March 1926

UP Rolls Out 9000 Class Union Pacific Steam Locomotives

Union Pacific developed the 9000 Class locomotive to improve speed and pulling power. The locomotive had a running speed of 50 miles per hour, compared to the 40-miles-per-hour standard of the day. It hauled freight primarily between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Green River, Wyo., over Sherman Hill. The unusual 3-cylinder 4-12-2 had the longest rigid wheelbase of any U.S. steam locomotive. It was used only by UP, largely because the wheel arrangement could not negotiate tight curves on many other railroads. The 9000 Class was retired in 1955.

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Steam locomotives were continuously improved for greater power and fuel efficiency. Union Pacific experimented with a variety of steam locomotives, from the American Class Engine 119 that witnessed events at Promontory Summit to the Challenger class and the Big Boy class.

In 2012, Union Pacific celebrates the shared stories that have shaped our country since 1862. To mark our 150th anniversary, we invite you to explore how the nation’s largest railroad came to be and how UP continues to build America with innovation and tenacity, touching the lives of nearly every citizen.