The Missouri Pacific Railroad, which was in operation between 1851 and 1997, was one of the first railroads to be constructed west of the Mississippi River. During its active years, it ran through Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Although no longer active, the Missouri Pacific Railroad, also referred to as MoPac or, more commonly, The Mop, has a rich history from its many years of use.
History of the Missouri Pacific Railroad
The year 1851 marked the start of the Missouri Pacific Railroad as construction began, then referred to as only the Pacific Railroad. By 1852, the following year, the first section of track has been entirely completed. Construction continued, making the railroad larger and larger, and in 1865, the Pacific Railroad became the first railroad in Kansas City. In 1872, new investors were brought in and decided to change the railroad’s name from Pacific Railroad to the Missouri Pacific Railroad, giving the tracks the name they would be called for many years to come. During this time, it was also known as the first railroad west of the Mississippi.
With new investors and new control over the tracks, the Missouri Pacific Railroad continued to grow and grow over the years, extending far outside Missouri and reaching states such as Colorado, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. As time went by, those in charge of the Missouri Pacific Railroad began to take an interest in other lines in different states, including Texas where George Gould, financier of the railroad, took a special interest in the Gulf Coast Lines, International-Great Northern Railroad, and the Texas and Pacific Railway. Gould also merged the Missouri Pacific Railroad with St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern Railway.
Over its 147 years of operation, the Missouri Pacific Railroad continued to grow and expand. Eventually, it had merged or acquired many other lines, both in and out of state, including 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), San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad (SAU&G), Gulf Coast Lines (GC), International-Great Northern Railroad (IGN), New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railway (NOTM), Missouri-Illinois Railroad (MI), Central Branch Railway and the Alton and Southern Railroad (AS). By 1967, the Missouri Pacific Railroad had expanded so much that it now reached 9,041 miles of road and 13,318 miles of track.
Closing of the Missouri Pacific Railroad
Things started looking grim for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1933 when it had declared bankruptcy and was entered into a trusteeship that was later ended in 1956. In 1982, however, the Union Pacific Corporation purchased the Missouri Pacific Railroad, combining it with the Western Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. After the merge, it was referred to as the Pacific Rail Systems. The complete merger took a few years, but in 1997, the Missouri Pacific Railroad had officially been entirely merged with the Union Pacific Railroad.