By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Union Pacific’s famed steam locomotive, the “Big Boy,” will travel through 10 states in August and early September in its first major trip since its restoration was completed two years ago.
The Big Boy, the longest locomotive ever built, will leave from Cheyenne for its month-long trip on Aug. 5.
“We’re excited to be bringing the Big Boy back, and sharing the locomotive with the public once again, especially after the past year,” UP senior communications manager Mike Jaixen told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “If our 2019 tour is any indication, we can expect crowds to come and experience history in motion. People came out by the thousands to experience a unique piece of railroad history and to learn more about the impact railroads have made on our society in the past and today.”
This is the steam engine’s first tour since it was restored for 2019’s Great Race tours celebrating the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion.
The multi-year restoration took place at Union Pacific’s steam shop in Cheyenne, following a retirement that spanned six decades.
“Weighing in at 1.2 million pounds, the Big Boy makes a big impression in communities it visits, reminding us of bygone days and the important role the railroad continues to play in our global economy,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president – corporate relations and chief administrative officer. “This summer, we are proud to announce that the Big Boy will be back to tour through 10 of the states and hundreds of the communities which Union Pacific serves.”
No. 4014 will leave the Union Pacific Steam Shop in Cheyenne on Aug. 5, making brief whistle-stops in communities across Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.
The locomotive will be on display in the following cities:
- Aug. 14: Fort Worth, Texas
- Aug. 17: Houston, Texas
- Aug. 21: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Aug. 29: St. Louis, Missouri
- Sept. 6: Denver
The Big Boy will return to Cheyenne following the Denver stop.
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden.
Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy.
The other seven can be found on display in Cheyenne, Denver, Frisco, Texas, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Omaha, Nebraska, Scranton, Pennsylvania and St. Louis, Missouri.
Union Pacific strongly encourages visitors to keep safety top of mind while viewing and photographing the 4014 on its journey. For everyone’s safety:
- Remember, trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
- A train’s distance and speed can be deceiving.
- The average train overhangs the track by at least 3 feet – take extra precaution and stand back at least 25 feet.
- Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and right of way are private property.
- Never assume tracks are abandoned or inactive – always expect a train.