The series examined why Union Pacific was having so many fatal and otherwise serious accidents. The dangerous situation continues despite the fact that the federal government has identified many of the factors that make modern railroading unsafe. The stories show that Union Pacific was handling unprecedented amounts of freight with fewer workers. Engineers and conductors were forced to work 70 to 80 hour weeks, often in irregular shifts. The train dispatchers were overworked and not allowed to familiarize themselves with the track. Other basic safety measures, like brake tests, were being ignored. The series also addressed why Union Pacific's operations were plagued by gridlock and showed cost saving moves brought out in their plan to merge with Southern Pacific.