Posts Tagged ‘UP 4014’

Union Pacific Releases ‘Big Boy” Tour Sked

August 5, 2021

Union Pacific has released a detailed schedule for the August tour of its “Big Boy” steam locomotive.

The 4014 is slated to depart its home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, today at 8 a.m. with its first stop on the tour set for Sidney, Nebraska.

The tour will continue toward Kansas City before heading south to Texas and then east to New Orleans.

From the Crescent City the “Big Boy will head north to St. Louis through Arkansas, before moving on to Denver for the Labor Day Weekend.

It will then return home to Cheyenne. The 4014 last operated in 2019. A 2020 tour was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information is available at

UP Big Boy Returns to the Road Sept. 27

September 5, 2019

Union Pacific has announced that its Big Boy steam locomotive will begin a tour on Sept. 27 that will take it through Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Details about display stops during the 5,000-mile tour will be released later this month, the carrier said.

No. 4014 will leave from Cheyenne, Wyoming, on the Overland Route to Ogden, Utah, then proceed south via Las Vegas, east on the former Southern Pacific to El Paso, Texas, for an extended break that lasts through Oct. 31.

From there, the locomotive and its train will go east to Houston, north to Little Rock and Kansas City and then west to Denver on the former Kansas Pacific routes before returning home to Cheyenne sometime in November.

On Oct. 12-13 the Big Boy will pull public excursions over Cajon Pass in California.

More Big Boy Ventures Hinted at by Group

August 27, 2019

Union Pacific’s Big Boy locomotive might be slated for more travel time this fall.

The Camerail Club of Omaha, which has ties to the Union Pacific steam program, has reported that the 4-8-8-4 could be on the road from late September to mid-November.

However, the organization, which is based in Omaha, Nebraska, did not say where No. 4014 might be traveling.

UP announced some time ago that the Big Boy would pull public excursions in California on Oct. 12 and 13 and another report has suggested that it will appear in Limon, Colorado, in November.

UP has said that it will announce in early September the schedule for the Big Boy for the remainder of the year.

N&W 611 Delayed En Route to Strasburg, Hint Dropped About Another UP Big Boy Appearance in November

August 20, 2019

As it turned out Norfolk & Western 2-8-4 No. 611 did not make it to Strasburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.

The Class J locomotive was tied down for the night in Shenandoah, Virginia, on Monday.

Instead, the crew will seek to make Enloa Yard near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, today, and complete its trip to the Strasburg Rail Road on Wednesday.

Trains magazine reported that a freight train that suffered a broken knuckle delayed the 611’s ferry move on Monday.

Although the 611 won’t be pulling excursions on the Strasburg until late September, it is arriving well ahead of time so that workers can conduct an annual inspection and prepare the steam engine for a full slate of events that will extend into October.

The 611 is expected to return in November to its home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.

In other steam news, Trains reported on Tuesday that there are hints that the Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotive will make another appearance later this year aside from the already announced excursions on Oct. 12 and 13 in California.

The magazine’s editor in chief, Jim Wrinn, wrote on the Trains website that No. 4014 may visit Limon, Colorado, in November.

Wrinn said the Limon Heritage Museum & Railroad Park issued a “save the date” notice on its Facebook page.

Limon is located on the former Kansas Pacific route from Kansas City to Denver.

UP has said it will release in early September a complete fall schedule for the Big Boy.

In yet another bit of UP steam news on Tuesday, Union Pacific will allow the public to tour the shops in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 was restored to operating condition.

The Cheyenne Depot Museum has said the tours will be offered on Aug. 30, Sept. 6 and Sept. 12.

A trolley will transport visitors to and from the shop. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased by calling 307-778-3133.

Big Boy Excursion Tickets Go on Sale Aug. 24

August 11, 2019

Tickets for the next public excursions to be pulled by Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 will go on sale Aug. 24.

The Big Boy will be pulling excursions over Cajon Pass in California on Oct. 12 and 13.

The excursions are being sponsored by the Rail Giants Museum.

Passengers on the Oct. 12 will be taken by bus to the yard from Metrolink’s Rancho Cucamonga Station to UP’s West Colton Yard.

Buses will also return passengers from the yard to the Metrolink station at the conclusion of the excursion.

On Oct. 13, the excursion will begin at the at the Metrolink station, go to the Barstow area, and return to West Colton by train with a bus transfer to Metrolink.

No public viewing of the Big Boy will permitted at the West Colton yard.

Prices for tickets are: coach ($700), dome coach ($1,100); dome diner lower seats ($900), dome diner upper seating ($1,300), first class diner ($1,100), first class lounge ($1,100), and first class dome ($1,500).

Office car Cheyenne can be rented for a party of eight for $15,000.

Ticket sales will be limited to four per purchase.

The 15 car train will have 12 passenger cars, three support cars, two water cars, and a diesel helper. Capacity of the train will be 600 passengers.

Passengers cannot be younger than age 10. There would be no photo runbys or opportunities to disembark from the train during the trip.

Thousands Watched Big Boy But That Won’t Necessarily Mean More Steam Coming to a Railroad Near You

August 1, 2019

Steam locomotives sure know how to draw a crowd. The visit last weekend of Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 to West Chicago, Illinois, drew an estimated 45,000 people, a UP spokeswoman said.

The weekend before an estimated 12,000 turned out in Duluth, Minnesota, to gaze at the Big Boy, the largest steam locomotive ever built in North America.

Uncounted thousands saw the locomotive pass by during its Midwest sojourn that took it through Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois before it returning home to its shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

UP had expected about 3,000 people a day would visit on each of the three days the Big Boy was on display in Chicago. But the number of visitors far surpassed that.

Those are impressive numbers.

The UP spokeswoman told a Chicago suburban newspaper that many who came out to see the Big Boy thanked the railroad for bringing the steamer back to life and to their community.

The public relations staffer also referenced one of the most compelling reasons why thousands have turned out to see No. 4014.

Of the 25 Big Boys built by Alco between 1941 and 1944, just eight survive today and until this year they had sat silent and still for decades in museums.

Seeing a Big Boy run again under its own power long has been a dream of many but written off as a fantasy.

But now UP has made that fantasy come to life and with it given hope that other railfan fantasies might someday come to fulfillment.

Railfans have much in common with baseball fans. Both are very good at talking about how to spend the money of others and how they should use their property.

Now that the Big Boy has been restored and completed a few excursions, some railfans are no doubt dreaming about where the Big Boy should operate next.

Union Pacific has a vast network and railfans in every corner of it want a piece of the Big Boy action.

Those railfans will point to the large crowds that have turned out as justification for running steam locomotives everywhere, including on the tracks of other Class 1 roads that don’t own a steam locomotive as does Union Pacific.

No problem. There are many operational or soon to be operational steam locomotives around.

Let’s fire them up and send them on their way. Thousands will turn out. What a great public relations benefit for the railroads.

Or so the thinking goes.

Jim Wrinn, the editor of Trains magazine, expressed a similar, although more restrained, theme in a column posted to the publication’s website.

He noted that it has been particularly gratifying to see the reactions of people watching the Big Boy and its train.

The crowds have included people from all walks of life and all demographic characteristics. “It has made no difference. And in the end, it has brought great joy,” he wrote.

Wrinn gave an anecdote about how a crowd at a Metra station in Chicago broke into applause as tail car Kenefick passed by, adding that it wasn’t the only place that happened.

“The tour proves once more that the public has an appreciation for railroading and railroad history, and that the same locomotive is still a powerful public relations tool,” he wrote.

Wrinn suggested that UP make the 4014 the centerpiece of an expanded railroad display in Chicago or Kansas City to showcase the industry’s history and role in the U.S. economy.

American railroading will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2027 and Wrinn suggested the Big Boy could be part of the celebration.

“UP, American railroading, let’s not waste Big Boy’s public relations potential,” Wrinn wrote.

I can understand why Wrinn, an unabashed fan of steam motive power, would write that. It is an intriguing idea and one the industry might be willing to adapt in part at least.

The railroad industry through the Association of American Railroads might already be making plans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of railroads in eight years.

There might be some type of festival at which all of the Class 1 railroads participate.

Yet public relations potential means different things to railroad executives than it does to railfans.

Those thousands who turned out to see the 4014 may have given UP a public relations boost, but what does the railroad have to show for it other than fleeting good will?

Railroads don’t sell their product directly to the public so there is no increase in sales of freight transportation to be gained from the positive public relations value of a steam locomotive.

UP is the only Class 1 railroad with a steam program and it is limited. The carrier has not to date committed to operating its Big Boy anywhere else until this fall in California.

There are a lot of railroad managers who would just as soon keep the public away from their railroad tracks. In their minds, the logistics, safety and security planning required for a visit by a steam locomotive or an excursion train are not worth the cost of any public relations benefit to be had from thousands of people coming to see a train go by or riding that train.

Class 1 railroads are looking to reduce their workforce in an effort to please Wall Street analysts and that means railroad staffs are already stretched thin trying to simply operate freight trains.

It is heartening that so many people have turned out to watch the Big Boy. The vast majority of them are not railfans.

Yet those crowds and whatever public relations value that they generate are not necessarily going to translate into seeing more mainline steam excursions either on UP or on any other Class 1 railroad.

Mainline steam is far from dead, but not necessarily headed for a renaissance either, the perceived PR success of the Big Boy notwithstanding.

Big Boy to be in Chicago This Weekend

July 22, 2019

Railroads seldom get mentioned in news stories these days except when their trains derail or are involved in fatal grade crossing collisions.

So it was noteworthy that The Blade of Toledo published a story recently about the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 No. 4014, which railfans know as the Big Boy steam locomotive.

The Big Boy isn’t coming to Ohio this year and probably no time soon if ever.

But it will be in Chicago, which the Blade story said will be as close as it gets to the Buckeye State.

The Blade story was written by David Patch, who some of you might know as a railfan who is active in some social media channels including serving as administrator of a Facebook page devoted to the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

For those who want to make the drive to Chicago to see the Big Boy, it will be on display on July 27-28 at the Larry S. Provo Training Center in West Chicago, Illinois (335 W. Spencer St.).

It will arrive there on July 26 with a scheduled arrival time of 2:30 p.m., arriving from Butler, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee.

The steamer will be on public display from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Parking is available at a nearby Metra commuter rail station that will be served throughout the weekend. The station is about 10 minutes from the display site.

The Big Boy will leave West Chicago on July 30 en route to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is scheduled to arrive back at its home base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Aug. 8.

UP has said the 4014 will be traveling to California this fall for excursions on Oct. 12 and 13 for the Rail Giants museum in California.

That is the same museum that housed No. 4014 between 1952 and 2013 before it was restored to operating condition in Cheyenne.

The Blade article noted that the 25 Big Boys, so named because they were the largest steam locomotives in the United States, were built in the 1940s in Schenectady, New York, by American Locomotive Works.

That makes it likely that they passed through Northeast Ohio on their way west to be delivered to the UP.

UP Announces More Visits by its Big Boy Steamer

June 16, 2019

Union Pacific has announced additional operations in the Midwest of its 4-8-8-4 “Big Boy” Steam locomotive next month.

No. 4014 will begin on July 8 a tour that will take it to Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The railroad is calling it the Great Race Across the Midwest with the locomotive set for static display in the following locations on the these dates.

• July 13-14: Omaha, Nebraska (paid admission required through Railroad Days)

• July 18: St. Paul, Minnesota

• July 20: Duluth, Minnesota

• July 23: Altoona, Wisconsin

• July 27-29: Chicago.

• Aug. 1: Des Moines, Iowa

• Aug. 3: Omaha, Nebraska

• Aug. 6: North Platte, Nebraska

Another Big Boy Appearance Announced

June 5, 2019

Another event featuring Union Pacific’s 4-8-8-4 Big Boy steam locomotive has been announced.

No. 4014 will be on static display at the The Lake Superior Railroad Museum and its North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth, Minnesota, on July 20-21.

The 4014 is expected to arrive in Duluth on July 19 after completing a public excursion from Omaha, Nebraska, to Boone, Iowa.

Along with the locomotive the display will have eight passenger cars from the UP executive fleet, including its Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car.

The Big Boy is expected to arrive in Duluth on the BNSF Hinckley Subdivision on which UP has trackage rights.

The Duluth museum plans to fire up its own 2-8-0 steam locomotive, former Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range No. 332.

More details about the visit of the 4014 will be posted on the museum’s website as they become available.

2 More Chances to See UP’s Big Boy

June 3, 2019

If you missed seeing the Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotive in action last month, you’ll get at least two more chances this year.

The 4-8-8-4 will pull a public excursion on July 15 from Omaha, Nebraska, to Boone, Iowa.

Tickets for that trip, which ranged from $400 to $800 are sold out already.

Proceeds from that trip will be used to support the Union Pacific Museum.

Trains magazine reported last week that No. 4014 will also pull excursions on Oct. 12 and 13 in California.

No details of the California trips have been announced, including the routing. However, Trains said a likely route might be Los Angeles to Yermo, California, via Cajon Pass.

The magazine said the October trip was reported by online Observation Platform newsletter of the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

Information about the California excursion is expected to be announced at the website