When East met West, Union Pacific Railroad was there. The principal operating subsidiary of Union Pacific was chartered by Congress in 1862 to build part of the first transcontinental rail line. Today, it is one of North America's largest railroads, providing freight transportation over some 32,000 route miles of track across the western two-thirds of the US. It links every major West Coast and Gulf Coast port and provides service to the east through major gateways in Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans. Union Pacific Railroad is the nation's largest hauler of chemicals and one of the largest intermodal carriers.