May 28, 2024 |

Photo – Flyer for Life Between The Rails – Courtesy UW American Heritage Center

The University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center is looking for current and former Union Pacific workers and their families to contribute stories about the railroad.

Project Assistant for the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming Tana Libolt is putting together a project called “Life Between the Rails: An Oral History of the Union Pacific Railroad.” Libolt explained what the project entails.

Libolt said she is trying to collect stories from every type of Union Pacific employee, from engineers to section crews. The project assistant said she would also like to hear stories from minority railroad workers.

Libolt is asking former and current Union Pacific employees to meet and discuss their time with the railroad. The recorded meetings will be compiled and made available through the American Heritage Center.

Libolt said she has already held two in-person historical discussions in Cheyenne where she heard interesting and relevant stories.

Libolt said, so far, she has mainly interviewed older UP workers. The project assistant said she is working on collecting stories from a younger generation of railroad employees.

Libolt said older railroad employees had to adjust to rapid advances in technology. She said before computer aids, driving a locomotive took years of training to master. Some workers embraced the new technology while others resented it.

Libolt said the majority of stories she has collected from former UP workers have been positive. She said working together on the railroad created lasting friendships.

Libolt encouraged past and present Union Pacific workers and their families to contact her to contribute to the Life Between the Rails oral history project.

To submit a story for the project, email the American Heritage Center at or call 766-5575.

Libolt said the project is expected to finish by the end of September. Afterwards, the stories collected through the project will be compiled together and made available to the public through the American Heritage Center.

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