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October 13, 1893

UP Falls Into Bankruptcy

In 1893, Union Pacific and every other railroad in the country paid the price for overexpanding and overspeculating. A national financial panic and a resulting depression only sealed their fate. As the eastern business world collapsed, western railroads failed. Continued heavy construction expenditures, a sharp fall-off of revenue and growing debt proved too much for Union Pacific Railway. Construction came to a halt and many lines, including UP, went into receivership.

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Although Hollywood romanticized train robbers, they posed a real danger to the railroad and its passengers. In 1899 and 1900, the Wild Bunch, headed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, stopped a Union Pacific train in Wyoming and used dynamite to blow open the express car and the safe inside.

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.