UP Assumes Control of Southern Pacific

The turn of the century brought a jockeying for position among the bigger railroads, and leaders knew the key areas for competition lay in the western United States. The Southern Pacific was a formidable company and attractive target — owning the line from Ogden to San Francisco and key lines into Portland, New Orleans and Mexico, as well as a steamship company. After buying parts of Union Pacific out of receivership only three years earlier, E.H. Harriman reached a deal to buy 38 percent of the SP, or 750,000 stock shares, for $40 million.

Event Media

Railfans and historians affectionately refer to the Southern Pacific as “The Espee.”

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.