home > stories > Coast to Coast - part 7: Salt Lake City to Ogden

Coast to Coast - part 7

Salt Lake City to Ogden

 

PREVIOUS STORY:
Rode from Pueblo, Colorado to Salt Lake City on Denver and Rio Grande Western. Most of the time was on an empty auto rack, but a brief portion was spent in a boxcar with only one open door. Got snowed on near Tennessee Pass in Colorado. Dismounted the train in the D&RGW yard in Salt Lake City. Time of arrival in Salt Lake City: 2300 on Wednesday, June 23.


Thursday, June 24:
From Salt Lake City I wanted to ride due west on the Western Pacific. After three hours of trying to find out if a WP train would ever leave the yard, I gave up. To this day I don't know why I was so unlucky; I guess some things are just not meant to be. In a reversal of my Chicago-to-Kansas-City experience I concluded that any motion was better than no motion and decided to go north to Ogden, then head west to California.

Familiarity was on my side now, as I had gone that way on a cross-country trip in 1970. Switchmen helped me find an Ogden train. An inspection yielded only one ridable car: an empty boxcar that had only one open door (the left one). This D&RGW train left about 0400. I went to sleep, siting in a forward corner of the car, only to wake up a bit later while the train was sitting still.

Not being in my sleeping bag, I was one cold dude. I stood up to see what was going on, hoping that moving around would make me warm. All was quiet except for some switching of freight cars by a big warehouse off to the left, behind a fence. It looked like the same industrial park I saw during my 1970 trip, and the switching activity seemed familiar. [I would learn years later that this was the huge warehouse complex in Clearfield, probably a former defense facility.] After about an hour doing God-only-knows-what, the engineer hooked up to my cut again and resumed travel to Ogden. The sun came up, providing some welcome warmth.

Not long after that, the train reached Ogden and halted under a freeway overpass that I remembered from 1970. I hopped to the ground and followed the D&RGW tracks toward the SP yard. Along the way I crossed two streams [Hooper Canal and the Weber River] and passed an intermediate yard [in 2004 this was called Transfer Yard].

In short order the SP yard workers near the tower told me that the next westbound train would be stopping in the intermediate yard I had just come through, by-passing the SP yard. It was a hot train, hence the stop in the other yard. There was no time pressure, so I took this opportunity to refill my water bag. Then I returned to the closer of the two stream bridges to wait for the hotshot to pull in.

Part 8