Skip to comments.Huge Big Boy steam locomotive coming back to life
Posted on 04/15/2014 4:27:36 PM PDT by Navy Patriot
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) In its prime, a massive steam locomotive known as Big Boy No. 4014 was a moving eruption of smoke and vapor, a 6,300-horsepower brute dragging heavy freight trains over the mountains of Wyoming and Utah.
It's been silent for half a century, pushed aside by more efficient diesels, but now it's coming back to life. The Union Pacific Railroad is embarking on a yearslong restoration project that will put No. 4014 back to work pulling special excursion trains.
"It's sort of like going and finding the Titanic or something that's just very elusive, nothing that we ever thought would happen," said Jim Wrinn, editor of Trains, a magazine that covers the railroad industry.
"Something that's so large and powerful and magnificent, we didn't think any of them would ever come back," he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
This massive train engine was on display in California at the LA county fair for years — we climbed all over it, sat in the engineer’s seat and marveled at how huge it was. We imagined ourselves driving the thing over the Sierra Nevada mountains, how magnificent it must have been!
This past Sept. at the fair, there were a bunch of young guys working on it - we asked what was up and they said they were going to take the train to Wyoming and get it back in working order (they told it would take two years).
I hated to see it go because it was such a marvel of engineering and pure power. The diesel engineers who were working on the train said it would be fixed up so people could ride on it, that it would be making excursions.
Sigh. Guess we’ll have to travel to Wyoming to see it in action (it’ll be worth it.) Only wish dad were alive to see it fired up...
I got to visit the UP 4014 while it was at West Colton yards. I think it is still there but is about to leave for Wyoming. They will be coverting it to oil fired by droping a new oil tank in where the coal used to go.
I got to talk with the people who will be doing the work and who will be behind the controls when it gets to be operational. There are like 8 of them still in existance across the country but this one was in the best shape. Being in Southern California helped in the preservation.
We were also told at the fair by the docents, when this particular train was on display for years, that it caused prairie fires as it roared across the plains — there were so many sparks coming from the stack.
The young engineers working on it said THAT had to be dealt with b/c it would never be allowed to “fire up” if it shot out sparks as it did in the old days.
Must have been a wonder to see that thing roaring down the tracks.
The guys who were working on this train when we were visiting it at the LA County fair said all but two were ripped apart for scrap (!!).
They told us the only other one left is in St. Louis in a museum.
Isn’t it, diesel “engine”, turns the electric “generator” to power the electric “motors”.
If its the same one, they have a total of 25 steam engines now, in Union Illinois, they give rides on fully restored trains.
Even diesels can really roar. I once watched as 12 engines pulled a large train up the Swannanoah Gap at Ridgecrest which is right at the top.
There were 5 in front, 5 in the middle and 2 pushing. They were all running flat out and it was an impressive sight. Even with 12 engines roaring, it was not going fast at all.
For the longest time if you needed a part fabricated, it could be ordered from the Datong Locomotive Works in China, as they were still making steamers until recently.
My sister and I rode D&H steam locomotives chug a chugs up with the engineers together with our grandfather, in 1944.
Wow, what year was that?
That was around 1973. I later took a 36 exposure roll of a steam excursion in the same area. I have been looking for them on my computer but can’t find them. The steam excursion was around 1988.
I once posted some of the pics here on FR and a guy recognized the engine.
When I was a kid in Oklahoma, the Rock Island 5000 class 4-8-4s used to blow thru town doing 70+ with a mile of freight cars behind them.
You are absolutely correct. Those babies were not without power or speed...
Back around 1994 a newspaper in Jesup, Ga reprinted a story of the train which set a speed record which lasted for many years.
Two railroads were competing for a mail contract between Savannah, Ga and Jacksonville, Fla. The one to make the trip fastest would win. One of the engines tore up almost at the start. They were able to stop a freight and take the engine off it.
Knowing they had to make up time the Engineer who was making his last run before retirement, opened the engine wide open between Screven and Waycross. The railroad owner was in the cab and checked his watch. They were going a mile every 30 seconds.
When they approached Waycross where there was a long sweeping curve, they were afraid the engineer, nicknamed “Pappy” was planning on going out in a blaze of glory.
They relaxed a bit when he dropped the throttle down several notches, then just as they hit the curve, Pappy opened it wide open again. They hit the curve so hard that all were thrown to one side. The owner grabbed something to steady himself and was amazed that the part was cold instead of hot.
When the rival railroad arrived in Jacksonville, they asked about their rival knowing their engine had broken down. They were told the opponent had already passed Jacksonville and was half way to Tampa.
Yes, that’s the place. We took a ride on a steam-driven train. The children were interested, but much less thrilled than I was. I am sick in the head when it comes to trains.
A classmates grandfather was an engineer, not train driver but a mechanical engineer, for the Santa Fe. I was able to acquire a paper he wrote on front end design of locomotives. All about draft through the flue.
There is another paper about how to buy coal. They did road tests with a dynamometer car carefully measuring ton miles of tractive force per lb of coal, ash and so forth. Real honest to goodness thermodynamic engineering.
Neat. Wish I could have seen that.
April 30 - Las Vegas - Union Pacific rail yard 1001 Ironhorse Ct.
May 3 - SLC - 1020 Warm Springs Rd.
May 5 - Ogden - Ogden Depot, 2501 Wall Ave.
I let that slide.
We used to live near there and had an annual pass. Alas, the former commie Governess of Michigan made it so I lost my job and had to move out.
We ended up in the PRM (people’s republic of Maryland) so Greenfield Village lost our patronage.
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