Big Boy Locomotive Restoration: Union Pacific Bringing It Back From '40s

Image: Big Boy Locomotive Restoration: Union Pacific Bringing It Back From '40s

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 03:23 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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The Union Pacific Railroad is restoring one of the largest steam locomotives ever built, Big Boy No. 4014.

The massive locomotive will travel from Colton, Calif., to Cheyenne, Wyo., this spring for the restoration, which is expected to take three to five years, according to Union Pacific.

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Big Boy No. 4014 was one of 25 Big Boys built for Union Pacific in the early 1940s. The locomotives were 132 feet long, weighed 1.2 million pounds, and operated between Utah and Wyoming.

The locomotive traveled more than 1 million miles between December 1941 and when it retired in December 1961. It has been on display at RailGiants Train Museum at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds.

Big Boy No. 4014 is scheduled to leave California on April 28 and arrive in Cheyenne on May 8.

"Something that's so large and powerful and magnificent, we didn't think any of them would ever come back," Jim Wrinn, editor of Trains magazine, told The Associated Press.

The restored steam engine will pull special excursion trains.

Built by the American Locomotive Co. in Schenectady, N.Y., the 6,300-hp steam engine was engineered to run as fast as 80 mph.

Union Pacific’s maintenance shop in Cheyenne maintains other operating steam locomotives, but the Big Boy 4014 project will be challenging for the Heritage Fleet Operations Team.

"Our steam locomotive program is a source of great pride to Union Pacific employees past and present," Ed Dickens, senior manager of Union Pacific Heritage Operations, told the Los Angeles Times. "We are very excited about the opportunity to bring history to life by restoring No. 4014."

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