News & Reviews News Wire Union Pacific postpones Big Boy tour to Northwest

Union Pacific postpones Big Boy tour to Northwest

By | April 22, 2022

Railroad cites ongoing supply-chain issues, says tour will be rescheduled when operations recover

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Union Pacific’s planned spring and summer tour for Big Boy No. 4014 has been postponed. (Trains: Jim Wrinn)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Union Pacific has postponed its planned tour this summer for Big Boy No. 4014, citing a need to “focus on efforts to ease supply chain congestion.”

The trip to the Pacific Northwest via Northern California had been scheduled to begin June 26. The railroad said it would announce updated plans once service performance levels return to normal.

“We know many rail enthusiasts make travel plans and communities prepare to act as host, which is why we made this decision now,” Scott Moore, senior vice president-corporate relations, and chief administrative officer, said in an email to members of Union Pacific’s Steam Club. “We have a duty to continue our efforts to reduce supply chain congestion and provide customers the service they deserve; given the impact of a steam tour on our operations that focus must be our priority.”

During a quarterly earnings call with investors and analysts on Thursday, Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz said improving service “has our full and undivided attention” after a quarter that saw trip plan compliance for intermodal and carload traffic fall by 6%, while car velocity fell 5% [see “Union Pacific earnings improve despite congestion …,” Trains News Wire, April 21, 2022]. The railroad has also announced a move to decrease the number of privately owned cars operating on its system in an effort to address congestion [see “Union Pacific to begin metering traffic …,” News Wire, April 12, 2022].

“We are at an inflection point, and more critical action is needed,” Executive Vice President of Operations Eric Gehringer said during Thursday’s call.

UP is also one of four railroads ordered to appear before the Surface Transportation Board for a hearing on service issues among Class I railroads [see “Federal regulators to hold hearings …,” News Wire, April 7, 2022]. That hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, and Wednesday, April 27.

9 thoughts on “Union Pacific postpones Big Boy tour to Northwest

  1. By sheer random coincidence, dumb luck, totally unplanned, I’ve seen three Big Steam excursions. Chessie in Brighton (Michigan) around 1978. UPRR West Allis (Wisconsin) in the 1990’s. Most recently, MILW steam running on CPR in Brookfield (Wisconsin). So I can see the industrial charm and why people are impressed, even though I’m not a steam foamer myself.

    Which brings me to the present. If it’s UPRR steam, I’d stay home. If hypothetically it’s steam on a real railroad, like BNSF or CPR or CNR, I might make an effort.

  2. Curious how running the 4014 is a good tool other than for railfans.
    Customers and shippers will just have their products delayed even more in the routes that the train operates.

  3. UP is really screwed up. You would have thought that the PR department would have checked with the people upstairs before announcing the tour. Well NO. Now they look like the fools they really are.

    The industry keep shooting themselves in the foot. Can’t keep this up much longer. they have only a few toes left.

    The STB meeting next week is going to be a mess. With all the CRAP that’s going to talked about., the room is going to smell like a chicken coop that hasn’t been cleaned out in years.

    Don’t think STB is going to take any action, BUT if they do, no one is going to like it and law suits will start flying.

  4. Sorry to hear that. A PR move gone bad. Grant you the problems can be put aside to make the 4014 a good tool for both the customers, shipers and related industries to see how things should be done.

  5. Sad to learn but it is the right thing to do. As a shareholder I want them to get the service up to what they should be doing (which would GROW the business) and treat the employees as they claim that they are their most valuable asset should be treated, not thrown under the bus as they seem to be doing.

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