The Union Pacific Railroad (UP) is one of the oldest companies in the
United States. Created for the purpose of building half of the first
transcontinental railroad, it has survived into the modern era and grown to one of the
largest, and last remaining, Class I railroads.
landscape for railroads has gone through enormous change since the enactment
of the Staggers Act in 1980. This act deregulated the railroad
industry, creating a much more competitive atmosphere, and spawned an era of
mergers. UP was one of the first railroads into the game, merging with
the Western Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads in 1982. Thirteen
years later, UP acquired the Chicago & Northwestern, as the Burlington
Northern - Santa Fe merger was taking place, and the following year
consummated its merger with the Southern Pacific Railroad. UP now
owned a network of rail lines that spiderwebbed across the western United
As part of the SP merger, UP acquired what had been the Denver &
Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW), whose lines connected Denver with Salt
Lake City, among other things. This acquisition, along with SP's
Donner Pass route, gave UP its highest mountain crossings. UP had
always had its share of steep grades to overcome, but this took it to a
whole new level. The D&RGW (and later the SP) also had a near-monopoly
on the Colorado coal market, so UP assumed the operational headache of
massive coal trains on tortuous grades.
This website focuses on
UP's operations in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico (with a few forays beyond), since the
SP merger of 1996. This region is dominated by the aforementioned coal
traffic, but also includes its share of local and manifest freight traffic,
and even the occasional intermodal train. We'll find a mix of UP and
predecessor-road power, lots of remote-control helpers, and miles and miles
of coal hoppers!
I will be adding continually to the photos here, as
So, here is my humble offering of UP photos.