Missouri Pacific Railroad
(MP), also known as the MoPac, was one of the first railroads in the United States west of the Mississippi River. MoPac was a Class I railroad growing from dozens of predecessors and mergers, including the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway (SLIMS), Texas and Pacific Railway (TP), Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad (C&EI), St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway (SLBM), Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway (KO&G), Midland Valley Railroad (MV), Gulf Coast Lines (GC), International-Great Northern Railroad (IGN), New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railway (NOTM), Missouri-Illinois Railroad (MI), as well as the small Central Branch Railway (an early predecessor of MP in Kansas and south central Nebraska), and joint ventures such as the Alton and Southern Railroad (AS).
On January 8, 1980, the Missouri Pacific Railroad was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad. Because of lawsuits filed by various competing railroads, the merger was not approved until September 13, 1982. After the Supreme Court denied a trial from the Southern Pacific, the merger took effect on December 22, 1982, at 2:55 p.m.
However, due to outstanding bonds of the Missouri Pacific, the merger with Union Pacific did not become official until January 1, 1997.
On July 4, 1851, at St. Louis, Missouri, ground-breaking for the Pacific Railroad marked the beginning of what would later be known as the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The first section of track was completed in 1852. In 1865, it became the first railroad to serve Kansas City, after construction was interrupted by the American Civil War. In 1872, the Pacific Railroad was reorganized as the Missouri Pacific Railway by new investors after a railroad debt crisis. Because of corporate ties extending back to the Pacific Railroad, Missouri Pacific at one time advertised itself as being The First Railroad West of the Mississippi.
From 1879, Missouri Pacific was under the control of highly successful but extremely controversial New York financier Jay Gould, until his death in 1892. Gould developed a system extending through Colorado, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. His son, George Gould, inherited control upon his father's death. The younger Gould lost control of the company after it declared bankruptcy in 1915. In 1917 the line was merged with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway (SLIMS) and reorganized as the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Missouri Pacific later acquired or gained a controlling interest in other lines in Texas, including the Gulf Coast Lines, International-Great Northern Railroad, and the Texas and Pacific Railway.
MoPac declared bankruptcy again in 1933, during the Great Depression, and entered into trusteeship. The company was reorganized and the trusteeship ended in 1956.
By the 1980s the system would own 11,469 miles of rail line over 11 states bounded by Chicago to the east, Pueblo, Colorado, in the west, north to Omaha, south to the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, and southeast along the Gulf seaports of Louisiana and Texas. MoPac operated a fleet of more than 1,500 diesel locomotives, almost all purchased within the previous 10 years.
The company was a pioneer in the early days of computer-guided rail technology. It was a major hauler of grain, TOFC (Trailer on Flat Car), coal, ore, autos and dry goods. At the time of their mega-merger in 1982, the MoPac owned newer locomotives, more locomotives and operated more track than partner Union Pacific Railroad.
On December 22, 1982, the Missouri Pacific merged with Union Pacific and Western Pacific Railroad companies to create the largest system in its day, the "Pacific Rail Systems," under the holding company Union Pacific Corporation, but maintained its own corporate and commercial identity. On December 1, 1989, the Missouri Kansas Texas and the Galveston, Houston & Henderson were merged away into the Missouri Pacific after acquisition by the Union Pacific in 1988. By 1994 all motive power of the Missouri Pacific was repainted and on January 1, 1997, its corporate and commercial identity was officially merged away into the Union Pacific. UP continued to use the MoPac headquarters building at 210 N. 13th St. in downtown St. Louis for its customer service center until February 15, 2005. The former MoPac building is undergoing rehab as condominiums and is now known as Park Pacific.
Passenger Train Service
In the early years of the 20th century, most Missouri Pacific and St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern passenger trains were designated by number only, with little emphasis on premier name trains. This changed in May, 1915, with the inauguration of the Scenic Limited between St. Louis, Kansas City, and Pueblo, Colorado. Between Pueblo and Salt Lake City, the Scenic Limited operated through the Royal Gorge over the tracks of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. From Salt Lake City to San Francisco, the Scenic Limited operated over the Western Pacific Railroad. A second premier train, the Sunshine Special began operating on December 5, 1915, between St. Louis, Little Rock, Austin and San Antonio. Another named train, the Rainbow Special was placed in service in July 1921 between Kansas City and Little Rock. The Sunshine Special soon eclipsed the other trains in travel volume, becoming the signature train of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. An advertising slogan in 1933 proclaimed: "It's 70-degrees in the Sunshine when it's 100-degrees in the shade," referring to the fact that the Sunshine Special was one of the first air-conditioned trains in the southwest. When new streamlined trains were delivered, the Scenic Limited and Rainbow Special names faded, but the Sunshine Special had sufficient name recognition to co-exist along with the new streamliners into the late 1950s.
In the streamliner era, the Missouri Pacific's premier passenger trains were collectively known as the Eagles. A variety of Eagle trains were operated, with the first such train inaugurated in 1940. Eagle routes included the Missouri River Eagle (St. Louis to Kansas City and Omaha), the Delta Eagle (Memphis, Tennessee to Tallulah, Louisiana), the Colorado Eagle (St. Louis to Pueblo and Denver, the Texas Eagle (St. Louis to Texas), and the Valley Eagle (Houston to Corpus Christi and Brownsville, Texas).
Equipment Colors and Painting
Missouri Pacific 'Screaming Eagle' Herald first introduced in 1969. General use of this herald spanned from 1974 to 1984 (1983 for general equipment, 1984 for documents)
In the early days of steam, the MP generally used Gold lettering on its steam locomotives. This was further broken down by using two different types of fonts: Block for the numbers and Roman for the lettering (including subsidiary markings and classifications). Once Lewis W. Baldwin became president of the Missouri Pacific in April 1923, the color of the lettering changed to Aluminum.
The Missouri Pacific was known for its "Eagle" color scheme designed by Raymond Loewy. It consisted of Dark Cerulean, Icterine Yellow, and Isabelline Gray. These colors were mostly applied to passenger locomotives, passenger cars, merchandise boxcars and first-generation freight locomotives starting on October 22, 1939, and ending on April 27, 1961.
When Texas & Pacific was acquired by the Missouri Pacific, the railroad discontinued its Swamp Holly Orange & Black for the Eagle Colors (except Icterine Yellow) in its new order of GP18's 1145-1149 in May 1960. A traditional practice of railroads using the parent company's colors.
Under the Downing B. Jenks presidency, the Eagle Scheme was abandoned due do the belief of Mr. Jenks not wanting to waste money on a fancy paint scheme (considering it ironic since the railroad was not having financial woes). Effective April 28, 1961, all locomotives (new or to be repainted) were to receive an alternative version of Dark Cerulean, which the term "Jenks Blue" is derived (also sometimes called "Dark Eagle Blue") from.
With the Union Pacific Merger taking into effect on December 22, 1982, the Missouri Pacific sought to keep its Jenks Blue scheme. However, a study in late 1983 indicated the expense of all three railroads paint schemes were too costly. Union Pacific then allowed the Missouri Pacific & Western Pacific railroads to create a new scheme. The first new scheme attempt by the Missouri Pacific was a 'simple logo-simple scheme' design. Originally planned for the locomotive to be completely painted Armor Yellow (including trucks, frame, and fuel tank) with the application of the Missouri Pacific 20-inch lettering along the carbody & a Buzzsaw logo on the nose and air equipment doors. The plan was then reintroduced to have a black frame, trucks, and fuel tank. The final revision introduced the unit to be repainted in a standard Union Pacific scheme with 'MISSOURI PACIFIC' instead of 'UNION PACIFIC' lettering along the carbody.
Once the test scheme was completed, the lettering was deemed unsatisfactory due to the word 'MISSOURI' being too large to fit on smaller four-axle carbodies. Effective May 14, 1984, the Union Pacific scheme was to be used, but in substitution of the Union Pacific 'Jinx' lettering font, a renovated version of lettering was used. Using the font format seen on reporting marks and locomotive numbers, 'North Little Rock' lettering was used, as it fit the large and small car bodies decently. On January 1, 1986, the scheme was discontinued after the consolidation of the Missouri Pacific & Union Pacific operating departments. To this day, the paint scheme remains controversial, as management, employees and railfans were divided into appreciating the scheme or refusing it.