Union Pacific Common Standards

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This page was last updated on August 25, 2017.

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Common Standards Book

CS Book -- A online album containing 900 scanned images from the Union Pacific Common Standards book, as well as other similar items.


These standards in this Union Pacific Common Standards book were used to describe a wide variety of bridges, buildings, tools and track components all across the Union Pacific system. The collection includes a large variety standards dating from 1904 to 1985, with numerous updates replacing obsolete standards, which are also included.

Where applicable because of their dates, a total of 74 images come from a set of 308 Common Standards drawings that were published in four volumes in 1994 by James Ehernberger. These four books, which are now out of print, each held 77 drawings.

An additional 32 drawings came from the family of Arthur E. Lifferth, a professional appraiser who passed away in 2014.

The original Common Standards book itself, with 811 pages, was made available through the courtesy of Robert Langer.

James Ehernberger wrote the following as part of the forward for his set of books, published in 1994:

A principal goal accomplished by the Great Rebuilder of the Union Pacific, Edward H. Harriman, was standardization. Beginning in 1904 and for years afterwards, Union Pacific Common Standards were often known as "Harriman Standards." Mergers in recent years brought into the Union Pacific network different standards, therefore, new standards were necessary, which are now known as "Engineering Standards." The pages reproduced here were in effect at various intervals between 1904 and 1990.

Due to their complexity of details, many drawings were discontinued as Common Standard, and were incorporated into the Chief Engineer category (CE drawings). The general signal system detailed drawings were never a part of the Common Standards; however, minor signal related items were. Track components in the original set of drawings cover various rail weights, but due to space limitations, only the 100 pound weight is included in this series. One must also bear in mind that these drawings normally consist of the small simple type system-wide structures, while the Chief Engineer drawings cover details for larger facilities or many other subjects.