Riding the Rails in High Style

“Our mission is to preserve this experience for future generations.”

Right from the beginning in 1899, Heber Valley locals and many other train lovers have continuously donated, volunteered, written grants and fundraised to keep their train chugging along.

Passengers and freight, cattle, sheep, coal, oil, milk, hay and sugar beets made the roundtrip haul from Heber to Provo with stops in tiny settlements along the way. The train was called the “Heber Creeper” and its maximum speed was 20 mph as it meandered along the Provo River. The railroad handled much of the shipping up until the 50’s and 60’s when revenue diminished as trucking and other energy sources became available.

The community rallied each time economic downturns and government dictates closed the local railroad. Thanks to the perseverance of individuals and the state of Utah, passengers today are delighted by beautiful canyons, meadows and waterways of the Wasatch Mountains as they wind slowly 16 miles to Vivian Park in historic train cars gathered from all over the country.

The railroad yard sports a complete locomotive shop led by Chief Mechanical Officer Michael Manwiller, a fourth generation expert from trainyards in western Pennsylvania. Massive engines are restored and power conversions transition from coal to used motor oil.

Talented high school students in period costumes sing, dance and tell tales of the early days for today’s passengers. Specially themed train rides, afternoon excursions and events are featured. Concessions and gifts are sold onboard and in the old fashioned depot.

An Old West gunfight starts the Cowboy Train rolling. Rollicking Western music from live performers captivates onlookers and outlaws alike.

The Kids Train Days is fun for kids of all ages. Get your picture taken with the conductor in front of the steam locomotive and enjoy a scenic 40-minute round trip to Charleston while learning all about trains.

Luxury travel, including the Denver Rio Grande president’s parlor car, is a big draw for train aficionados. On his whistle-stop tour across the U.S. to garner votes in 1952, President Truman waved to crowds from the rear observation deck of this parlor car while a chef created masterful meals in the completely outfitted kitchen. An elegant dining room, master suite, bathrooms and porter accommodations complete the furnishings. This historic car is even available to rent for your next party.

There are many more exciting adventures to be had aboard the Heber Creeper. Executive Director Mark Nelson and staff hope you’ll take a seat in a plush passenger car for an entertaining and historic tour of the past.
hebervalleyrr.org 435 654 5601

By Ani Robertson