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Big Boy returns home NEWSWIRE

By Jim Wrinn | May 19, 2019

Restored 4-8-8-4 concludes inaugural journey by bringing doubleheader with No. 844 to Cheyenne ahead of schedule

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Nos. 4014 and 844, their round trip to Ogden completed, cut off from their train and head to the UP steam shop in Cheyenne on Sunday morning.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — On a cloudy day in which much of fabled Sherman Hill was socked in by fog, Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 and 4-8-4 No. 844 returned home, concluding the inaugural tour for the 4-8-8-4 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike.

The two locomotives and their 12-car train ran an hour ahead of schedule for a change, owing to little Sunday morning freight traffic and an on-time departure from Laramie, just 60 miles away. The two had laid over there since Friday afternoon. They concluded a journey of almost 1,000 miles to Ogden, Utah, that started here May 4. The train arrived in Cheyenne shortly after 10 a.m. with the expected railfan motorcade and many local spectators lining Otto Road west of town.

The two steam locomotives cut off from their train and made their way to the steam shop while diesel No. 2650 stayed with the passenger consist and was preparing to take the cars to their home shop in Council Bluffs. Steam shop employees were seen preparing to move No. 844 into the shop. Dozens of people lined the street bridge that overlooks the shop for one more glimpse of the two engines.

What comes next for No. 4014? The locomotive concluded its journey to Ogden without serious mechanical problems. But like any locomotive, there will be adjustments. Many final cosmetic touches are yet to be completed. And then there’s the question of where the engine will go next: UP has said repeatedly that it plans to extensively tour the locomotive, which has not run in 60 years. Now that No. 4014 has proven itself on the main line, the next chapter will unfold soon.

Watch Trains News Wire for reporting on the Big Boy’s next action as details become available.

9 thoughts on “Big Boy returns home NEWSWIRE

  1. Brian Westgate, Scott Moore (Senior VP Corporate Relations and Chief Admin. Officer) said that Union Pacific is looking at the possibility of a system-wide tour with the 4014 in the video “Bringing the Big Boy Back to Life.” (Check it out, its quite neat.)

  2. “Without serious mechanical problems” – That implies that there were some non-serious issues. I’d be interested to know what they were, not from a critical standpoint, but from an educational one.

  3. Union Pacific has its biggest (no pun intended) public relations tool at its disposal. I would hope that the company uses #4014 throughout its network. They should be applauded for bringing it back into operation. 2019 will be known as the year of the Big Boy. Thanks UP.

  4. The Promontory Point 150th journey was possibly the greatest “shakedown” of a steam locomotive that has ever been executed, or observed by thousands. The “Beast” did not experience a major “mechanical” problem. The major “human” problem was probably the Steam Crew with hearts in their throats the first few days of the journey.

    After “Big Boy” was proving its mettle, the Steam Crew could be satisfied with their hundreds of hours of re-assembling 4014. And no reporting of any safety issues among the public, wanting to experience this historic event in person, made the trip a success. (Nothing like the unfortunate 844 incident in Colorado.) Good job by those providing safety.

    Certainly a labor of love, and thankfully, extraordinarily supported by the management of the Union Pacific Railroad. This excursion should result in fine-tuning of her mechanical processes, so 4014 can continue to celebrate Union Pacific’s service to the nation, with more excursions!

    Journey on 4014, 844, and 3985 !! Hope to see you traveling the Oregon Short Line.

  5. Hey, George Pins.

    One such issue that was on the 4014 was a minor steam leak on the engineers side of the forward cylinder set (it can be seen in numerous railfan videos, but its an easy fix.) Plus, there maybe some things to work on such as readjusting fittings/connections, and probably fine tuning the locomotives performance in tweaking the timing valves to maximize power and economy.

    There’s probably more than what I’ve just mentioned, or possibly less, since breaking in a steam engine of any size can be like fine tuning a piano, but hopefully this can give you a few hints.

  6. Congratulations to the UP, all of the people who made this possible. As far as some small problems with 4014, I am reminded of what a Chief Mechanical Officer who worked with steam once told me. “Everyone loves steam engines, but steam engines DON’T love you.

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