Southern Pacific Railroad

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Railroad

The Southern Pacific Railroad Template:Reporting mark was an American railroad. The railroad was founded as a land holding company in 1865, forming part of the Central Pacific Railroad empire. It was 52 838 km long. By 1900, the Southern Pacific Company had grown into a major railroad system that incorporated a lot of smaller companies, such as the Texas and New Orleans Railroad and Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad, and that extended from New Orleans through Texas to El Paso, across New Mexico and through Tucson, Arizona, to Los Angeles, throughout most of California including San Francisco and Sacramento; it absorbed the Central Pacific Railroad extending eastward across Nevada to Ogden, and had lines reaching north throughout and across Oregon to Portland.

On August 9, 1988, the Interstate Commerce Commission approved the purchase of the Southern Pacific by Rio Grande Industries, the company that controlled the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. The Rio Grande officially took control of the Southern Pacific on October 13, 1988. After the purchase, the combined railroad kept the Southern Pacific name due to its brand recognition in the railroad industry and with customers of both constituent railroads.

The Southern Pacific was taken over by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1996 following years of financial problems.

The railroad is also noteworthy for being the defendant in the landmark 1886 United States Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad which is often interpreted as having established certain corporate rights under the Constitution of the United States.



Missing image
SP 8033, a GE Dash 8-39B, leads a westbound train through Eola, Illinois (just east of Aurora), October 6, 1992.
  • 1984: The Southern Pacific Company merges into Santa Fe Industries, parent of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, to form Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation. When the Interstate Commerce Commission refuses permission for the planned merger of the railroad subsidiaries as the Southern Pacific Santa Fe Railroad SFSP shortens its name to Santa Fe Pacific Corporation and puts the SP railroad up for sale while retaining the non-rail assets of the Southern Pacific Company.
  • October 13 1988: Rio Grande Industries, parent of the Rio Grande Railroad, takes control of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The merged company retains the name "Southern Pacific" for all railroad operations.
  • 1996: The Union Pacific finishes the acquisition that was effectively begun almost a century before with the purchase of the Southern Pacific. The merged company retains the name "Union Pacific" for all railroad operations.

Locomotive paint and appearance

Like most railroads, the SP painted the majority of its steam locomotive fleet black during the 20th century, but after the 1930s the SP had a policy of painting the front of the locomotive's smokebox silver, with graphite colored sides, for visibility.

Some express passenger steam locomotives bore the Daylight scheme, named after the trains they hauled, most of which had the word Daylight in the train name. This scheme, carried in full on the tender, consisted of a bright, almost vermilion red on the top and bottom thirds, with the center third being a bright orange. The parts were separated with thin white bands. Some of the color continued along the locomotive. The most famous Daylight-hauled trains were the Coast Daylight and the Sunset Limited.

During the early days of diesel locomotive use, they were also painted black. Yard switchers had diagonal orange stripes painted on the ends for visibility, earning this scheme the nickname of Tiger Stripe.

Road freight units were generally painted in a black scheme with a red band at the bottom of the carbody and a silver and orange 'winged' nose. The words "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" were borne in a large serif font in white. This paint scheme is called the Black Widow scheme by railfans.

A transitory scheme, of all-over black with orange 'winged' nose, was called the Halloween scheme.

Most passenger units were painted originally in the Daylight scheme as described above, though some were painted in Golden State livery (red on top, silver below) for use on the Golden State Limited to Chicago. Later, SP standardised on a paint scheme of dark grey with a red 'winged' nose; this scheme was dubbed Bloody Nose by railfans. Lettering was again in white. After the merger with the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, the side lettering became often done in the Rio Grande 'speed lettering' style.

Unlike many other railroads, whose locomotives' numberboards bore the locomotive's number, the SP used them for the train number.

Company officers

Presidents of the Southern Pacific Company

Chairmen of the Southern Pacific Company Executive Committee

Chairmen of the Southern Pacific Company Board of Directors


See also

External Links

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