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Locomotives on Big Boy’s 2021 route

By | August 11, 2021

These are steam locomotives on Big Boy's 2021 route through the Great Plains, Texas, and the Mid-South

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Steam locomotive with passenger train paused underneath a signal bridge in a black and white image.
Steam locomotive with passenger train paused underneath a signal bridge in a black and white image.

Over the Missouri Pacific


Union Pacific’s 4-8-8-4 Big Boy locomotive will travel through the St. Louis region, which was once part of MoPac territory. In this photograph, Missouri Pacific 4-8-2 steam locomotive No. 5337 backs The Sunflower to its platform at St. Louis Terminal.

Photograph by Harold E. Williams
Steam locomotive with passenger train paused underneath a signal bridge in a black and white image.
A steam locomotive and passenger train idle under platform lights next to a passenger platform at night.

Along the Katy


A Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, M-K-T, or "Katy" passenger train headed by what appears to be a 2-8-2 Mikado-type locomotive stands at the ready in St. Louis Union Depot in August 1950. St. Louis is one of Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014's stops in its 2021 tour.

Photograph by Donald Sims
A steam locomotive and passenger train idle under platform lights next to a passenger platform at night.
Three steam locomotives led by an 0-8-0 switcher on an incline in a black-and-white image.

Triple-heading on the MoPac


In March 1946, Missouri Pacific 2-10-2 No. 1716 and 4-8-4 No. 2111 stalled with a 98-car west-bound freight train on Kirkwood Hill. The railroad called out a humble switcher, 0-8-0 No. 9721 to assist. If the MoPac had a Big Boy on this train, they may not have needed three locomotives!

Photograph by Joe Collias
Three steam locomotives led by an 0-8-0 switcher on an incline in a black-and-white image.
Black and white image of a passenger train crossing a trestle and bridge over a river and made small by the size of them all.

Big Boy's gate to the Big Easy

During its 2021 travels, Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 will march over the Southern Pacific's famed Huey Long Bridge just upriver from the city. According to SP information, the center space is 790 feet long, and approaches 4.4 miles long as it spans the Mississippi River.

Southern Pacific photograph

 

Black and white image of a passenger train crossing a trestle and bridge over a river and made small by the size of them all.
A large steam locomotive leads a freight train beside water towers under clear skies.

Cotton Belt superpower steam

Union Pacific's Big Boy No. 4014 will also move over trackage once operated by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway — better known as the Cotton Belt. In this black and white image, Cotton Belt 4-8-4 No. 809 leads a freight train near Texarkana in 1951. Whether the train was in the Texas or Arkansas version of Texarkana, the photographer did not record.

Photograph by R.S. Plummer
A large steam locomotive leads a freight train beside water towers under clear skies.
A steam locomotive hauling a freight train out of a rail yard.

Cotton Belt railroading in the 1950s

Here's a more informative view of St. Louis Southwestern, or Cotton Belt, railroading in the 1950s in this Texarakana rail yard scene featuring 4-8-4 No. 807 hauling a train out of a siding. Visible are boxcars, gondolas, tank cars, and in the distance, a large smoke stack. The Big Boy may not travel through this specific yard in 2021, but it might have felt welcome had it visited when the picture was made in 1951.

Photograph by R.S. Plummer
A steam locomotive hauling a freight train out of a rail yard.
An older steam locomotive leads an express train underneath an arched girder bridge.

"Morning Star"

St. Louis Southwestern or "Cotton Belt" 4-6-0 No. 667 leads the Morning Star train at St. Louis Union Station, July 5, 1948.

Photograph by H. Stinton
An older steam locomotive leads an express train underneath an arched girder bridge.
A streamlined steam locomotive leads a passenger train away from a passenger area toward the camera lens.

"The Sunbeam"

Southern Pacific's The Sunbeam passenger train lead by a streamlined steam locomotive, departs Houston for Dallas on Aug. 9, 1953. Houston will be one of Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014's stops during its 2021 tour.

Photograph by R.S. Plummer
A streamlined steam locomotive leads a passenger train away from a passenger area toward the camera lens.

 

These are the steam locomotives on Big Boy’s 2021 route.

In August and September 2021, Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 will travel from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to New Orleans through Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, among other places.

Classic Trains offers this photo gallery of steam locomotives from railroading’s high-period, showcasing those steam locomotives that Big Boy might have met had he traveled these rails in the 1940s or 1950s.

Enjoy! Classic Trains and classic trains, only on Trains.com!

3 thoughts on “Locomotives on Big Boy’s 2021 route

  1. I would be interested to know if the Southern Pacific loco in the last photo in this collection is a GS-2 or a GS-3. Either way, it is definitely painted in the signature Daylight livery.

  2. Are their any steam locomotives along 4014’s route that are under steam, or capable of being steamed? Its always cool, when a steam locomotive is on a tour or excursion, and there is a meet with another active steam locomotive.

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