In the Desert
What to look for
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Lund, Cedar City, Utah
First let's look at the past and see how all these rail lines came about in the desert. What's left of the old rail stops? Later we'll look at what kind of trips are available today on a railroad passenger train. First some history and then a look at some old Utah lines, then we'll look at some in Arizona and California.
Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862, creating the Union Pacific and authorizing the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific started building to the west in Omaha, Neb. where the railroad's headquarters remain today. The idea was to run a rail line from Omaha to Sacramento, Ca. across 2/3 rd's of this continent. through deserts and across mountains in some of the most inhospitable places in this country. Remember there were no settlements in that whole 1,700 mile space except Salt Lake City. Back then this idea was thought of as joining two different countries, the east coast and west coast. Without towns and settlements along the way the workers had no place to stay or stockpile food, water, rails, ties, and tools. There were no bulldozers or big Euclid trucks, everything was done by hand. Many workers brought their families along. And out of this a lot of small towns sprung up all along this rail line and many more of the side spurs that came later. Most did not last too long.
The 3 rail stop locations shown in red above are all now for the most part nonexistent. Lund and Beryl are the only stops that have buildings left standing, Zane is gone. Lund is the only location that still has a couple of residents (right in the town). See the plaque below. The post office in Lund closed in 1966 and it's amazing that it stayed open that long. The Iron Ore Mine has started up again and the trains are beginning to run to it, and Cedar City still receives deliveries by rail. No passenger trains though.
Beryl, Iron Ore Mines, Utah
Page 2 - Arizona, Ca.
Page 3 - Train Trips
The 3 photos here are all of Lund, Utah. The top one here being the old General Store and Post Office. The roof in the back of this building is almost completely collapsed. Directly behind the old store lives one of the 2 local residents. This could change at any time. Remember, years ago this was one of the best ways to get to Zion and Bryce and Lund was the jumping off spot.
We're not sure what the towers were for, but it may have been for water delivery to the boiler on the train's engine. This old building is still standing right next to the tracks in Lund. Even though this small train stop is out in the middle of the Escalante Valley (used to be the Escalante Desert) it was badly flooded years ago. This part of the Great Basin.
There are several old houses in Lund that are still in fair shape, which is pretty amazing. There is only a 50 ft. wide road that separates them from the train tracks. I guess you got used to the train rumbling by at night.
Beryl is interesting if you like old buildings like this one. The old store that serviced the rail line for years and is now abandoned. The next two photos were taken in Beryl, Utah.
Another tower expertly built over an old building, purpose unknown. The other small building had a ticket window, for the train. For a more detailed view click on the little magnifying glass.
Talk about using what is available. This whole shed building is made out of rail road ties. Nicely fitted together and a very tight structure too. You can see more detail by clicking on the magnifying glass.
The rail line near the recently re-opened Iron Ore Mine, near Iron Town, Utah, just a few miles west of Cedar City, Utah. In this photo you're looking back toward the east and in the left side of the photo you can see the huge tailing piles from the eastern portion of the old Iron Ore Mine. The main mine section is behind where the photographer took this photo. A bigger view is available here also.
What about other parts of the Southwest. Photos of trains, and trips you can still take today on sightseeing trips by rail.
Escalante Valley "Desert"