Tonight, after a more than 50 year rest, Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4-8-8-4 steam locomotive will leave her home at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds and begin a journey to the UP Steam Shop in Cheyenne, WY for rebuilding and a return to excursion service. Big Boys weren’t actually the biggest steam locomotives ever built, but they are certainly big. I wandered down to the Fairgrounds today with my camera phone, and I’ve posted a new gallery called UP Big Boy 4014 in the Trains section of The Frog. They may not technically or aesthetically be the best photos, but hey – this is history in the making. This gallery is about sharing the event and what it means.
The rebuild is expected to take about five years, and then… I and thousands of others will get to see something they never thought they’d see in their lifetimes – a Big Boy under steam and running.
Credit must be given to The Rail Giants Train Museum / Southern California Chapter Railway and Locomotive Historical Society for caring for the 4014 for the last half-century. Eight of the 25 Big Boys built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in Schenectady NY are still in existence. All were inspected by the UP Steam Crew, and the 4014 was selected as the best candidate for restoration. Check out their website at http://www.railgiants.org/union-pacific-big-boy-4014.htm and don’t forget to pay them a visit when you’re in the area – there’s much more to them than the 4014. And, of course, the Union Pacific Railroad is to be recognized for the initial donation of the 4014 and now, her second life. Check out the UP at http://www.up.com.
If you’re not in bed at 11:00PM PST, and aren’t otherwise busy for the next couple of hours, you can head down to the Fairground and watch history being made. Who knows… I might see you there!