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Union Pacific -- the railroad established by Congress and Abraham Lincoln to span the continent

Union Pacific Railroad

Welcome to our Union Pacific Railroad WebSite

Here's a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:

Sample Our feature article on Union Pacific Railroad history .

Watch Union Pacific news and current events .


See our transcontinental railroad history and find out if Union Pacific will be the new truly transcontinental .

Find out about other transcontinental railroads .

We have great articles on the Southern Pacific Railroad, Railroad Grade Crossings: the "Safe Gate" , Union Pacific's Bailey Yard , and trains to the Powder River Basin .

See our maps of the Union Pacific and find out about the

Union Pacific Museum .

We have an interesting article on Union Pacific streamliners .

See our reference section and catch some pictures of a happy railfan couple on the Union Pacific .

Recently, a Union Pacific business special was in the Chicago-area on CN Rail (formerly Elgin, Joliet & Eastern). The following comment appeared on an EJ&E forum:

"Sam! Sam! I just saw a yellow passenger train go by my house! A passenger train, Man! It wasn't an Amtrak! I didn't know there was anything but Amtrak! This train was yellow! Shiny yellow! It was really really cool! Man, it was a fine lookin' train! Is it something special? Can we ride it? Boy, did it ever look slick! It shined like gold! Hey, Sam! I'm not kiddin'! You shoulda seen it! Man, that was the sharpest lookin' train I ever saw! God, if I could ride that I'd never fly again! Hey, Sam! What is it? What kind of train is it? Did it ever look sweet! I wanna ride it!"

Union Pacific -- the railroad established by Congress and Abraham Lincoln to span the continent - is in the middle of a very tough period.

A 1996 merger with Southern Pacific to form the nation's largest railroad caused what regulators call an unprecedented breakdown in rail traffic through the heart of America that has lasted more than 10 months. Union Pacific Corporation reported a net loss of $62 million, or $.25 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 1998, reflecting the impact of continued congestion at its railroad subsidiary, as well as the costs of its service recovery efforts. In its most critical self-analysis to date, the railroad told its federal regulators that efforts to clear up the thousands of rail cars clogging Union Pacific's 36,000-mile system have been "inadequate" and "unacceptable." The railroad's performance has been so poor that top corporate executives will lose their bonuses for 1997.

In March, the railroad laid out a 30-day plan for resolving some of the most pressing difficulties, measures which include borrowing, buying and shifting 300 locomotives. But it warned that it might be forced to take "even more aggressive actions" if its plan fails to "generate substantial improvement." "These may include transferring business to other carriers and a temporary pause in shipments to allow the railroad to clear. The railroad said that the overall speed of its trains continued to drop as the number of cars within the system remained at excessively high levels. The traffic jam began in the Houston area last summer and spread across the railroad's 23-state network last fall. Union Pacific has acknowledged difficulties with its merger with Southern Pacific Corp, including problems with putting together computer systems and implementing a directional traffic system. The National Grain and Feed Association, at its annual convention, urged that the nation's railroads agree to mandatory arbitration of rate cases with their customers and that customers be allowed to switch carriers.

The National Industrial Transportation League, the nation's largest shippers group, first organized a meeting of UP customers in August at which time UP's problems largely were limited to Texas. After that session, in which UP promised a prompt solution, the delays and congestion mushroomed to engulf most UP lines and those of such competing and connecting railroads as Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. UP now insists that normal service has been restored to its 36,000-mile system, with the exception of portions of Texas and Louisiana. However, UP's most recent service data has shown that delays and congestion are increasing.

Meanwhile in Washington, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the influential chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, turned up the pressure on the rail industry. In a letter to Linda Morgan, chairman of the Surface Transportation Board, Sen. McCain urged the board to hold hearings into rail-industry service problems and pending mergers. "We fully support the deregulatory approach provided by the Staggers Rail Act of 1980," he wrote. But Western rail service troubles and the pending breakup of Conrail Inc. in the East "are serious issues which must be reviewed." So, too, are complaints by some small shippers who believe they are not receiving adequate service. He cited calls by some shippers for open access of rail lines. "We urge you to hold hearings" on these issues, he wrote.

As the customer groups were gathering, speculation continued about the next steps by Burlington Northern-Sante Fe and UP. BNSF chief executive Robert D. Krebs spoke to the group, and UP executives made a presentation. Mr. Krebs said BNSF wants to seek regulatory intervention by the Surface Transportation Board to reopen UP's 1996 merger with Southern Pacific unless substantial progress was made on a proposal to create jointly owned track on a key Houston-New Orleans route. BNSF has maintained that quick action is needed because delays on UP tracks are blocking BNSF from meeting commitments to its shippers.

On Feb. 13th, 1998, Union Pacific Railroad and The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company agreed to proceed immediately to set up a joint regional dispatching center for all of their Gulf Coast train operations, and to exchange half interests in the two pieces of the former Southern Pacific 342-mile Houston-New Orleans line now separately owned by each railroad. Additionally, both railroads will have access to all customers, including chemical, steel, gas and other companies, along the entire line, including former SP branch lines. The joint dispatching center will be located at the current UP command center in Spring, a Houston suburb. The entire former Southern Pacific Houston-New Orleans line will be dispatched by UP/BNSF employees, who will report to supervisors of both railroads at the center, as well as the Union Pacific line from Houston to Beaumont, dispatched by UP employees. The joint dispatching center will also manage and coordinate UP, BNSF, as well as Houston Belt & Terminal (HB&T) and Port Terminal Railroad Association (PTRA) lines in the Houston area. The trackage exchange is aimed at rationalizing the 1996 merger settlement agreement in which the former Southern Pacific line between Houston and New Orleans was divided between the two railroads. Currently, UP dispatches and operates the western 148 miles between Houston and Iowa Junction, near Lake Charles, Louisiana. BNSF dispatches and operates the eastern 194 miles from Iowa Junction to New Orleans. Both railroads operate through trains across the entire route. This proposal will restore the route's transportation capacity and provide for service improvements by managing the line's dispatch as a single through corridor

Burlington Northern and Texas-Mexican Railroad were discussing a deal in which Texas-Mexican would become Burlington's operating agent in south Texas. The deal would help alleviate the Union Pacific problem because it would allow Burlington Northern trains to get to the Laredo without passing through Union Pacific tracks in Houston. 52 percent of all land-based shipping between Mexico and the United States passes through Laredo. Texas-Mexican is 51 percent owned by Mexican transport giant TMM. The other 49 percent is held by Kansas City Southern Railway.

On February 11, Union Pacific said it would spend $570 million on capacity expansion in Texas and Louisiana and launch a study of that troubled rail operation. The railroad said in a statement the money would be used this year and next for capacity expansion, track upgrades and new facilities. Union Pacific said it was launching an intensive effort to evaluate operations and infrastructure requirements along the nearly 1,200-mile corridor running between El Paso and New Orleans and including the Houston complex. Overall the railroad would invest $2.4 billion in 1998 in its whole network, a figure close to 1997's spending.

For the Union Pacific Railroad workers crowded between shifts into motel's littered break rooms, nights and weekends never arrive. And almost everyone has horror stories about their schedules. Consider the conductor who departed Houston at 8:40 p.m. on a recent Thursday. So many other trains were trying to use the same rails that his 12-hour shift, the federally allowed maximum, brought him only 80 miles, just a third of the way to Livonia, a bayou town a couple of parishes west of Baton Rouge. With no choice but to halt, the conductor was stranded more than three hours until a van came to his rescue. It took nearly five hours more to reach the motel here. Dispatched back to Houston late on Saturday morning, he arrived shortly before midnight. After a few waking hours with his wife, he was back on duty just before noon on Sunday. This time he made it closer to the Livonia rail yard, but not close enough. Stranded again, a van driver dumped him at the motel at 2:15 a.m. Monday.

Even in normal times, to work on the railroad is to enter a world apart. Its schedules, culture and grimy, clangorous locales, where a slip or stumble can end a career or a life, make conductors and engineers a hidden brotherhood. It is an existence that outsiders, especially families, often cannot accept or understand.

In recent weeks, Union Pacific made enough progress in clearing out its Houston rail yards that schedules for many of this area's crews improved from impossible to merely exhausting. But then clogged traffic at the Laredo, Tex., gateway to Mexico backed up trains all the way to Kansas, forcing an embargo on many shipments and 16-hour days for other crews.

Union Pacific has responded to complaints over safety and service by agreeing to recruit thousands of new workers, though veterans say the inexperience of the new hires will present new risks. The railroad has also begun allowing workers to take a full 24 hours of rest after at least seven consecutive days of 12-hour-plus shifts. Another breakthrough: a company test, in the St. Louis area, of whether letting workers nap on idle trains might help them avoid nodding off when they are moving.

For Union Pacific, to bend at all is unusual. With systems modeled on the military, the company has seemingly endless rule books, infraction codes and penalties, governing everything from the appropriate choreography for jumping down from a train to how closely workers can approach a running or stopped engine before inserting their earplugs. "Insubordination," or refusing a direct order, is grounds for dismissal.

Pay for trainmen is about as good as blue-collar gets: usually $55,000 to $90,000 a year, including overtime, but $70,000 to more than $100,000 last year with all the extended shifts.

Union Pacific led the way in using technology to direct and monitor trains, lessening the need for large crews and eliminating cabooses. By the early 1990's, labor pacts had reduced the crews on long-distance trains to just two. Nationally, railroad employment fell to 256,000 by 1996 from more than twice that in 1980, as freight increased by nearly half.

For all the dislocation suffered by his company and its workers, tradition remains a common bond. A piece of track in Omaha, Neb., built in 1902 is still called 'the new cutoff.' The railroad is even famous in the movies: In 1939 - Cecil B. DeMille's motion picture, "Union Pacific", premiered in Omaha.

Union Pacific survived other problems in its long history. 1873 saw a near bankruptcy and a rescue by Jay Gould. From receivership after the panic of 1893, Union Pacific saw its "golden age" under the Harriman era. UP had even once before in the early 1900's owned the Southern Pacific but was forced out by antitrust laws. A 1949 blizzard tied the road up for weeks. In this battle five men lost their lives while the company used 14,000 men, 15 rotary snow plows, 33 wedge and spreader plows and 180 bulldozers to win. The Second World War and the Depression just before it required a rebuilding of the system in the late 1940's. Although a pioneer in diesels, Union Pacific lagged in conversion largely because of the company-owned Wyoming coal supply and the monster "Big Boys" still being on line. Deferred maintenance of structures, rolling stock and signal systems had to be overcome.

Over the years, Wall Street always considered Union Pacific a sleeping giant….rich in assets but slow to use them. Some brokers joked about UP as a fat old lady holding a bag of candy.

UP employees are fighting back with humor that, as in the old Soviet Union and now Russia, contrasts with cheery pronouncements from above. They speak of guiding trains by the calendar, not the clock. And they joke that the Ringling Brothers circus wanted to buy the company -- "not for the railroad; they wanted the clowns running it."

By Ken Kinlock at

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Happy railfan on the West Coast

Here's some photos of a happy railfan couple on Western United States rails.

This ex-Long Island railfan (and ex-Massena Terminal railfan) is making do without Eastern railroads.
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Here's A Classic: Union Pacific Dome
Union Pacific put the first of 60 new low-emission diesel locomotives in switching service in Los Angeles, CA. The new 2,100-horsepower locomotives are called "Generator Set," or "Genset." Each unit is powered by three 700-horsepower ultra-low emission EPA non-road Tier 3-certified diesel engines projected to reduce emissions of nitrous oxides and particulate matter by up to 80 percent. (ffd: UP Corp., Trains) Union Pacific in Rome, New York
UP doesn't own the track yet, but they "run through" a lot. This UP locomotive got in an accident in 2006 near Rome, New York on CSX (ex-New York Central) mainline.

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Union Pacific at Chicago Rail Fair
Union Pacific Big Boy at Chicago Rail Fair

Other transcontinental railroads

Northern Pacific

Milwaukee Railroad

Great Northern Railway

Santa Fe Railroad

George J. Gould attempted to assemble a truly transcontinental system in the 1900s. The line from San Francisco, California to Toledo, Ohio was completed in 1909, consisting of the Western Pacific Railway, Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, Missouri Pacific Railroad and Wabash Railroad. Beyond Toledo, the planned route would have used the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway, Wabash-Pittsburgh Terminal Railway, Little Kanawha Railroad, West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway, Western Maryland Railroad and Philadelphia and Western Railway, but the Panic of 1907 stopped the plans before the Little Kanawha section could be finished.
Skiing Skiing

Robert Young of the New York Central and cross-country Pullmans

I imagine Young came to regret his campaign because he ended up paying to switch several cars a day around Chicago, while the passengers changed station by Parmelee transfer just like their fellow travelers.

I once looked at the dates and if my memory is correct the time between Young's ad and the first transcontinental sleeper shown in the Official Guide was less than the time that would have been needed for at least two railroads and the Pullman Company to make the decision, do the necessary planning and get the schedule published in the guide. There may be more to it than that. As I recall, Young had created the Federation for Railway Progress as a counterweight to the AAR. Remember that he cast himself as an outsider, and as such, had long been an outspoken critic of the industry. And he had made speeches that included the claim that there was no transcontinental Pullman service in advance of the FRP ad. The important historical judgement is to determine whether there was any real need for transcontinental Pullman car service. Most of the lines which were instituted shortly after the controversy began required several hours of layover time in places like Chicago and St.Louis--time which most passengers used in town touring, dining or shopping, rather than staying aboard to experience the wonders of car switching. In essence, the AAR and its members were neatly snookered by a clever campaign designed to make them look backward and Young progressive.

What is a GREEN Railroad?

Union Pacific Saves Fuel While Increasing Efficiency

Fuel reduction initiatives save nearly $7 million during first quarter

Omaha, Neb., April 28, 2006 – As fuel prices continue to rise, the pain at the pump is leading consumers to look for ways to improve fuel economy. The same is true for the nation’s largest railroad. Imagine the cost of fueling a 4,000 horsepower vehicle with a 4,900-gallon tank. Union Pacific fuels nearly 8,000 of these vehicles every day. They are the diesel locomotives that move the consumer goods, food, energy and construction materials fueling the nation’s economy.

Even though fuel prices are at record highs, and the railroad is hauling more materials than ever before (four percent more than last year at this time), Union Pacific was able to shave two percent off its diesel fuel consumption during the first quarter of 2006 – resulting in nearly $7 million in savings. The railroad was able to achieve the savings through a number of energy conservation initiatives, including:
* Creation and deployment of the Fuel Masters program to reward locomotive engineers for efficiently operating trains
* Acquisition of newer, more fuel-efficient locomotives
* Implementation of changes in traffic flow and operations to move freight more efficiently.

"We all have a role to play in helping conserve fuel for our nation, and Union Pacific employees are doing it every day," said Jim Young, president and CEO, Union Pacific. "In a relatively short period of time, our employees have made great strides in implementing and creating world-class energy conservation techniques that are helping us to move more freight while saving fuel. With their help we will continue to improve our efficiency while delivering the goods America needs."

Railroad versus Road

In terms of fuel efficiency, railroads are three times more fuel-efficient than trucks. If just 10 percent of the freight moved by highway were diverted to rail, the nation could save as much as 200 million gallons of fuel each year. And, railroad fuel efficiency has increased by 72 percent since 1980. Prior to 1980, a gallon of diesel fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 235 miles. In 2001, the same amount of fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 406 miles. Overall, railroads and rail suppliers have reduced the weight and increased the capacity of rail cars to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

Studies also indicate the diversion of freight traffic from truck to rail can reduce highway congestion. For example:
* One intermodal train can take 280 trucks (equal to 1,100 cars) off our already congested highways
* Trains carrying other types of freight can take up to 500 trucks off the highway.

A study of 50 major U.S. metro areas by transportation consultant Wendell Cox found that the diversion of 25 percent of truck freight to rail would lead, by 2025, to:
* 2.8 billion fewer traveler-hours wasted in congested traffic
* A savings of 16 billion gallons of fuel
* Nearly 800,000 fewer tons of air pollution.

"Union Pacific is committed to the development and use of new technologies to preserve the environment for future generations," said Young. "Environmental protection is a primary management responsibility as well as the responsibility of every Union Pacific employee."

A Green Railroad
Did you know that railroads are one of the most environmentally friendly modes of freight transportation? It's true. Freight trains are three times more fuel-efficient than over-the-road trucks and have less of an impact on air emissions than trucks.

With nearly 55 percent of its locomotives certified under existing EPA Tier 0, Tier 1 and Tier 2 standards, UP owns the cleanest fleet in the nation, using technology to further reduce fuel consumption and diesel engine exhaust-related emissions.

Union Pacific has been working with two manufacturers to field-test new, high-horsepower locomotives that surpass the EPA's most stringent emission standards. UP was able to test the locomotives under severe operating conditions before the locomotives went into production. Since 2000, more than 2,600 new fuel-efficient, long-haul, high-horsepower locomotives have been added to Union Pacific’s fleet. More than 1,700 older locomotives were retired, and more than 1,700 locomotive diesel engines were overhauled or rebuilt.

To reduce emissions in the train yard, Union Pacific tested the world's first diesel-battery hybrid switch locomotive in early 2002. The "Green Goat" is similar in concept to the Toyota Prius automobile, which relies on both a gasoline engine and on a battery-powered electric motor.

The Green Goat, however, depends entirely on its large, onboard storage batteries, which are charged by a small diesel engine, to provide all propulsion power. The Green Goat hybrid locomotive is estimated to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by up to 80, and reduce fuel consumption by at least 16 percent, compared to a conventional switch locomotive.

Union Pacific also is pioneering another low-emissions switch locomotive, the "Genset Switcher." This prototype uses modified, low-emissions EPA-certified "off-road" diesel engines (derived from low-emissions, truck-style diesel engines) and was delivered to the railroad in late 2005.

Like the Green Goat hybrid, the Genset is expected to reduce emission of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by up to 80 percent and achieve a similar 16 percent reduction in fuel consumption. In 2007, some 150 Gensets are scheduled to begin service.

AL GORE, take note, these people are trying!

A lot of us think more mass transit when we think "Green Railroad". Both freight and passenger are important.

Take a look at an "OP-ED" viewpoint on green railroads. Thought provoking!


Union Pacific's Streamliners and Passenger Trains

by Don Strack
Union Pacific streamliner at Boulder Dam
Union Pacific streamliner at Boulder Dam

This card is from my collection which I found in St Joseph, Michigan.

Union Pacific: The New Transcontinental?

Well, in 1869, Union Pacific might have been called the "transcontinental railroad", but it didn't go from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. Since then, has it been trying to become the first United States railroad to do just that? Well, now it goes from the Pacific to Chicago. Will it try and buy its way to the Atlantic? It couldn't buy Conrail, but merger rumors still exist. How about Canadian Pacific???

CPR chief pooh-poohs takeover rumours: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.'s best defence against any potential hostile suitor will be maintaining a streak of higher profit and lower operating costs, the company's chief executive officer told the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Fred Green, who took over the top job in April, 2006, said Tuesday that he's aware of recurring rumours that Calgary-based CPR is a takeover target. Some CPR employees, anxious about takeover speculation, recently circulated internally by e-mail a portrait of a beaver, representing CPR, sitting on the blue-topped, red-striped logo of Union Pacific Corp. of Omaha.

Besides Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern Corp. of Norfolk, Va., is frequently mentioned as a possible bidder for CPR.

CPR shares rose $1.61, or 3 per cent, to $55.60 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. More than 1.3 million shares traded hands, or double the average daily volume.

Mr. Green also said that even if an unwelcome bidder emerges, there are high obstacles to clear in the form of regulatory approvals required from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB).
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On passenger trains, railroads operated lots of equipment other than sleepers, coaches, dining cars, etc. This equipment was generally called 'head-end' equipment, these 'freight' cars were at one time plentiful and highly profitable for the railroads. In the heyday of passenger service, these industries were a big part of the railroad's operations, and got serious attention.
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Bailey Yard  (Union Pacific)

UP's main line across Nebraska is the busiest in the world, averaging 125 trains daily.

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Union Pacific's Bailey Yard

Union Pacific Railroad's Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska, is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. It was named in honor of former Union Pacific President Edd H. Bailey. If the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers were to play here, they'd have enough room for 2,800 football fields. This massive yard covers 2,850 acres, reaching a total length of eight miles, well beyond the borders of North Platte, a community of 25,000 citizens. Put end-to-end, Bailey Yard's 315 miles of track would reach from North Platte in western Nebraska east past Omaha on the Iowa border along the Missouri River. Every 24 hours, Bailey Yard handles 10,000 railroad cars. Of those, 3,000 are sorted daily in the yard's eastward and westward yards, nicknamed "hump" yards. Using a mound cresting 34 feet for eastbound trains and 20.1 feet for those heading west, these two hump yards allow four cars a minute to roll gently into any of 114 "bowl" tracks where they become part of trains headed for dozens of destinations. Together, these two yards have 18 receiving and 16 departure tracks.

New Haven's Cedar Hill Yard

When Cedar Hill Railyard in New Haven,CT.was built it was 880 acres,154 Miles of track,& could hold 15,000 railcars. Are the new railyards built now just as large or larger?Cedar Hill was big but it was not a really modern yard by today's standards. Three separate retarder towers all had to be manned when-ever they were humping cars and this was on two different humps if bothhumps were operating. The tracks ran around rivers and waterways, the tracks in the departure yards were too short for modern trains, the yard was very labor intensive and it took too many people in order to operate this facility. Last, the biggest reason that the yard is pretty much not used today is because New Haven is no longer used for through freight trains. The freight bound for New England is mostly off CSX through themodern facility at Selkirk and via the B & A which connects with the former New Haven at a number of locations. Many modern freight cars today can't even get into Cedar Hill due to clearance restrictions, low bridges, overhead wires and tunnels are the biggest problems. During the New Haven Railroad days and into the Penn Central period as well, New Haven and Cedar Hill was a huge freight hub for southern New England. Today it is a stub end terminal from Springfield with a lesser operation via the P & W from Worcester via Norwich. Years ago there were 20 or more yard jobs on each shift, today there are around 3 jobs left in the whole terminal
Cedar Hill Yard Driving north from New Haven, Cedar Hill yard cannot be overlooked. Its still used, but not to the extent it was 50 year ago. Imagine, over 9,000 cars handled on one day! Cedar Hill was built between 1910 and 1920. Cedar Hill became in the 1920's the keystone of the whole New Haven Railroad freight operation. It seems to have started out as a more local facility, then grown into that larger role. Or was the idea of making it the center part of the original intention?
This article was published in June 1998 in the BRIDGE LINE BULLETIN of the Bridge Line Historical Society.
Rich Neighbor

After being around since 1861, there is no more Southern Pacific Railroad.

It died last September as the merger with Union Pacific took effect. Many rail passenger advocates were not sorry to see it go. In the early days of California politics, SP exercised a lot of control because of its transportation monopoly. SP became famous for its hostility to passenger service. Starting in the mid-1950’s, it put automat diners on intercity trains and made offers to purchase vans for commuters to get rid of them. This mentality even carried over to the Amtrak era when someone else stood the losses.

SP was also known for its long, slow freights. When a federal judge asked them to justify an 8-hour delay of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, the railroad replied that freights were routinely delayed 48 hours, and that Amtrak was getting premium service.

Will SP’s negative vestiges vanish into the Union Pacific as virtually the entire identity of the Western Pacific did several years ago? Or, will SP’s ghost still haunt California’s rails via management transfers to Omaha? has provided a 1942 Quiz Book on Railroads and Railroading.

Here's some interesting questions and answers:

What is the longest non-stop passenger run in the United States?

The Union Pacific Diesel-powered streamliner "City of Los Angeles", which runs non-stop for 324.5 miles between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Caliente, Nevada.

What was the fastest transcontinental run ever made?

In October, 1934, the Union Pacific Diesel-powered Streamliner "City of Portland" (M-10001) made an experimental run from Los Angeles to New York City, a distance of 3,248 miles, in 56 hours and 55 minutes, including stops en route. This is the fastest transcontinental passenger run ever made by a single train.

Powder River Basin

Here's a map

Its a joint line with BNSF. Here's some details.

Here's some history on the line

It is busiest rail corridor in World. Here's an overview
King Preferred

Maps of the Union Pacific

UP System Map
Other interesting UP maps
The Union Pacific system of railroad and steamship lines, 1900
Bailey Yard
Historical maps on the UP WebSite

Railroads On The Rebound

Over the last 50+ years, railroads have changed a lot. Now they are about to change again.

It is all about a combination of economic factors and climate factors.

Since 1950 , railroads have consolidated. Freight moved from a "box car mentality" to a "unit train,mentality". Passenger went from a robust business to a "caretaker" arrangement called AMTRAK. This happened as everybody could drive for free on the Interstate Highway System or fly on an airline system where the government subsidized both airlines and airports. In the meantime, railroad express and railroad post offices went "down the tubes". The old Post Office Department and the Railway Express Agency could not adjust to the new way. UPS and Fex Ex could.
Carbon Calculator
What's the most environmentally-friendly way to transport goods? The answer is freight rail. The EPA estimates that every ton-mile of freight that moves by rail instead of by highway reduces greenhouse emissions by two-thirds. But what does that really mean? Our easy-to-use carbon calculator will estimate the amount of carbon dioxide that can be prevented from entering our environment just by using freight rail instead of trucks. We'll even tell you how many seedlings you'd need to plant to have the same effect.

Union Pacific is testing several different high-tech grade crossing guards in an attempt to stop motorist who insist on driving around, or through, lowered gates and ignoring flashing lights and bells.

One new device is the snare net that is stored above road-level at crossings then lowered as a train approaches to stop vehicles that ignore the warning signals. The nets are designed to stop a truck doing 60 miles per hour without seriously hurting the driver. This system will be tested on a UP line in Southern Illinois. Video surveillance cameras are being used at a crossing in Ames, IA. The camera takes a picture of the driver and the license plate, the image is then transmitted directly to the police department and activates the ticket-writing process. Median gates and four-quadrant gates which would prevent impatient drivers from driving around lowered gates are also being studied.

A super railroad gate is on track for Kimberly, Wisconsin. The Marcella Street barrier would be capable of stopping trucks. It is guaranteed to stop a full-sized pickup truck dead in its tracks. A semitrailer truck would be diverted by it. State officials plan to approve installation of a state-of-the-art railroad crossing protective device known as a barrier gate as early as this fall. The gate, which employs steel cables of the type used to catch jets landing on aircraft carriers, will be the first such installation in the United States. Plans by Wisconsin Central Ltd. to install two siding tracks near Marcella Street will create a dangerous situation and put it near the top of the list of scores of crossings in the state needing safety improvements. Wisconsin Central plans to install the sidings to use as storage, which will include a significant number of tank cars loaded with hazardous materials, such as chlorine, used primarily in the manufacture of paper products. A spokeswoman for Wisconsin Central, said the work involves reopening an abandoned siding and adding a second siding. The work is being funded by the state Department of Transportation as part of an agreement with the railroad to relocate switching operations from the downtown Kaukauna area as part of the reconstruction and relocation of State 55 through the city. Increased train traffic and the presence of hazardous materials, coupled with heavy vehicle traffic, including cement trucks entering and exiting an adjacent cement manufacturing plant, makes protection of the crossing vital. Marcella Street is a reasonably busy street with between 500 and 1,000 vehicles a day, and there are apartment complexes on the north and east sides. Barrier gates of the type planned for Marcella Street will descend and rest in a receiving clamp on the opposite site of the street, unlike conventional gates that allow motorists to drive around the gates. Three high-tensile stainless steel cables will be tied together in a netlike configuration. The state has a demonstration barrier gate in place in Madison and another gate is in operation in San Jose, Calif., at a blind curve in the tracks. But both of those gates span only half the roadway.
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