen and fallen along with the railroad ever since the trains came to town. For much of its history, most everyone in town worked for the railroad, or knew someone that did.

The Union and Central Pacific pretty much ran things at Ogden since they were there first. They shared the first large rail yard and constructed an impressive Union Depot. 

The Denver and Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) railroad had plans to build into Ogden as part of General Palmer's drive for another transcontinental route that would compete with the UP. Therefore, as far as the UP was concerned, the D&RGW should stay out of town, and they did everything they could to keep it that way.

After the D&RGW built to the edge of town in 1882, they gained access to Ogden's Union Depot by building a third, narrow gauge rail, on the Central Pacific's standard gauge track and right-of-way. 

For the next 10 years the Rio Grande lived with an on again, off again, relationship with the CP. When the CP was mad at the UP they would be nice to the Rio Grande. When the CP and UP were getting along, the Rio Grande was given the cold shoulder by the CP. Finally, in 1892, the UP decided that, because the Rio Grande had already been there for 10 years, keeping the RGW out of Ogden was a lost cause and the UP finally gave them permission to use all Union Depot facilities in Ogden.

Then, in 1900, the Central Pacific went up for sale. E. H. Harrington, the owner of the Union Pacific, bought the Central Pacific, and along with that sale went control of the Southern Pacific. The UP now had a monopoly on the tracks to the west coast from Ogden. Of course the first thing Harrington did was shut out the RGW in Ogden and on to the west.

For the next 70 years the "Ogden Gateway" would be disputed in a number of court cases dealing with how the UP and SP shipped goods west and dealt with the Rio Grande. During this time Gould would gain control of the D&RGW and use its resources to build the Western Pacific in order to break the UP monopoly and give his Missouri Pacific a route to the west coast.

The D&RGW's ability to move goods through Ogden continued to go up and down. However they always maintained operations from Salt Lake and upgraded their facilities in Ogden several times.

 

THE RAIL YARD

Ogden was a small terminal for the Rio Grande railroad. They ran a single daily train to Salt Lake City. In 1882 roundhouse stalls were shared with the CP until the D&RGW made their own two stall engine house. In 1885 the D&RGW engine house was replaced with a four stall brick roundhouse with an 80 feet turntable. The roundhouse was removed in 1955.

 

 

UNION DEPOT

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Union Depot c1900

 

 

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