Union Pacific Railroad is undertaking the movement and restoration of one of the world’s largest steam locomotives the Big Boy No. 4014 and this large train made a stop in Modena. It was a couple hours late, but worth the wait.
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, Wyoming.
Eight of the Big Boys were donated for public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in Pomona, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Dalls, 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 it’s 20 years in service.
No. 4014 will be moved from its display location in Pomona, California, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it will undergo restoration that is anticipated to take a minimum of five years.
(Photos from Jessie Platt, Rachelle Moody and Melinda Rupp)