Union Pacific Railroad Profile
The Union Pacific Railroad is the largest in the United States, operating almost 32,000 track miles and employing almost 45,000 individuals. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, the railroad company operates tracks in 23 different states west of the Mississippi, and has negotiated deals with other railroad companies to operate their own trains with their own employees on competing railroads' main tracks.
Union Pacific was first incorporated in 1862, under the Congress-mandated Pacific Railroad Act which provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean as a means to protect the states' Union during war. During the 1880s, the company went through several bankruptcies and title changes, but returned to its original Union Pacific Railroad name in 1897.
Today, Union Pacific owns and operates tracks in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee. In order to manage its vast infrastructure, Union Pacific is divided into 21 "service units," each of which are further divided into subdivisions which cover units as large as 300 mile mainlines to smaller 10 mile branch lines.
Despite its storied history, its safety record has been less than impeccable, many accidents being linked to the Union Pacific name. Click here to look through the company's timeline of accidents, including the 2012 Oklahoma train accident.