Most businesses who relocate to Port 15 Utah have the option of utilizing the Union Pacific rail line. This rail line is a 21-mile branch that is owned and operated by Union Pacific railroad. They have served and maintained this line since installing the first track to Cedar City in 1923.
Since the beginning, forward-thinking mayors have understood the importance of the railroad for Cedar City?s future. On February 1, 1923, Cedar City Corporation authorized $5,000 of the city’s budget to purchase right-of-way so that Union Pacific could run a branch from Lund, Utah to Cedar City proper. The last rail spike was set at 11:15 am on June 15, 1923 and Mayor Parley Dalley waved his hat in celebration as Steam Engine number 6062 (a work train) entered Cedar City. The early leaders of this community understood the importance of the commerce that would be created by that 21-mile branch. In 1940, the line was expanded to haul iron ore and turkeys from Cedar City to larger populations. The railroad was a key to Cedar City’s economy by bringing tourists to the area and shipping our products to the outside world.
In 1994, the track was bringing 3-4 cars once a week into Cedar City. The Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Office of Iron County got together and worked to recruit businesses that utilized the track so that Cedar City would not lose this valuable asset. Slowly use increased, but until today the importance of this rail branch has never been understood like it was in 1923. With the growth of this nation’s economy, there has been a surge in the transportation industry. Railroad-served communities are positioned to play a major role in the transportation of all goods. Currently, the train enters Cedar City on a daily basis and business is continuing to grow. The Railroad in Utah is a major economic asset that will be more important every year.
The Mayors of Cedar City, York, and Evelyn Jones added an interesting quote from the President of Union Pacific that was stated in 1923. “The resources of these people reflect a stable community, but more important than this, I find a people who are conquerors of their environment; a people who have risen above failure to success, who have learned to work together, and who have dreamed a dream and labored to see its fulfillment through their children.” This development is our city’s way of creating a future for their children.