One of Union Pacific’s historic steam locomotives, the Big Boy No. 4014, is touring the Union Pacific system throughout 2019 to commemorate the transcontinental railroad’s 150th anniversary.
The Big Boy’s return to the rails is the product of more than two years of meticulous restoration work by the Union Pacific Steam Team. No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive.
The tentative schedule for southwest Arkansas is as follows:
Tuesday, Nov. 12
-Texarkana, Ark., 100 E. Front St., arrival at 11:30 a.m. with departure at 12:15 p.m
-Hope, 100 E. Division St., arrival at 1:45 p.m. with departure at 2:15 p.m
-Prescott, 403 W. 1st St. arrival 3 p.m. with an overnight stay.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
-Depart from Prescott at 9 a.m.
-Gurdon, Main St. Crossing, arrival at 9:45 a.m. with departure at 10 a.m.
-Arkadelphia, Walnut St. Crossing, arrival at 10:45 a.m., departure at 11 a.m.
Unless otherwise noted, all stops are “viewing only” locations.
Twenty-five Big Boys 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 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.
There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
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. Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process. It returned to service in May 2019 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion.