Legendary steam locomotive No. 844 made a special stop in Marshall, Texas, to celebrate Union Pacific Railroad's 150th Anniversary and the city's membership into the railroad's Train Town USA Registry.
The train, called the UP150 Express for its journey sharing Union Pacific's rich history with many communities, arrived at the Texas & Pacific Railway depot in honor of the depot's centennial celebration. In addition to getting an up-close look at No. 844, guests stepped inside Union Pacific's vintage Promotory baggage car that has been transformed into a state-of-the-art traveling museum. The traveling display closely replicates the full-scale Building America exhibit that opened earlier this year at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Clint Schelbitzki, Union Pacific director – Public Affairs, presented Marshall Mayor Ed Smith with an official Train Town USA resolution signed by Union Pacific Chairman Jim Young, and Marshall's historical connection with Union Pacific will be featured on the company's special 150th anniversary website, at UP150.com.
"We are proud to recognize Marshall as we commemorate our railroad's sesquicentennial celebration and growing up together," Schelbitzki said. "Union Pacific has been part of the country's fabric throughout the railroad's 150-year history. Our shared heritage with Marshall is a source of pride as we remember our past while serving and connecting our nation for years to come."
Southern Pacific Railroad built the first rail line to serve Marshall in 1858, connecting the community to steamboats arriving at the port on Caddo Lake. In 1872, voters approved a $300,000 bond to help Texas & Pacific Railway expand a rail line towards San Diego, Calif. The railroad brought hundreds of new citizens seeking employment. When the line was completed, Marshall became known as the "Gateway to Texas" because it was at the beginning of a rail line that stretched across Texas and into California.
Texas & Pacific Railway merged with the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1976 and Union Pacific began operating service to Marshall after it acquired Missouri Pacific in 1982. It helped the city preserve Marshall's historic Texas & Pacific depot, which was built in 1912. The restored depot includes an Amtrak station and a railroad museum. It remains an important symbol of Marshall's connection to the railroad.
The UP 150 Express will depart from Marshall on Sunday, October 21 and is scheduled to arrive in Houston for a two-day 150th anniversary celebration on Friday, October 26. Arrival and departure times for the steam train can be found at UPSteam.com. Website visitors can follow No. 844 on a GPS system map that updates the steam location every five minutes. GPS updates are also available at Twitter.com/UP_Steam.