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Big Boy Back To The Future

January 28, 2014

As you all know, Union Pacific has begun the process of returning an iconic Big Boy steam locomotive to service.   UP regained ownership of 4-8-8-4 4014 from the Rail Giants Museum in Pomona, CA  last Fall in exchange for UP SD40-2 3105, a boxcar, and a caboose.

Over the last several months, 8 members of the UP Steam Team have been working to prepare the 4014 for its first movement in over 50 years. The first big step took place yesterday when the UP moved it 56 miles to the West Colton yard.  There it will receive more work to prepare it for the 1,293 trip to Cheyenne, WY where it will be completely overhauled over the next 3-5 years.

There’s a nice selection of images from yesterdays move here, but I wanted to share a few views of UP 4014 from its days in service, and shortly after its retirement.

First up this view of UP 4014 at Cheyenne in August, 1958 near the end of its career.

Union Pacific Big Boy 4104 in Cheyenne WY in August 1958

Union Pacific donated the 4014 to the Rail Giants Train Museum December 7, 1961. The locomotive arrived there January 8, 1962.

Here she is in December, 1963, just under 2 years after beginning the “museum piece” phase of its career.

Union Pacific 4014 at Pomona CA in 12-63

Here’s what it looked like in July, 2013 shortly after the announcement of its re-acquisition by UP was announced:

UP 4014 7-2013

 Hats off to the UP and its decision to invest so much to return a Big Boy to service. No other railroad (or any company) has retained its historical equipment in operating condition or honored its history like Union Pacific.

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