from MPRR Publication, 1970's
A Brief Overview
On July 4, 1851 at
St. Louis, Missouri, ground breaking for the Pacific Railroad Company
marked the beginning of what would later be known as the Missouri Pacific
Railroad Company (1849-1872),
becoming the first railroad west of the Mississippi River. The
The first section of track completed in 1852. It was the first railroad
to serve Kansas City, reached in 1865, after construction was interrupted
by the American Civil War.
the railroad was reorganized as the Missouri Pacific Railway, and in 1879
it came under the control of New York financier Jay Gould, who developed
a system extending through Colorado, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana.
In 1917 the line was merged with the St Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern
Railway Company and reorganized as the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Later
it acquired and controlled other lines in the Gulf area and in Texas including
the Texas & Pacific, extending its operating area to several midwestern
and southwestern states.
Missouri Pacific was a colorful Class 1 road growing from the pioneering
efforts of dozens of predecessors and mergers on a far-flung system. The
railroad company would forge rails with roads including St. Louis, Iron
Mountain and Southern (SLIMS), Texas & Pacific (TP), Chicago & Eastern
Illinois (C&EI), St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico (SLBM), Kansas Oklahoma
& Gulf (KO&G), Midland Valley (MV), Gulf Coast Lines (GC), International-Great
Northern (IGN), New Orleans, Texas and Mexico (NOTM), Missouri-Illinois
(MI) ... on to the small Central Branch Union Pacific (an early predecessor
of MP in Kansas & south central Nebraska), and operating joint ventures
such as the Alton & Southern (AS).
popularly known Eagle passenger operations, were turned over to
the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) in 1971.
By the 1980's the
system would own 11,469 miles of railline over 11 states bounded by Chicago
to the east, Pueblo out west, north to Omaha, south to the Mexico border
in Laredo and southeast along the Gulf seaports of Louisiana. MoPac operated
a fleet of over 1,500 diesel units, most all were purchased within the
previous 10 years. The company was a pioneer in the early days of computer-guided
rail technology. It was a major hauler of grain, TOFC, coal, ore, autos
and dry goods. By the time of the mega-merger, the MoPac owned newer/more
locomotives and operated more track than partner Union Pacific.
On December 22, 1982
the Missouri Pacific merged with Union Pacific and Western Pacific Railroad
companies to create the largest system in its day,
the "Union Pacific System", under the holding company Union Pacific Corporation,
but maintained its own corporate and commerical identity.
A Note to History Buffs
If this site has
any kind of mission statement it's to provide a broad range of information
and promote the accurate recounting of MoPac's role as a major player
among the Class 1 roads in it's long history. A robust company at the
time of it's merger with UP, it was larger than UP, rostered more and
newer locomotives, and an innovator of the industry. While other roads
were content to do what everyone elase was doing (and many would pay the
price for this thinking back during the reccession of the 1970's), the
Missouri Pacific stayed true to it's philosophy of building a better,
more innovative system. Instead of holding onto it's money, it was put
back into the railroad. New ideas and new ways of operating were encouraged.
Finally, the company had predicted an age of mergers to come and long
held a desire to merge with another Class I, thus avoiding a certain future
of being left on the sidelines.
You won't see that
fact in many exhaustive rail histories, and we're only scratching the
surface. The Missouri Pacific had it's own style of railroading -- which
many of us have long missed.
If you ever come across
a fact stated on this site which is inaccurate, please
tell me. I've tried to preserve history unenhanced to the best of
my knowledge, but I'm sure there's plenty of room for improvement.
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