The Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad in the United States. Its primary AAR reporting mark is UP. The railroad is wholly owned by Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) which also owns Overnite Transportation , a fairly major less-than-truckload shipping carrier. Union Pacific divested itself of Overnite Trucking through an IPO in late 2003 but still owns a sizable stake. Richard K. Davidson , who began his career as a Missouri Pacific brakeman in 1960, has headed Union Pacific Railroad since 1991 and parent Union Pacific Corporation since 1997. James R. Young is president and chief operating officer of the Railroad.
The Union Pacific's route map covers most of the central and western United States, westward of Chicago and New Orleans. It has achieved this size thanks to purchasing a large number of other railroads; notable purchases include the Missouri Pacific, Chicago and Northwestern, Western Pacific and Southern Pacific (which itself was purchased by the Rio Grande before UP purchased it).
Union Pacific's chief competitor is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), which covers much of the same territory.
The Union Pacific Railroad was incorporated on July 1, 1862 in the wake of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. The first rails were laid in Omaha, Nebraska. They were part of the railroads which came together at Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869 as the first transcontinental railroad in North America. Subsequently the Union Pacific took over the Utah Central extending south through Salt Lake City, and the Utah & Northern, extending from Ogden through Idaho into Montana, and it built or absorbed local lines, which gave it access to Denver and to Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest. It 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.
Union Pacific was entangled in the Credit Mobilier scandal of 1872. The railroad's early troubles led to bankruptcy during the 1870s, the result of which was reorganization of the Union Pacific Railroad as the Union Pacific Railway on January 24, 1880. The new company also declared bankruptcy, in 1893, but emerged on July 1, 1897, reverting again to the original name, Union Pacific Railroad. Such minor changes in corporate titles were a common result of reorganization after bankruptcy among American railroads. The recovered railroad was strong enough to take control of Southern Pacific Railroad in 1901 and then was ordered in 1913 by the U.S. Supreme Court to surrender control of the same. The Union Pacific Railroad also founded the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho. The Pacific Electric Company in Los Angeles was a subsidiary of the Union Pacific.
UP has had its corporate headquarters located in Omaha, Nebraska since its inception and moved in 2003 into the recently completed Union Pacific Center, also in Omaha.
Primarily concentrated west of the Mississippi River, the Union Pacific Railroad directly owns and operates track in 23 U.S. states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. For administrative purposes, the Union Pacific’s track network is divided into 21 “service units”: Cheyenne, Chicago, Council Bluffs, Commuter Operations, Denver, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Livonia, Los Angeles, North Little Rock, North Platte, Portland, Roseville, San Antonio, Saint Louis, Tucson, Twin Cities, Utah, and Wichita. Each “service unit” is further divided into many different subdivisions, which represent segments of track ranging from 300-mile mainlines to 10-mile branch-lines.
Not including second, third and fourth main line trackage, yard trackage, and siding trackage, the Union Pacific directly operates some 32,832 miles (52,838 kilometers) of track. When the additional tracks are counted, however, the amount of track that the Union Pacific has direct control over rises to 54,116 miles (87,091 kilometers).
Union Pacific has also been able to reach agreements with competing railroads, mostly BNSF, that allows the railroad to operate its own trains with its own crews on hundreds of miles of competing railroads’ main tracks.
Furthermore, due to the practice of locomotive leasing and sharing undertaken by the Class 1 Railways, Union Pacific locomotives occasionally show up on competitors' tracks throughout the United States and Canada.
Yards and Facilities
Because of the enormity of the Union Pacific, hundreds of yards throughout the Union Pacific’s rail network are needed to effectively handle the daily transport of goods from one place to another.
Among the more prominent rail yards in Union Pacific’s system include:
Bailey Yard, the largest railroad classification yard in the world, located in North Platte, Nebraska.
- The Hinkle Locomotive Service and Repair Facility, the largest locomotive facility along the Union Pacific, in Hinkle, Oregon .
- J.R. Davis Yard, the largest rail facility on the United States’ west coast, in Sacramento, California.
- Jenks Shop, one of the largest locomotive overhaul and maintenance facilities in the world, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
- Global III Intermodal Facility, a critical interchange hub and loading/unloading terminal for intermodal shipments moving through the Chicago metropolitan area, in Rochelle, Illinois.
Paint and colors
The Union Pacific's basic paint scheme for its diesel-electric locomotives is the oldest still in use by a major railroad. The bottom 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 red divides this from the Harbor Mist Gray (a fairly light gray color) used for the body and roof above that point. A red line is also painted at the bottom of the locomotive body; the trucks, underframe, fuel tanks and everything else beneath that line are also painted Harbor Mist Gray. Lettering and numbering is also in red, with black outlines. Some locomotives (historically passenger locomotives, and some recent high power units from 2000) have white-outlined blue "wings" on the nose. More recently, some units have been repainted with a large, billowing Stars and Stripes with the corporate logo "Building America" on the side, where the 'UNION PACIFIC' lettering is normally positioned.
The first version of this scheme was used on the UP's streamlined trains in the 1930s, although a brown was used instead of grey.
Passenger cars, cabooses and other non-freight equipment is also painted in a similar fashion.
The steam locomotive paint schemes are unique in their own way. Up until the mid-1940's, all steam locomotives on the Union Pacific were painted in a similar fashion: the smokebox and firebox were painted graphite and the rest was painted jet black. In the 1940's, many passenger locomotives were repainted to look somewhat similar to the flashy new E and F units being delivered. These locomotives were painted graphite all over, with one dark grey strip running alongside the running board and in the middle of the tender. This dark grey strip was outlined in yellow, and all lettering inside the strip was yellow also. Near the end of the steam locomotive's reign on the Union Pacific, these locomotives were repainted in the same color scheme as the earlier freight locomotives.
The UP, uniquely among modern railroads, maintains a small fleet of historic locomotives for special trains and hire. All historic Locomotives are stored in Cheyenne, Wyoming in the roundhouse. The roudhouse is just south of the historic depot.
UP 844 is a 4-8-4 Northern type express passenger steam locomotive (class FEF-3). It was the last steam locomotive built for the Union Pacific and has been in continuous service since its 1944 delivery. A mechanical failure 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 in 2001. The Union Pacific steam crew estimates that the 844 will be returned to service by 2005. 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 Union Pacific roundhouse until 1975, when it was moved to the employee's parking lot outside the Cheyenne, Wyoming depot until 1981 when a team of employee volunteers restored it to service.
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 engines have been replaced with single EMD 16-645E 3000 hp (2.2 MW) units and the electrical and control equipment similarly upgraded, making them modern locomotives under the skin.
UP 6936 is an EMD DDA40X "Centennial" diesel-electric locomotive. These were the largest diesel locomotives ever built and were manufactured specifically for Union Pacific.
UP 5511 is a 2-10-2 steam locomotive. This locomotive is very rarely ever heard of, due to the fact that it was never donated for public display. This locomotive is reportedly in excellent condition, and a restoration probably wouldn't take more than a couple of weeks. The only thing keeping it from being restored is that it would be limited to 40 mph or lower due to its large cylinders and small drivers. As of August 2004, this locomotive is being offered for sale by UP.
In addition there are a number of other locomotives kept in storage for possible future restoration.
In addition to the historic fleet outlined above kept by the Union Pacific 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.
UP 737 - An American 4-4-0 in the collection of Steamtown National Historic Site .
UP 4004, 4005, 4006, 4012, 4014, 4017, 4018, 4023 - Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 articulated steam locomotives . Eight out of twenty-five still survive. Number 4018, currently residing at the Age of Steam Railroad Museum in Dallas, TX, almost saw a return to operation in 1998 when a film director proposed restoring the locomotive for use in a movie. However, it has been almost a year since anything has been heard of this proposal, and it is considered to have been only a whim. Many consider the Big Boys to have been the largest locomotives ever built.
UP 9000, a Union Pacific 9000 class 4-12-2 giant non-articulated freight locomotive, at the Los Angeles County Fairplex , Pomona, California.
Union Pacific was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 by Working Mothers magazine.
Facts and Figures
According to Union Pacific’s 2003 Annual Report to Investors, at the end of 2003, the Union Pacific Railroad had more than 48,000 employees, 7,861 locomotives, and 87,725 freight cars.
Broken down by specific type of car, the Union Pacific owned:
In addition, the railroad also owns 6,950 different pieces of maintenance of way work equipment.
The average age from date of manufacture for Union Pacific’s locomotive fleet was 14.3 years at the end of 2003, while the average age from date of manufacture for the freight car fleet at the end of 2003 was 24.5 years.
Presidents of the Union Pacific Railroad:
Last updated: 05-17-2005 00:16:33
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04