As western settlement increased, the need for an overland railroad was voiced by various groups, including Utah pioneers who petitioned Congress, March 1852. The Enabling Act of 1862 authorized construction. First rails were laid by Central Pacific in Sacramento, California October 26, 1863; by Union Pacific near Omaha, Nebraska July 10, 1865. Strong and determined men hewed the iron road to complete a gigantic task that ended with driving of the Golden Spike at Promotory, Utah May 10, 1869. In lieu of cash settlement on his contract, Brigham Young accepted as partial payment from Union Pacific $600,000 in iron and rolling stock, with which Utah Central Railroad was built, Ogden to Salt Lake City, and dedicated Jan. 10, 1870.
While this station did not appear on the scene until 1909, the southern terminus of the line branching down from Ogden was in this immediate vicinity.
Union Station in Salt Lake City served as the terminus for several local railroads. These enterprises were eventually gobbled up by the Union Pacific Railroad.
The location of Union Station was dictated by several factors. The branch line coming from Ogden had to thread its way between the Wasatch Mountains on the east and the Great Salt Lake to the west. Moreover, the railroad had to be near its customers. For passengers, this meant as close to downtown as possible without ruffling any feathers. And the closer the railroad located to its industrial/commercial users, the less track they would have to lay in sidings, etc.
While trains still travel to and from Salt Lake City, this station no longer services the railroad passengers. The Depot is now the anchor for The Gateway shopping mall and attracts hundreds of people through its doors every day.
Out front you can see the Transcontinental Railroad Historic Marker.