Union Pacific Railroad announced the return of Big Boy steam locomotive #4014 to Southern California in October.
Making its final public appearance in 2019, the locomotive will pull a special Union Pacific passenger train of perfectly maintained 1950s Heritage Fleet passenger cars commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah, May 10, 1869.
Called “The Great Race Across the Southwest,” the Big Boy train will depart its home port of Cheyenne, Wyoming on September 27 and arrive in the greater Los Angeles area on October 9.
Along the way, he will visit Yermo, Barstow, Victorville and descend the famous Cajon Pass in the Los Angeles Basin.
On October 12 and 13 the train will make a special excursion with passengers from West Colton to Barstow on Saturday and from Barstow to West Colton on Sunday. Tickets for both days are available at www.4014traintix.com, and more information on excursions is available at www.4014journeys.org.
The train will leave the West Colton area on October 15 and travel through Beaumont, Indio and Niland toward Yuma, Arizona.
The tour will continue through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Colorado before returning to Cheyenne in November.
The Big Boy Tour schedule is available on the Union Pacific website: www.up.com/heritage/steam/schedule/index.htm.
The world’s largest steam locomotive, Union Pacific’s Big Boy 4014, has deep ties to Southern California. Originally built in 1941 to haul wartime freight through the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, the locomotive was retired in 1959. In 1961, Union Pacific donated the locomotive to the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society , Southern California Chapter, a railroad preservation group that operates a museum railroad at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona, known today as the RailGiants Train Museum.
One of eight Big Boys donated by Union Pacific to museums nationwide, the locomotive has been preserved at RailGiants and visited by several thousand people during its years at the museum.
In 2012, Union Pacific approached the Museum with a request to return the locomotive to Union Pacific. Of the eight surviving Big Boys, 4014 was deemed the most suitable for restoration. The railroad had big plans to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Promontory event and wanted a restored and fully operational Big Boy to play a key role in the activities. An agreement was reached with the Museum in 2013, and the Union Pacific Steam Crew arrived on site at Fairplex and began preparations to move the locomotive. The locomotive was moved to Union Pacific’s West Colton yard in January 2014, and in May 2014 it was moved to Cheyenne to begin the restoration process. Similar to the movement of space shuttle Endeavor and “The Big Rock” through Los Angeles in 2012, thousands lined the road to witness the incredible journey of this iconic locomotive to its new life.
After a five-year, multimillion-dollar restoration effort by Union Pacific’s legendary Steam Crew, the fully operational Big Boy completed a short test debut on May 2, 2019. On May 4, it departed Cheyenne with other usable Union Pacific devices. steam locomotive, No. 844, for the ‘Great Race to Ogden’. Tens of thousands of railroad enthusiasts flocked to Wyoming and Utah from around the world to witness a spectacle few believed would ever happen. They weren’t disappointed, as the 4014 and 844 handled perfectly through the spectacular scenery that was the Big Boy’s home territory during its years of regular service. On May 8, the Big Boy and 844 met face to face in Ogden in front of a crowd of thousands to commemorate driving the Golden Point, connecting California to Omaha by rail, one of the most milestones in early American history. .
In July and August, The Big Boy traveled across the Midwest, visiting cities in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.
The current trip will visit many cities in the Southwestern and South Central states. No plans have been announced for 2020, but the Big Boy will hopefully continue its journeys through the Union Pacific system.
Built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in Schenectady, New York, The Big Boy was designed to pull heavy freight trains up the steep mountain slopes east of Ogden Utah, a critical segment of the railroad between east and west.
As World War II approached, the largest locomotive that could be produced was needed, and Union Pacific engineers worked with their counterparts at Alco to produce a locomotive that weighed 600 tons, was slightly longer at 132 feet, developed nearly 7,000 horsepower and could pull a 4,000 ton train up the slopes of the mountain.
A Big Boy’s boiler could boil over 100,000 pounds of water per hour at 300 psi pressure to drive the locomotive’s four huge pistons, consuming about 12,000 gallons of water and 6 tons of coal per hour. hour in the process.
The restored Big Boy 4014 was converted to burn fuel oil instead of coal (recycled lube oil is used as fuel) and typically consumes about 200 gallons of water and 20 gallons of fuel per mile.
As the height and width of the locomotive were fixed by the dimensions of the existing bridges and tunnels, the only
The designers’ way of building a larger locomotive was to make it longer, and the Big Boy is so long that the frame is hinged, or hinged, in the middle to allow it to go around curves. The railroad originally thought to name the locomotive “Wasatch” after the mountains it would operate in, but an unknown Alco employee wrote “Big Boy” in chalk on the front of the first locomotive produced, and the name stuck. Over the next 18 years, the Big Boys continued their duties and developed a reputation as a reliable workhorse, a superbly engineered machine, a masterpiece of American engineering and craftsmanship. Big Boy 4014 made the penultimate commercial run of a steam locomotive on Union Pacific in July 1959, followed by the last run a few hours later with Big Boy 4015. It was the end of an era.