Author Topic: Union Pacific looking to restore 4-8-8-4 Big Boy #4014 for excursion service  (Read 3817 times)


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From Trains News Wire:

"Union Pacific looking to restore 4-8-8-4 Big Boy #4014 for excursion service

Published: December 7, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Union Pacific Railroad has had conversations with the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society to purchase and restore its ex-UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy, No. 4014. The museum's board is scheduled to meet Dec. 8 and plans to vote on the proposal from the railroad to buy the locomotive, says a source familiar with the matter.

Alco built 25 Big Boys for UP in 1941. No. 4014 resides at the chapter's museum on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, Calif., and is one of eight surviving Big Boys. UP donated the locomotive to the chapter in 1962.

Trains News Wire has contacted Union Pacific for comment and is currently wait for a reply."

The only thing I have to say on it is that it would be cool to see it happen, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Shane Smiley (shane_man15)

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Train horns are also my thing.



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Quite a few years ago I thought there was one in Texas and there was talk of it being restored(not sure by whom) and as you can guess, never happened.  I think I read it in Trains.   Anyone remember this?


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Yes, I remember that debacle... there were rumors of it being a scam and that the Texas Museum was rightfully proceding cautiously and did not release their engine to the people that wanted it.

Steve Lee (now retired from U.P.) made comments in one of the "Last of the Giants" videos that, although U.P. could restore a Big Boy, there were few places left where it could run or be turned to go back!  There were (at that time) only two turntables capable of holding a Big Boy and they were too close together to get much of a run.  Also, many tracks have been realigned such that curves are sometimes tighter and double tracks are closer together such that the Big Boy could not run on them.  (The Challenger managed to "remodel" [Mr. Lee's words] a couple of coal cars that were parked on a curve that the Challenger used to traverse in the past, but realignment work had put the tracks closer together and the front of the Challenger overhung the curve just far enough to sideswipe the cars on the adjacent track.

Personally, I would love to see a Big Boy working again... marvelous machine... I have stood in the cab of a Big Boy (Green Bay, WI) and tried to take photos of it, (good detailed photos of the whole engine are difficult because you have to go so far away to get the whole thing in the frame!)  BUT!  I am not going to hold my breath at ever seeing one running again.  The infrastructure to run or maintain one is no longer in place.

But it sure is fun to close my eyes and imagine it!
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Charles T. McCullough



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Be still my heart, oh how that would be great to see one of those puppies again running in my lifetime. IIRC, the Texas mess of the possibility of getting one to run again had something to do with a movie but as said never happened. I believe Steve Lee as referring to the time the Challenger was in coal country on the Clinchfield and took out some coal cars on the adjacent track. That was when the Challenger was brought back to the east and ran as a Clinchfield steamer on the Santa Claus train. They also had trouble turning the steamer on that trip and put the front on the ground for a short time. I was talking to the late Lynn Nystrom, UP steam fireman, outside their motel where I was also staying one evening and his comment was that they needed to get back to Wyoming where their track was straight and they could open the 3985 up and let her run as she should and get out of this curvy hilly country. That as when I also witnessed one of the most, to use an overused but apt word, priceless scenes I every witnessed in all my years of following railroading. Spent the better part of two weeks with the 3985 down there and one weekend it was pouring rain and Steve stopped the 3985 on top of the Copper Creek Trestle and opened every steam opening on that puppy and in the cool rain the sight was as said priceless. I was videoing taping it and was last in line standing in the median of the highway when a West Virginia state trooper pulled up beside me and asked what was going on, told him and he backed down and blocked traffic so no one would run into the about fifty cars that were parked there taking pictures. It was raining so hard the moisture sensor in my camera shut it down, it had more sense that I did but wouldn't have traded that scene for anything.
Have a good and safe day!

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would make an awesome 150th birthday present for union pacific but it will likely never happen
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Re: Union Pacific looking to restore 4-8-8-4 Big Boy
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 10:05:20 PM »
This was on the Trainz website today.


I attended a meeting on Tuesday evening of the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in San Marino.

An outside guest was there for the “informational” side of the meeting, with a proposal for the chapter membership and board to consider.

Ed Dickens; he’s the manager of UP’s Historic Equipment program at Cheyenne. He announced that UP has decided to restore and run a Big Boy as a public relations gesture—and that millions of dollars have been budgeted for the project.

Engineering staff has surveyed all seven surviving Big Boy locomotives and found that the 4014 on display at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona (owned by the SCC-R&LHS) is the one of the seven in the best condition and therefore the first choice for the UP restoration project.

At the meeting, UP offered to “obtain” the 4014 from the Chapter, move it across the Fair parking lot on snap track to live (Metrolink) rails and then haul it to Cheyenne for a multi-year restoration project. He didn’t say “buy” and he didn’t say “repossess,” and he did leave open the possibility of loaning another steam locomotive to the Chapter to fill the empty space. UP to pay all costs.

At least one Board member is adamantly opposed to accepting UP’s offer. His concern is that the Chapter and Fairplex facility management in Pomona have frequently clashed in the past and that removing the “star” of the R&LHS exhibit would give Fairplex the opportunity to evict the entire rail museum—leaving it homeless. No decision was reached during the meeting. I suspect that the Board will want to poll the entire Chapter membership, but that is just my own opinion. Apparently a Board meeting is scheduled for this weekend.

If a deal is reached, UP wants to make the move by February 2013.

This is not an official announcement and I do not speak for the Chapter or the UP. All I can say is, “watch the media” and check with your sources.

Hope this can actually work out, what is a few million to the Union Pacific??!!


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Re: Union Pacific looking to restore 4-8-8-4 Big Boy Latest & Greatest!!
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 10:14:16 PM »
This was just updated on the Trains news wire tonight.

Union Pacific studying Big Boy restoration project
Published: December 7, 2012 UP 4014

POMONA, Calif. – Union Pacific may be bringing back the ultimate steam machine, an Alco-built 4-8-8-4 Big Boy, the last of which steamed more than 50 years ago.

Company spokesman Mark Davis told Trains News Wire Friday that the company has been approached by and is working with a third party interested in restoring and operating a Big Boy. He said the railroad is evaluating the condition of preserved UP Big Boy locomotives and that it believes two might be available for restoration. Davis declined to name the other party or give a timeline for the project. But at least one organization is already talking about its potential to put a Big Boy back on the main line.

The treasurer of the Southern California railroad club that owns a displayed Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 says his group hopes to learn more Saturday about a UP offer to acquire No. 4014 for restoration and operation.

In an exclusive interview with Trains News Wire, John Mastrobuoni from Prescott, Ariz., said the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society is eager to find out if the railroad can meet its requirement that a replacement piece take the place of the Big Boy at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona. The engine is one of eight survivors of the 25 locomotives that Alco built beginning in 1941 for freight service between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ogden, Utah until the last steamed in 1959.

Mastrobuoni said he participated by phone in a meeting Tuesday in which Ed Dickens, who manages UP’s fleet of historic operating steam and diesel equipment, appeared at a chapter meeting in California to pitch the idea. He said Dickens on Saturday is expected to provide more details about what UP would offer and called discussions “preliminary.”

The idea is already controversial, as some board and chapter members consider the Big Boy as the centerpiece of the club’s exhibit. The 4014 was donated to the chapter in 1962. The exhibit also includes a UP DD40X Centennial diesel No. 6915, UP 4-12-2 No. 9000, Southern Pacific 4-10-2 No. 5021, and Santa Fe 4-6-4 No. 3450.

“If we can come to an agreement with the railroad, an operating Big Boy is better than one on display,” Mastrobuoni said. “We’d lose the engine for display, but we’d be known everywhere as the group that helped make one run again.”

He added that rebuilding the No. 4014 would take several years with the aim of operating for the 150th celebration of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 2019. The coal-burning engine would be converted to oil firing.

The railroad has not publicly announced plans to expand its operating steam locomotive fleet, which includes the never retired 4-8-4 No. 844, which made an extensive systemwide tour this year for the company’s 150th anniversary of its founding, and 4-6-6-4 No. 3985, which is undergoing a major overhaul.

Contrary to Internet reports that UP has vetted the other seven Big Boys, representatives of the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wis., the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver, and the Steamtown National Park Service site in Scranton, Pa., said Friday that none have been officially contacted. On its face, the engine in southern California, with its dry climate, would be among the best condition.

In addition to 4014, the following UP Big Boys are still in existence:
4004, in Holliday Park, Cheyenne, Wyo.; 4005, Forney Transportation Museum, Denver, Colo.; 4006, Museum of Transport, St. Louis,Mo.; 4012, Steamtown, Scranton, Pa.; 4017, National Railroad Museum, Green Bay, Wis.; 4018, Museum of the American Railroad, Dallas, Texas; 4023, Kenefick Park, Omaha, Neb.


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The infrastructure to run or maintain one is no longer in place.
But it sure is fun to close my eyes and imagine it!

I agree & me too!