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Union Pacific Railroad
UP Power Part One


July 7, 2001 - A rare catch in Lincoln. B23-7 UP 129 (ex-Mopac) and SD40-2 UP 3553 rest side by side, sunning in the dying rays this summer day. - T. Greuter Photo

Originating in Omaha as the state's first railway, the Union Pacific Railroad operated 1,358 route miles through Nebraska before the massive mergers with the Missouri Pacific, Western Pacific, KATY, the Rio Grande, Southern Pacific and Chicago & North Western.

Chartered by act of Congress in 1862,
the company completed construction across Nebraska, Wyoming, and part of Utah in May 1869, connecting with Central Pacific Railway at Promontory, Utah. The road consolidated with Kansas Pacific Railway and Denver Pacific Railway & Telegraph Co., in January 1880 to form Union Pacific Railway.

Today the UP has the largest rail system in U.S. stretching from the Gulf Coast to California.

Local History of the Union Pacific, Lincoln and the Beatrice Branch
The Union Pacific is the other major player in Lincoln besides BNSF, though with a smaller role.

UP's access to Lincoln is by what was once the Beatrice Branch of UP's Nebraska Division. Built by the Omaha & Republican Valley, the branch reached Lincoln in 1877 as part of UP's Omaha - Kansas City route. The Beatrice Branch leads from Valley through Lincoln, then south to Beatrice (this segment south of Lincoln was closed in 2000, making Lincoln the end of the line).  From Beatrice it connected to the Council Bluffs Sub and then Marysville, Kansas, part of the Marysville Sub. Traffic has fallen over the years from the four through-traffic freight trains a day to irregular runs.

For a time, after the big MoP-UP merger of 1981, UP had a second access route from the east by the MoPac's Lincoln-Union Branch . This branch connected to MoPac's KC-Omaha mainline(today known as the Falls City Sub). But Mother Nature and the UP's fondness for branchlines had different plans for the new route.

Floods in 1984 caused a bridge washout west of Weeping Water. It was decided that the costs to repair would be excessive, so UP abandoned the line west from Weeping Water to 32nd Street in Lincoln.

UP 2334 (ex-MoPac) paired with UP 2000, both GP38-2's, drag grain hoppers across the Salt Creek bridge northwest of the Union Pacific's yard at Lincoln, Nebraska. 6/27/85 - T. Greuter Photo

The Weeping Water connection from Union was kept for it's importance -- the region is known as the world's #1 producer of lime products. Back in Lincoln, the University continued to press for control of the land divided by the remainder of the Mopac right-of-way, which UP continued to use to reach some lumber industries and interchange with the Omaha, Lincoln & Beatrice, just northeast of the University. As of 2000, the University had finally won-out and the remaining line was being pulled up. Rumors blew around that either UP was negotiating with BNSF for trackage rights on it's Omaha Line between 9th Street and 17th Street, or giving-up entirely the routine switching service it had taken from the MoPac. By the close of 2000, new track was laid beside the BNSF's Omaha line for UP access to OL&B (though I've yet to see any UP yellow run on the new track... maybe business is slow?). As of this summer, the industrial spur that ended at the old Lincoln Journal loading dock is gone as well.

Routinely, a morning UP local, and maybe some extra grain trains, drops off /picks up cars at the Lincoln yard, and on sidings west of Salt Creek and Muni Airport, then heads back to up Valley. Switcher power is assigned to Lincoln as well, consisting of a GP38-2, usally two, (many times ex-MP w/o dynamic brakes) stationed at the yard to perform daily duties of swapping cars among the industries. Twice recently a B23-7 has been added for a change to the switching assignment. Traffic is mostly grain and lumber products.

My favorite place to photograph UP power was along the former MoPac line as twin Geeps interchanged with OL&B... it had a casual small-town railroading style you don't get from trains passing by at 50mph. This option is gone, but you can still get some decent views of the yard from the 'O' Street overpass, or side views of the power seen from the industries' just to the west.


March 2003 Update

The UP's closing of its Lincoln yard and their abandonment of the Beatrice line is complete. The UP yard office, facilities, and the bay window yard caboose have all been removed from the yard at Lincoln Station.

All UP switching activities which used to be performed by a pair of GP38-2's has been turned over to local BNSF. There was a weekly local on the line from Valley to Lincoln, but it seems this too has been dropped.

As the year after the abandonment progressed the UP was usaully seen hauling its freight on the BNSF line from Omaha, rather than its Valley line. Apparently the railroad has secured rights on the BNSF. Except for the small OL&B operations (which itself has taken over the UP's abandoned service track - the reamnant of the old MoPac line), Lincoln is now a one-railroad town.

Union Pacific Gallery Menu
Union Pacific Power Pt.1
UP Challenger & #1-999
Union Pacific Power Pt.3
#5000-9999, UP Y-series


Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image

UP 3985 - crosses the diamonds at Valey Junction near Hearne, TX in October 2001. The UP Challenger visited the rails in Texas for a week, and pulled an excursion train on October 27, 2001 as a fundraiser for the Houston Grand Opera. The fundraising event was sponsored by former United States President and First Lady, George and Barbara Bush. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo.

UP Challenger - sits at a red block signal at the South switch of Harrison Siding in October 2001. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo.

UP #437 - is on permanent display at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska. - T. Greuter Photo

See more steam-era UP equipment at Stuhr Museum's Gallery.

UP #437 - at Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·

437 - at Grand Island, Nebraska - T. Greuter Photo ·

BSV / UP 1098 - Though this unit was not originally owned by the Union Pacific, the UP gave the tourist line Boone & Scenic Valley railroad permission to re-create an early diesel UP switcher in authentic paint; 9/8/01 - T Greuter Photo

BSV / UP 1098 - again from the opposite side; 9/8/01 - T Greuter Photo

UP 6 - In late 1983, and 1984, several Union Pacific SD45s were taken out of storage in Yuma, Arizona, reconditioned and placed in service on MoPac rails to help relieve the Missouri Pacific of their power shortage. These SD45s include 1, 6,8,9, 11,17, 20,21, 23, 31, 36, 41, 45, and 47.

UP 32 - Ownership of at least 6 of these SD45s was transfered over to the Missouri Pacific on March 13, 1986. These SD45s include 4, 6, 17, 32, 41 and 48.

UP 41 - MoPac SD45s numbers UP6, UP32, UP41, UP48 (they never wore the MoPac name as the ex-Western Pacific GP40s did) are pictured here at Centennial Yard in Fort Worth, Texas in 1984.

UP 48 - All four photos by Jay Glenewinkel

UP GP50 #50 - was built as MP 3500 in 1980. It wore MP Blue, then was repainted to MP Yellow. Upon UPs aquisition of the MoPac, it was renumbered to UP 50, then later to UP 960. Today it works the rails as UP 5558. The UP 50 is seen here in 1989 in San Antonio, Texas. - Steve Rude Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

UP 100 - a B23-7, originally delivered new as MoPac #4600. 6/01 - T. Greuter Photo

UP B23-7 #107 - was built as MP 2296 in 1978. It was renumbered to MP 4607, then to UP 107. - Steve Rude Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

UP 129
- ex-MoPac B23-7 loco is seen working the rails at Lincoln, Nebraska, June 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·

UP 129 (ex-Mopac, a B23-7) and UP 3553 (SD40-2) - seen again in another nice shot. This time see the Nebraska State capital building, shrouded in scaffolding, can bee seen standing in the distance just the the left of the B-boat's nose. 7/7/01 - T. Greuter Photo

UP 129 - a B23-7 once known as Missouri Pacific #4629, at Lincoln, Nebraska. 7/7/01 - T. Greuter Photo

UP 161 - the former MP 4661 at Council Bluffs, Iowa 8/18/01 - T. Greuter Photo

UP B30-7A  #202 - was built as MP 4802 in 1981. It is pictured here on a work train in 1989 in San Antonio, Texas. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

UP   334 - seen January 2002 in San Antonio, Texas. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

UP 500 - GP38-2 freshly renumbered into the 500-series, pulling switcher duty at Lincoln, Nebraska - T Greuter Photo ·

UP U23B #558 - was built as MP2275. It was later renumbered to MP4524, then to UP558. It was retired in 1994. The 558 is seen here in Longview, Texas in September 1993. - Joe Locke Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

UP C36-7 #650 - in San Antonio in May 2000. - Steve Rude Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection.

UP GP40-2 #666 - is seen here in Hinkle, Oregon. This unit was among several GP40-2s leased from EMD in the 1990s. It was later renumbered to UP 866. This unit is a former Conrail unit. - Steve Schuman Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

UP GP38-2 #710 - is ex Missouri Pacific power, in San Antonio in 2001. - Steve Rude Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

UP GP35 #793 - in San Antonio in 1990. - Steve Rude Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

UP GP30 #849 - on display at the Feather River Railroad Museum in Portola, California in 1989. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

UP 907 - One of the four ex-Western Pacific GP40's, which later went to the MoPac after the UP-MP-WP merger, and was finally (though thinly) lettered for UP. Lincoln, Nebraska, 12/2/95 - T. Greuter Photo

UP GP40-2 #909 - was built as Western Pacific #3554 in April 1980. It was renumbered into the UP series first as 909, then later became UP 2911 and then to UP 5318. It now works the rails as UP #5364. UP 909 is at Albina Yard in Portland, Oregon in 1990. - Steve Schuman Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

UP GP40-2 #911 - was built as Western Pacific #3556 in 1980. It was renumbered as UP 911 in 1984. It is scheduled to be renumbered as UP 5365 in 2001. It is seen here on a northbound MP freight in 1988. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

UP GP40-2 #913 - was built as  Western Pacific #3558 in April 1980. It was renumbered to UP 913 in 1985. It later became UP #2915 in April 1996, then again was renumbered to UP 568 in July 1996, and then to its final number as UP 5368 in 1999. The 913 is seen here pulling a Family Days passenger special in San Antonio in 1986.- Steve Rude Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

Union Pacific GP40X - was built in March 1978 as UP 9005. It was renumbered to UP #95 in June 1985. It was later renumbered as UP #959 in 1990. Today, this GP40X works the rails as UP #5505. The UP 95 is seen at the Missouri Pacific's Settegast Yard in Houston, Texas in 1986. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

UP GP40X #959 - (Ex-UP 95, same unit as above) is seen in San Antonio, Texas in 1991. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

UP 949 - parked in Union Pacific's huge North Platte yard, Nebraska. UP's North Platte yard has been called the largest rail yard in the world. The biggest and busiest, Bailey Yard is located in North Platte, Nebraska. The yard stretches 7 miles end to end has two large classification yards, one for eastbound trains and one for westbound trains, a flat yard for switching, a car repair shop, a huge locomotive facility, main line westbound and eastbound locomotive servicing and fueling racks. 8/26/95 - T. Greuter Photo

Continue... with UP Power Part 2

Union Pacific Gallery Menu
Union Pacific Power Pt.1
UP Challenger & #1-999
Union Pacific Power Pt.2
Union Pacific Power Pt.3
#5000-9999, UP Y-series
Union Pacific Equipment


Snoot-nose SD40-2 UP 3311 at Union, Nebraska, 3/31/01 - T. Greuter Photo

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Latest update: Thursday, 13 November, 2003

All photos & text 2000-2003 T. Greuter / Screaming Eagles , unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Contributing Photographer:
Jay Glenewinkel, Steve Rude, Steve Schuman, Joe Locke

Recommended Links:
Union Pacific R.R.
UPRR-Public Equipment Trace