Union Pacific Railroad


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Union Pacific Railroad,

transportation company chartered (1862) by Congress to build part of the nation's first transcontinental railroad line. Under terms of the Pacific Railroads Act, the Union Pacific was authorized to build a line westward from Omaha, Nebr., to the California-Nevada line, where it was to connect with the Central Pacific RR—which was to be built simultaneously from Sacramento, Calif. Each railroad company, after completion of an initial 40 mi (64 km) of track, was to be granted 6,400 acres (2,589 hectares) of public lands and a loan of from $16,000 to $48,000 for each mile of track laid. In 1864, Congress doubled the land grant, considerably eased the terms of government loans, and allowed the two railroad companies to borrow private capital. Also in 1864 and again in 1866 the Central Pacific was authorized to build eastward beyond the Nevada line.

In 1865 construction of the Union Pacific was begun from Omaha westward, and a long succession of harrowing construction problems, Indian troubles, and delays were encountered. Nevertheless, on May 10, 1869, the Union Pacific joined the Central Pacific, NW of Ogden, Utah, thus connecting the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean by rail and completing the nation's first transcontinental railroad. The joining of the roads was marked in ceremony by the driving of a golden spike.

Construction of both roads involved tremendous profiteering, and in 1872 the scandal involving the Crédit Mobilier of AmericaCrédit Mobilier of America
, ephemeral construction company, connected with the building of the Union Pacific RR and involved in one of the major financial scandals in American history. Oakes Ames, Thomas C.
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, an ephemeral holding company to which most of the Union Pacific's liquid assets had been transferred (1867), was unearthed. The fraud, combined with later mismanagement and overextensions, left the Union Pacific with heavy financial burdens, and in 1893 the company went into receivership. It was reincorporated (1897) as the Union Pacific RR Company in Utah, and under the management of Edward H. HarrimanHarriman, Edward Henry,
1848–1909, American railroad executive, b. Hempstead, N.Y.; father of William Averell Harriman. He became a stockbroker in New York City and soon entered the railroad field, where he attracted attention by able management of the Illinois Central RR,
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 the railroad was expanded, vastly improved, and stabilized.

n 1901, Harriman added the Southern Pacific (see Southern Pacific CompanySouthern Pacific Company,
transportation system chartered (1865) in California and later reincorporated in Kentucky (1885) and Delaware (1947). Small railroads—known collectively as the Southern Pacific—were built and merged after 1865 in S California to provide
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) and the Central Pacific to his expanding railroad empire, and his spectacular attempt to control the Northern Pacific led to the formation of the Northern Securities Company, a huge rail monopoly that controlled transportation throughout the Northwest. Under pressure from President Theodore Roosevelt, the giant holding company was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 1904. Four years later the court ordered the Union Pacific RR Company to relinquish its control of the Southern Pacific, and in 1913 the separation was completed.

The Union Pacific also acquired large holdings in railroads in the East and later gained control over Western motor-coach lines. In 1936 the railroad initiated the development of Sun Valley, Idaho, into a popular winter resort. The Union Pacific acquired the Missouri Pacific and Western Pacific RRs in 1982 and M-K-T RR in 1988. In 1995 it agreed to purchase the Chicago and North Western RR, and it acquired the ailing Southern Pacific in 1996. By 1997 the much-expanded railroad was plagued by accidents, late arrivals, and congested rail lines; federal regulators intervened, allowing two competing railroads to share Union Pacific's tracks, to keep shipments moving (the track-sharing order was lifted in 1998). Today the railroad, with around 33,000 mi (53,000 km) of track in the West, Midwest, and Gulf Coast regions, is a subsidiary of the highly diversified Union Pacific Corporation; in 1999 the corporation split the railroad operation into three semiautonomous units (for the northern, southern, and western sections of the system).

Bibliography

See J. P. Davis, The Union Pacific Railway (1894, repr. 1973); G. M. Dodge, How We Built the Union Pacific Railway (1910, repr. 1966); N. Trottman, The History of the Union Pacific (1923); D. H. Bain, Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad (1999); M. Klein, Union Pacific (3 vol., 2006–11).

References in periodicals archive ?
Union Pacific Railroad has been negotiating with landowners, but the company can use eminent domain to force landowners to part with their property if they will not sell.
Union Pacific Rail Road Across the Continent West from Omaha, Nebraska, 1865-1870 (New York: Union Pacific Railroad Company, 1868), CHS2011.665.tif
Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country.
Union Pacific Railroad recently announced it will introduce 10 new hybrid "Green Goat" locomotives at its Houston and Fort Worth rail yards.
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In 2000, Tie Tek landed the industry's first big order--200,000 ties for the Union Pacific Railroad. In 2002, the order grew to a million ties over a six-year period.
Congress then authorized the Central Pacific to build a railroad eastward from California and chartered the Union Pacific Railroad in New York.
Ina Daniels McGee, aged 69, and Julie Mae Wyatt-Kervin, aged 99, want financial compensation from 100 US corporations including Fortune 500 financial-services firm JP Morgan Chase and Union Pacific Railroad.
Davidson joined Union Pacific Railroad in 1982 when it merged with the Missouri Pacific and the Western Pacific Railroads.
The Union Pacific Railroad has posted a guide to load restraint methods at http://my.uprr.com/pub/damprev/loading/intguide/intgui2.shtml.
The castings are to be used on GM's SD-70 series locomotives recently ordered by Union Pacific Railroad. The value of the casting and machining order is expected to reach $69 million over the life of the project.
The Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad were joined at Promontory Point near Ogden, Utah, with the symbolic hammering of a golden spike on May 10, 1869.

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