CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Big Boy is stretching his legs.
On Wednesday night, Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 backed out of the Back Shop where it was restored, the first time a Big Boy locomotive has moved under its own power since July 1959. A consist of a water and tool cars was at hand and there was talk of a quick test run to nearby Speer, Wyo., but that did not occur. A test run today, however, is a possibility. Whether that is to the wye at Speer, or to Greeley, Colo., a traditional break-in run destination, is not known.
The locomotive is nearing the completion of an almost three-year restoration that began in 2016 after 4-8-4 No. 844 was overhauled and returned to service in July of that year. UP had acquired the Big Boy in 2013 but didn’t launch work until after No. 844’s overhaul and a general upgrade of the steam shop.
The Big Boy debuts Saturday in a doubleheader with No. 844 on the first of a five-day sojourn from Cheyenne to Ogden. Rawlins, Wyo., will be the destination of the first day’s run.