News & Reviews News Wire Congress considered sending Steamtown Big Boy to Utah

Congress considered sending Steamtown Big Boy to Utah

By Steve Glischinski | September 22, 2023

US House of Representatives proposed move in 2002

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Big Boy

black big locomotive steam
Big Boy 4012 at Steamtown in Octboer 2021. Steve Glischinski

WASHINGTON — Long before Union Pacific reacquired Big Boy No. 4014, rebuilt it to operation and sent it west to Utah for the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike, Congress considered sending another Big Boy to the celebration. In 2002, Rep. Jim Hansen, a Republican from Utah, and Rep. Nicholas Rahall, a Democrat from West Virginia, introduced H.R. No. 5569 dealing with the National Park Service. The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources, of which Hansen was chairman at the time (he died in 2018). It appears that the bill never moved past the committee to the full House for further action, at least in the form it was introduced. Tucked away in the bill was Section 1813, dealing with “Union Pacific Big Boy Relocation.” Among the provisions was the following language:

“The year 2004 will mark the 80th anniversary of the completion of Ogden Union Station, in Utah, the western destination of the Big Boy locomotives. The year 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike that connected the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, creating the world’s first transcontinental railroad. Because the Big Boy played such an important role in the economy and history of Utah, it should be represented at the sesquicentennial anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike and the 80th anniversary of the completion of Ogden Union Station. Big Boy No. 4012 is the only one of the 25 original Big Boys that is owned by the Federal Government and available to transport Ogden, Utah, for these events.

(b) RELOCATION. — On or before Jan. 1, 2004, the Secretary of the Interior shall relocate Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4012, located on the date of the enactment of this section at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to the Crossroads of the West in Ogden, Utah, to remain in Ogden, Utah, until Dec. 24, 2019.

AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. — There is authorized to be appropriated $500,000 to carry out this section.”

While ultimately the No. 4012 never moved from Steamtown, Big Boy No. 4014 made the trip to Ogden under steam in 2019, a better outcome than having a static No. 4012 at Ogden. No. 4012 did not languish at Steamtown, however. In 2019 Steamtown’s Big Boy was removed from display to replace rusted parts, remediate hazardous materials from its original construction, and receive a new paint job. It was returned to display in 2021 and today greets visitors as they enter the park complex.

To see a copy of the original bill from 2002 go to

2 thoughts on “Congress considered sending Steamtown Big Boy to Utah

    1. The West is often the best and all its rail pals will be super content to meet the Big Boy there anytime, as the days keep on growing still.

      Dr. Güntürk Üstün

You must login to submit a comment