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March 31, 2023

Inside the Union Pacific Passenger Cars From the 1960s

The Union Pacific Railroad, often called simply Union Pacific, is a freight-hauling railroad that operates 8,300 locomotives over 32,200 miles (51,800 km) routes in 23 U.S. states west of Chicago and New Orleans.

The original company incorporated on July 1, 1862, under the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. President Abraham Lincoln had approved the act, which authorized railroad construction from the Missouri River to the Pacific to ensure the stability of the Union throughout the American Civil War, but construction did not complete until after that conflict's conclusion. The resulting track ran westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet in Utah the Central Pacific Railroad line, which had been constructed eastward from Sacramento, California. The combined Union Pacific–Central Pacific line became known as the First transcontinental railroad and later the Overland Route.

In the early 20th century, Union Pacific’s focus shifted from expansion to internal improvement. Recognizing that farmers in the Central and Salinas Valleys of California grew produce far in excess of local markets, Union Pacific worked with its rival Southern Pacific to develop a spoilage-resistant rail-based transport system. These efforts came culminated in the 1906 founding of Pacific Fruit Express, soon to be the world’s largest lessee of refrigerated railcars.

Meanwhile, Union Pacific worked to construct a faster, and more direct substitute for the original climb to Promontory Summit. In 1904, the Lucin cutoff opened, reducing curvature and grades. The original route would eventually be stripped of track in 1942 to provide war scrap.

The Union Pacific operates a fleet of passenger cars that are often used for excursions and office car specials. Originally ordered by a variety of railroads, the oldest dates to 1912, but most were built in the mid-20th century, at the height of passenger train service. The fleet also carries a variety of important people, such as presidents, senators, generals, soldiers, artists, architects, singers and actors. Here, some amazing vintage photographs that show interior of Union Pacific passenger cars from the 1960s:


  1. It's impressive to see how well-dressed and educated these people were. Nowadays they would look like homeless and the scum of humanity...

    1. These photos were obviously staged with models. Interesting how we perceive good looking people as educated...You aren't alone with this oft-misperceived observation.

  2. Obviously, the country wasn't always a sh*thole.

  3. Now boarding! Pretty whites only! All-a-board!




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