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Union Pacific Corporation profile

By | May 7, 2020

Among the largest railroads in the world, Union Pacific traces its origins to Abraham Lincoln

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An eastbound Union Pacific auto rack train passes through Lombard, Ill., on Nov. 16, 2019.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Union Pacific summary
Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific Corporation is a railroad holding company for the Union Pacific Railroad Co. It controls one of the largest railroads in the world and by certain measures, the largest private railroad in the world. The railroad’s operations extend from Chicago south to Texas, west to Los Angeles, and north to the Pacific Northwest. The current company was incorporated in 1969, but the railroad traces its roots to Abraham Lincoln and the signing of the Pacific Railway Act of 1862.

Union Pacific is primarily an East-West railroad and competes directly with BNSF Railway for traffic. It connects with five other class I railroads in Chicago. Union Pacific also has cross-border interests in Mexico through its part-ownership of Ferromex.

UP operated over 32,340 route miles and employed an average of 37,500 employees during 2019.

Union Pacific logo with
Union Pacific history
UP began as the easterly link in the nation’s first transcontinental route from Omaha to Promontory, Utah, near Ogden, completed May 10, 1869. The railroad later added lines serving Kansas City, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Seattle.

UP acquired the Western Pacific in 1981 and the Missouri Pacific in 1982, extending its system to San Francisco and throughout the south central states. In 1988, it added the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (“the Katy”), linking Kansas City with Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

On June 23, 1995, UP acquired the Chicago & North Western, long its link from Omaha to Chicago and Minneapolis. C&NW’s earliest predecessor dated from 1848. In the 1970s, C&NW subsidiary Western Railroad Properties Inc. began operating the lucrative Powder River coal line with competitor Burlington Northern.

On September 11, 1996, UP acquired Southern Pacific Lines, expanding its system by over 14,000 miles, and in the process, bringing the eastern and western halves of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad under common ownership. SP arced around the U.S.’s western and southern perimeter from Portland, Ore., to New Orleans, plus the line from Sacramento, Calif., to Ogden, Utah, which was the Central Pacific portion of the transcontinental route.

Included in the acquisition were SP subsidiaries Denver & Rio Grande Western and St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt), adding lines from Ogden to Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago to the UP system.

Union Pacific industrial mix*
Union Pacific told the Securities and Exchange Commission that its 2019 carload volume consisted of domestic intermodal, 24%; international intermodal, 19%; Powder River Basic coal, 9%; construction, 5%; finished vehicles, 5%; grain, 5%; industrial chemicals, 4%; grain products, 4%; petroleum, LPG and renewables, 4%; plastics 3%; other coal, 3%; forest products, 3%; specialized markets, 3%; metals, 2%; food and refrigerated goods, 2%; fertilizers, 2%; sand, 2%; soda ash, 1%; other goods, less than 1%.

*Figures are calculations by Trains using tables and graphs in Union Pacific’s 2019 10-K filing.

Lance Fritz, Union Pacific CEO
Union Pacific
Union Pacific executive officers (as of December 2019)
• Lance M. Fritz, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, age 57
• Jennifer L. Hamann, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, age 52
• Rhonda S. Ferguson, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, age 50
• Thomas A. Lischer, Executive Vice President – Operations, age 47
• Kenny G. Rocker, Executive Vice President – Marketing and Sales, age 48
• Todd M. Rynaski, Vice President and Controller, age 49
• V. James Vena, Chief Operating Officer, age 61
• Elizabeth F. Whited, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, age 54

UP selected 2019 financial details (totals may not balance due to rounding)
*Calculated from filing
Balance sheet:
Total assets: $61.7 billion
Total liabilities: $43.5 billion*
Total shareholders’ equity: $18.1 billion

Income statement:
Operating revenues: $21.7 billion
Operating expenses: $13.2 billion*
Operating income: $8.6 billion
Net income: $5.9 billion

Information taken from a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. History provided by Matt Van Hattem.

One thought on “Union Pacific Corporation profile

  1. It seemed strange to me for a long time to see UP in St. Louis had rode their passenger trains 3 times to CA, so associated it with the western states especially CA. Have got used to it by now.

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