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In 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was hard-pressed to find a suitable rail route from Grand Junction to Salt Lake City. With the coal deposits of eastern Utah luring them on, railroad officials chose a difficult route over Soldier Summit. The railroad established the town where "helper" engines were attached to the heavy trains, and Helper grew into a division point with branch operations that reached into the nearby canyons to serve the blossoming coal industry. Numerous smaller towns sprang up to service the railroad, and in 1912, the newly incorporated Utah Railway laid tracks to share the right-of-way with the Denver and Rio Grande.
The town of Helper is still a mecca for rail fans, and the story of its past lives on.