Cheyenne looks forward to Big Boy arrival

Published: July 25, 2013
4014 Lustig
No. 4014
Photo by David Lustig
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – If there is one city that is associated with Union Pacific’s Big Boy locomotives, it is Cheyenne. In the 1950s railroad fans flocked to the Wyoming capitol to see the monster machines in operation as they headed west to tackle famed Sherman Hill. The Big Boys were maintained in the huge UP steam shops in the city, and when the Big Boys last ran in 1959, they were gathered in Cheyenne, where they were selected for preservation or scrapping.

Cheyenne maintained its railroad connection after the Big Boy’s retirement, thanks to Union Pacific’s Heritage Program, which has kept 4-8-4 No. 844 in operation since 1960, joined by 4-6-6-4 Challenger No. 3985 in 1981. Now, with the announcement that UP is reacquiring Big Boy No. 4014 and will rebuild it in Cheyenne, the city will again be home of the Big Boys – plural since No. 4004 is preserved not far from the UP tracks at Holliday Park.

“We think this is tremendous news for Cheyenne,” Darren Rudloff, CEO of Visit Cheyenne, the Cheyenne Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, tells Trains News Wire. “Cheyenne is a great train destination, and is known worldwide for its railroad history. Of course Cheyenne is home to the steam shop where Union Pacific maintains the Challenger and 844, so having a Big Boy to add to the fleet that is maintained here is a great addition to our railroad attractions.”

Rudloff says Visit Cheyenne is looking forward to working with UP on Depot Days, where the steam shop is opened to the public to look at the equipment. “We also look forward to seeing the steam trains coming and going – it’s always a blast to see people line the tracks watching trains. It’s just a positive development for our visitor infrastructure here in town.”

The organization has long hoped to be able to construct a bridge from the preserved Cheyenne passenger depot to allow visitors to watch trains and see the work-taking place at the steam shop. “I think the interest will be so strong in this engine, people from all over are going to clamoring to see it. So I’m hoping this will provide the impetus and a means to continue discussions of how we can view this and make it more accessible to visitors, because they are people from all over the globe who are waiting for this engine to be operational,” he says.

Union Pacific is acquiring No. 4014 from the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, which has displayed it in Pomona, Calif., since 1962.

In a letter to members, Rob Shatsnider, the chapter’s chairman, hints that other equipment will soon occupy No. 4014’s space, giving rise to reports that the group has made a equipment trade with UP for the Big Boy.

“A lot of time, consideration, and thought were invested by the Chapter’s leadership to arrive at this decision over the past seven months, and to craft an agreement with Union Pacific. We recognize that no piece of railroad equipment equals the historical fame and stature of a Union Pacific Big Boy, and the equipment that will soon occupy its space would not compete with its fame or recognition,” the letter says. “After its restoration, Union Pacific will operate a special passenger train in Southern California as a fundraiser, for the benefit of the Chapter, using No. 4014 and Union Pacific’s historic passenger car equipment.”

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis has declined to comment on whether a trade of equipment will take place.

 

Original Post

Great to hear that Cheyenne is looking forward to this so much.  This is really going to have a positive impact in so many ways for so many folks....just such great news.  I am interested to see what the UP is donating to the museum as well.

 

Chris

    Chris

 

Don't call me irrational you know that makes me crazy.

And come see my videos on modeling and rail fanning the prototypes.

 

 

Originally Posted by GCRailways:

Is it just me, or does 2013 appear to be the Year of the Big Boy?

 

Aaron

I find it interesting that after years of no Big Boys moving, this year two of the 8 will be relocated. Prior to this, was the last to be moved, Denver?

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