America’s greatest transportation project ever – the Transcontinental Railroad – was completed right here in Utah. Businessmen, politicians, clergy and hundreds of workers gathered May 10, 1869, along a stretch of Utah desert as the ceremonial last spike was driven at Promontory Summit to connect the country’s east and west.  The event, in which the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads came together, marked the culmination of seven years of intense focus and significant infrastructure investment.

Today, Utah is a vital crossroads for Union Pacific. More than 1,200 Union Pacific employees in the Beehive state leverage the more than 1,200 miles of privately owned track to serve the U.S. economy by keeping consumer goods, metals, minerals, manufactured products, coal, automobiles and automobile parts moving to destinations across the country and throughout global markets. Since 2006, Union Pacific has invested more than $600 million to strengthen Utah’s rail infrastructure with railroad track and bridge projects, network and system upgrades, training facilities, and public-private partnerships to address specific needs.

South Salt Lake City and Ogden are home to key terminal facilities for Union Pacific’s network.  Salt Lake City houses the Intermodal ramp moving freight to and from west coast ports and across the nation. Salt Lake Community College’s Redwood Road Campus is also the site of Union Pacific’s main technical training center, where engineers use state-of-the-art locomotive simulators for safety and fuel efficiency training.

The company’s investments enhance employee, community and customer safety, increase rail operating efficiency and help sustain jobs.

When the final spike was driven at Promontory Summit in 1869, the telegrapher sent a four letter message to the nation: “D-O-N-E” and Americans from coast to coast celebrated the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion.  But for Utahns and America, Union Pacific’s story had just begun.

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Nathan Anderson is Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad in Utah.