One of the world’s biggest and most powerful steam locomotives is making its post-restoration debut in a year-long tour to commemorate the Transcontinental Railroad’s 150th anniversary. We can’t wait to watch it roar through the Union Pacific railway system throughout 2019.
It’s called the Big Boy No. 4014, and it’s longer than two city buses, heavier than a Boeing 747 jet plane and powerful enough to pull 16 Statues of Liberty over a mountain.
Twenty-five of these bad boys were built by American Locomotive Company between 1941 and 1944 to haul freight between Wyoming and Utah. Only eight remain today, but none have been operational until now. It took five years of restoration work in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to bring No 4014 back to life—a feat that most steam train buffs considered next to impossible. Designed for steep mountain grades, Big Boys are powered by two huge engines beneath a 250-ton boiler. Engineers had to completely disassemble the locomotive down to the frame and shell to build it back up.
As a retired Union Pacific employee recalled of its heyday, “You could sure tell when a Big Boy left town. The ground kind of vibrated a little more than it did with the other types of locomotives. They were very, very powerful.”
Big. Powerful. Unmistakable. That’s like an alt tagline for Hamilton.
For an in depth look at the rebuilding of the Big Boy, Watch this.