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Union Pacific

The great race to promontory

Union Pacific chose us to create a website commemorating the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike in Promontory Summit, UT. Through stories, images and events in communities along the route of the Transcontinental Railroad, we built an engaging and educational experience that can be viewed and shared on any device by a wide-ranging audience.

The primary directive from Union Pacific was to keep a focus on the communities, while also conveying a sense of the scale, distance travelled (1775 miles) and heated competition between the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads.

By visually building the track’s progress while a visitor scrolls through the community stories and overlaying it on a custom vector map, precisely rendered in real-time, we simultaneously communicated the intense competition and the scale of this monumental undertaking without requiring visitors to suffer through a lengthy “loading” screen. We went a step further and created a fun locomotive in motion GIF to further reduce the visitors’ perception of loading time.

Anyone can share information about their community using the unique community profile. The potential of this website for students and researchers is amplified through a full reference-style instant search that makes finding locations, dates, and important figures easy. The website will permanently reside on UP.com after the 150th Anniversary celebration and related events have passed.