System map (trackage rights in purple)
General Electric ET44AH locomotive photographed in June 2016
|Reporting mark||UP (road locomotives), UPY (yard locomotives), UPP (passenger railcars)|
|Locale||United States from Chicago, Illinois, and cities along the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast|
|Dates of operation||
|Length||32,100 miles (51,660 km)|
The Union Pacific Railroad (reporting mark UP) (or Union Pacific Railroad Company and simply Union Pacific) is a freight hauling railroad that operates 8,500 locomotives over 32,100 route-miles in 23 states west of Chicago and New Orleans. The Union Pacific Railroad system is the largest in the United States and it is one of the world's largest transportation companies. The Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of the Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP); both are headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Union Pacific legacy began in 1862 with the original company, called the Union Pacific Rail Road, which was part of the First Transcontinental Railroad project, later known as the Overland Route. Two more Union Pacific railroads were formed after that, the Union Pacific Railway (the second company) which absorbed the original company in 1880 and the Union Pacific "Railroad" (the third company) which absorbed the Union Pacific Railway in 1897-1898.
The third incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad which operated from 1897 to 1998 is referred to as Mark I and it makes up the bulk of the Union Pacific history. The third incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad produced the well known Big Boy steam locomotives such as the Union Pacific 4014 and the Union Pacific 4012. Other well known steam locomotives were also produced by the third Union Pacific Railroad such as the Union Pacific 3985, the Union Pacific 3977, and the Union Pacific 844. The third incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad also produced the Union Pacific 6936 diesel locomotive.
The current Union Pacific Railroad, the fourth incarnation, began in 1969 as the Southern Pacific Transportation Company (SP, SPTC or SPTCo), the last incarnation of the Southern Pacific railroad; the Southern Pacific Transportation Company became the fourth incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1998 with the Union Pacific-Southern Pacific merger which included SP's smaller railroads, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway and the SPCSL Corporation. The current incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad inherits all operations of the third Union Pacific Railroad. The current incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad is referred to as Mark II. All together, a total of four railroads used the "Union Pacific" name; however, all four railroads are commonly grouped as one railroad.
The parent company, Union Pacific Corporation was established in 1969, the same year the current railroad (Mark II) began. Besides the Southern Pacific, the Denver and Rio Grande Western, the St. Louis Southwestern and the SPCSL Corporation, the parent company, Union Pacific Corporation, acquired other western railroads over the years such as the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, the Western Pacific Railroad and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and all became part of the Union Pacific system, growing the Union Pacific system.
Union Pacific's main competitor is the BNSF Railway, the nation's second largest freight railroad, which also primarily services the Continental U.S. west of the Mississippi River. Together, the two railroads have a duopoly on all transcontinental freight rail lines in the U.S.
The original company, the Union Pacific Rail Road was incorporated on July 1, 1862, under an act of Congress entitled Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. The act was approved by President Abraham Lincoln, and it provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific as a war measure for the preservation of the Union. It was constructed westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet the Central Pacific Railroad line, which was constructed eastward from San Francisco Bay. The combined Union Pacific-Central Pacific line became known as the First Transcontinental Railroad and later the Overland Route.
The line was constructed primarily by Irish labor who had learned their craft during the recent Civil War. The two lines were joined together at Promontory Summit, Utah, 53 miles (85 km) west of Ogden on May 10, 1869, hence creating the first transcontinental railroad in North America. Under the guidance of its dominant stockholder Dr. Thomas Clark Durant, the namesake of the city of Durant, Iowa, the first rails were laid in Omaha.
Subsequently, the original UP purchased three Mormon-built roads: the Utah Central Railroad extending south from Ogden to Salt Lake City, the Utah Southern Railroad extending south from Salt Lake City into the Utah Valley, and the Utah Northern Railroad extending north from Ogden into Idaho. It built or purchased local lines that gave it access to Denver, Colorado, to Portland, Oregon, and to the Pacific Northwest and acquired the Kansas Pacific (originally called the Union Pacific, Eastern Division, though in essence a separate railroad). It also owned narrow gauge trackage into the heart of the Colorado Rockies and a standard gauge line south from Denver across New Mexico into Texas (both parts of the Union Pacific, Denver and Gulf Railway).
The original UP was entangled in the Crédit Mobilier scandal, exposed in 1872. Its independent construction company the Crédit Mobilier had bribed congressmen. The original UP itself was not guilty but it did get bad publicity. The financial crisis of 1873 led to financial troubles but not bankruptcy.
The original company was taken over by the new Union Pacific Railway on January 24, 1880, with its dominant stockholder being Jay Gould; the Union Pacific Rail Road was merged into the Union Pacific Railway. The Union Pacific Railway declared bankruptcy during the Panic of 1893. A new Union Pacific "Railroad" was later formed and the Union Pacific Railway was merged into the new railroad.
In 1897 a new Union Pacific Railroad was formed and the Union Pacific Railway was merged into the new Union Pacific Railroad. This Union Pacific Railroad is the third incarnation, and the third incarnation makes up the bulk of the Union Pacific history. The third incarnation produced the well known Big Boy steam locomotives. The Union Pacific 4014 and the Union Pacific 4012 are examples of preserved Big Boy locomotives. Other well known steam locomotives were also produced by the third Union Pacific Railroad such as the Union Pacific 3985, the Union Pacific 3977, and the Union Pacific 844, these three are also preserved. The third Union Pacific Railroad also produced the preserved Union Pacific 6936 diesel locomotive. The Missouri Pacific Railroad, the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, the Western Pacific Railroad, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (part of the UP-SP merger), the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (part of the UP-SP merger), and the SPCSL Corporation (part of the UP-SP merger) all became part of the third Union Pacific Railroad.
The third Union Pacific railroad lasted until 1998 when the parent Union Pacific Corporation merged this Union Pacific railroad into the Southern Pacific Transportation Company (SP, SPTC or SPTCo) which was incorporated in 1969, completing the UP-SP merger with the Union Pacific name being the surviving name. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company was renamed Union Pacific Railroad on the same day it absorbed the third Union Pacific railroad; the Southern Pacific Transportation Company becomes the fourth Union Pacific railroad and it is also the last incarnation of the Southern Pacific railroad. The fourth incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad inherits all operations of the third incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad. The fourth incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad is referred to as Mark II while the third incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad is referred to as Mark I. All together, a total of four railroads used the "Union Pacific" name; however, all four incarnations of the Union Pacific railroad are grouped and regarded as one railroad, though all incarnations are all separate railroads.
In the tables "UP" includes OSL-OWR&N-LA&SL-StJ&GI; 1925-1944 passenger-mile totals do not include Laramie North Park & Western, Saratoga & Encampment Valley, or Pacific & Idaho Northern, and none of the totals includes Spokane International or Mount Hood. From the ICC annual reports, except 1979 is from Moody's.
|1960||33,280||(into UP)||(into UP)|
On December 31, 1925 UP-OSL-OWRN-LA&SL-StJ&GI operated 9,834 route-miles and 15,265 track-miles. At the end of 1980, the third Union Pacific railroad operated 9,266 route-miles and 15,647 miles of track. Moody's shows 220,697 million revenue ton-miles in 1993 on the expanded system (17,835 route-miles at the end of the year).
Because of the large size of UP, hundreds of yards throughout its rail network are needed to effectively handle the daily transport of goods from one place to another. To reduce overall emissions, Union Pacific is acquiring a new generation of environmentally friendly locomotives for use in Los Angeles basin rail yards.
Hump yards work by using a small hill over which cars are pushed, before being released down a slope and switched automatically into cuts of cars, ready to be made into outbound trains. Union Pacific's active hump yards include:
The Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa houses the Union Pacific legacy's oldest corporate collections in the United States. The museum includes artifacts, photographs, and documents that trace the development of the first Union Pacific railroad and the American West.
The museum's collection features weapons from the late 19th and 20th centuries, outlaw paraphernalia, a sampling of the immigrants' possessions, and a photograph collection comprising more than 500,000 images.
In 2009, the America's Power Factuality Tour stopped at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum to report on the UP legacy's role in generating electricity in the United States.
This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. (July 2014)
UP's basic paint scheme for its diesel-electric locomotives is the oldest still in use by a major railroad. The middle two-thirds of the locomotive body is painted Armour Yellow, so named because it was the color used by the Armour meat company. A thin band of Signal Red divides this from the Harbor Mist Gray (a fairly light gray) used for the body and roof above that point. Signal Red is also painted at the bottom of the locomotive body, but this color has gradually become yellow as new Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations for reflectorized tape came into effect in 2005; the trucks, underframe, fuel tanks and everything else beneath that line are also Harbor Mist Gray. The trucks at one point were painted in an aluminum color, though due to high costs and high maintenance, this was also changed to harbor mist gray, right after the merger with WP and MP. Lettering and numbering are in Signal Red, with black outlines. Some locomotives (historically passenger locomotives, as well as most units from 2000 on) have white-outlined blue "wings" on the nose, as well as a zig zag design with the signal red line on the top half of the locomotive sides--this is affectionately known as the "lightning stripe", based on a design from later CNW locomotives. Beginning in early 2002, a number of units were repainted with a large, billowing American flag with the corporate motto "Building America" on the side, where the 'UNION PACIFIC' lettering is normally positioned. This paint scheme is known as "Building America," "Wings," or "Flags and Flares."
The Armour Yellow livery was first introduced on the UP's M-10000 streamliner train in 1934, although Leaf Brown was used instead of Harbor Mist Grey. Passenger cars, cabooses, and other non-freight equipment have also been painted in a similar fashion.
The steam locomotive paint schemes are unique in their own way. Up until the mid-1940s, all steam locomotives on UP were painted in a standard scheme: the smokebox and firebox were painted graphite and the rest was painted jet black; the lettering was usually aluminum. In the late 1940s, many passenger steam locomotives were repainted in a two-tone grey scheme to match the scheme applied to some coaching stock. These locomotives were painted light grey, with one dark gray strip running from front to rear alongside the running board and in the middle of the tender. This dark grey strip was outlined in yellow (originally aluminum), and all lettering inside the strip was yellow also. After 1952, these locomotives were repainted in the same basic black color scheme as the earlier freight locomotives. The grey passenger cars were repainted in the yellow scheme.
From the second half of 2005 to the summer of 2006, UP unveiled a new set of six EMD SD70ACe locomotives in "Heritage Colors," painted in schemes reminiscent of railroads acquired by the Union Pacific Corporation since the 1980s. The engine numbers match the year that the predecessor railroad became part of the Union Pacific system. The locomotives commemorate the Missouri Pacific with UP 1982, the Western Pacific with UP 1983, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas with UP 1988, the Chicago and North Western with UP 1995, the Southern Pacific with UP 1996 (the current Union Pacific Railroad was the last incarnation of the Southern Pacific railroad), and the Denver and Rio Grande Western with UP 1989.
On March 31, 2010, UP dedicated a specially painted GE ES44AC locomotive commemorating the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America. Although it retains the standard Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist colors, the unit has a large BSA 2010 logo on each side of the long hood, and the scouting logo low on the side of the cab.
On September 28, 2010, UP dedicated a specially painted GE ES44AC locomotive, as a tribute to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The unit is standard UP Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist colors, but has a large pink ribbon, the symbol for breast cancer awareness, on each side of the long hood.
As of October 2013, the Union Pacific had 8,185 locomotives on its active roster. The locomotive fleet consists of 43 different models and had an average age of 17.8 years.
As of May 23, 2015, UP operates 9 Southern Pacific (107,177,187, 266, 309, 319, 335, 343, and 352) 2 St. Louis Southwestern (9642, and 9708), and 2 Chicago and North Western (8646 and 8701) locomotives that are still in the former railroads' paint. In addition, many locomotives have been "patched" and renumbered by UP, varying in the degree of the previous railroads' logos being eradicated, but always with a yellow patch applied over the locomotive's former number and a new UP number applied on the cab. This allows UP to number locomotives into its roster, yet it takes less time and money than it does to perform a complete repaint into UP colors. As of May 17, 2015, UP rostered 212 "patches", consisting of:
While not technically a predecessor locomotive in the traditional sense, UP rosters a single SD40-2 (3564) still in the 1970s paint scheme. Also, several patched units have uniquenesses, such as UP 6289 (The 'flaming' patch), and UP 6361 (SP paint, with full UP letters on conductor's side). UP also rosters an ex-CNW AC4400CW in UP paint, that has been decaled with 'We Will Deliver' and Operation Lifesaver (6736). UP retains many CNW units with OLS decals.
Alone among modern railroads, UP maintains a small fleet of historic locomotives for special trains and hire in its Cheyenne, Wyoming roundhouse.
In addition there are a number of other locomotives kept in storage for possible future restoration. Rio Grande (DRGW) F9B 5763 is one of the units in storage, part of the Trio (A-B-B) of F9s that served on the Rio Grande in various Passenger Duty services (From the Denver Ski Train to the Zephyr Trains) until their retirement in 1996. Sister Units 5771 (F9A) and 5762 (F9B) were donated to the Colorado Railroad Museum. Chicago and North Western F7 No. 401, used for Chicago and North Western business trains, also was retained by UP.
UP 838, a twin to 844, is stored in the Cheyenne roundhouse as a parts source, though as most of its usable parts have already been applied to 844, it is more likely to see use as a source of pattern parts for reproduction replacements. Reputedly, 838's boiler is in better condition than that of 844, due to 838 having not been in steam since retirement, compared to 844's relatively heavy use since 1960.
In addition to the historic fleet outlined above kept by UP itself, a large number of UP locomotives survive elsewhere. Many locomotives were donated to towns along the Union Pacific tracks, for instance, as well as locomotives donated to museums.
Union Pacific owns a miniature train, sometimes called the "Pride of The Omaha Shops." It was constructed in 1956 in the Omaha shops. For many years, the train has been used in various events, including parades, employee Family Days and other civic events. Today, it makes about 50 appearances a year throughout Union Pacific's 23-state system and generally is booked up to three years in advance of special civic celebrations.
The mini train is composed of the following:
Union Pacific operated through passenger service over its historic "Overland Route" between 1869 until May 1, 1971. The last passenger train operated by UP was the westbound City of Los Angeles. After May 1, 1971, Amtrak assumed operation of long-distance passenger operations in the United States. UP at various times operated the following named passenger trains:
Many Amtrak routes currently utilize Union Pacific rails:
On June 28, 2004, in the San Antonio suburb of Macdona, Texas, a UP train collided with an idle BNSF train resulting in the puncturing of a 90-ton tank car carrying liquified chlorine. As the chlorine vaporized, a toxic "yellow cloud" soon formed which killed three (the UP conductor and two residents nearby) and caused 43 hospitalizations. The costs of cleanup and property damaged during the incident exceeded $7 million.
Another derailment in November 1994 killed a bystander in a neighboring business in San Antonio. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison demanded a federal investigation in the Union Pacific crashes around Bexar County. In March 2005, Texas Governor Rick Perry supported a plan to reroute trains around large urban population centers in the state of Texas, including San Antonio.
Various investigations of the Macdona incident have revealed several serious safety lapses on the part of the Union Pacific and its employees; specifically, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials in 2004 reported that the Union Pacific had "notable deficiencies", including its employees not following the company's own safety rules. While initial reports blamed "fatigue" of the crew of the UP train, many other contributing factors have been cited. Among those, the chlorine tank cars were improperly placed near the front of the train. Cars containing hazardous materials have traditionally been placed away from the front of the train, an operational measure used to safeguard against the likelihood of such cars being among the first affected in a derailment and to reduce their likelihood of colliding with heavier steel cars.[clarification needed]
On September 4, 2007 a Union Pacific train derailment split the small town of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, in half. Around 16 cars, most of them carrying salt, derailed spilling its contents in mountainous, snow-like piles. The derailment caused an interruption in traffic for about two hours until city officials could clean up the mess
In the aftermath of the Macdona and other incidents, the Federal Railroad Administration signed a compliance agreement with the railroad in November 2004 in which the railroad promised to rectify the "notable deficiencies" that regulators found. Specifically, the agreement mandated increased training for railroad managers and increased the number of FRA inspectors in the region by 10. United States Assemblyman Charlie Gonzalez questioned whether the agreement went far enough; he and other Congressional delegation members questioned the FRA's "partnership" approach as being "too cozy a relationship to the railroads" and cited an article in The New York Times that reported that the acting FRA administrator, Betty Monro, and the chief lobbyist for Union Pacific, Mary E. McAuliffe, had vacationed several times together on Nantucket.
The railroad's San Antonio Service Unit (SASU) has had other derailments, including a Schulenburg, Texas incident in June 2009 where tank cars containing chlorine and petroleum naptha xylene derailed but were not punctured.
On January 7, 2008, a Union Pacific train carrying hazardous materials was derailed by a tornado near Lawrence, Illinois, injuring five and prompting a local evacuation. The train's rear surveillance camera caught the derailment on video.
On June 24, 2012, three crew members were killed when two Union Pacific trains slammed into each other just east of Goodwell, about 300 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. The eastbound train passed a signal displaying stop on the main track striking the westbound train which was lined into the siding about 1 mile east of the meeting point. The crash triggered a diesel-fueled fireball that appeared to weld the locomotives together.
On May 25, 2013, in Chaffee, Missouri, a Union Pacific train collided with a BNSF train at a level junction. Seven people were injured. A total of 24 cars were derailed, including loaded autorack and scrap metal cars. Included in the crash were two Union Pacific engines. The accident caused an overpass to partially collapse, and a post-accident fire was also reported. The resulting investigation concluded the engineer most likely fell asleep, due to sleep apnea. In this incident, four progressively restrictive signals where violated, resulting in the UP train hitting the BNSF train at roughly 40 MPH. Total damages exceeded ten million dollars. The Missouri Route M bridge was reopened in August, 2013 with a new design.
On June 3, 2016, a 96-car oil train derailed in the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier, Oregon. 11 cars derailed and at least one caught on fire. 42,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil spilled of which 10,000 gallons was recovered. Some oil went into the Colombia River. Cleanup and investigations continue as of June 6, 2016.
According to UP's 2007 Annual Report to Investors, at the end of 2007 it had more than 50,000 employees, 8,721 locomotives, and 94,284 freight cars.
Broken down by specific type of car, owned and leased:
In addition, it owns 6,950 different pieces of maintenance of way work equipment. At the end of 2007 the average age of UP's locomotive fleet was 14.8 years, the freight car fleet 28 years.
In Eugene, Oregon, the UP and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are jointly studying ground contamination at the railroad's yard originating with the Southern Pacific from over one hundred years ago, consisting mostly of petroleum hydrocarbons, industrial solvents, and metals. This has affected a nearby groundwater source.
Union Pacific Railroad in 2007 started an experimental method of reducing emissions from the engine exhaust of their locomotives. By adding an experimental oxidation catalyst filtering canister to the diesel engine's exhaust manifold, they are attempting to reduce the amount of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter generated, much like a catalytic converter in automobiles and trucks. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's National Vehicle Fuels and Emissions Laboratory provided most of the funding for the test. Using Ultra Low Sulfur diesel with the oxicat resulted in reduced particulate emissions by approximately 50 percent, unburned hydrocarbons by 38 percent and carbon monoxide by 82 percent.
The company's Fuel Master program uses the expertise of locomotive engineers to save fuel. Engineers who save the most fuel are rewarded on a monthly basis. The program has saved the company millions of dollars, a significant amount of which has been returned to the engineers. In 2006, the program founder, Wayne Kennedy, received the John H. Chafee Environmental Award, and the program was recognized by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta.
EMP, a domestic interline Intermodal freight transport partnership that provides shipping and logistics of containers, is owned by Union Pacific, along with Norfolk Southern Railroad and agent-owned partners Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, I&M Rail Link, Iowa Interstate Railroad, Wisconsin Central Ltd., and Kansas City Southern Railway. EMP's fleet of more than 35,000 domestic 53-foot containers and chassis traverse major cities throughout North America.