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Big Boy heads out on national rails Tell North Platte what you think
Photo by Union Pacific Rail Road
No. 4014 Big Boy
Courtesy Photo­Image
An historic view of the Big Boy in operation.

The historic Big Boy No. 4014 -- said to be the biggest steam locomotive in the world -- took another step toward Cheyenne, Wyo. Sunday, when it entered the national rail network for the first time in 52 years.

The step is relatively short, in what will be a long journey to Cheyenne by the 1.2 million pound steam locomotive.

Towed by today's diesel-electric Union Pacific freight locomotives, the Big Boy departed the LA County Fairgrounds in Pomona for a 56-mile trek to a UP rail yard in Colton, Calif.

In Colton, Big Boy will be prepared for its 1,293-mile trek to Cheyenne in coming months.

No. 4014 was one of 25 Big Boys built primarily for freight service on the transcontinental railroad route during the World War II years, beginning in 1941.

Following a 17-year operating career, Union Pacific delivered No. 4014 Big Boy to the RailGiants Train Museum in January 1962.

In exchange, Union Pacific is delivering diesel locomotive No. 3105, a UP caboose and a boxcar to RailGiants Train Museum located at the LA County Fairgrounds on Jan. 26. The donated equipment will contribute to the preservation and documentation of railroading underway at the museum in Pomona, UP said.

Union Pacific plans to restore the Big Boy locomotive to operating condition over the next several years and put it back on the rails for viewing.

In the last year, all of Big Boy's wheel bearings have been inspected and lubricated in Pomona. Then the locomotive was slowly moved nearly a mile across the Fairgrounds on temporary track in preparation for its first trip on a main line since it was retired.

"We appreciate the collaboration with Metrolink and Fairplex (tracks) to make No. 4014's first move on the national rail network safe and efficient," said Ed Dickens, senior manager of Union Pacific Heritage Operations.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/26/2014
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