The Uintah Railway
The Crookedest Railroad in the West

A Short History
A longer history
Uintah Railway Photos
Uintah Railway Paintings
Existing Rolling Stock
Restoration Program
Current Photos
Rio Grande Chapter
References and Links
Tour the Uintah
Interactive Map


                    Uintah Home Page

                                                                                                                                   Coker painting, courtesy Dick Ebright

The narrow gauge Uintah Railway was built in 1904 to haul Gilsonite (a coal like mineral) from the mines in Eastern Utah to Mack, Colorado where it was transferred to the standard gauge Rio Grande Western Railway.  It featured 65 degree curves (88' radius), a 7.5% grade, and traversed a 8,437 foot mountain divide. In comparison, the D&RGW & RGS sharpest curves were only 24 degrees (238' radius) and steepest grades were only 5%. The Uintah also had two locomotives with 42,000 pounds tractive effort, where in comparison, the largest D&RGW narrow gauge locomotives (the K-37s) were rated at 37,100 pounds.

The railroad was shut down in 1939 because it became much cheaper to transport the Gilsonite by truck, and because an expensive extension would be required for a continuing source of Gilsonite.  Some of the remaining rolling stock is now being restored by the Rio Grande Chapter of the NRHS at the Cross Orchards Living History Farm at Grand Junction CO.

Click on the menu items, at the left, to learn more about the railroad and the restoration program.

Our next Uintah field trip will be on the 11th of October 2008 and will be "open to the public". We plan to depart from the old Uintah Hotel in Mack at 8:30 and plan to go all the  way to Watson, UT which was the last terminus of the railway.. This trip will take most of the day so be sure to bring a lunch and plenty of drinking water.

Don't forget, an interactive Uintah map has been added it to this site. It uses the Microsoft Virtual Earth map system and has zooming and panning features that will enhance viewing the Uintah route. It also displays text when the mouse is held over the icon representing a location. Any comments on this new system would be greatly appreciated. 

 Have also added an interactive map of the Little Bookcliff Railroad. Although not part of the Uintah, the LBC was narrow gage and was in the same vicinity as the Uintah.

Have recently finished another minor update of the Self Guided Tour to incorporate a few observations made during our last field trip.

Still making good progress on the caboose #3. it is now mounded on trucks and is sitting on a short section of track, and we have just built a stairway and platform for visitor access. We have installed all seat cushions, two interior lamps,  the brake system gages and valves, and are installing the pot bellied stove. See the Restoration Program page. It is really starting to look like a caboose now


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Last updated 27-9-2008