Description : Pocatello was founded as a station on the narrow-gauge Utah and Northern Railway in 1878, and it has been a railroad town ever since. Passenger and freight trains arrived and departed in all four directions of the compass, 24 hours a day. The Union Pacific also built extensive shops at Pocatello, where railroad equipment was serviced, maintained, and repaired. In addition, refrigerator cars were iced from a large icehouse, and railroad ties were treated with preservative at a tie plant. The advent of the automobile, improved roads, new technologies, and the introduction of the diesel-electric locomotives all combined to change the railroad industry, affecting Pocatello in many ways. Passenger trains were discontinued, the steam-locomotive-servicing facilities were closed, and shop buildings were torn down. However, the railroad in Pocatello remains a vital part of the local scene today, with freight trains continuing to run through the city day and night.
Description : Paul T. Collins was a railroad man from the day he was born, the son of a man who spent his entire career working for the railroad. Paul worked fifty-one years as a railroader. He worked many years for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad as trains and the business evolved and changed. He evolved and changed too, living and working in more than forty places, marrying twice, going where the train bosses sent him, even if it caused a breakdown of his mind and body. Paul began his career with the railroad as a station attendant. His next job was telegraph operator, then on to dispatcher and chief dispatcher, to be followed by trainmaster before ending his career as rules examiner. He worked all over the Southwest as well as in Chicago and New York City, calling more than forty towns, cities, and small communities home. The railroad helped break up his first marriage. He married again to a woman who had a teaching career, a woman who seemed to better understand of the life of a boomer. That second marriage produced a daughter. Once Paul retired, he finished writing the story of his life in a book dedicated to that daughter. He had started the book right after World War II ended because he found writing relaxed him. I Never Worked In Pocatello —The Life and Times of Santa Fe Railroad’s Paul T. Collins is Paul’s memoir, a story of fifty-one years of railroading and a story of a life lived from before the Twentieth Century arrived to the time of the Vietnam War. The book has been edited and includes explanations of various railroad terms.
Description : Pocatello, named in honor of a Shoshoni tribal chief, began as a stage station between Salt Lake City and the gold mines in Montana. By 1878, tracks of the Utah & Northern Railway were laid through the valley, and a narrow strip of shops and living quarters built alongside them became known as Pocatello Junction. From its beginnings, Pocatello demonstrated its distinction as an economic hub after the Oregon Short Line Railroad moved its main operations there from Eagle Rock (now Idaho Falls). This further facilitated the growth of Pocatello, which incorporated as a city in 1893. The establishment of the Academy of Idaho (now Idaho State University) signaled the growing importance of Pocatello as a center of learning. The town's influence as a cultural headquarters is evidenced by the top-level talent that was attracted to local theaters. The continued growth of Pocatello, fueled by its significance as a rail junction, led to the city becoming the major metropolitan area in southeastern Idaho.