Union Pacific Railroad Celebrates 150 Years: A Celebrated Visit to Houston

In 2012, Union Pacific Railroad celebrates its 150th anniversary.
In 2012, Union Pacific Railroad celebrates its 150th anniversary. | Source
In October 2012, the Union Pacific travelling exhibit stopped at Houston's Amtrak Station.
In October 2012, the Union Pacific travelling exhibit stopped at Houston's Amtrak Station. | Source
Union Pacific diesel locomotive.
Union Pacific diesel locomotive. | Source
The vista dome car is part of the traveling exhibit.
The vista dome car is part of the traveling exhibit. | Source

By Joan Whetzel

Union Pacific Railway marked the 150th Anniversary in 2012, celebrating with a nationwide tour of its traveling train museum, headed up by the last steam locomotive made for the Railroad, the number 844. Union Pacific Railroad's history began with the transcontinental railroad which captured the nation's imagination. Union Pacific Railroad joined forces with Central Pacific Railroad to create this engineering marvel which was hailed because:

  1. it reduced the travel time from New York to San Francisco from a 6 month trip by sea to a 10 day overland excursion.
  2. it linked the East and West coasts, creating new settlements along the railroad line for millions of people, which in turn, brought new trade with overseas business contacts (both in Asia and in Europe) and produced a huge expansion in industrial growth.
  3. it was a marvelous tribute to the work ethic, abilities, and innovation of the railroad builders and crews.
  4. it began a revolution in transportation that has continued up to the present day.

Union Pacific's tour included a stop at the Amtrack Station in Houston, Texas in October 2012. The event drew large crowds anxious to see the historic steam locomotive and passenger cars.

The travelling museum car is a converted passenger car that holds a gift shop.
The travelling museum car is a converted passenger car that holds a gift shop. | Source
The museum car contains all kinds of phots from the UP Railroad's history.
The museum car contains all kinds of phots from the UP Railroad's history. | Source
The museum car also includes some interactive exhibits and videos.
The museum car also includes some interactive exhibits and videos. | Source

Union Pacific Railroad Museum

Union Pacific Railroad's Museum is located in the Carnegie Library in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It contains hands-on exhibits including a telegraph station and locomotive simulator as well as 150 years of history in photographs and films covering the laying of tracks, the age of the steam engine for passenger and freight service across America's wilderness, and the evolution to the age of diesel locomotives.

The visit to Houston included a mini Union Pacific train ride for visitors
The visit to Houston included a mini Union Pacific train ride for visitors | Source
The visit to Houston also included this interactive locomotive simulator exhibit.
The visit to Houston also included this interactive locomotive simulator exhibit. | Source

The train tour that came through Houston in October 2012 included one passenger car converted into a gift shop and traveling museum. Other draws included a mini train ride for visitors as well as a travelling version of the locomotive simulator. Visitors also stood in line to get a close-up look inside the cab of the steam locomotive.

Union Pacific is celebrating 150 years of passenger and freight service in America.
Union Pacific is celebrating 150 years of passenger and freight service in America. | Source

America's Premier Railroad Franchise

Union Pacific Railroad operates in 23 states which links the western 2/3 of the country with freight service. Today, UP operates with more fuel efficient and environmentally responsible diesel locomotives, thanks to recent upgrades. The freight carrier transports oil and coal, chemicals, food and food products, forest products, grain, metals and minerals, automobiles and car parts, and raw materials for just about any industry, as well as durable and consumer goods. Union Pacific has a major intermodal train yard in the Houston area, which does a great deal of business. (Intermodal means the transportation of goods by more than one form of transportation, usually making use of trains, trucking, and shipping by sea.)

The the trip to Houston even included a vsiit from President Lincoln himself.
The the trip to Houston even included a vsiit from President Lincoln himself. | Source
Mr. Lincoln talked to visitors and posed for pictures.
Mr. Lincoln talked to visitors and posed for pictures. | Source

Lincoln and Union Pacific

The Union Pacific Railroad came into being when President Lincoln signed the papers that made the transcontinental railroad possible. The Pacific Railroad Act, signed on July 1, 1862, assigned the duties for building the cross-country route to two Railroads - the Central Pacific railroad in California and to the newly formed Union Pacific Railroad. During UP's Anniversary stop in Houston, President Lincoln came out to talk with visitors and pose for pictures.

Front vies of steam locomotive no. 844.
Front vies of steam locomotive no. 844. | Source
Steam Locomotive number 844
Steam Locomotive number 844 | Source
The wheels on the steam locomotive are huge
The wheels on the steam locomotive are huge | Source

The Steam Locomotive No. 844

UP's historic Steam Locomotive Number 844 was the last steam engine ever constructed for the Union Pacific Railroad. Upon its delivery in 1944, it headed up the Railroad's high-speed passenger service pulling the Overland Limited, the Los Angeles Limited, the Portland Rose, and the Challenger trains. When diesel engines took over the passenger service, the Number 844 locomotive was switched to freight service (1957-1959). Narrowly avoiding the scrap-yard in 1960 , the Number 844 was rescued and set aside for "special service" and is now an ambassador of goodwill as well as a travelling piece of history. The locomotive is a favorite among railroad enthusiasts who love to follow it on its excursion runs or show up at its special stops, like the one in Houston.

This gives a good perspective on just how big those wheels are.
This gives a good perspective on just how big those wheels are. | Source

The man standing next to the wheel on the steam locomotive is a little taller than 6 foot tall, which gives a good idea of just how huge those wheels are in real life.

Below are listed a few fun facts about the Steam Locomotive Number 844.

  • Driving Wheel diameter = 80"
  • Engine and Tender Length = 114' 25/8"
  • Track Gauge = 4' 81/2"
  • Boiler diameter = 863/16"
  • Boiler Pressure = 300 lbs.
  • Maximum Traction Power = 63,800 lbs.
  • Fuel = 6,200 gallons of No. 5 Oil
  • Engine Weight = 466,340 lbs
  • Tender Weight (loaded) = 421,550 lbs.
  • Engine and Tender Weight (together) = 907,980 lbs = 454 tons

Union Pacific Railroad Fun Facts (as of December 31, 2011) - Union Pacific:

  • Has 31,900 Miles of Route Track.
  • Employs 44,800 People.
  • Has annual Payroll of $8.3 Billion.
  • Gave to the Community approximately $13.9 Million.
  • Has Approximately 8,200 Locomotives.

Resources

Union Pacific Railroad. Lincoln and Union Pacific.

https://www.uprr.com/aboutup/history/lincoln/lincoln_up/index.shtml

Union Pacific. Union Pacific Overview.

http://www.up.com/aboutup/corporate_info/uprrover/index.htm

Union Pacific. Union Pacific Steam.

http://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/index.shtml

Union Pacific Railroad Museum Brochure. Building America

Union Pacific

Union Pacific DDA40X Meets BNSF ES44DC at Virgilia Siding

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Comments 10 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

I love trains and I loved living in Houston..so I decided to read. I often get a yen to take a train trip somewhere..and go to the clubcar and watch the landscape pass by. Great hub and deserves many Votes UP+++++


joanwz profile image

joanwz 4 years ago from Katy, Texas Author

I haven't ridden a train since I was a kid. I would love to take a train trip too. It sounds like so much fun.


Saloca profile image

Saloca 4 years ago from Liverpool, UK

Great pictures!


joanwz profile image

joanwz 4 years ago from Katy, Texas Author

Thanks Saloca.


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

Train is my favorite means of transportation and it tells me great information about it.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A great hub and thank you for sharing this gem.

Eddy.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A great hub and thank you for sharing this gem.

Eddy.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Such a wonderfully interesting hub. Your hard work has certainly paid off and I now look forward to many more to follow.

Voting up/interesting/useful/awesome.

Eddy.


joanwz profile image

joanwz 4 years ago from Katy, Texas Author

Tnaks Eidwen


joanwz profile image

joanwz 4 years ago from Katy, Texas Author

I love trains too. We used to take the train to travel to my grandparents as a kid. I miss that.

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