Union Pacific Railroad
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Union Pacific Railroad

Union Pacific Railroad
Union pacific railroad logo.svg
Union Pacific Railroad system map.svg
System map (trackage rights in purple)
Union Pacific loco.png
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

1862–present (legacy)

  • First (original) company, Union Pacific Rail Road: 1862-1880
  • Second company, Union Pacific Railway: 1880-1897
  • Third company, Union Pacific Railroad (Mark I): 1897-1998
  • Fourth company, Union Pacific Railroad (Mark II): 1969-present (the fourth company began as the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, the last incarnation of the Southern Pacific railroad which lasted from 1969-1998; became the fourth Union Pacific railroad in 1998 during the UP-SP merger)
Track gauge
Length 32,100 miles (51,660 km)
Headquarters 1400 Douglas Street
Omaha, Nebraska
Website www.up.com

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 second largest in the United States after BNSF Railway and it is one of the world's largest transportation companies.[1] The Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of the Union Pacific Corporation (NYSEUNP); 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 largest freight railroad by volume, 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.


Original company (Union Pacific Rail Road) and second company (Union Pacific Railway)

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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 Last Spike, by Thomas Hill (1881)
Directors of the Union Pacific Railroad gather on the 100th meridian, which later became Cozad, Nebraska, approximately 250 miles (400 km) west of Omaha, Nebraska Territory, in October 1866. The train in the background awaits the party of Eastern capitalists, newspapermen, and other prominent figures invited by the railroad executives.

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.

Third (Mark I) and fourth (Mark II) company, both called Union Pacific Railroad

In 1897, a new Union Pacific Railroad was formed and the Union Pacific Railway was merged into the new Union Pacific Railroad.[5] 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.

Under chairman W. Averell Harriman, the third Union Pacific railroad founded the Sun Valley ski resort in central Idaho; it opened 81 years ago in 1936 and was sold in 1964.[6][7]

Revenue passenger traffic, in millions of passenger-miles
Year Traffic
1925 1,065
1933 436
1944 5,481
1960 1,233
1970 333
Source: ICC annual reports

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.

Revenue freight ton-miles (millions)
1925 12,869 10 3
1933 8,639 4 0.4 (into UP)
1944 37,126 7 0.7
1960 33,280 (into UP) (into UP)
1970 47,575
1979 73,708

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.[8] 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).


Ogden, Utah yard
One of the 20 new 2,000 hp "Green Goat" locomotives manufactured for Union Pacific's "Green" Fleet by Railpower Technologies

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.[9]

Union Pacific built a $90 million intermodal terminal in San Antonio, Texas in 2009.[10][11]

Active hump 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:[12]

Union Pacific Railroad Museum

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum

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.[13][14]

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.[15]

Locomotive and rolling stock

Paint and colors

Union Pacific #9214, a GE Dash 8-40C, shows the standard UP diesel locomotive livery on May 10, 1991.

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."

Union Pacific #5391, approaching bridge at Multnomah Falls Oregon, shows the white-outlined blue "wings" on the nose

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.

UP Locomotive GE AC4400CW 5645 in Battle Creek, Michigan, with the Flags and Flares paint 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.[16]

In October 2005, UP unveiled another specially painted SD70ACe: 4141 has "George Bush 41" on the sides and its paint scheme resembles that of Air Force One.

On March 31, 2010, UP dedicated a specially painted GE ES44AC locomotive commemorating the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America.[17] 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.[18] 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.

2013 locomotive roster

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.[19]

Type Quantity
4-8-8-4 1
4-6-6-4 1
4-8-4 1
B40-8 91
C40-8 333
C40-8W 50
C41-8W 154
C4460AC 80
C44-9W 274
C44AC/CTE 1,485
C45AC/CTE 943
C6044AC 176
C60AC 75
DDA40X 1
E9A 2
E9B 1
GP15-1 160
GP38-2 664
GP38AC 2
GP39-2 49
GP40 15
GP40-2 142
GP40-2P 2
GP40M-2 65
GP50 48
GP60 194
MP15AC 41
MP15DC 102
SD40-2 505
SD60 85
SD60M 560
SD70ACe 321
SD70M 1,445
SD9043AC 309
SW1500 18

Surviving merger partner locomotives

A former Southern Pacific GP38-2 locomotive renumbered with UP "patch" markings

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:

  • 22 Chicago and North Western (whose CNW logos have been hidden by the "patches"),
  • 174 Southern Pacific (AC4400CW, GP40-2, MP15AC, and GP60)
  • 14 St. Louis Southwestern (GP60)
  • 2 Denver and Rio Grande Western (GP60)

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.

Historic locomotives

One of UP's Big Boy locomotives hauling a freight train through Echo Canyon, Utah

Alone among modern railroads, UP maintains a small fleet of historic locomotives for special trains and hire in its Cheyenne, Wyoming roundhouse.

  • UP 4014 is a 4-8-8-4 Articulated type, Big Boy, freight steam locomotive. On July 23, 2013, it was announced that the UP was acquiring UP 4014 from The Southern California Chapter of The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society in Pomona, with the goal of restoring it to service. 4014 was moved from Pomona to the Union Pacific West Colton yard on January 26, 2014 and then to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Restoration to full operating condition is currently in progress, expected to be finished between 2017 and 2019. Volunteers and paid contractors are assisting the UP steam crew in the rebuild predominantly at the UP Steam Shop in Cheyenne.[20]
  • UP 844 is a 4-8-4 Northern type express passenger steam locomotive (class FEF-3). It was the last steam locomotive built for UP and has been in continuous service since its 1944 delivery. Many people know the engine as the No. 8444, since an extra '4' was added to its number in 1962 to distinguish it from a diesel numbered in the 800 series. It regained its rightful number in June 1989, after the diesel was retired and donated to the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum in Boulder City, Nevada. A mechanical failure occurred on June 24, 1999, in which the boiler tubes from the 1996 overhaul, being made of the wrong material, collapsed inside the boiler and put the steam locomotive out of commission. The UP steam crew successfully repaired it and returned it to service on November 10, 2004. It was rebuilt and returned to service in 2016. It is the only steam locomotive to never be officially retired from a North American Class I railroad.
  • UP 3985 is a 4-6-6-4 Challenger class dual-service steam locomotive. It is the largest steam locomotive still in operation anywhere in the world. Withdrawn from service in 1962, it was stored in the UP roundhouse until 1975, when it was moved to the employees' parking lot outside the Cheyenne, Wyoming, depot until 1981 when a team of employee volunteers restored it to service. In 2007, it underwent repairs for service, and was back up and running in 2008 to continue its run. UP 3985 has been in storage since 2010, but may return to service once 4014's restoration is completed.
  • UP 951, 949 and 963B are a trio of streamlined General Motors Electro-Motive Division E9 passenger locomotives built in 1955. They are used to haul the UP business cars and for charter specials. While externally they are 1955 vintage locomotives, the original twin 1200 hp 12-cylinder 567 series engines have been replaced with single EMD 16-645E 2000 hp (1.5 MW) engines (which were salvaged from wrecked GP38-2 locomotives) and the electrical and control equipment similarly upgraded, making them more modern locomotives under the skin. The set is made of two A units and one B unit. The B unit contains an HEP engine-generator set for powering passenger cars. The two A units were recently modified to eliminate the nose doors to increase safety in the event of collision.
  • UP 6936 is an EMD DDA40X "Centennial" diesel-electric locomotive. These were the largest diesel locomotives ever built and were manufactured specifically for UP. Of the many DDA40X locomotives built, 6936 is the only one in service. The locomotive suffered major damages in 2000 as a result of a collision with a dump truck at a grade crossing in Livonia, Louisiana. After it was repaired a winged UP shield logo was applied to the front. It was also repainted in the current Lightning Bolt paint scheme and had a rooftop air conditioning unit installed.
  • UP 5511 is a 2-10-2 steam locomotive. This locomotive is very rarely ever heard of, because it was never donated for public display. This locomotive is reportedly in excellent condition. The only thing keeping it from being restored is that it would be limited to 40 mph (64 km/h) or lower due to its large cylinders and small drivers. As of August 2004, this locomotive is being offered for sale by UP.[] It is currently in storage at the roundhouse where 844 & 3985 were repaired in Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • UP 1243 is a 4-6-0 steam locomotive, and is the oldest locomotive owned by UP. Built in 1890 and retired in 1957, it was at first stored in Rawlins, Wyoming. It was cosmetically restored in 1990 for public display, and toured with 844 as part of the Idaho and Wyoming Centennial train, being moved on a flat car. It was moved to Omaha, Nebraska in November 1996 and put on display at the Western Heritage Museum.

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.

Among the former tenants was Southern Pacific 1518 (the first production SD7 ex EMD demo 990), transferred to the Illinois Railway Museum after some time in storage in the UP shops.

Preserved locomotives

Union Pacific 618 operates at the Heber Valley Historic Railroad

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 2295, on display at Boise, Idaho, in 2009
The Union Pacific "Big Boy" #4012

Miniature Train

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.[22]

The mini train is composed of the following:[23]

  • Locomotive, numbered as UP 956 (modeled after the E9)
  • Box car, numbered as UP 498150, "Automated Rail Way" slogan
  • Gondola, numbered as UP 98000
  • Tank car, numbered as UP 69969
  • Refrigerator car, numbered as UPFE 451501
  • Aluminum coal hopper
  • Caboose, numbered as UP 25300

Passenger train service

Wine label, Roma Wine Company, bottled for Union Pacific RR circa 1940s

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:

  • Butte Special (operated between Salt Lake City and Butte, Montana)
  • Challenger (operated jointly with the Chicago and North Western Railway until October 1955, and thereafter the Milwaukee Road)
  • City of Denver (operated jointly with the Chicago and North Western Railway until October 1955, and thereafter the Milwaukee Road)
  • City of Las Vegas; later, the Las Vegas Holiday Special (1956-1967)
  • City of Los Angeles (operated jointly with the Chicago and North Western Railway until October 1955, and thereafter the Milwaukee Road)
  • City of Portland (operated jointly with the Chicago and North Western Railway until October 1955, and thereafter the Milwaukee Road)
  • City of Salina (1934-1940)
  • City of San Francisco (operated jointly with the Chicago and North Western Railway and the Southern Pacific Railroad; after October, 1955 the Milwaukee Road assumed operation of the Chicago-Omaha leg of the service)
  • City of St. Louis
  • Columbine (in service to Chicago and Denver, beginning in the 1920s)
  • Forty-Niner (operated between Chicago and Oakland)
  • Gold Coast (operated between Chicago and Oakland/Los Angeles)
  • Idahoan (operated between Cheyenne and Portland)
  • Los Angeles Limited (in service 1905)
  • Overland Flyer; renamed the Overland Limited in 1890 (1887-1963)
  • Pacific Limited (operated between Chicago and Ogden, Utah where it was split to serve Los Angeles and San Francisco, beginning in 1913. It was combined with the Portland Rose in 1947.)[24]
  • Pony Express (operated between Kansas City and Los Angeles 1926--1954)
  • Portland Rose (in service between Chicago and Portland, beginning in the 1920s)[25]
  • San Francisco Overland (originally operated between Chicago and Oakland, later terminated only at St. Louis)
  • Spokane (operated between Spokane and Portland)
  • Utahn (operated between Cheyenne and Los Angeles)
  • Yellowstone Special (operated between Pocatello, Idaho and West Yellowstone, Montana)

UP mainly operates commuter trains for Metra on the Union Pacific Lines: Union Pacific/North Line, Union Pacific/Northwest Line, and Union Pacific/West Line.

Many Amtrak routes currently utilize Union Pacific rails:

Notable accidents

Deadly derailment in Macdona, Texas on June 28, 2004

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.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29] 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.[30] 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[31]

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.[28][29] Specifically, the agreement mandated increased training for railroad managers and increased the number of FRA inspectors in the region by 10.[29] United States Representative 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.[29]

The railroad's San Antonio Service Unit (SASU) has had other derailments,[32][33][34][35] including a Schulenburg, Texas incident in June 2009 where tank cars containing chlorine and petroleum naptha xylene derailed but were not punctured.[36]

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.[37]

Chaffee, Missouri collision on May 25, 2013

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.[38]

On November 15, 2012, the Midland train crash occurred, in which four United States military veterans were killed when their parade float was struck by a train in Midland, Texas.

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.[39][40] The resulting investigation concluded the engineer most likely fell asleep, due to sleep apnea. In this incident, four progressively restrictive signals were 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.[41][42]

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.

Facts and figures

Two UP AC4400CWs, including an ex-CNW unit, lead a typical empty coal train west at Belvidere, Nebraska in July 2015.

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.

Company officers

Presidents of all four incarnations of the Union Pacific Railroad:[]

Environmental record

A Union Pacific train passing through the Pantano Townsite Conservation Area in southern Arizona

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.[44]

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.[45]

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.[46]


EMP container

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.[47][48][49]EMP logo.png

See also


  1. ^ "Company Overview". UP.com. Union Pacific Corporation. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ "An Act to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, and to secure to the government the use of the same for postal, military, and other purposes Archived May 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. 12 Stat. 489, July 1, 1862
  3. ^ Collins, R.M. (2010). Irish Gandy Dancer: A tale of building the Transcontinental Railroad. Seattle: Create Space. p. 198. ASIN 1452826315. ISBN 978-1-4528-2631-8. 
  4. ^ "Ceremony at "Wedding of the Rails," May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah". World Digital Library. 1869-05-10. Retrieved . 
  5. ^ Brian Solomon (2000). Union Pacific Railroad. Voyageur Press. pp. 35-43. 
  6. ^ "Union Pacific Railroad invention still takes skiers to the top". Union Pacific Railroad. November 29, 2010. Retrieved 2017. 
  7. ^ Lund, Morten (2000). "An extraordinary history of Sun Valley". Skiing Heritage Journal. pp. 20-25. 
  8. ^ 1980 mileage is from Moody's Transportation Manual (1981); the ICC's Transport Statistics says Union Pacific System operated 8,614 route-miles at year end 1980, but the 1979 issue says 9,315 route-miles and the 1981 says 9,096, so their 1980 figures look unlikely.
  9. ^ "New Ultra-Low Emission Locomotive Goes to Work in Union Pacific's Los Angeles Basin Rail Yards". www.uprr.com. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ Arbona, Joe (August 22, 2007). "Union Pacific Begins Construction of $90 Million State-of-the-Art Intermodal Terminal in Southwest Bexar County". UPRR.com. San Antonio, Texas: Union Pacific. Retrieved 2015. 
  11. ^ Espinoza, Raquel (March 11, 2009). "Union Pacific Railroad Opens New San Antonio Intermodal Terminal". UPRR.com. San Antonio, Texas: Union Pacific. Retrieved 2015. 
  12. ^ "North America's Hump Yards". Trains. Kalmbach Publishing. July 8, 2006. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved 2015. 
  13. ^ "U.P. History and Photos". Retrieved 2017. 
  14. ^ "UPRR Museum". Retrieved 2017. 
  15. ^ "History on Rails: Union Pacific Railroad Museum from Abraham Lincoln to today". Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. Retrieved 2009. 
  16. ^ "Denver & Rio Grande Western Colors Again Ride the Rails" (Press release). Union Pacific Railroad. June 19, 2006. Retrieved 2010. 
  17. ^ "Union Pacific Railroad Unveils No. 2010 Boy Scouts of America Commemorative Locomotive" (Press release). Union Pacific Railroad. March 31, 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  18. ^ "Union Pacific Railroad Unveils Its Pink Ribbon Locomotive" (Press release). Union Pacific Railroad. September 28, 2010. Retrieved 2012. 
  19. ^ [Trains Locomotive 2013]
  20. ^ "Union Pacific Railroad Acquires Big Boy Locomotive No. 4014" July 23, 2013, retrieved July 23, 2013 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved . 
  21. ^ Chappell, Gordon. "Union Pacific No. 4012". Steam Over Scranton: Special History Study, American Steam Locomotives. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012. 
  22. ^ http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=554026&nseq=0
  23. ^ http://utahrails.net/up/up-mini-train.php
  24. ^ "Pacific Limited" (PDF). Union Pacific Railroad. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 16, 2012. Retrieved 2011. (PDF)
  25. ^ "Portland Rose" (PDF). Union Pacific Railroad. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 16, 2012. Retrieved 2011.  (PDF)
  26. ^ "Chlorine Rail Car Incident" (PDF). Aristatek. Retrieved 2010. 
  27. ^ "Man Killed in Fifth Train Derailment in San Antonio Since May". New York Times. November 11, 2004. Retrieved 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Bogdanich, Walt (March 19, 2005). "Texas Has Pact With Railroad To Move Lines". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ a b c d Nordberg, Jenny; Bogdanich, Walt (November 17, 2004). "Regulators Plan to Step Up Union Pacific Safety Checks". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ "NTSB - Remarks by Robert L. Sumwalt". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 2010. 
  31. ^ Alicia Ebaugh, Journal staff writer. "Derailment cuts traffic in Sergeant Bluff". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved 2015. 
  32. ^ "Train derailment leaves big mess". pro8news. Archived from the original on March 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  33. ^ "Train derails near New Braunfels". San Antonio Express News. Retrieved 2010. [permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "UP train derails in Atascosa County". San Antonio Express News. Retrieved 2010. 
  35. ^ "Train derails near Schulenburg, spills chemical". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved 2010. 
  36. ^ "Schulenburg Train Derailment". United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2010. 
  37. ^ "YouTube video". PumpkinHogger. Retrieved 2015. 
  38. ^ "NTSB: Why didn't train wait before Oklahoma crash?". The Washington Times. June 26, 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  39. ^ "NTSB Launches Go-Team to Missouri to Investigate Collision Between Two Freight Trains That Partially Collapsed a Highway Overpass". National Transportation Safety Board. National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 2013. 
  40. ^ Hendricks, Christy. "NTSB investigating after train collision, overpass collapse in Scott County". KFVS12. KFVS12. Retrieved 2013. 
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved . 
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved . 
  43. ^ "Executive Profiles". Union Pacific. n.d. Retrieved 2017. 
  44. ^ "Union Pacific Railyard Cleanup, Eugene". Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009. 
  45. ^ "Union Pacific Tests Exhaust Catalyst on Locomotives". Environmental Leader. January 18, 2007. Retrieved 2008. 
  46. ^ BioAge Media. "Green Car Congress: DOT Secretary Commends Union Pacifics Conservation Program, Says US Needs to Go on Energy Diet". greencarcongress.com. Retrieved 2015. 
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved . 
  48. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 11, 2016. Retrieved . 
  49. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 1, 2016. Retrieved . 

Further reading

External links

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