Ashton to Victor

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  • States: Idaho   
  • Railroads: OSL, UP   
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Note: Thanks to a correspondent on the East Coast for the pictures and information on this line.

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This bridge is found in the backcountry a few miles above Tetonia, just 13 miles southwest of the outer southwest corner of Yellowstone NP, and just 1 mile west of the outer boundary of Targhee National Forest; it spans Bitch Creek at a height of 134 feet above the water below, and is truly majestic.

Originally part of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, this line was a spur off of the UP at Ashton, ID, traveling southeast to Victor; there was a spur from Talbot Junction to Talbot. Today, the Eastern Idaho Railroad operates from Idaho Falls to Ashton, with part of the branch to Victor being used in and around Ashton.

From the person who explored this line:

I recently spent some time exploring an abandoned railroad bridge in eastern Idaho, not far from Jackson, WY, Yellowstone National Park and Targhee National Forest, listed on topogrpahical maps as the "Union Pacific Railroad". The abandoned Union Pacific line of which the bridge is a part runs pretty much north-south from below Victor, ID, up to above Tetonia, ID, where it starts to bend almost 90 degrees to the west-northwest. The line has been abandoned, and the abandoned properties, except for a few which reverted back to the original landowners via abandonment clauses, were brought by the state and the counties to convert to Rails to Trails. That has been completed in Victor and Driggs, and further south and east (i.e., toward Idaho Falls), but above Driggs, and particularly around Tetonia, the conversion project has not yet been completed. The rails and ties have been removed from the rail bed, and signage and fence barriers have been erected to keep vehicles off the bridge while allowing hiker/pedestrian traffic, but the trails conversion project has never been completed in this region because two or three abandoned railroad properties just north of Driggs reverted back to the original owners and the property owners are refusing to sell the property back to the state and county, thus causing an interruption in the continuity and contiguity of the trail.

Starting in Ashton, the line passed through Marysville, Grainville, Drummond, France, Lamont, and then south to Judkins, Fell, Tetonia, Talbot Junction, Driggs, Fox Creek and then ending at Victor.

Who is working on it, and how do I find them in order to continue working with the reluctant landowners. This could be an extraordinary trail, linking to the Yellowstone Branch Line Trail to West Yellowstone.

Bill C
Driggs, ID
1/31/2010

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A great deal of work took place over the last several years on converting the segment between Ashton and Tetonia to a rail trail, and references to establishing an Ashton to Tetonia Trail State Park can also be found all the way back to 2003. I suspect this trail may be nearing completion or may already be open to the public.

Kevin M. Smith
Cicero, NY
4/15/2010

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I now live in Salt Lake City. Durring WW 2 a relative ran the grain elevater at grainville and we would ride the passenger train from Idaho Falls to grainville to visit. There was a large bridge (probably the one in the picture) near grainville and we used to play in the creek below. I once rode the passenger train form VIctor to Idaho Falls. In 1953 I worked for the Union Pacific as a switchman at Idaho Falls and from 1955 on as a brakeman in the area. There wer no passenger trains to Victor then but we had a combination car for riders tacked on the rear of the freight local as far as Newdale and return. I don't remember a Fox between Drigs aand Victor. There was a Fox sideing around Tetonia where they mined lime stone for the Lincoln sugar factory.

Linus Bowman
Idaho Falls, ID
4/26/2011

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Found a cancel from Victor & Idaho Falls Railroad, Rail Post Office (R.P.O.) on Train #46, dated 13 JUN 1949.

Googled to here....

Tom M
Paola, KS
5/5/2013

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Wish the dogs had the camera so we could have seen if there were rails over the bridge.

steve race
laguna, ca, CA
7/31/2013

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It's pretty clear from that one shot of the dogs that there are no rails present.

Bill
Bakersfield, CA
8/1/2013

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There is some great information on this line here: http://wx4.org/to/foam/big_rr/up/victor/victor.html

Bob
Palm Harbor, FL
11/20/2013

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