Saturday, April 7, 2012

Weekend Steam

Uploaded by on Jan 17, 2009
From July of 1971 until October 1990, the Wasatch Mountain Railway the Heber Creeper operated steam-powered excursion trains through the Utah countryside from Heber City to Bridal Veil Falls. Steam locomotive No. 618, a 1907 Baldwin 2-8-0, was put into service in 1971 after sitting on display at the Salt Lake City fairgrounds for eleven years. The railroad survived until 1990, when it closed down after nearly two decades of operation. This video is from the last year of Heber Creeper operation, August 1990. No. 618 would be condemned a month later, and the final runs were made that October using diesel power. This film shows the train at Heber City, with 618 backing down through the old Heber station grounds (a bank building stands there now), and past several of the display steam locomotives. Seen to the left is Pacific Lumber 2-8-2 No. 35, which ran at Heber from 1971-1977, and Rayonier 2-6-6-2T No. 110, which never ran there and is seen without its saddle tanks (it runs at the Black Hills Central today see my other videos). We then see No. 618 out along the line with a passenger train. From trackside, 618 runs tender-first across the US-189 overpass, and then is seen downgrade in Provo Canyon. At Vivian Park, it runs around its train of yellow coaches for the return trip to Heber City. When the railroad closed in 1990 most of the equipment was sold off, including all of the passenger cars. Only a diesel locomotive and one steam locomotive (No. 618) remained out of a fleet of eleven locomotives. The depot grounds were also sold. After a three-year effort, the tracks were reopened in 1993 from Heber to Vivian Park (except for the last half-mile into Heber City and the old railroad yard, which was torn up). Today, steam locomotive 618 and the trains are operated by the State of Utah as the Heber Valley Railroad. The engineer at the throttle of 618 in this video is Craig Lacey, who is now the executive director of the Heber Valley line.

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