Growth and Reincorporation - The Establishment of The Utah-Idaho Central Railroad (U.I.C.) in 1918

A panorama of downtown Logan and Main Street in 1920. A U.I.C. train can be seen entering Main Street at the center. At far left is the Logan Station.
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, A-Board Historical Photograph Collection photo no. A0406a-b)
The Articles and Certificate of Incorporation for the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad

Following the establishment of the O.L.I., and only three years since the inauguration of its service in 1915, the railway expanded once more. As 1918 came to an end, the O.L.I. and the Cache Valley Railroad Company were officially merged and reincorporated as the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad Company, or U.I.C., with Marriner Browning (the son of David Eccles’s business partner M. S. Browning) as president and three of Eccles’s sons among the committee members.[1] This name change not only ended confusion by companies working with both the Ogden, Logan and Idaho Railway (O.L.I.) and the Oregon Short Line (O.S.L.), but it also “gave the line added prestige and lent credence to the report that the company planned to extend the rails further into the Gem State.”[2] The acquisition of the Cache Valley Railroad Company contributed small rail lines to the new U.I.C. connecting Lewiston’s sugar company with three sugar beet dump areas near the towns of Kent, Quinney, and Thaine.[3] These new lines combined with the streetcar routes in Logan, Ogden, and Brigham City and the main rail line from Preston to Ogden comprised the entirety of the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad.[4]

The “Articles and Certificate of Incorporation and Agreement of Consolidation of Utah Idaho Central Railroad Company”
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(HathiTrust Digital Library, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101078166988&view=1up&seq=1)
A 1918 timetable listing the schedule of the U.I.C. The timetable also advertises the comforts of traveling with an electric railroad: “No Smoke-No Dust-No Cinders”
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(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, Utah-Idaho Central Railroad Company, Mendon Station Papers, 1916–1936 MSS 60, Box 22, Item 1)
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Shortly into 1919, the newly established Utah-Idaho Central Railroad Company had a large revenue deficit from operating costs and taxes. This April 29, 1919, article reports on the deficit and its causes while also commenting on the economic state of the company, its assets, and contributions to the areas it served.
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(University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Utah Digital Newspapers, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6t162jk/4841047)

The U.I.C. initially met with success, but success was very brief. The production needs of World War I, and its aftermath, contributed significantly to the revenue of the company and promoted growth and expansion. In “The Rise and Fall of the Galloping Goose,” Shaw writes that “during World War I . . . business was brisk as the line hauled agricultural products to Ogden’s train terminals and brought machinery back. The export market for agricultural products in war-torn Europe was especially strong at this time.”[5] Sorensen writes that “in terms of total revenue, 1919 was the best year the company ever had—over a million dollars—but profits at the end of the year were only $11,622.00, about 1 percent of gross revenue.”[6] Freight and passenger services were both provided by the company, but Carr notes in Utah Ghost Rails that a unique problem faced the U.I.C. It was very rare for passengers to travel the entirety of the route from Ogden to Preston. Most rode to the next major city or traveled a few stops to their home communities.[7] Not only did these short-distance riders minimize the revenue gains of the railroad, but the situation also created a problem for business when automobiles and buses were improved and implemented as more efficient forms of transportation. With the coming of a new decade, the directors of the U.I.C. recognized the need for change to improve the company, its revenue, and services.

Additional Views of the U.I.C., Tracks, and Bridges

[1] Utah-Idaho Central Railroad, “Articles and Certificate of Incorporation and Agreement of Consolidation of Utah Idaho Central Railroad Company,” 1919, 1, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101078166988&view=1up&seq=1.
[2] Sorensen, “The Utah Idaho Central Railroad,” 149.
[3] Shaw, 2.
[4] Carr, 27.
[5] Shaw, 3.
[6] Sorensen, 149.
[7] Carr, 27.