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Big Boy heads back to Union PacificTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
On display in Pomona
Courtesy Photo­Image
In operation in early 1940s (click on photo to enlarge)

One of the biggest locomotives ever built will head to Union Pacific's shop in Cheyenne to be renovated.

Union Pacific Railroad announced Tuesday it reached an agreement with the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in Pomona, Calif., to transfer ownership of Big Boy No. 4014, back to Union Pacific.

Union Pacific will move No. 4014 to Cheyenne, where Union Pacific’s Heritage Fleet Operations team will work to restore it to operating condition, UP spokesman Aaron Hunt said.

Union Pacific donated No. 4014 to the southern California historical society on Dec. 7, 1961, and the big locomotive has been on display since Jan. 8, 1962, at the Rail Giants Train Museum in Pomona.

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 its 20 years in service, the company said.

UP's "Big Boy" series were built between 1941-44 and designed to pull heavy trains of cargo through the mountains during World War II. They operated primarily between Ogden, Utah and Cheyenne, Wyo.

The frames of the Big Boys were "hinged," or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves. They were the only locomotives to have a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement -- two sets of 8 driving wheels, plus a leading set of 4-wheels on a "truck" for stability entering curves, and a set of another 4-wheels on a trailing truck to support a large firebox.

The renovation of No. 4014 is expected to take 3-5 years.

Hunt said UPRR retains historical equipment to honor of its American roots. He said no other U.S. company has done as much in that way.

“Our steam locomotive program is a source of great pride to Union Pacific employees past and present,” said Ed Dickens, senior manager of Union Pacific's Heritage Operations. “We are very excited about the opportunity to bring history to life by restoring No. 4014.”

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 7/23/2013
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