News & Reviews News Wire Union Pacific plans major Big Boy tour in 2024

Union Pacific plans major Big Boy tour in 2024

By Trains Staff | November 2, 2023

Steam locomotive will visit ‘four corners’ of 23-state system

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Big Boy steam locomotive rounds curve on a sunny day.
Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 rounds a curve on the Yoder Subdivision between Egbert and Albin, Wyo., on June 7, 2023. UP plans a major tour for the 4-8-8-4 in 2024. Kevin Gilliam

OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific will send Big Boy No. 4014 on a “Four Corners” tour of its system in 2024, the railroad announced today, including stops in Oregon, California, Texas, and Illinois.

“As we move forward at Union Pacific, we remember where we came from; the Big Boy represents the history of Union Pacific and the United States,” Union Pacific CEO Jim Vena said in a message to UP’s “Steam Club,” which receives first notification of plans for the 4-8-8-4. “When No. 4014 comes to town, we will celebrate with the communities where we operate, our employees and their families. Together, we will marvel at how far technology has brought us.”

Anticipated stops include Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston; Salt Lake City; Portland, Ore; Nampa, Idaho; and Roseville, Calif. A schedule and route information will be announced next year, and the railroad plans events for employees and their families in addition to public stops.

In an interview last month [see “The Trains Interview: Union Pacific CEO Jim Vena …,” Oct. 19, 2023], Vena had indicated he planned to use the Big Boy more.

“I love it,” Vena said then. “It’s a wonderful way to represent who we are, where we came from, and understand what technology does. There was a reason why the diesels came in and we’re able to change. But it is a wonderful symbol of who we are. And I’m going to bring it out next year and we’re going to use it for people to understand and learn more about Union Pacific. It will be part of our employee days, where the employees get to bring their families and are able to go jump on that thing and see how big it is.”

8 thoughts on “Union Pacific plans major Big Boy tour in 2024

  1. In the name of the history of both Union Pacific Railroad and American Railroading, run, Big Boy, run on the shining steel rails!

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  2. Interesting it is stopping in Salt Lake City, UT where it rarely ran but not Ogden, Utah where it regularly ran between that city and Cheyenne, WY over Sherman Hill and along the original transcontinental railroad.

    What would have been great would have been to see 4014 and Challenger 3985 run in tandem but UP gave away that opportunity, probably forever…

  3. I’m happy that Union Pacific Steam team continues the legacy today but I do have a couple of questions that I don’t want to offend:

    Will Union Pacific’s 844 double head with Big Boy 4014 that year? 844 is the only steam locomotive that I have yet to watch in motion.

    Another question is that Canadian Pacific’s 2816 will also be on the highline for a transcontinental trip to Mexico via Kansas City, Missouri. Is there a chance that Big Boy 4014 and CPKC 2816 pose together at Union Station?

    I understand that Union Pacific doesn’t allow foreign steam locomotives on their roster unless if it was built for the railroad but I thought it would be a highlight for anyone.

  4. Is there any chance that the ‘Big Boy 4014’ will have a future tour scheduled for the East coast?? There are thousands of railroad fans who would drool at the opportunity to see this magnificent piece of American manufacturing and history!

    As you’re well aware, there’s a great history of railroading along the Eastern Seaboard! Union Station in Washington, DC, used to host the yearly ‘National Train Day’ events sponsored by Amtrak. There are a number of rail museums and scenic tours in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) region. A ‘whistle stop’ or stops in this ‘DMV’ would be a great idea.

    1. Don’t hold your breath. Last time UP let one of it’s steamers go offline was in the early 1990’s when Challenger 3985 went east to pull the Clinchfield’s Santa train.
      Because of it’s size it had some clearance issues. Much bigger than any steamer in the east. Bigger than Nickel Plate 2-8-4’s and N & W 4-8-4’s

    2. …or N&W Greyhound Class A 2-6-6-4 or Y6B 2-8-8-2’s Mallets. In fact the 3985 was damaged when it came too close to standing coal cars, I believe on the Clinchfield… but as Paul said,, the chances are two: Slim and none.

      The only place it might happen is via D&H and NYC to Chicago and then west on CNW, just how they were delivered to UP. There is a good YouTube video on delivering of the Big Boys to Council Bluffs, IA from Alco in Schenectady, NY. It could be quite a circuitous route…

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