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Union Pacific Districts

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on September 5, 2020.

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Overview

The use of district names came into use on Union Pacific on January 1, 1936, as a result of the lease by Union Pacific of four railroads it had controlled for several years. The four railroads were: Oregon Short Line Railroad; Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company; Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, and St. Joseph and Grand Island Railroad.

The Eastern District included the original portion of Union Pacific itself, including all lines east of Ogden, including the Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming divisions, and the StJ&GI.

The Central District included the former OSL lines north of Salt Lake City, including the Salt Lake City terminal and the line south to Sandy, and lines north and west of Granger, Wyoming, and east of Huntington, Oregon, and the line north from Pocatello into Montana.

The Northwestern District included the former OWRR&N lines west and north of Huntington, Oregon.

The Southwestern District included the former LA&SL lines south and west of Salt Lake City.

(Read more about the 1936 lease)

Using employee timetables as the basic guide, the changes to districts of the overall Union Pacific System appear to take place in February, May and June 1936, matching the official effective date of the lease on January 1, 1936.

February 21, 1936
First Central District (former OSL) timetable showing Central District

February 21, 1936
First Northwestern District (former OWRR&N) Oregon and Washington division timetables showing Northwestern District

May 16, 1936
First Eastern District, Nebraska and Wyoming division timetables showing Eastern District (Kansas Division not available)

June 14, 1936
First Southwestern District (former LA&SL) timetable showing Southwestern District

November 21, 1937
First South-Central District, Los Angeles Division timetable showing South-Central District

November 28, 1937
First South-Central District, Utah Division timetable showing that portion of the former OSL as part of the South-Central District.

November 28, 1937
First South-Central District, Idaho Division timetable showing that portion of the former OSL as part of the South-Central District.

The three districts that came into use in 1936-1937 (Eastern District, South-Central District, Northwestern District) remained in use until the organizational change to Service Units in October 1998.

Central District

Before the 1936 creation of the Central District, the OSL was shown as a separate operation. Union Pacific System, Oregon Short Line Railroad timetable No. 238 (June 17, 1934), shows the OSL as Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Branches (not as the Idaho Division). Same for Timetable No. 239 (January 20, 1935).

The Union Pacific Railroad Central District timetable No. 136, dated May 20, 1936 (not shown as Idaho Division) included a map on the cover dated April 1933, showing all of OSL from Granger on the east, Sandy (Salt Lake City) on the south, and Butte on the north, westward to Huntington (and branches) on the west.

The Utah Division timetable Supplement No. 1, dated March 7, 1937, shows the Utah Division as part of the Central District.

Using employee timetables, the following dates can be used as indicators of the changes on the former OSL:

For the former OWRR&N, the first timetable was "Union Pacific Railroad, Northwestern District" No. 8, dated February 21, 1936.

In 1937, the Central District was dissolved, and its territory combined with the Southwestern District to create the new South-Central District. The territory included the former lines of OSL as the Idaho and Utah divisions, and the former LA&SL as the Los Angeles Division.

Eastern District

Created in 1936, including the Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming divisions. The St. Joseph and Grand Island had its own series of timetables.

Northwestern District

Created in 1936, including the Oregon and Washington divisions. The separation point between the Northwestern District and the Central District was at Huntington, Oregon.

In 1948, the Washington Division was dissolved and its territory taken by the Oregon Division.

In February 1948, the Northwestern District included the expanded Oregon Division, including the former Washington Division, and the separation point was moved westward from Huntington to Pendleton.

Also in February 1948, the Idaho Division was removed from the South-Central District and added to the Northwestern District. The Idaho Division included the line from Granger, Wyoming, westward to McCammon and Pocatello, Idaho, and continuing westward to Pendleton, Oregon.

In September 1949, the meeting point of the Oregon and Idaho divisions was moved eastward from Pendleton to Huntington, the historic separation point between the former OSL and OWRR&N.

Southwestern District

In a reflection of the May 25, 1921 date that Union Pacific purchased the remaining half interest in the LA&SL it did not already control through the OSL, the last LA&SL System Employee Timetable No. 60 was dated May 29, 1921.

The title "Union Pacific System, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad" was used beginning on March 26, 1922.

The first UP-controlled "Union Pacific System, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad," Los Angeles Division employee timetable was No. 61, dated March 26, 1922.

The first UP-controlled "Union Pacific System, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad," Salt Lake Division employee timetable was No. 61, dated March 26, 1922.

The Los Angeles and Salt Lake divisions remained separate and were combined in 1931.

The last separate Salt Lake Division employee timetable was No. 83 dated November 23, 1930.

The last separate Los Angeles Division employee timetable was No. 81 dated November 9, 1930.

Under UP control and ownership, the Los Angeles Division, and the Salt Lake Division were combined under a new Salt Lake-Los Angeles Combined Employee Timetable No. 84, dated May 3, 1931.

A new LA&SL System Employee Timetable No. 1 was issued March 13, 1932.

The title "Union Pacific, Southwestern District" was used beginning with timetable No. 9, dated June 14, 1936, until timetable No. 12, dated March 7, 1937.

Using Los Angeles Division employee timetables, the following dates can be used as indicators of the changes on the former LA&SL:

South-Central District

April 15, 1937
The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper reported that the South-Central District was to be created by combining the Central District with the Southwestern District, with an effective date of April 15, 1937. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 14, 1937)

With the new timetables issued in late 1937, the southern part of Central District (former OSL) south of Salt Lake City was combined with the Southwestern District (former LA&SL) to form the Los Angeles Division, as part of the new South-Central District.

At the same time in late 1937, the north-south portion of the Central District (former OSL) in northern Utah and Idaho, north from Salt Lake City to McCammon, then from Pocatello to Butte, became the Utah Division, part of the South-Central District.

The east-west portion of the Central District (former OSL) from Granger, Wyoming, to McCammon and Pocatello, and westward to Huntington, Oregon, became the Idaho Division, part of the South-Central District.

The first timetable showing the former LA&SL as part of the South-Central District was Los Angeles Division timetable No. 13, dated November 21, 1937. The map on the cover is dated October 1, 1937, and shows everything south and west of Salt Lake City.

The first timetable showing the former OSL as part of the South-Central District was Utah Division timetable No. 248, dated November 28, 1937.

Idaho Division timetable No. 140, dated June 20, 1937 (Union Pacific Railroad, South-Central District, Idaho Division), included a map of the Idaho and Utah divisions dated October 1, 1936, showing that the South-Central District included the Idaho, Utah and Los Angeles divisions.

From 1937 until February 1948, the South-Central District included the Idaho Division. In February 1948 the Idaho Division became part of the Northwestern District, with McCammon, Idaho, as the separation point.

From 1937 to 1941 the former LA&SL south and west of Salt Lake City was operated as the Los Angeles Division. In 1941 the Salt Lake Division was created from part of the Los Angeles Division, with the separation point at Caliente. It remained this way until the Big Bang in 1948 in which the entire railroad was reorganized.

Also in 1937, Union Pacific issued what was called the Salt Lake Joint Yard timetable, No. 62, dated November 28, 1937. The timetable covered the OSL-owned, and LA&SL operated portion between Salt Lake City and Sandy. LA&SL trains continued south from Sandy to Provo on what was known as the Provo Subdivision.

On August 1, 1941, the Los Angeles Division was cut back to end at Caliente. At the same time, the Utah Division was enlarged to include the former LA&SL to Caliente. The portion of the Utah Division north of McCammon became part of the Idaho Division, which was (until 1948) part of the South-Central District.

The changes to the Utah Division were announced on July 26, 1941, with A. E. Stoddard as the new division superintendent. (Salt Lake Herald, July 26, 1941)

(Read more about the history of the Utah Division, through its timetables)

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