Big Boy’s Return to Laramie, Wyoming
Union Pacific Steam Locomotive Big Boy No. 4014, the largest steam train in the world, along with The Living Legend No. 844, stopped at the Laramie Railroad Depot in Downtown Laramie, Wyoming on May 4th, 2019 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad and golden spike on its way to Ogden, Utah. The locomotive has been in Cheyenne for the last few years being worked on by engineers until it was finally restored for this commemorative trip and blew its whistle for the first time in about 60 years the day of these photographs. Ed Dickens, the senior manager of Union Pacific’s Heritage Operations and the engineer of Big Boy No. 4014, had the legendary task of getting a front row seat to smiling faces across the West. Rail fans from all over the world came to witness this historical and memorable event and an estimated 3,000 alone visited the Laramie Depot that day. For Laramie, crowds are usually something reserved for the legendary solar eclipse only, but when Big Boy came to town people were lining up along the tracks and on the overpasses and bridges starting at 7am, a full 5 hours before the trains would arrive.
History of the Big Boy Steam Train
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad, the first of which was delivered in 1941. Big Boy engines hauled freight between Wyoming and Utah in the 1940s and 1950s and of the 25 Big Boys built, eight remain, but only this one, No. 4014, will be operational. The Big Boy locomotive measures longer than two city buses. It’s heavier than a Boeing 747 jet plane fully loaded with passengers, yet powerful enough to pull 16 Statues of Liberty over a mountain range. 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 had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of “pilot” wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive. The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo. Eight of the Big Boys were donated for public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in Pomona, Calif.; St. Louis, Mo.; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Neb.; Denver, Colo.; Scranton, Penn.; Green Bay, Wis.; and Cheyenne, Wyo. Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service. No. 4014 was moved from its display location in Pomona, Calif., to Cheyenne, Wyo., where it underwent restoration that took five years. Big Boy hit the rails in 2019 for its trip to Ogden Utah for the 150 Anniversary “The Great Race to Ogden” and the Golden Spike Ceremony, starting from Cheyenne heading west May 4, 2019 and returning May 19, 2019.
View the Big Boy Photo Gallery
See the photographs below from when the steam trains were in Laramie on May 4th, 2019 from Laramie, Wyoming professional photographer Allison Pluda of Seneca Creek Studios or visit store.senecacreekstudios.com. All photographs are available as archival fine art prints shipped to your doorstep for free.
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