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Nostalgia & History > Remembering Old Thistle


Date: 04/18/05 15:00
Remembering Old Thistle
Author: GrandeGold

The tiny D&RGW railroad town of Thistle, Utah has been gone for more than 20 years. A huge landslide closed off the flow of the Spanish Fork River west of the town, and the whole thing flooded. Several homes broke from their foundations and floated east towards Rio station. From time to time, telephone poles disloged from the ground and shot above the surface of short-lived Thistle Lake. Yup, April of 1983 was the end of the town of Thistle and the railroad line passing through it.

The D&RGW, with the help of contractor W. W. Clyde relocated it's double track mainline on the hillside north of town. The Billies Mountain tunnel opened for service on July 4, 1983 to much fanfare. At that point the Rio Grande was again in the business of hauling freight between Denver and Salt Lake City (on it's own track).

On February 20, 1983 I caught the Rio Grande Zephyr heading east through town. This vantage point is from the old US Highway #89 bridge (now gone). The track curving to the left is the now former 132 mile Marysvale Branch. It's all gone now...nothing in this photo (except the foothills) remains today. Even the river moved south to a new channel, once Thistle Lake was drained...




Date: 04/18/05 15:06
Thistle East of Town...
Author: GrandeGold

A second view provides a glimpse of the mainlines east of the town of Thistle. The Rio Grande Zephyr has just left the restrictive curves at Thistle yard and is picking up speed for the journey east towards Rio. The bridge in the background was the vantage point for the first photo. The railroad grade remains accessible at this point and provides a route for farmers and fishermen to the old U-Pace-O Ranch.

James




Date: 04/18/05 16:21
Re: Thistle East of Town...
Author: up833

Thanks for posting the photos. Any pix of the area as it was flooding or while it was a lake...or of the tunnel building?
Roger B



Date: 04/18/05 16:33
Re: Thistle East of Town...
Author: dsktc

Splendid photos, James.

Dave



Date: 04/18/05 21:32
Re: Thistle East of Town...
Author: Thomas

up833 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for posting the photos. Any pix of the
> area as it was flooding or while it was a
> lake...or of the tunnel building?
> Roger B


Try doing a Google search for "Thistle, Utah". I found 4 interesting hits showing some pics and history.

Thomas



Date: 04/18/05 23:24
Re: Thistle East of Town...
Author: the_expediter

Nice shots, James! Here's mine riding #18 around the curve at Thistle in April, 1983...




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