Union Pacific is celebrating its 150th anniversary. City officials and community members met earlier today to celebrate the accomplishment. Carolina Garcia, has that story.
150 years ago President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, allowing Union Pacific for the first time to connect the United States from East to West. Union Pacific is now celebrating its 150th anniversary. Representatives along with city officials are celebrating the accomplishment. They say Laredo is a very important city for the company. "We've actually been in Laredo for well over 100 years and Laredo is one of the most important communities in our system specifically with international trade." Times have changed since Union Pacific was established and so have the needs of the community. But Public Affairs Director Ivan Jaime says the main change throughout the years has been the City of Laredo's growth. Their local office currently has over 300 employees. "How Laredo; the city has become and how many freight trains move through the area. I think just about 20 per day and what it takes , how many jobs it creates to move those trains." Part of the celebration was a special appearance by former President Abraham Lincoln who says the rail road made a tremendous impact on the community. He said, "it took thousands of years for people to make any sort of progress at all. What with the access to water ways being denied to them, and geography being impassable, weather being uncooperative but the rail road changed that in just under a century.” Today the rail road is mainly used to transport products such as corn, soy, and automotive parts. The passenger rail really stopped operating when the interstate system came into full effect that's when people starting relying more on their cars. But, would we ever get the passenger rail back? "I think that passenger rail is a community decision depending on what the community wants. There's definitely a lot of benefits to freight rail." He says for now Union Pacific has many reasons to celebrate history and is planning on growing even more by hiring personnel soon. Carolina Garcia Pro8News