Restored steam locomotive rolls to anniversary Occasion

It’s more weighs more than a Boeing 747 fully loaded with passengers and will pull on 16 Statues of Liberty.

The Big Boy No. 4014 steam locomotive rolled from a Union Pacific restoration store in Cheyenne over the weekend for a significant debut after five decades of restoration. It then headed as part of a yearlong tour to commemorate the Transcontinental Railroad anniversary.

Big Boys hauled freight between Utah and Wyoming in the 1940s and 1950s. Of the 25 eight stay. Just No. 4014 will be usable.

The locomotives are not simply large, they are so complex which steam train fans considered restoring one to a completely operational condition said editor of magazine, Jim Wrinn.

They were also the”pinnacle of steam locomotive design” in the years before diesel engines took more than the less expensive, more efficient standard for U.S. railroads, Wrinn said.

“it is a fairly big deal,” explained Wrinn. “Nobody ever believed that a Big Boy would be restored to operation. Ever.”

Union Pacific hasn’t said how much the recovery price, however Wrinn estimated at least $4 million based on restorations. The result is going to be one of only six to eight steam engines still usable on mainline U.S. railroad tracks.

Big Boy No. 4014 will join in No. 844’s publicity work for a railroad version of the Goodyear Blimp, Wrinn said.

The locomotives will definitely also tour the Union Pacific system during 2019 in honour of the 1869 conclusion of the Transcontinental Railroad. They’ll be in Ogden, Utah, this week for the event featuring UP and Utah officials and an ancestor of one of the Chinese workers who helped construct the railroad.

Few train engineers nowadays know what it’s like to drive a steam locomotive, though retired Union Pacific engineer Mickey Cox once got a short turn driving No. 844.

The taxi had no air conditioning supporting the large boiler and got dirty, Cox recalled of the jaunt that included driving through a tunnel between Laramie and Cheyenne.

“Everybody at the taxi is, you know, coated with soot by the time you proceed through the tunnel on these items. And it gets very hot. “It would have been a difficult job back in the day, I’m sure.”

Converted to burn off oil rather than coal, Big Boy No. 4014 will be less filthy, but even fewer people alive today know the adventure of driving it. Large Boy No. 4014 has been retired in late 1961, and no huge Boy engine has conducted since 1962.

One retired Jim Ehernberger, Union Pacific employee, remembers the Big Boys. He combined the railroad at 1953 at age 16.

“You could sure tell if a huge Boy abandoned town. The floor vibrated a bit more than it did with all the other forms of locomotives. They were very, very powerful,” Ehernberger explained.

Union Pacific towed Big Boy No. 4014 into Cheyenne at 2014 after obtaining it in a museum in Pomona, California.

“They needed to basically completely cut on the locomotive down to just the framework and the casing,” Wrinn said. “It was an immense undertaking.”

___

Follow Mead Gruver in https://twitter.com/meadgruver