Union Pacific's founder, President Abraham Lincoln, signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862, establishing the original Union Pacific. President Lincoln had the vision of a transcontinental railroad and 150 years later Union Pacific provides the nation with environmentally responsible, safe and efficient freight transportation.
"It is an honor to be recognized by the State of Illinois as we commemorate our railroad's sesquicentennial celebration and growing up together," said Bob Turner, senior vice president corporate relations Union Pacific Corporation. "We are committed to meeting the challenge given to Union Pacific 150 years ago by Abraham Lincoln himself, to connect and support the United States' transportation needs."
The railroad's history in Illinois traces back to the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad chartered in 1836 and Chicago & North Western, which began in 1848. The two merged in 1864 and covered much of the state. Union Pacific acquired C&NW in 1995.
Chicago & Eastern Illinois, founded in 1877, operated another Chicago-St. Louis link via Villa Grove. C&EI was acquired by Missouri Pacific in 1967 and Union Pacific merged with MP in 1982.
The final leg of UP's Illinois network started as Alton and Sangamon Railroad in 1847. Through a series of acquisitions and reorganizations, it became a part of Southern Pacific, which Union Pacific acquired in 1996.
Union Pacific operates more than 2,200 miles of track in Illinois. In 2011, Union Pacific employed 4,035 people in Illinois with an annual payroll of $327.3 million and the railroad purchased $1.8 billion in goods and services last year. In the past two years, Union Pacific's capital investment in Illinois exceeded $350 million.