Chris Brooks has also played Union Pacific and enjoyed it. That reminded me: has anyone tried to play the game without using the board? I think you could just play the trains on the table without placing them on the board. The board is quite large and has little significance in the game — at least when we played last Sunday, everyone was always able to build whatever they wanted. There was no blocking.
Perhaps one could also get rid of the track cards, while being at it? Not having the right track card happens more often than getting blocked, but I for one didn’t suffer from it once in our game. It would be interesting to play Union Pacific using only the stock cards and the trains. It would make the game a lot smaller! I’d definitely like to hear if someone has tried the game that way.