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Last Steam Locomotive Built for Union Pacific Railroad Visits South Texas for the First Time to Celebrate Railroad History and Heritage

On Board No. 844, April 05, 2010 – Thousands of people have lined the route as Union Pacific Railroad's No. 844, the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific, travels to and from Texas to celebrate railroad history and heritage in the Rio Grande Valley.

"The crowds along the route have been tremendous and we sincerely appreciate those who have taken the time to come and experience a part of Union Pacific's heritage," said Joe Adams, vice president of public affairs for Union Pacific's Southern Region. "With this being the first time No. 844 has been south of Houston, we thought it only fitting to name the tour after a very popular Missouri Pacific passenger train, the Valley Eagle, which operated between Houston and Brownsville." 

The Valley Eagle consisted of four cars: two coaches, a grill-coach and a mail car.  The two coaches  were unique in that one end of each passenger rail car had picture windows that allowed rear viewing as the train was pulled.  When service started, the grill coach was placed between the two coaches so that the viewing windows of the coaches were at each end of the train. When the train reached Brownsville, the locomotive and mail car were simply switched to the head of the train without having to turn all the cars around for the trip back to Houston.  The Valley Eagle began running in late1948 and was discontinued in June 1962. Missouri Pacific merged with Union Pacific in 1982.

No. 844, also known as Union Pacific's "Living Legend," returned to service in 2005 after one of the most extensive steam locomotive overhauls in the United States since the 1950s. The work began in 2000 and nearly every part was overhauled including its running gear, pumps, piping, valves and springs, along with replacement of its firebox and extensive boiler work. No. 844 was built and delivered to Union Pacific Railroad in 1944. A high-speed passenger engine, it pulled such widely known trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.

When diesel-electric locomotives took over all passenger train duties, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service.

During 2010, the Reed Jackson concession car displays a commemorative sign celebrating the National Model Railroad Association's 75 years of service to the model railroad community.

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. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive 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.

About National Model Railroad Association

Headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) is a nonprofit corporation with members from every U.S. state as well as countries around the world.  The organization is charged with establishing and enforcing the standards and recommended practices that ensure compatibility of products in the model railroad hobby.  Local divisions host meetings, conventions, home layout visits and train shows.   Throughout 2010, the 20,000 members of the National Model Railroad Association are celebrating its 75 years of service to the model railroading hobby and industry.  NMRA was founded in Milwaukee in 1935. Learn more at

Media contacts:  Mark Davis at 402-544-5459 or
                              Raquel Espinoza at 281-350-7771 or

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