Helper to Grand Junction

At the division point of Helper, at the foot of the westbound climb to Soldier Summit (around 7,500 ft. elevation), are Helper Yard, on the east side of the line, and the passenger station at Helper (MP 626.4), with its depot on the west side of the line. The Two Main Tracks, CTC, line heads south, on an embankment with speed limit 30 mph, past South Main Street alongside to the west, crossovers at East Helper X-Over (MP 625.6), Spring Glen (MP 625.3), where the 2MT reduce to single-track, CTC, and another line to the Kenilworth Mine once headed away east, a bridge over a road, a road still alongside to the west, a detector at MP 624.3, where the speed limit has risen to 60-50, a bridge over a road below, and Intermediate Signals, and the line turns southwest and then south-southeast, still following the east side of the Price River, past a road alongside to the west, the 6,350 ft. siding on the west side, with extra track on the west side, at Maxwell (MP 622.8-621.4), where the speed limit is 70-60, a grade crossing, an industry on the west side beyond the extra track, a grade crossing, a bridge over a road, a road bridge overhead, two grade crossings, extra track on the west side, the 10,790 ft. siding on the west side, with a grade crossing in the siding, extra track on the west side, and another grade crossing in the siding, at Price (MP 619.6, where the speed limit is 40 mph, to MP 617.5, where it is again 70-60), whence a branch to the coal mines on the Utah Railway once left to the southwest and the main line turns southeast.

There is a bridge over a dirt road, a grade crossing, a road bridge overhead, a dirt road grade crossing, a grade crossing, a spur to the Acco Mine leaving south-southwest at the wye at Castle Valley ("CP Spur", MP 615.8), where the speed limit is 79-60, a grade crossing, a road alongside to the south, a grade crossing, the 6,180 ft. siding on the south side at Wellington (MP 613.7-612.4), where the speed limit returns to 70-60, a bridge over a stream, the 11,240 ft. siding at Wash (MP 612.3-610.1), with a road bridge overhead within the siding, the Wellington Mine on its southwest side, and four extra tracks for coal hoppers on the south side, a bridge over a stream, Intermediate Signals, Farnham, a dirt road grade crossing, and a turn to the south and then southeast again past four bridges over washes, a detector at MP 606.1, where the speed limit is 50-40, Intermediate Signals, and a dirt road grade crossing. There are new signals turned sideways between Helper and Green River, and beyond at least to MP 507.3, in June, 2012.

With the line now running through the Utah desert, a branch north and then east to Sunnyside (used mainly by garbage trains, these days) leaves on the north side at the 8,930 ft. north side siding at Mounds (MP 603.9-602.0), where the line turns east and then southeast past Intermediate Signals, a bridge over a dirt road, a bridge over a stream, Intermediate Signals, Verde (MP 599.3), where the speed limit is 70-60, where the original narrow gauge Rio Grande Western line turned south to take up a different alignment from the present standard gauge line, the 5,940 ft. north side siding at Cedar (MP 593.7-582.5), where the speed limit is 40-35 as the line starts to curve back and forth, and a detector at MP 592.2, and the line turns south past four bridges over washes, the Booklet Mountains to the east, the 6,210 ft. south side siding at Grassy (MP 587.3-585.9), where the speed limit is 70-50, and Intermediate Signals.

The original alignment  returns from the northwest at the 6,310 ft. siding on the east side at Woodside (MP 582.4, where the speed limit is 50 mph, to MP 581.0, where it is 70-50), the line bridges over the Price River, heading briefly southeast as it does so, and continues south, past Intermediate Signals, a detector at MP 578.9, a bridge over a wash, a bridge over a dirt road, the 6,050 ft. siding on the west side, with extra track on the west side at the north end, at Vista (MP 575.0-573.7), where the speed limit is 75-60, Intermediate Signals, a detector at MP 568.6, the 6,020 ft. east side siding (new signals turned sideways in April, 2012) at Desert (MP 568.2-566.9), where the speed limit is 79-60, US 6 alongside to the west, and a detector at MP 563.1, where the speed limit is 75-60, before finally turning southeast through the 6,090 ft. siding on the southwest side at Sphinx (MP 562.1-560.9), and then east past facilities on the south side, Intermediate Signals at Atlas (MP 559.0), a bridge over a wash, a detector at MP 557.2, where the speed limit rises to 79-60, a bridge over a road and a bridge over a wash, with I-70 now close by on the south side,  to the 7,060 ft. siding (new signals turned sideways in April, 2012) on the north side at Green River (MP 555.8-554.5, elevation ~4,000 ft.), where there is a passenger station (depot on the north side), with a grade crossing east of the station and the speed limit falls to 70-60. 

At Green River, the line descends (although not very much, in the immediate vicinity) to the eponymous river, turning southeast to cross it on a through truss bridge, and then climbs out again (also, not very much, in the immediate vicinity) on the far side, turning northeast at a detector at MP 552.3, past a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals, Daly, a dirt rod grade crossing, and a detector at MP 551.0, southeast past a detector at MP 549.0, where the speed limit is 79-60, east and east-southeast past the 7,810 ft. siding on the south side, with extra track on the south side near the west end, at Solitude (MP 547.8-546.2), where the speed limit is 70-60, east past a bridge over a dirt track, and a detector at MP 544.9, southeast past a bridge over a wash and a bridge over a road  to the 5,890 ft. siding on the south side at Floy (MP 540.9-5439.7), where the line turns just north of east and the speed limit rises to 79-60, past Intermediate Signals, a bridge over a wash, a dirt road grade crossing, a line trailing in, coming north from Potash, on the Colorado River, at the west end of  the 5,100 ft. siding on the north side at Brendel (MP 534.3, where there is a west-facing spur on the north side, the speed limit is 55 mph, to MP 533.3, where it is 79-60), and a detector at MP 530.1, where the speed limit is 70-60.

There is a single building comprising an erstwhile Amtrak flag stop (and other non-rail buildings) on the south side of the line at the 7,210 ft. north side siding at Thompson (MP 528.6-527.3), with three extra tracks on the north side, where the speed limit is 50 mph at the east end, where a branch once headed north to Sego, before resuming 70-60. The line turns south, east and north-northeast, past a detector at MP 525.0, sections of track that are variously jointed rail and welded rail, then jointed rail again, and Vista, then southeast, east-northeast, southeast and east past the 7,760 ft. siding on the north side at Sagers (MP 521.4-519.9), with extra track to the north, a detector at MP 519.0, Intermediate Signals, the 5,490 ft. siding on the north side at Elba (MP 516.2-515.1), with a west-facing extra track on the north side, Intermediate Signals, and the 6,140 ft. siding on the south side, with extra track on the south side near the east end, at Whitehouse (MP 511.1-509.8), where the speed limit is 55 mph and the heading is, briefly, northeast. The Rio Grande Western once again ran on a different alignment, further north than the present line, between Whitehouse and Mack (in Colorado).

Today's standard gauge main line turns east, past dual road bridges overhead (I-70?), and a detector at MP 508.3, and turns north-northeast to begin its descent from the Utah desert to the banks of the Colorado River, past Intermediate Signals at MP 507.3, turning northeast past a through girder bridge over a gulley just west of the 6,880 ft. north side siding at Cisco (MP 505.2-503.7), and a grade crossing just east of the east end, east past Intermediate Signals at MP 502.1, and a slide fence on the north side,  and then north-northeast, past Intermediate Signals at MP 500.4, northeast past the 7,510 ft. siding on the north side at Agate (MP 499.1-497.6), north-northeast on welded rail (in November, 2006) past a detector at MP 495.3, Intermediate Signals at MP 495.x, jointed rail (in November, 2006), Intermediate Signals at MP 493.x, and Cottonwood, east-southeast on the final descent past a dirt track alongside to the south, a detector at MP 490.0, and east-northeast to the turn northeast alongside the Colorado River at the 9,890 ft. siding on the south side, with extra track on the south side near the west end, at Westwater (MP 488.9-486.9), where there is a slide fence on the north side, the speed limit falls to 50 mph and the jointed rail line runs on a narrow shelf between the Book Cliffs and the Colorado River, which it follows for the next 238 miles, past another slide fence on the north side and Intermediate Signals at MP 485.3.

The line turns east past the 6,070 ft. siding on the north side at Utahline (MP 483.8-482.5), where the speed limit is 79-60, and there is a slide fence on the north side entering Colorado and Ruby Canyon (where tehre is a promintent horizontal fracture line in the rock at train height on the north side of the line), and turns north-northeast before the east end of the siding, east on jointed rail, past Intermediate Signals at MP 480.5, with a slide fence on the north side, north-northeast, and then east following the north side of the river, past a detector at MP 479.0, where the speed limit has fallen to 55-50, and the 4,540 ft. siding on the north side, with a slide fence and extra track on the north side near the east end, at Shale (MP 478.5-477.5), where it falls to 50 mph, and desert bighorn sheep can often be seen in the canyon. The line then turns north, on jointed track, with a slide fence on the north/west side, east, north, with a slide fence to the east, and then northeast at the 7,570 ft. siding on the north side, with extra track on the south side near the east end and a slide fence on the north side, at Ruby (MP 473.9-472.3), where it temporarily leaves the banks of the river at the east end of Ruby Canyon, still on jointed track, with a speed limit of 50-40 through the 493 ft. Ruby Tunnel (MP 471.9), rising to 70-60 past a detector at MP 476.1, and dual I-70 road bridges overhead, to the 7,700 ft. siding on the north side at Mack (MP 469.9-468.3), where the line turns southeast as the original narrow gauge alignment trails in from the northwest, and crosses over to run on the south side of today's line, and there is a grade crossing and a dirt road grade crossing just before the east end of the siding.

 As the line runs southeast across the Grand Valley, the Colorado National Monument (a giant mesa) is off to the right, across the Colorado River. The line passes a dirt road grade crossing, a detector at MP 467.6, Loma (MP 465.2), where the speed limit rises to 79-60, a road alongside to the north, two grade crossings, a dirt road grade crossing, a yard on the southwest side of the line, with a rail-served facility on that side, at Gary (MP 463.8), a grade crossing, a spur to the south at Pabco (MP 462.5), the other end of the yard, a grade crossing, Fruita, where there is a 6,730 ft. "west" siding (on the south side) starting at MP 461.4, a bridge over a stream, a road bridge overhead, I-70 alongside to the south, crossovers between one siding and the next, and the main line, at MP 460.0, for which the speed limit is 70-60, a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing, a road alongside to the south, and a 6,630 ft. "east" siding (on the north side, with extra track to the north of it) ending at MP 458.7, where the speed limit is back to 79-60. East of where the new signals have already been constructed, there are copious signs of new construction underway, and then new signals turned sideways again, nearer to Grand Junction, in June, 2012.

After passing Shone, there is a bridge over a stream, a detector at MP 454.7, dual I-70 road bridges overhead, a grade crossing, a spur trailing on on the south side, Ute, and the 5,080 ft. north side siding (new signals turned sideways in April, 2012) at Durham (MP 452.2-451.1), where the speed limit falls to 50 mph , with a road bridge overhead and a bridge over drainage before the east end of the siding, a spur trailing in on the south side, a grade crossing, the road on the south side ends, west-facing Intermediate Signals, the road on the south side begins again, and the line turns south-southeast into Grand Junction (MP 450.0, el. 4,578 ft.), where the four track yard is on the southwest side, there is a two track main line in the middle, and the passenger station with its own track is on the northeast side, with a road bridge overhead west of the former depot (for sale, in June, 2009)northeast of the line.