Category archive


Union Pacific’s Big Boy #4014 Returns To Cheyenne On Tuesday

in News/trains

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Vince Bodiford, The Cheyenne Post

Cheyenne-based Big Boy No. 4014 returns home next Tuesday, Sept. 7 from a month-long tour of the nation.

Led by Ed Dickens, the Union Pacific Heritage Steam program’s showpiece is the massive locomotive that concluded its restoration in 2019 with a tour that marked the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which became known as the “overland route” which linked the nation. 

The steam locomotive, and its consist of about fifteen support and vintage railcars, is expected to arrive at the Steam Shop in Cheyenne at about 1:45 p.m. next Tuesday. It should be visible on track on the east end of town starting at about 1:00 p.m, arriving from Greeley, Co., its last official stop before arriving home in Cheyenne. 

Right now, Big Boy is making its way across Kansas, and is expected to arrive at Union Station in Denver on Monday. 

Ed Dickens runs the Steam Shop and the UP’s Heritage program, and he is usually found in the engineer’s seat on Big Boy while it is under way. Ed provided exclusive comments to The Cheyenne Post about the 2021 tour: 

Speaking about the 2021 tour in general, Dickens said, “It’s been excellent. Our collaboration with our colleagues across the Union Pacific has ensured that we’re consistently running on time, much to the delight of the huge crowds that have greeted us everywhere we’ve been.”

The completely rebuilt vintage steam engine has been running great during this tour. Dickens said, “Number 4014 has performed outstandingly throughout the trip.  All of the long hours we put into its restoration and continuing maintenance are paying off. It’s running great, but we’re always looking for ways to make it run more efficiently and flexible from a logistics perspective.”

Dickens and his team converted the Big Boy from coal fuel to oil fuel, which helps make the engine run cleaner and more efficiently. This is the first major tour since that conversion to cleaner burning oil fuel. Due to the restoration, No. 4014 is likely in better condition now then when it was new. It’s also been upgraded with all modern railroad electronics, including Positive Train Control (PTC), Cab Signaling, communications, and more. 

The world knows that Cheyenne is home to Big Boy – and Dickens said that it “absolutely does” help increase awareness of Cheyenne as a railfan and tourist destination. “ In every city and town we visit, we introduce the Big Boy to new railfans who can’t get enough of it.”

Ed Dickens said that when the tour concludes in Cheyenne next Tuesday, the UP steam crew will have put 3,800 miles of track behind them. And they are anxious to get home. He said, “It’s time to reconnect with our families after spending the last few weeks 100% dedicated to our steam program.”

Big Boy made whistlestops in more than 90 communities and one-day public display events in five major cities: Fort Worth and Houston, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; St. Louis, Missouri; and Denver, Colorado.

Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad, the first of which was delivered in 1941. The locomotives were 132 feet long and weighed 1.2 million pounds. Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were “hinged,” or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves. They had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of “pilot” wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive. 

The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo. There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service. Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process. It returned to service in May 2019.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Full Steam Ahead: World’s Largest Steam Locomotive Returns with ‘The Big Boy 2021 Tour’

in News/trains

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By staff reports

Union Pacific’s Big Boy No. 4014, will embark on “The Big Boy 2021 Tour” Aug. 5 to celebrate railroad heritage and the communities Union Pacific serves. This is the first tour since the locomotive 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, Wyoming, 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 Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, August 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:

  • Saturday, Aug. 14: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17: Houston, Texas
  • Saturday, Aug. 21: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Sunday, Aug. 29: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Monday, Sept. 6: Denver, Colorado

No. 4014 will return to Cheyenne following the Denver stop. A complete list of overnight and whistle stops will be released at Fans interested in getting the latest news regarding Union Pacific’s steam program and notifications of schedule updates can join the Union Pacific Steam Club at

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, Wyoming; Denver, Colorado; 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 No. 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 three 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.

The Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car, a multi-media walk-through exhibition providing a glimpse at the past while telling the story of modern-day railroading, will accompany the Big Boy on its tour. A steam tracking map showing No. 4014’s location and route will be available at

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Big Boy 4014 to Run Again, Likely In August

in News/trains

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Union Pacific Railroad’s famed Big Boy 4014 locomotive, the world’s largest steam-driven locomotive, will run again sometime this year, according to a recent announcement.

Last week, UP announced that its steam locomotives would soon be up and running again and that the Big Boy would likely run again sometime in August.

“We know you missed seeing our steam locomotives last year nearly as much as the UP Steam Team missed operating No. 844 and Big Boy No. 4014,” the announcement said. “We have great news, the Steam Team is busy planning an excursion for No. 4014, likely kicking off August.”

UP canceled all plans to run the steam locomotives in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Boy was unveiled to the public in 2019 after a multi-year restoration process.

It traveled to multiple states on a “Great Race Across the Midwest” tour, going from Wyoming to Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, just to name a few. It is the only operating Big Boy to travel the rails since the model was retired in 1961.

The Big Boy name is fitting, as the locomotive weighs more than 600 tons and is the longest ever built. Around 25 of the Big Boys were made in the 1940s to pull heavy loads up steep grades between Utah and Wyoming, and only eight remain intact.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

105-Year-Old Train Returns To Evanston Roundhouse

in trains

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Kayne Pyatt, Uinta County Herald

EVANSTON — At 105 years of age, little Switch Engine 4420, along with her tender, which held the coal and water, has returned to her home at the Evanston Railyards and Roundhouse. 

In 1915, during WWI and the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, 4420 was brought by the Union Pacific Railroad to Evanston — a small, 47-year-old community of 3,000 residents.

Over the next 43 years the engine was worked at the railyards, bringing loaded cars to the Roundhouse to be pulled by larger engines to many destinations, and the town grew to be a major railroad community.

Shelly Horne, member of the Evanston Historic Preservation Commission and chair of the sub-committee assigned to the steam engine project, was largely responsible for the success of returning the engine to the Roundhouse. Serving on that committee with Horne were Cindy Wasson, Noni Proffit, John Davis, Jim Davis, Joan Nixon, Wayne Morrow and Rick Eskelson.

“I think this is the greatest first step we’ve (the commission) made to finally get engine 4420 back to the Roundhouse, where we can protect it and the tender,” Horne said. “It’s a wonderful first step.”

In 1958, when the UP retired the engine, it donated her to the City of Evanston, and she was placed on the courthouse lawn. She remained there for 23 years, until 1981, when the engine and tender were moved to Railyard Park, located at 438 Elm St. next to North Elementary school. 

For many years, the Evanston Historic Preservation Commission was made up of only three or four people, and it had no money to do the historic projects members wished to complete.  Horne said in the last several years they have filled the commission with good, active members and have since begun to work on specific projects, including the current project.

Horne was responsible for contacting and receiving bids from construction and crane companies for the project. He also attended local city council meetings to gain the support of the council in order to move the engine. 

Switch Engine 4420 weighs 149,000 pounds — equal to almost 75 tons — and is 20 feet long. The tender behind the engine weighs 44,000 pounds, or 22 tons, and is 26 feet long. In order to move anything of that size, a large crane and special tractor-trailer needed to be found. Horne was able to get a bid of $22,800 for the completion of the move from Wagstaff Crane together with Ralph Smith Co., a trucking business in Woods Cross, Utah. Wagstaff Crane brought a 300-ton crane to successfully pick up both engine and tender.

Wasatch Railroad Contractors (WRC) of Cheyenne was also hired for an additional $2,900 to make sure the riggings on the engine and tender were properly placed. WRC is a company well known for moving trains. 

WRC’s Steve Lee and owner John Rimmasch were both in Evanston for the move and assisted with the rigging process. Lee had formerly worked for UP in Cheyenne, where he was in charge of 4,000 steam engines. He’s well known in the field nationwide for his knowledge and expertise of steam engines. In examining the engine, Lee said the boiler was in good shape, though there is some rust damage on both the engine and tender.

On Friday, Dec. 4, the engine and tender were moved and placed outside one of the huge double doors at the Roundhouse; they’ll later be moved inside the Roundhouse, where the restoration will take place. 

Horne said the commission hopes to move them inside in the next couple of weeks, as soon as a surveyor advises on what’s needed to install tracks to move it in. 

The commission will get a company out of Salt Lake City to lay the rail, and Horne said UP might help as well. Once the engine and tender are inside the Roundhouse, the commission will get an evaluation of the cost and a timeline for restoration, Horne said.

Horne said there are thousands of steam engine “nuts” who will volunteer to help with cleaning and restoration. He mentioned he had heard that a steam engine had been restored in California, totally through the efforts of volunteers. 

“Wouldn’t it be great to have a railroad museum with a spaghetti restaurant in the Roundhouse?” Horne said. “People would come from all over the world to see it.”

Local resident Joan Martin Nixon, who attends the commission meetings and was on the committee with Horne, was present for the two-day process of moving the train. 

“I just got so ecstatic and excited to see the engine back home,” Nixon said as the engine and tender were both finally lowered onto the tracks outside the Roundhouse. “It brought up 40 years of memories of my childhood. The engine looks like it is saying, ‘I’m home again.’”

Nixon recalled childhood memories of watching Switch Engine 4420 at work. Nixon grew up in a home at 1609 Main St., just above the Evanston Roundhouse and Railyards, and she had many train stories to share on Friday.

“My two brothers and I would play near the tracks and watch the trains. We dreamt of being engineers and working on the railroad when we grew up,” she said. “One time, an engineer stopped the switch engine and let us get up in it. That was really exciting. When I was a kid, the railroad was the heartbeat of the town and, to my brothers and me, it was very intriguing and fascinating. We would go down to the old Becker’s Brewery on Front Street and watch the little engine connect to cars loaded with beer and bring them to the Roundhouse to be picked up by larger engines. My dad, Larry Martin, took us out to Almy to watch the switch engine pick up rail cars loaded with livestock to bring back to the Roundhouse.”

Nixon remembers when Switch Engine 4420 was given to the town and moved from the railyards to the courthouse lawn. She said they tried to pull it with winch trucks and huge highway department trucks but were unsuccessful. They finally brought in sections of track and laid them down one at a time in front of the engine, then pushed it on the tracks. Her brother, Larry J., and two other young men from Evanston — Larry Holmes and Jack Cornelison — helped push the engine. She said it appeared to move easily on the tracks.

Nixon said Larry J. told her the older boys in high school would often go to the courthouse late at night and light a fire in the engine so they could see smoke come out of its chimney. He laughed when he told her that he wasn’t part of it but knew the cops would chase the kids away.

Jim Davis, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, commented after the successful move of the steam engine and tender.

“The move of the steam engine and tender to the Roundhouse is just the beginning of the journey,” he said. “We want to eventually have that engine running. Once it is inside the Roundhouse, we can begin the restoration work. This is just the beginning.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

0 $0.00
Go to Top