First Double-Stack Train Debuts

As Union Pacific’s intermodal business grew, so did the need for trains that could carry more loads in less space. Following a pioneering development on the SP, the railroad collaborated with shippers and a rail car manufacturer to introduce a new type of transport: a lightweight car strong enough to handle double-stack loads. In March 1984, UP started its new double-stack service from Los Angeles to Chicago. The 20-car high-speed train could carry 200 shipping containers — twice the number of a conventional container train.

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By 1986, Union Pacific was running 22 double-stack trains daily, most of them carrying 280 containers on 28 cars.

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.