Tag Archives: Fallen Flag

Fallen Flag: Ouabache / Wabash

Wabash, Follow the Flag

The Wabash Railroad takes its name from the Wabash River. The Wabash is a 475-mile (764 km)-long river in the eastern United States that flows southwest from northwest Ohio near Fort Recovery, Ohio across northern Indiana to Illinois where it forms the southern portion of the Illinois Indiana border before draining into the Ohio River. “Wabash” is an English spelling of the French name for the river, “Ouabache.” French traders named the river after the native Miami tribe’s word for the river.

At the end of 1960 Wabash operated 2,423 miles of road on 4,311 miles of track through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Ontario (see map).

The Wabash Railroad Merger Tree

1982 Norfolk Southern Railway
1964 Norfolk and Western Railway
1941 Wabash Railroad
1931 Wabash Railway
1908 Wabash Pittsburgh Terminal Railway
1889 Wabash Railroad
1879 Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway
1877 Council Bluffs and St. Louis Railway
1865 Toledo, Wabash and Western Railway
1865 Great Western Railway of Illinois
1853 Sangamon and Morgan Railroad
1847 Northern Cross Railway
1865 Illinois and Southern Iowa Railroad
1865 Quincy and Toledo Railroad
1865 Toledo and Wabash Railway
1958 Wabash and Western Railroad
1858 Toledo and Wabash Railroad
1858 Toledo, Wabash and Western Railroad
1856 Lake Erie, Wabash and St. Louis Railroad
1856 Toledo and Illinois Railroad
1865 Warsaw and Peoria Railroad

Sources: The Wabash Railroad Historical Society and Wikipedia.

See also:

Fallen Flags

A Fallen Flag is a rather poetic term that refers to a railroad company that is no longer in existence due to bankruptcy or merger. Since the late 1950s the North American railroad industry has undergone an epic brand consolidation. In fact, presently only four Class I railroads still exist under their original names. The surviving brands are the Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad. Why is this important? I am not sure, but I came across this logo of a Fallen Flag while on a recent stroll and did a little research. Yes I read cereal boxes as well.

Southern Pacific railroad

1959: Southern Pacific moved more ton-miles of freight than any other US railroad.

1965: Southern Pacific’s bid for control of the Western Pacific is rejected by the ICC.

1967: SP opens the longest stretch of new railroad construction in a quarter century as the first trains roll over the Palmdale Cutoff through Cajon Pass.

May 1, 1971: Amtrak takes over long-distance passenger operations in the United States; the only SP revenue passenger trains thereafter were the commutes between San Francisco and San Jose.

1980: Now owning a 98.34% control of the Cotton Belt.

1984: The Southern Pacific Company merges into Santa Fe Industries parent of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, to form Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation.

1985: New Caltrain locomotives and rolling stock replace SP equipment on the Peninsula Commute, marking the end of Southern Pacific passenger service with SP equipment.

October 13, 1988: Rio Grande Industries, parent of the Rio Grande Railroad, takes control of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The merged company retains the name “Southern Pacific” for all railroad operations.

1989: Southern Pacific acquires 223 miles of former Alton trackage between St. Louis and Joliet from the Chicago, Missouri & Western. This marks the first time that the Southern Pacific has served the Chicago area on its own rails.

March 17, 1991: The Southern Pacific changes its corporate image, replacing the century-old Roman Lettering with the Rio Grande-inspired Speed Lettering.

1992: Northwestern Pacific is merged into SP, ending NWP’s existence as a corporate subsidiary of SP and leaving the Cotton Belt as SP’s only remaining major railroad subsidiary. Of interesting note, the Northwestern Pacific’s south end would be sold off by UP, and turned into a “new” Northwestern Pacific.

1996: The Union Pacific Railroad finishes the acquisition that was effectively begun almost a century before with the purchase of the Southern Pacific by UP in 1901, until divestiture was ordered in 1913. Ironically, although Union Pacific was the dominant company, taking complete control of SP, its corporate structure was merged into Southern Pacific, which on paper became the “surviving company”; which then changed its name to Union Pacific.

1996: The merged company retains the name “Union Pacific” for all railroad operations.

See also: Fallen Flag: Ouabache / Wabash