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Railroads: Cane Creek Branch

The Cane Creek Branch is a former route of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) in southeastern Utah. It runs from Brendel (a railroad site at Crescent Junction) to Potash, the location of a large potash mine. Potash is on the Colorado River, 16 miles downstream from Moab. The line was built around 1962 to serve the potash mine. The Union Pacific Railroad acquired the D&RGW and took over operation of the line.

Beginning in April 2009, the line has served an additional purpose: transporting radioactive uranium tailings from a former mill site near Moab to a permanent burial site at Crescent Junction. Those trains are casually called "dirt trains." Before the inauguration of “dirt train” service in 2009, the Potash Local ran every Friday. When the dirt trains began operating Monday through Friday, the potash service was moved to Sunday.

The Potash Local originates in Grand Junction, Colorado and runs west to Brendel, where it heads south on the Cane Creek Branch. It indirectly supports the dirt train operation by hauling dirt train locomotives from Brendel to Grand Junction for refueling. (Source: a Union Pacific brakeman.) A couple of pictures show a train with four locomotives: two are pulling Potash local and two are being ferried to Grand Junction for refueling. The Potash local had picked them up at Brendel on its way to Potash.

Seven Mile
:: Seven Mile ::
Bootlegger Canyon
:: Bootlegger Canyon ::
Train at Potash
:: Train at Potash ::
More Potash Stuff
:: More Potash Stuff ::
Other Cane Creek Branch
:: Other Cane Creek Branch ::