One of the World’s Largest Steam Locomotives Is About to Make a Triumphant Return

SEVENTY YEARS AFTER THE FIRST Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, the steep Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Utah were still giving the Union Pacific Railroad trouble.

Despite having massive steam engines, the Union Pacific, one of the biggest railroads in America, still struggled to move heavy freight trains over the mountains and would often have to use multiple locomotives to get trains to their destination. This practice required more workers and more fuel. In 1940, the Union Pacific’s mechanical engineers teamed up with the American Locomotive Company to build one of the world’s largest steam locomotives, a class of engine simply known as “Big Boy.”

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18 Responses to One of the World’s Largest Steam Locomotives Is About to Make a Triumphant Return

  1. Al says:

    The greeny weenies are going to shit a brick when they start shoveling the coal! Those things don’t have scrubbers on them !

  2. warhorse says:

    I’d love to hear this just running past…I doubt it’s coming anywhere near new england though.

    • Rob says:

      Road trip!

      • warhorse says:

        hell I’ll drive almost a full day to hang out with my sister in Akron. something like this is at least that important. this is the kind of shit you tell your grandkids about. “I saw the last of the Big Boys, pulling a line of freight that stretched out to the horizon……”

    • RHT447 says:

      +1. In the meantime—

  3. Gryphon says:

    Union Pacific also experimented for Ten Years with Giant Gas-Turbine Electric Locomotives, and these 2-Unit (with Fuel Tender) put over 12,000 Horsepower to the Rails. They were frequently paired with the 4-8-8-4 Steamers like this as Boosters over the Hills.
    Great to see a Company preserving its History.

  4. Jim Jerzycke says:

    Cheyenne is only about 30 miles North of here. I’ll be following this. I’d like to see that mother pounding down the rails…..

  5. Steam locomotive going by, big four-engine prop aircraft going overhead; makes me feel like a kid again.

    • Elmo says:

      45 years ago, I fought fires when they were still using a B-17 as a ‘Borate Bomber’. I’ll never forget the sound of those engines. You didn’t hear them so much as feel them.

      If they bring No. 4014 over the Sierra next year I’ll be there, Lord willing.

    • warhorse says:

      if a Merlin in a P-51 going overhead doesn’t give you a big ass grin, you ain’t human.

  6. Scruff says:

    My wife’s family is from Ogden, might be time for a visit.

  7. ignore amos says:

    My Dad was a fireman on Malleys but he preferred Mikes aka Mikados.

  8. Sabre22 says:

    My late father would have loved this he worked on them just before they were retired.

  9. STW says:

    I’ve seen this in Pomona. It is massive and so much more interesting than a diesel-electric. When I was a kid, in the early 1960s, just before steam died out completely, the railroad had a steam excursion train come to town so kids could have a ride behind a steam locomotive. That’s my single steam experience. My father worked for the railroad and I’d been traveling by train as long as I could remember so, while most kids sat in their seats and looked out the window, my friend and I roamed the train. We were probably second graders.

  10. Doonhamer says:

    The engineer/,driver must have felt like the king of the world. The equivalent, in that era, of riding a Space Shuttle. With the caboose over a mile or two behind
    There is nothing like the sound of the multi-tone whistle. Haunting and sad.

  11. Upriverdavid says:

    Took my little brother from Seattle to Boise last April to see UP #844……If you get a chance to see one of these beauties….Don’t hesitate….April 2017…

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