4014 is going to pass Minneapolis Junction twice, going and coming from Duluth. I wonder if there are any plans between UP and the Friends of 261 to pull 261 outside for some photos with 4014.

I don't know what is fact and what is fiction, but from what I've read on here and elsewhere, Ed Dickens is regarded a a lone wolf by some of the other operators in the steam fraternity and is not held in very high esteem by many of them.

I did manage to catch it in eastern Nebraska yesterday.  Got up at 6 am, was in position by 7:15 am for the first shot which happened around 9:30.  I'll write more about that this Wednesday and post more photos.  The worst case scenario crowds never showed up.  It looks like going to a rural area during the week is the best strategy to avoid them.  About 80% of the crowd was local looky-loos, another 15% were local foamers, and the rest (including me) we out of state foamers.  All but a couple of those seemed to not be from the Midwest at that.  There was no way to get ahead of the 50 or so cars following it along, and the Nebraska highway patrol was there in numbers.  No one seemed to be "driving like a foamer."  Train was traveling about 50 mph.  

 

I caught it at three locations and could have caught it again in Omaha, but decided to skip Omaha and head home from Fremont.  I took some shots with my Nikon D850 at my pre-selected locations, but really my favorite photo came from the stop in Fremont.  I used my 4x5 Chamonix camera shooting Ilford FP4+ b&w film.  I really like the way those turned out (just processed them today.)  I'll probably go after it again when it comes back west.

 

I do have some tips.  You really need to scout locations ahead, and assume there'll be a number of people there.  Best shots will be from some distance.  It's so big if you're within 100 feet you won't get much, and two thirds of the shot is up in the air.  You will never get ahead of it so plan accordingly.  I managed to jump around it when it stopped and the 30-45 minute stops gave me plenty of time.  A little altitude helps in case something gets in front of you.  I was careful to use shutter speeds over 1/1000s and did use a polarizer.  There is a lot of glare on the engine and tenders as well as green foliage.  (My polarizer is the high transmission type.)  I was using a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR on Nikon D850 (full frame), on a tripod, and that seemed about right.  The locations I picked gave me clear shots with good direction of light and no one in the way on the moving shots.  I obviously had a different strategy for the stationary shots.  When it comes back I my plan is to anchor my kayak in the river to take shots, and concentrate more on the "people" shots with my 4x5.  I brought a ladder but never used it.  The crowd wasn't that bad.

 

I'll mention a few other things.  Above someone brought up "casual" vs "pro" photographer and what's the difference.  The obvious difference is the pro gets paid, but that in turn means the pro HAS to deliver usable shots.  It's not necessarily about having "pro" gear, but rather a "pro" attitude.  Since a pro has to get the shot or he doesn't get paid, the strategy is to remove as many potential problems in advance as possible.  Scout the locations and your route.  Clean your camera sensor the day before, and all lenses.  Charge up your battery and spares.  Have a fresh memory card and a spare.  Know what the direction of light will be at the time of day you'll be there, and the weather.  Have a place picked out to park, bring food & water with you so you don't have to stop at a crowded store.  In short being a pro is mostly about being prepared and having an idea of what shots are your highest priority.  (But not to the extent it blinds you to a lucky shot that pops up you didn't expect.)

 

Kent in SD

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,

Miserere nobis.

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Dominic Mazoch posted:

UP is calling this trip a race.  Err, I thought you needed two, in this case, trains, to race.

Yes, of course it's a race.  It's me against all the other foamers on the road trying to get to the best spots.

 

Kent in SD

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,

Miserere nobis.

Sorry I took a break from this topic guys. Tomorrow is the big day. Today I saw it pull into St Paul on the Union Depot web cam. Quite the sight.

Of the eight remaining Big Boys, this will be my seventh. By the time we got to LA, it was in the roundhouse in Cheyenne. When we were in Cheyenne to see the one in the park we drove by the roundhouse on the bridge, but couldn't see in, during the early. The only one left to see is Steamtown.

I've been following this project here on the forum, since before the UP was able to reacquire it. There were people who said it would never happen, others who said it couldn't be done, and even others were down on Ed Dickens. Say what you will about him, but he brought the project in, and on time, and that's what really matters. Proof that anything can be done for money, you also have to think big.

My fascination with 4014 is turning into an expensive proposition. At the last minute we decided to buy tickets for the museum's gala in Duluth. A once in a lifetime opportunity, with special access to the locomotive as well as the excursion cars. Should be a fun evening. Photos of course.

Not only am I a railfan, but I'm a modeler as well, and Lionel is really getting into my wallet. I'm mostly immune to the steam engines they produce, and have a very strict rule when it comes to buying them. If I haven't seen it in the Twin Cities under steam, I don't buy it for my layout. Now is the time.

Ken - Great pictures, and a really nice story about your mom getting to see 4014.

Rogerdodger - The Raymond Avenue is pretty good for an overhead shot. Minneapolis Junction is good for ground level, but may be crowded.

John - It arrives Butler next Thursday and departs Friday morning. It won't be on display in Milwaukee, which really surprised me. You won't be able to get too close in the yard. You may do better trying to catch it along its way to Chicago.

Nick - That makes perfect sense. UP kind of shot their wad for the steam program with this one. They'll need some time to catch up.

Pictures tomorrow!

I'm sorry, but I think I'm over "4014 madness". For the last week I have been watching one YouTube video after another, hoping to catch the engine making some racket. Instead I see the locomotive mostly drifting with the whistle being blown nearly constantly and nothing but siderods clanking away, in the very few moments when the whistle actually shuts up. 

The titles and comments on these videos are laughable. Words like "Blasting", "Pounding", "Roaring" etc. accompany  videos of the engine barely making any sound at all, no stack talk nothing. I swear the blower has to be on all the time because she sure as hell isn't creating much of a draft.

It's almost as if these people are seeing what they want to believe versus the reality of what they are actually seeing.

Maybe there will finally be something to see in October, when she takes on the 2.2% grades of Cajon and Cima, but I'm not holding my breath. For all I know they will throw 4 stinking GEVOs behind her and the incessant whistling and rod-clanking will be all there is to hear in the mountain passes.

Say what you want but Steve Lee and company let the old gals work and get some dirt on them.

Dickens appears not to want to muss the lady's hair.

I'm happy that I didn't waste my time and money to travel and chase after her. Maybe I'll drive over to Memphis to have a look, if and when they come this way. 

Nick, I've actually resisted looking at Youtube all week, so I'm not saturated yet by this. We'll head to the depot at eight, and hopefully it won't be too crowded. I expect to run into a bunch of friends and acquaintances down there. We'll go through the car and take a bunch of stills. Friday I plan to catch it on the fly, on its way to Duluth. Saturday evening we should get more unique pictures at the gala. Then Tuesday I plan to catch it on the move again, just a couple miles from my house, as it heads over to Altoona. 

Maybe the reason you are always hearing the whistle in the videos is, some of the best trackside access is near grade crossings. Either that or he's just whistling for the crowd as he passes. I did watch a live shot the other day, and thought that whistle was rather magnificent. Can't wait to hear the Doppler effect in person.

Big_Boy_4005 posted:

Nick, I've actually resisted looking at Youtube all week, so I'm not saturated yet by this. We'll head to the depot at eight, and hopefully it won't be too crowded. I expect to run into a bunch of friends and acquaintances down there. We'll go through the car and take a bunch of stills. Friday I plan to catch it on the fly, on its way to Duluth. Saturday evening we should get more unique pictures at the gala. Then Tuesday I plan to catch it on the move again, just a couple miles from my house, as it heads over to Altoona. 

Maybe the reason you are always hearing the whistle in the videos is, some of the best trackside access is near grade crossings. Either that or he's just whistling for the crowd as he passes. I did watch a live shot the other day, and thought that whistle was rather magnificent. Can't wait to hear the Doppler effect in person.

Don't let my frustrations discourage you. I hope you have a great time and stay safe out there.

Who knows? You may catch her climbing a rise somewhere where her stack can "holler" a little.

I'll use this analogy to illustrate how I feel about all the hype around 4014 and the realty of what I see.

I have been a fan of the Allman Brothers Band since I was a teenager. They are still my favorite band of all time.

One of the two living founding members, guitarist Dickey Betts, has had a decades long problem with alcohol and substance abuse. This has rendered him a shell of his former self. He cannot even play in time anymore which is a fundamental requirement for a musician.

I occasionally will look at a recent YouTube video, hoping against hope that he has overcome his problems and regained a modicum of his former prowess. That has not happened and probably never will.

The kiddies that post on these videos comment as if he is "tearing it up".  I don't know what they are watching but it's not what's on my screen.

It's the same sort of drivel they post about a locomotive that is basically a bull elephant with a house cat tied to it's tail.

Trains Magazine's coverage is no better. They are just a bunch of fanboys over at Kalmbach.

 

 

 

Nick Chillianis posted:

I'm sorry, but I think I'm over "4014 madness". For the last week I have been watching one YouTube video after another, hoping to catch the engine making some racket. Instead I see the locomotive mostly drifting with the whistle being blown nearly constantly and nothing but siderods clanking away, in the very few moments when the whistle actually shuts up. 

The titles and comments on these videos are laughable. Words like "Blasting", "Pounding", "Roaring" etc. accompany  videos of the engine barely making any sound at all, no stack talk nothing.

 

I too was hesitant to go, even though it was easily within my range at only three hours away.  In the end I went and I'm glad I did.  It really doesn't come through on videos and photos how massive this thing is.  It is something to see.  Considering how expensive it is to maintain and run who knows how many chances you're going to get to see something this big moving?  Most of the photos I've seen of it seem to be taken by people who just stand by a crossing to take a shot.  You really get no sense of its scale that way, or even see all of it at once.  As for "blasting/pounding/roaring," true there's no truth to that and it sounds like it was written by an overexcited teenage foamer.  As I watched it in Nebraska I was amazed at how silently it seemed to glide along--much quieter than the diesels that ply those tracks.  So anyway, in the end I'm glad I went for the experience.  It was a different experience than I thought it would be but it was still a good one.  I think of the 4014 in a similar way as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and the big sequoias in Yosemite.  All are something you should see at least once in your lifetime.

 

Kent in SD

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,

Miserere nobis.

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Two23 posted:
Nick Chillianis posted:

I'm sorry, but I think I'm over "4014 madness". For the last week I have been watching one YouTube video after another, hoping to catch the engine making some racket. Instead I see the locomotive mostly drifting with the whistle being blown nearly constantly and nothing but siderods clanking away, in the very few moments when the whistle actually shuts up. 

The titles and comments on these videos are laughable. Words like "Blasting", "Pounding", "Roaring" etc. accompany  videos of the engine barely making any sound at all, no stack talk nothing.

 

I too was hesitant to go, even though it was easily within my range at only three hours away.  In the end I went and I'm glad I did.  It really doesn't come through on videos and photos how massive this thing is.  It is something to see.  Considering how expensive it is to maintain and run who knows how many chances you're going to get to see something this big moving?  Most of the photos I've seen of it seem to be taken by people who just stand by a crossing to take a shot.  You really get no sense of its scale that way, or even see all of it at once.  As for "blasting/pounding/roaring," true there's no truth to that and it sounds like it was written by an overexcited teenage foamer.  As I watched it in Nebraska I was amazed at how silently it seemed to glide along--much quieter than the diesels that ply those tracks.  So anyway, in the end I'm glad I went for the experience.  It was a different experience than I thought it would be but it was still a good one.  I think of the 4014 in a similar way as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and the big sequoias in Yosemite.  All are something you should see at least once in your lifetime.

 

Kent in SD

I guess you're missing my point. I've been around the 3985 under steam and have taken lots of video of her (She's only 10' shorter than 4014). I've seen six of the preserved 4000 class engines. I'm more than aware of 4014's size and scale.

The reason it glides so silently is because it is pulling nothing relative to its capabilities. The diesels you see are hauling thousand of tons of freight behind them.

4014 is hauling maybe 1200 tons. She can easily handle 10-12 times that much tonnage on the prairie.

The closest the UP gets to me is Memphis, TN,  about a 6-7 hour drive. If she comes there I'll go see her. 

Until then, I'll just hope she finally is allowed to strut her stuff on Cajon Pass and Cima Hill.

I am grateful the UP revived 4014.  Will 4014 ever run without a diesel helper?  It has been years since I saw the Challenger in StL but i don't recall 3985 having a helper...maybe it did.  With our without help, the Big Boy is a sight to see and I look forward to doing just that.

T4TT posted:

I am grateful the UP revived 4014.  Will 4014 ever run without a diesel helper?  It has been years since I saw the Challenger in StL but i don't recall 3985 having a helper...maybe it did.  With our without help, the Big Boy is a sight to see and I look forward to doing just that.

She'll almost always have a diesel in the consist.

The three reasons as stated by Ed Dickens are:

1) Dynamic braking on long downgrade runs, to preserve the air brake shoes on the Heritage Fleet equipment.

2) To reduce fuel and water consumption by assisting in hauling the train as circumstances warrant.

3) For switching, turning and positioning the consist for display.

Also, although not explicitly stated, to guard against mechanical failure of the steam locomotive and tying up the railroad.

I guess this was day one of Big Boy week for me. We got down to the depot right around 8:30, and got in line for the free commemorative poster. They had 300, and we were maybe 50th in line. Pretty poster, gotta get it framed.

Then it was on to the main event. We got down to the platform, and the observation was right there. We then had to walk the entire length of the train to get to 4014, a good quarter mile. The crowd wasn't too bad when we started, but it had really picked up by the time we were ready to head out. 

I chose to not handle the camera for this round, and left that to my wife and son. My wife was getting a little frustrated with all the people getting in her pictures. My son was a little more patient, and got some real nice shots, a bit more artistic. I hope he'll find time to post some here, as he already has an OGR account.

I think we need to point out to Lionel, that the "Excursion version" should have the chalk Big Boy on the smoke box front.

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Good to see the shiny shield.

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Anyone know what this chain setup controls?

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She's starting to get a little dirty, as they break her in.

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This just looks complicated.

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The crowd and the length of the train, and this was the "back side"

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The tag along diesel.

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Self explanatory.

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The aux tenders. The flag is just a piece of sheet metal mounted to the side of the tender, so it hangs straight down as the wall curves inward.

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Me with the "Experience" baggage car Promontory. Neat little display inside. I'll get pics of the inside in Duluth.

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This odd looking car makes noise like a generator

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The Green River, St Paul and me.

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The special drumhead on the Kenefick.

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By the way, if anyone wants to see 4014 depart St Paul, you can watch the Union Depot web cam, Friday morning at 8:30 AM CDT.

Big_Boy_4005 posted:

 

 

Anyone know what this chain setup controls?

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The mechanical lubricator for the front engine. The sprocket on the left is on the Nathan lubricator. Note the sight glass to inspect the oil level.

The chains were a UP modification. The original long actuating lever proved not to be up to the rigors of everyday operations. The chain drives were fitted with covers, somewhat like the chain guard on a bicycle.

Why they haven't yet been replaced on 4014 is anyone's guess.

Thanks Nick, I thought it might have something to do with lubrication. Now that you mention it,  I kind of remember seeing the guard on some of the other survivors. Maybe that's why the bare chain seemed odd, and caught my eye.

Thanks Elliot for the web cam heads up.   I watched it leave on my IMac.   Unfortunately, my Iphone video did not capture the hole experience.   I didn't notice that it wasn't recording at first so I missed capturing the Big Boy.  Double Darn!!!!!   Here is a short clip of the tail end cars just to prove I saw it today!!   Have fun in Duluth!

Cheers, Dave

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Big_Boy_4005 posted:

By the way, if anyone wants to see 4014 depart St Paul, you can watch the Union Depot web cam, Friday morning at 8:30 AM CDT.

 

This is John Stein's photo from St Paul. Elderly people, preschoolers, all sorts of folks.

I took my family out in May, as part of an extended family vacation. I did not expect all the interest, all the people. In our hotel, were groups from the UK and from France. (My sons got into a pick-up game of rugby with them.) At the McDonalds near the hotel, people were speaking some sort of Scandinavian language.

big boy

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