Tooele Valley Railroad (Images of Rail)

October 31, 2020
Tooele Valley Railroad (Images of Rail)

Shortly after the International Smelter offered economicsalvation to Tooele's struggling desert community, the TooeleValley Railroad became the town artery. Though originally built in1908 to connect the smelter to the Union Pacific and WesternPacific lines west of town, the railroad became central to dailylife. Hundreds of local workers rode it to and from work each day.As technology continued to change Tooele, the Tooele ValleyRailroad shared Vine Street with the first automobiles—safetyprecautions required that the caboose, with a horn mounted to warnmotorists, lead the oncoming train. However, the smelter's decadesof prosperity proved short-lived, and by the 1930s, the town hadfallen on difficult times once again. The railroad outlived thesmelter, but operations ceased in the early 1980s, and the city hadthe abandoned tracks removed.Emma Louise Penrod, an award-winning contributor to the TooeleTranscript-Bulletin, curates photographs from the railroad's past.Together, the narrative and photographs harken back to a time ofgrowth, hope, change, and turmoil, illustrating the contributionsof an industry that would change the town forever.