1915 – MP and SLIM&S
declare bankruptcy and are placed into receivership. WP goes into
receivership, followed by D&RGW. A year later, WP reorganizes. Gould loses
control of the railroad.
1917 – MP and SLIM&S are
reorganized and merged into the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company.
1921 – Discovery of the
Lincoln railroad car silver in a UP vault in Omaha leads to the founding
of the Union Pacific Historical Museum in the headquarters building.
1924 – MP gains control of
the New Orleans, Texas & Mexico Railroad and its subsidiaries. By 1929, MP
and NOT&M have added several other Texas and Louisiana railroads to their
1928 – The 6.21 mile-long
Moffat Tunnel is completed in Colorado, allowing Denver & Salt Lake to
abandon its route over Rollins Pass and shorten its route by 22.84 miles.
1930 – The Denver & Rio
Grande Western gains control of the Denver & Salt Lake.
1931 – WP completes
construction between Keddie and Bieber, CA on the Inside Gateway route.
This line, in conjunction with the Great Northern, competes with SP for
traffic to Oregon and California.
1932 – SP gains control of
the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, commonly known as the Cotton Belt.
1933 – MP declares
bankruptcy and is placed in trusteeship.
1934 – The nation's first
streamliner, the M-10000, introduces luxury passenger service. The Denver
& Rio Grande Western completes the construction of the Dotsero cutoff,
connecting the D&RGW and D&SL main lines in central Colorado and opening a
direct route between Denver and Salt Lake City.
1935 – Western Pacific goes
1936 – UP opens the Sun
Valley Resort in Idaho, the country's first western ski resort. It
features the nation's first ski lift with chairs, invented by railroad
personnel in Omaha. C&NW, UP and SP jointly inaugurate the City of San
Francisco streamliner running between Chicago and Oakland.
1937 – Diesel-electric
locomotives are introduced on the Missouri Pacific.
1939 – Cecil B. DeMille's
motion picture "Union Pacific" premieres in Omaha.
1941 – The largest steam
locomotive ever built, the Big Boy, goes into service on UP lines. This
same year, diesel power is introduced for freight service.
1944 – The last steam
engine built for the UP, number 844, is constructed.
1945 – WP emerges from
1949 – Blizzards strike
Nebraska and Wyoming, closing UP's main line for seven weeks.
1955 – Missouri Pacific
retires its last steam locomotive.
1956 – A 23-year
trusteeship, the longest in U.S. rail history, ends as MP is reorganized.
The Gulf Coast lines (NOTM, BSL&W, O&NW, NI&N, ISM&E, SLB&M, IGN, SAS,
SAUG, AB, SB&RGV, SL, H&BV, HNS) are absorbed into MP.
1958 – UP acquires Spokane
International, giving UP a connection with Canadian Pacific Railway.
Litchfield & Madison is merged into Chicago and North Western. Steam
engines make their last runs on SP.
1960 – UP targets Chicago,
Rock Island & Pacific as a merger partner, beginning one of the longest,
most bitterly contested merger proposals in railroad history. SP and Santa
Fe begin an attempt to acquire the WP. Minneapolis & St. Louis is merged
1961 – SP absorbs its Texas
& New Orleans subsidiary.
1964 – Texas & Pacific
gains control of the Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf and Midland Valley Railways.
The KO&G-MV partner, Oklahoma City-Ada-Atoka Railway, is sold to the
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.
1965 – The Pacific Electric
subsidiary is absorbed into SP.
1966 – ICC rejects the
SP-AT&SF bid to acquire the WP.
1967 – MP gains control of
the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad. SP completes the 78-mile
Palmdale-Colton cutoff, allowing trains to bypass the Los Angeles basin.
1968 – UP acquires the
Mount Hood Railroad. The Chicago Great Western is merged into C&NW. MP and
C&NW gain joint control of the Alton and Southern.
1969 – The Union Pacific
Corporation is established as a holding company, with Union Pacific
Railroad as one of its operating companies. The Ft. Dodge, Des Moines &
Southern is leased by C&NW. MP sells the Evansville line (eastern side) of
C&EI to Louisville & Nashville, and the Chicago to Woodland junction
passes into joint MP-L&N ownership.
1970 – Western Pacific's
California Zephyr vista dome passenger train makes its last run. D&RGW
loses the last vestige of its steam-powered narrow gauge empire when the
Chama, New Mexico to Durango, Colorado line is abandoned. Durango to
Silverton remains as a tourist attraction, while Chama to Antonito,
Colorado is sold for tourist train use.
1971 – The National Rail
Passenger Service Act transfers most passenger service to Amtrak (America,
Travel and Track). Some railroads, notably the Denver & Rio Grande
Western, Southern, and Chicago, and Rock Island & Pacific hold out and
continue to operate their own trains.
1974 – The ICC rules in
favor of the UP-CRI&P merger, but three months later UP terminates its
offer for the CRI&P, as the line is steadily declining. Rock Island falls
1976 – The Railroad
Revitalization and Regulatory Reform (4R) Act calls for the restructuring
of bankrupt lines and makes $2.1 billion in repayable financing available
to northeastern and midwestern companies. The Chicago & Eastern Illinois
and Texas & Pacific subsidiaries are absorbed into MP; the parent
corporation, Mississippi River Corp., is renamed the Missouri Pacific
1977 – The first
double-stack car for container traffic is designed and tested by SP.
1978 – Pacific Fruit
Express, jointly owned by SP and UP, is dissolved equally. It becomes the
SPFE and UPFE companies.
1980 – The Union Pacific,
Missouri Pacific and Western Pacific railroads file merger applications
with the Interstate Commerce Commission. Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
ceases operations. In the following years, many of its lines are sold to
other railroads, including MP, SSW and MKT. SSW acquires the Rock Island
"Tucumcari" line and gains access to Kansas City. The MKT subsidiary
Oklahoma, Kansas & Texas is created by purchasing Herington, KS to Dallas,
TX from CRI&P.
1982 – The UP-MP-WP merger
is approved by ICC. As conditions of the merger, D&RGW gains trackage
rights from Pueblo to Kansas City and SP gains trackage rights from Kansas
City to St. Louis via MP.
1983 – D&RGW ceases
operation of its Denver-Salt Lake City Rio Grande Zephyr and joins Amtrak.
1984 – UP and C&NW complete
a connector line to the Powder River coal basin fields in eastern Wyoming.
1986 – C&NW purchases the
Kansas City-Minneapolis "Spine Line" from the Rock Island trustee after
fierce competition from the Soo Line. C&NW proceeds to abandon the
now-redundant ex-CGW line.
1988 – UP acquires the
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, commonly known as the Katy. Rio Grande
Industries acquires the Southern Pacific Railroad. The D&RGW and SP
railroads are merged, retaining the SP name.
1989 – UP's Harriman
Dispatching Center opens in Omaha, centralizing all train dispatching in
one location. UP purchases 25% of Chicago & North Western stock, which is
held in a voting trust. SP gains access to Chicago with the purchase of
the St. Louis to Chicago line from the defunct Chicago, Missouri &
Western. SP sets up a SPCSL (SP-Chicago-St. Louis) subsidiary.
1993 – Disastrous flooding
during the summer months strikes the midwestern states, causing millions
of dollars in damage to UP and other railroads' physical plants. Train
service is disrupted for several weeks throughout the region, as
1994 – UP gains minority
control of the C&NW following the ICC's approval of the voting control
granted by its stock holdings. UP makes an offer for the Atchison, Topeka
& Santa Fe in competition with Burlington Northern.
1995 – UP merges with C&NW
after acquiring the remaining 75% of its stock. UP ends its attempts to
acquire the Santa Fe. The BN and AT&SF merge into the BNSF Corporation,
and SP gains significant trackage rights from BNSF as a merger concession.
On July 23, Union Pacific announces it will run a special passenger train
across major portions of the United States to carry the 1996 Centennial
Olympic Games flame to Atlanta. On August 3, UP and SP announce their
intent to merge. Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe reach a
comprehensive agreement on September 27 to preserve and intensify rail
competition following the UP/SP merger. On November 30, Union Pacific
files its application with the Interstate Commerce Commission to acquire
Southern Pacific. The 50,000th coal train is operated out of Wyoming's
Powder River Basin on December 28, 12 years after UP operated the first
train over the newly constructed connector line on August 16, 1984.
1996 – On January 19, plans
are announced of the intent to sell the 203-mile "Colony Line" in western
South Dakota and Wyoming to the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad.
The 40-day journey of the Union Pacific 1996 Olympic Torch Relay Train
begins its run on April 26. The Surface Transportation Board votes to
approve the UP/SP merger on July 3. On July 27, Dick Davidson is elected
as Union Pacific Corporation COO, and Ron Burns is elected as Union
Pacific Railroad president. The Union Pacific-Southern Pacific merger
takes effect on September 11, forming the largest railroad in the U.S. Ron
Burns resigns as CEO and president of Union Pacific Railroad on November
6. Jerry Davis is named president and COO of the railroad. Dick Davidson,
president and COO of UP Corporation and chairman of UPRR, is named CEO of
the railroad. Dick Davidson is elected chairman and CEO of Union Pacific
Corporation on November 21, succeeding the retiring Drew Lewis.
1997 – On January 1, the
Missouri Pacific Railroad legally merges into Union Pacific Railroad, with
UPRR remaining as the surviving corporation. The Feather River Canyon line
reopens on March 3, after massive flooding closed the line on January 2.
On May 2, the first major step in the UP/SP merger is taken with the
completion of the first of four cutovers to the computerized
Transportation Control System (TCS); the former Denver & Rio Grande
Western portion of the SP. The former SP headquarters building in San
Francisco is offered for sale on June 15. A joint safety team of UP
managers, union employees and Federal Railroad Administration
representatives is established to review safety across the UP system on
August 27. On September 3, UP and FRA unveiled a package of Safety
Assurance Compliance Process measures (SACP). Union Pacific files a
Service Recovery Plan with the Surface Transportation Board aimed at
eliminating congestion on October 1.
1998 – UP and BNSF announce
that a joint regional dispatching center for Gulf Coast operations will be
opened in Spring, Texas on March 15. On April 2, work begins on restoring
17 miles of former Missouri-Kansas-Texas track in new Braunfels, Texas to
improve train movement between Ft. Worth and San Antonio. UP and BNSF
announce the sale of the jointly-owned Camas Prairie Railroad in Idaho to
a subsidiary of North American RailNet, Incorporated on April 17. On July
6, the sale of 12 miles of the Colorado Royal Gorge line to a tourist
railroad is announced. A new $70 million intermodal terminal opens at
Marion, Arkansas, 10 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee, on July 10. Ike
Evans is named president and COO, and Jerry Davis is named vice chairman
of Union Pacific Railroad, on September 15. A new $32 million diesel shop
is dedicated at Hinkle, Oregon on November 23, and a special train
dedicates the restoration of double track in western Iowa on December 1.
1999 – Union Pacific
increases it's financial interest in Ferrocarril Mexicano (Ferromex) to 26
percent. UP and Burlington Northern Santa Fe agree to coordinated
dispatching operations covering Southern California, the Kansas City area
and the coal-rich Powder River Basin of Wyoming. It is the largest
railroad coordinated dispatching agreement in history. The rebuilt
classification yard in Roseville, Calif., is reopened and named after
retired UP Vice Chairman Jerry Davis. One of the largest railroad
construction projects in modern times, the rebuilding of the double track
main line and the addition of a third main track across Central Nebraska
is completed. The segment is the busiest freight corridor in North
America. An agreement is reached with the Electro-Motive Division of
General Motors Corporation to lease 1,000 new SD70M locomotives, the
largest single unit order in history and the beginning of an extensive
locomotive replacement program.
2000 – A 105-mile
double-track project is completed between Gibbon, Neb. and Marysville,
Kan. A new auto unloading facility is opened in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Another new auto facility also is opened in Centreville, Ill., serving the
St. Louis area.
2001 – Union Pacific
tightens security across its system following terrorist attacks in New
York City and against the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. Union Pacific begins
adding large American flag decals to the sides of its locomotives.
Union Pacific named railroad supplier to the 2002
Olympic Winter Games.
2002 – Union Pacific
Corporation celebrates construction of its new 19-story headquarters
building in Omaha. The building is scheduled to open in 2004. The sale of
track and land between San Jose and Fremont, Calif. to the Santa Clara
Valley Transportation Authority is announced. The company also announces
the sale of land and track to the Utah Transit Authority for commuter
train operation along the Wasatch Front. A licensing program for use of
Union Pacific trademarks is announced.
Union Pacific operates a special train carrying the
Olympic flame across 11 states over more than 3,200 miles enroute to the
Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
2003 – The Union Pacific
Museum is opened at the historic Council Bluffs Carnegie Library.