The Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad in the United States. Its 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.

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 North Western and Southern Pacific.

Its chief competitor is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) that covers much of the same territory.

Union Pacific has, of this writing, over 33,000 route miles of track, 47,000 employees, over 7,000 locomotives and over 90,000 freight cars.

Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch gang holding up a Union Pacific train

Table of contents
1 Paint and colors
2 Historic locomotives
3 Preserved locomotives
4 See also
5 References

Paint and colors

The Union Pacific's basic paint scheme for its 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-horsepower 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 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.

Historic locomotives

The UP, uniquely among modern railroads, maintains a small fleet of historic locomotives for special trains and hire.

  • 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; it was never even briefly withdrawn from service, uniquely among surviving American steam locomotives.
  • 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 displayed outside the Cheyenne, Wyoming roundhouse 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 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.

In addition there are a number of other locomotives kept in storage for possible future restoration.

Preserved locomotives

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
  • 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.
  • UP 9000, a Union Pacific 9000 class 4-12-2 giant non-articulated freight locomotive, at the Los Angeles County Fairplex, Pomona, California.

See also