Denver & Rio Grande Western Colors Again Ride the Rails
New UP Locomotive Pays Tribute to Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Omaha, Neb., June 19, 2006 Union Pacific has introduced the latest addition to its Heritage Series of locomotives – the Denver & Rio Grande Western locomotive. Incorporating historic colors and graphic elements of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, the new locomotive pays tribute to the men and women of the railroad that "went everywhere the hard way." Union Pacific unveiled the locomotive during a special employee event in Denver Saturday.
"Union Pacific gained more than track and territory from the many railroads that have joined us through the years, we also gained the expertise and knowledge of the many people who worked for those great lines," said Bob Turner, senior vice president-Corporate Relations. "The creation of our Heritage Series is just one way we can honor the generations of men and women who helped to build a great nation and the foundation for our future."
The Denver & Rio Grande Western locomotive joins the Missouri Pacific and Western Pacific locomotives unveiled in July 2005, and the Katy locomotive rolled out in September 2005. Two more Heritage Series locomotives, the Chicago & North Western and Southern Pacific, will be introduced this summer. All honor the people and the railroads that have made Union Pacific what it is today.
Founded by Gen. William J. Palmer, a Union veteran of the Civil War, the Rio Grande started building a narrow gauge line south from Denver in 1871 toward Mexico. Those plans were thwarted when the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe gained control of Raton Pass, the gateway to the south. Still eager to tap the mining boom in the mountains, the Rio Grande gained access to the mines via the Royal Gorge. The railroad built into the mountains and established a network of narrow gauge branch lines pushing west from Colorado to Salt Lake City. When its main line was converted to standard gauge, the route wound through the mountains via 10,240-foot high Tennessee Pass from Pueblo to Grand Junction, Colo., and on to Utah. At its peak mileage in 1917, the Rio Grande was operating nearly 6,000 miles of track.
The railroad survived years of corporate financial problems, takeovers and fierce competition. Saved by on-line coal, bridge traffic with friendly connections, and the opening of the 6.2-mile Moffat Tunnel in 1928 that dramatically shortened its Denver-Salt Lake Route, the Rio Grande became known for its competitive spirit and mountain scenery.
As major rail mergers swept the industry in the 1980s, Rio Grande Industries purchased Southern Pacific Lines on Sept. 12, 1988 and combined the systems on Oct. 13, 1988, operating under the name Southern Pacific. Union Pacific and Southern Pacific merged on Sept. 11, 1996.
The Heritage Series marks the fifth time in company history that Union Pacific has painted locomotives in colors other than the traditional UP "Armour Yellow" paint scheme. Previously, locomotives were custom painted in 1991 to honor UP employees serving in the Persian Gulf War, in 1994 to call attention to the United Way Campaign, in 1996 for the Atlanta Games Olympic Torch Relay Train, and in 2002 for the Salt Lake City Games Olympic Torch Relay Train.
Jobs at Union Pacific
Currently, Union Pacific has job openings at many locations throughout its 23-state operating system. Opportunities are available in train service, skilled disciplines (e.g., diesel mechanics and electricians) and management. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit www.up.com and click on "Jobs at UP."
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.
For more information, contact Gene Hinkle at (402) 514-9406.
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