May 1, 1971

Passenger Service Transfers to Amtrak

By the late 1950s, cars and planes had edged out passenger rail service as the preferred modes of travel. Only 547 intercity passenger trains remained in the country. To save the ailing industry, President Nixon signed the Railroad Passenger Service Act, which created the carrier commonly known as Amtrak. The federally subsidized railroad company serves nearly 30 million passengers each year. Today, Union Pacific operates commuter rail service in the Chicago area for Metra. Commuter trains also operate on UP in southern and northern California. Amtrak operates several routes on UP.

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Union Pacific maintains the nation’s largest private fleet of passenger rail cars. The 50 vintage diners, sleepers, coaches, lounges, business cars and specialty cars are stored primarily in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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.