INTERMOUNTAIN RAILROADS by Merrill P. Beal

INTERMOUNTAIN RAILROADS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The title of this compact and readable volume is somewhat misleading. There were at one time many ""Intermountain railroads"" throughout the West, but this study, written by a history professor at idaho State College, deals only with lines in Utah Montana and Idaho, and in particular with the building, in the 1870's, of the Utah & Northern, and with the later appearance of the Oregon Short Line. When in 1869 the Union Pacific bypassed Salt Lake City, the annoyed Mormons decided to build their own railroad to their capital. This line was later expanded into several others, the most important of them being the narrow-gauge Utah and Northern, which in the 1880's was extended into Montana and Idaho, to the rejoicing of all concerned. The wide-rauge Oregon Short Line arrived in these regions a few years later, linked with the Utah & Northern; both lines were later absorbed by the Union Pacific. The book tells also of the rivalries between the larger Western railroads: Union Pacific, Northern Pacific, and Great Northern. This last line was the favorite child of the famous J. J. Hill, ""sometimes called the Commodore Vanderbilt of the West, but most frequently called the Empire Builder. He was also referred to as the barbed-wire, headed, one-eyed old so-and-so"". Far from being a solemn study of a potentially dull subject, this book is filled with fascinating details of rail rond building in the early days of the West, and with pungent accounts of personalities and places. Too specilized for general readers, it will appeal to railroad buffs and to Western interested in their not to distant historical past. Research students will find it a gold mine.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1962
Publisher: Caxton Printers