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1863

Durant Named UP's 1st VP and General Manager

Thomas C. "Doc" Durant was a medical school graduate, but never actually practiced medicine. After working in his uncle’s grain exporting company, he set his sights on other things — specifically speculating in stocks and becoming an avid promoter of expanding the nation’s rail system. He was involved with construction of other railroads, including the Mississippi & Missouri (M & M) Railroad across Iowa. Durant joined Union Pacific hoping to extend several of his own financial interests. He was associated with a number of scandals during and after construction.

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The Central Pacific spiked its first rails in Sacramento on October 26, 1863, and began constructing the first 31 miles to Newcastle, Calif. Due to lack of funds, that work took two years.

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.