The St. John & Ophir Railroad

The St. John & Ophir Railroad connected with the Oregon Short Line Railroad, later part of the Union Pacific Railroad at St. John, UT with the Silver mines at Ophir, UT, located about 9 miles to the east. (Right of way)

St. John & Ophir Railroad No. 1 in Ophir, Utah. July 5, 1912. George Pitchard--Donor.

Attempts at building a railway to tap into the mines and claims around the Ophir area had been proposed since as early as the 1870's, but it wouldn't be until much later that any actual construction would take place.

The line was built in 1912 to great fanfare, but would be abandoned fairly quickly after ores began depleting during the 1920's. It ceased operation in 1926, and was fully abandoned two years later.

St. John & Ophir #1 at St. John Station on the Oregon Short Line, c. 1922. George Pitchard--donor. (University of Utah)

Despite the length of time this line has been abandoned, the western end is quite easy to spot in the arid desert terrain of central Utah. The eastern right-of-way is today Ophir Canyon Rd, and Ophir exists today mostly as a living history museum of the mining activity that occurred there at the beginning of the 20th century.

Thanks as always for reading!


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