The Union Pacific Railroad is Bankrupt

'Ogden from the U.C.R.R. bridge' - Utah Central Railroad bridge and engine
Utah Central Railroad engine on bridge over the Weber River, circa 1870. C. R. Savage, stereo view. From the collections of USU Special Collections & Archives, Merrill-Cazier Library, C. R. Savage Photograph Collection, P0038 1:090.

Once the transcontinental railroad was complete, the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) had to pay back its previous debts. Despite having received millions of dollars in government funding, shady bookkeeping bankrupted the UPRR and they needed to rebuild large sections of poorly built track. Moreover, they were unable to pay the employees who had built the railroad through Utah. For the Mormons whose farms had already struggled during the 1869 drought and who had spent their entire summer working for the railroad, this was a disaster. Instead of payment, UPRR Vice President Thomas Durant offered to give leftover construction materials to Brigham Young in order to fulfill his contract. Young accepted, and the materials were used to build the Utah Central Railroad less than a year later.