Shortly after the International Smelter offered economic salvation to Tooele's struggling desert community, the Tooele Valley Railroad became the town artery. Though originally built in 1908 to connect the smelter to the Union Pacific and Western Pacific lines west of town, the railroad became central to daily life. Hundreds of local workers rode it to and from work each day. As technology continued to change Tooele, the Tooele Valley Railroad shared Vine Street with the first automobiles—safety precautions required that the caboose, with a horn mounted to warn motorists, lead the oncoming train. However, the smelter's decades of prosperity proved short-lived, and by the 1930s, the town had fallen on difficult times once again. The railroad outlived the smelter, but operations ceased in the early 1980s, and the city had the abandoned tracks removed.