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Big Boy debuts with test run NEWSWIRE

By Jim Wrinn | May 3, 2019

UP tries out 4-8-8-4 with run to Nunn, Colo.; big trip starts Saturday

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UP Big Boy No. 4014 departs Cheyenne, Wyo., just before sunset on Thursday on its first test run.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
Big_Boy_Test_2_Wrinn
Why, yes, it is big: UP’s newly restored Big Boy heads out of Cheyenne on Thursday. Another test run is possible today.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Running into a setting sun, newly reborn Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 rolled gingerly onto the main line Thursday evening, launching a new era of the biggest of the big for the one American Class I railroad that remains dedicated to using its history and its steam power for public relations.
With the words “Big Boy” chalked on its smokebox door over a “V” for victory as it was in 1941 on the first Big Boy, No. 4014 left Cheyenne with a water car and two tool cars in tow, bound for Greeley, Colo. A modern diesel trailed in dynamic brake mode to simulate a load.
The crew stopped several times to inspect the running gear and continued to Nunn, Colo., before returning to the steam shop early this morning. Another test run today was not out of the question.
The locomotive is set for a christening event Saturday morning before heading west with 4-8-4 No. 844, bound for Ogden, Utah, and the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike.

Trains will live stream as much of the trip as possible on its Facebook page, thanks to sponsors Nevada Northern Railway Museum and Railfan Depot.

23 thoughts on “Big Boy debuts with test run NEWSWIRE

  1. The story goes that German POW’s when seeing a Big Boy realized their war was over.

  2. OMG What a beautiful sight to see Big Boy under steam. I missed the last operations in 1959 because of lack of funds and time to travel. I watched the removal of the giant from Pomona and wondered if I would ever get to see it under steam. Now at age 80 I will finally get to see 4014 under steam at some point in the future. Ed Dickens and his crew have done a fantastic job and brought it in on time. Now enjoy the fruits of your labor guys. High green signals to you all.

  3. I’ve got to admit that just looking at the photos gave me goosebumps. Well done, Union Pacific- I can’t wait to see her in person!

  4. If someone had said any of this was going to happen 10-15 years prior would any of us have seriously given it any real consideration? For me the Big Boy represents one of the pinnacle achievements of the steam era and its return to the high iron is nothing less than the equivalent of someone returning from the dead. For an entire lifetime it had been said that it couldn’t be done or just wasn’t feasible. Thank you to the Union Pacific Railroad to liberally use its time and resources to not only bring this behemoth back to the mainline for another opportunity to strut her stuff, but to continue to operate the finest steam locomotive program in the world and keep the traditions of railroading alive while promoting the company and educating the public. Another huge thank you should be dedicated to all railfans and news organizations whose involvement promotes the hobby and allows most of the country to witness events like this without even leaving the comfort of their homes. Seeing as though I am unable to attend the festivities in Ogden and elsewhere I would like to thank Jim Wrinn and the entire staff at Trains Magazine for allowing us a front row seat to history. Without their dedication this monumental moment might have been been missed by many unable to attend. Hopefully I’ll get to see 4014 and 844 soon but until then I want to leave with the famous quote by Graham Claytor, “It’s a good thing to let another generation know what a steam locomotive is….”

  5. The Biggest That Ever Was is The Biggest That Ever Was again!

    Well done UP and the UP Steam Crew! Thank you!

  6. I told my 2½ -year-old grandson that “the biggest train in the world” was soon going to be running and one of these days we might get to see it. He thought that was great. Then I told him its name was “Big Boy” and he thought that was really cool.

  7. WOW. Fantastic. Congratulations to the U.P. Steam crew. The link that Lucas Lee referenced https://imgur.com/gallery/l4a8OIn

    worked for me and also has a link to a video of it moving.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMNOnduYV3M&t=71

    I thank the UP leaders for championing this project. And as a shareholder, I think this is money well spent, I may not get to see it but am very happy to see that management can see value in recognizing corporate history.
    This locomotive helped the US win WW II and the UP prosper and it deserves to be able to show itself as it was in its best,

  8. Congratulations! Union Pacific. What a great effort by all involved to bring this iconic steam locomotive back to life. Union Pacific has always been a great well respected Railroad, well done.

  9. That we are this far into the 21st Century makes that photo of the Big Boy going under that bridge in Cheyenne one of the coolest ever. Well done UP just doesn’t cover it.

  10. What can I say that hasn’t been said before?

    Well, thanks to the UP and it’s magnificent steam crew this machine is a living, breathing monument to the Victory Era and the power of American industry that made it possible.

    And even though I know it took sweat, blood, and more than a little love to wake it up after a 60 year sleep it’s also a relic of a time when things were made to LAST. There’s no “use it up and throw it out” with a Big Boy!

    And sorry diesel fans, and I mean that with the greatest of respect, a steam locomotive has a magic about it no diesel can touch. Ever. It’s the closest God in His wisdom has ever let man get to creating life.

  11. Ron, I read your comment, and everything you say is true, but this is a special case. Let me explain if I can.
    For years, a Big Boy restoration has been kind of a “Holy Grail” for railfans and steam freaks alike. All hoped for one, all wished that maybe-possibly it just might come to pass in their lifetimes, but none seriously expected it.

    Well, here it is! It’s like Christmas come early! Hence all the overflowing thanks and enthusiasm directed toward UP and their steam crew.

    No-ones downplaying or denigrating the efforts of any steam restoration crew anywhere. All are praiseworthy and worthy of support.

    And maybe, just maybe, if other railroads see just what kind of reaction this gets from the general public it might lead to corporate sponsorship of other restorations. A bit of a stretch, but you never know, do you?

    Does what I said make sense? I hope so.

  12. Curtis, steam engines, fancy heritage paint and keeping the foamers happy doesnt pay the bills and keep shippers happy. I’m guessing shippers like Curt Warfel are more concerned why their load is late. The goal of senior management is to run the railroad. And with jobs being lost in the rallying cry of the sacred OR and pleasing the stockholders, I really cant get on board with this move, and what the cost of it is, out respect for those that have lost their jobs in the name of cost cutting. This is by no means a slam against the talented LABOR force that brought it back to life. I just had absolutely no desire to even follow this thing.

  13. Great, but I fail to understand why when an all-volunteer group restores and operates a locomotive, they don’t get nearly the praise that this does? This 4014 restoration had TONS of corporate money, paid employees, paid contractors, and their own railroad to run, so I would hope they could do it. Please think of the other volunteer groups and the TRULY huge hurtles that they have to overcome to restore and operate a steam locomotive. Those volunteer groups are the real heroes (think about 765, 261, 4449, etc.).

  14. An outstanding accomplishment by the Union Pacific Railroad and its contractors and suppliers. UP had the right vision on this, and they are executing on it.

    Now it’s up to senior management and the UP Public Relations department to help the company obtain maximum benefits from the 4014 in a second career.

  15. Well Steve, as a UP stockholder with a significant number of shares, I’m enormously pleased! I believe restoring 4014 to operation was well worth the cost. The dividends it will pay are beyond financial description. I just wish they ran in the east where I live as at my age and with certain physical limitations it is somewhat unlikely that I will ever get to see it “in the flesh”, but once again, well done UP!!!

  16. Jon, just what dividends will this pay beyond good PR? Maybe I am out of touch, but to me the biggest PR tool a company has is its workforce. Will a shipper decide to move his product via UP, or any railroad for that matter, because of a steam program? And for the record, it does not matter to me whether or not you own stock, or why you felt the need to tell me it is “significant.”

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