World’s Largest Steam Locomotive To Depart From Cheyenne For 150th Anniversary Of Transcontinental Railroad
Two historic steam locomotives, Big Boy No. 4014 and Living Legend No. 844, will depart Cheyenne soon for a recreation of the iconic photo taken May 10, 1869, when the last spike was tapped into place at Promontory Summit, Utah, creating America’s first transcontinental railroad.
The iconic steam locomotives will join together in a public display for the first time May 9in Ogden, Utah, during Union Pacific’s celebratory event marking the transcontinental railroad’s 150th anniversary. The original Union Pacific tracks near Promontory Summit were removed to support scrap metal projects during World War II.
“Completing the transcontinental railroad was a major feat that united America and laid the foundation for the country’s growth, economic progress, and improved the way of life,” said Scott Moore, Union Pacific senior vice president of corporate relations, in a press release. “The restored steam engines are rolling pieces of history that take us back in time as we celebrate this momentous anniversary. We’re excited to share No. 844 and No. 4014 with our communities, and invite generations to join us along the tour.”
According to Union Pacific’s website, Steam Locomotive No. 844 is the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad, delivered in 1944. A high-speed passenger engine, it pulled such widely known trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.
No. 844 will leave Cheyenne Saturday, April 27, and make several brief whistle-stops in communities along its route, arriving in Ogden, Utah, on April 28. Hailed as Union Pacific’s “Living Legend,” the engine is widely known among railroad enthusiasts for its excursion runs, especially over Union Pacific’s fabled crossing of Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie. The Living Legend will be on display at Ogden Union Station through May 11.
Twenty-five Big Boy locomotives 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 are the largest steam locomotives ever made.
The Big Boy’s return follows more than two years of restoration. Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive. It will leave Cheyenne May4 following a 9:30 a.m. christening ceremony at the historic Cheyenne Depot.
A comprehensive tour schedule, including GPS location tracking information is available at https://www.up.com/heritage/steam/. Due to the dynamic nature of these operations, running times and scheduled stops are subject to change.
The 150th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year as No. 4014 visits many states across the Union Pacific system.