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It's been sitting around in Pomona, CA for nearly 53 years, but now the beast they call Big Boy is making tracks for Wyoming.




Union Pacific has reacquired the behemoth and has begun inching Big Boy No. 4014 toward mainline rail tracks that will take it to Cheyenne, where it will be rebuilt and begin life afresh as a rolling museum on steel wheels.

"It's been sitting here in sort of a railroad Jurassic Park," said Ed Dickens, senior manager of Union Pacific's Heritage Operations. "We're bring T. rex back to life."

Big Boy was built in 1941, one of 25 huge steam engines used to pull 3,600-ton freight trains over the Wasatch Mountains between Ogden, Utah, and Green River, Wyo. After traveling more than 1 million miles, it was retired in 1959, when diesel engines replaced steam. Eventually, Big Boy was handed over to the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society's Southern California chapter, which oversees the RailGiants collection.

To get the old locomotive rolling again, Union Pacific crews are laying 4,500 feet of temporary track so it can cross the Fairplex parking lot and reach a nearby Metrolink line. Once it gets to Colton, it will be shuttled onto Union Pacific tracks and start heading east after being converted from burning coal to using fuel oil.

To keep the 600-ton locomotive from crushing the asphalt parking lot, workers are placing layers of plywood beneath 40-foot sections of rails and ties. The 2-ton track panels are moved by forklift and truck and leapfrog ahead of Big Boy as it is slowly towed across the lot by a tractor.

At the Metrolink tracks at the northern edge of the fairgrounds, Big Boy will be pulled by a diesel engine that also bears the old steam engine's original 4014 number. A second diesel engine will be hooked behind the steam engine to serve as a brake.

The frame up restoration will take about five years to complete. After that, it will tour the country on Union Pacific's 35,000 miles of track, which connects about 7,000 cities.

A railroad dinosaur is coming back to life - latimes.com

THANKS UNION PACIFIC!
 

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Woo hoo! The legend is back!!!

I wonder if they'll convert it back to steam after it gets restored?
 

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I'm glad to see the old machines in working condition.
LA is a bit of a stretch for me Stretch. But, their planned tour after restoration covers a lot of territory, maybe it will be near me, someday. I'd enjoy seeing it.
 

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I'm glad to see the old machines in working condition.
Steam Train Union Pacific 844 a Rare Steam Only Run!
LA is a bit of a stretch for me Stretch. But, their planned tour after restoration covers a lot of territory, maybe it will be near me, someday. I'd enjoy seeing it.
It is for many people. Just so happens I've looked at that engine many times. It's going to Colton next which is only 10 miles from me. Maybe I'll go see it there. :D Hopefully it will make a speed pass up the Cajon pass, that would be worth seeing. The last steam locomotive that did that was awesome about 5-6 years ago.
 

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A number of years ago the Southern Pacific 4449 came through Montana twice. Both times it spend two nights in our town. It's hard to explain what its like to see an engine like that run and to see it up close!
Enjoy! And turn the sound up.
 

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I retired as a brakeman/conductor from the U.P. after 34 years and I just missed working on the 844 by 1 position on the board. I've been on both the 844 and the 3985 so now I have to check out the Big Boy 4014. If it wasn't for the steam engines I probably wouldn't have been as likely to be interested in working for the railroad. One of the first toys I remember was a toy steam engine. Chumly
 

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I retired as a brakeman/conductor from the U.P. after 34 years and I just missed working on the 844 by 1 position on the board. I've been on both the 844 and the 3985 so now I have to check out the Big Boy 4014. If it wasn't for the steam engines I probably wouldn't have been as likely to be interested in working for the railroad. One of the first toys I remember was a toy steam engine. Chumly
Say hi to Steve Lee :wave:

As for the toy Steam Engine, I still have mine :)

Got it for Christmas about fourty five years ago.....
 

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I don't know Steve Lee, I worked out of St. Louis Terminal. When I started I was working for Missouri Pacific then the U.P. bought them out.
 

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I have an uncle down in Fla that retired from running a "steam tour" railroad.

He bought a steam locomotive, pullman sleeper, baggage car and caboose.

Has tracks from his backyard to link up to CSX rail.

He goes to Railroad get togethers in various cities around the country.
He just has to get clearance (and pay per mile of track) from CSX/AMTRAK and then steam on through.

Gets to the city where the meet is and gets parked on a side rail.
Lives on board (so no hotel) and has a lift for a Geo Metro in the baggage car so he can drive around (he will be exchanging the metro for a smart soon)?

Not a bad hobby I guess?

The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys!
 

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If there's anything that excites me more than the automobile, it's definitely the train, the plane, and the ship (in that order).

Sometimes I go to the local Metra station and watch the Canadian National freighters and the local commuter trains make their ways up and down the track.

The line is so busy you can easily see over 100 freight trains in one day alone!

And if you're lucky, you'll spot some BCRail trains and some Norfolk Southern trains too! :D

My favourite was earlier this year. It was a Canadian National consist with eight engines up front (most of them SD70), one in the middle (control), and one trailing at the rear! The thunderous roar of of the eight front engines was something majestic. :D

If it weren't for how difficult it is to get into the railroads today, I'd totally make a career out of working my way up to being an engineer.
 

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Back in the 1980s, I drove out to the West Coast for a month's temporary duty...

... when they shut down the state OSH program; I had to go out and manage one of the offices for a month while they got a federal OSHA program ginned up and ready to go. I made the drive in three days, and enjoyed it immensely.

One of the stunning sights encountered (another was massive Elk Mountain, in view for two hours of driving time) was when I drove through whatever large city in Wyoming was on i-80 (I think - it's been twenty seven years or so) was a large, compound steam locomotive sitting on a track in a rail yard on the north side of the highway. It was a cool day, and it was wreathed in water vapor - the thing looked like Yellowstone on a winter's day.

I've been told that UP or NP or whatever railroad calls that area home used to house a classic locomotive there, dispatching it out to various events across the country. But, the person who told me this didn't think that the loco there was a compound. Still, I know two sets of drivers and valve gear when I see it.

However, as magnificent as they are to look at, they're not all that neat when you have to live with them. I rode the "non-mainline" rails in Japan quite a bit over the period of three weeks that I spent there in 1970. Many of the non-trunk railroads were still coal fired steam motive power then, and the old line of "a cinder in your eye" is not just hyperbole, at least not in my experience. And, mechanical issues were more common in the steam era than they have been in the days of Diesel-electric. Maintenance on a steam front end for each run took a hell of a lot more time than your typical D-e rig gets in a month's time.

Last summer, on our way back home from Vermont (in our Toyota iQ, by the way) we had enough time to stop off in Scranton PA, home of Steamtown USA, a National Historic Site. I've driven by the place any number of times over the years, but never was on a loose enough timetable to allow for a stop.

Built in the former shops for the Erie Lakawanna ("Phoebe Snow...in dress of white, riding the road of anthracite..."), it's done to the typical USPS standards - lots of static exhibits, but also a number of different train excursions on both steam and Diesel, a wonderful interpretive film tracing the early history of the steam locomotive, and all sorts of stuff that they dug up in the yard when making some of the buildings.

Nothing as large as a Big Boy that still steams, of course. Still, even the little engines that they have at Disneyworld are pretty impressive up close and personal.

Here's my lovely wife, cozying up to their Big Boy - non-operational, but still impressive to look at:



Oh, and we managed to catch Phoebe during a coffee break:

 
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