The 150th anniversary celebration of the transcontinental railroad’s completion isn’t over yet. Union Pacific is just gathering steam following its May 9 ceremony in Ogden, Utah, commemorating the anniversary. The newly restored Big Boy No. 4014, the world’s largest steam locomotive, is returning to the rails for its own “Great Race across the Midwest.”
No. 4014 will leave the Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, July 8, making brief whistle-stops in communities along its route through Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It will be on display in the following cities:
- July 13-14: Omaha, Neb. (paid admission required through Railroad Days)
- July 18: St. Paul, Minn.
- July 20: Duluth, Minn.
- July 23: Altoona, Wis.
- July 27-29: Chicago, Ill.
- Aug. 1: Des Moines, Iowa
- Aug. 3: Omaha, Neb.
- Aug. 6: North Platte, Neb.
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden. Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy. It recently completed its inaugural tour to Ogden for Union Pacific’s 150th anniversary ceremony. The Big Boy and historic steam locomotive Living Legend No. 844 met nose-to-nose, recreating the iconic image taken May 10, 1869, when the last spike was tapped into place at Promontory Summit, creating America’s first transcontinental railroad.
“The transcontinental railroad forever changed our country, uniting the nation and igniting economic growth that is still evident today,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president – Corporate Relations and chief administrative officer. “There’s no bigger way to honor this milestone than bringing the Big Boy back to life and giving people an opportunity to share this historic moment.”
Union Pacific strongly encourages fans to keep safety top of mind while viewing and photographing No. 4014 on its journey. For everyone’s safety:
- Remember, trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
- A train’s distance and speed can be deceiving.
- The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet – take extra precaution and stand back at least 25 feet.
- Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and right of way are private property.
- Never assume tracks are abandoned or inactive – always expect a train.
The Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car, a new, multi-media walk-through exhibition providing a glimpse at the past while telling the story of modern-day railroading, will accompany the Big Boy on its tour. A comprehensive route map and schedule, including No. 4014’s GPS location tracking information is available online as well. Due to the dynamic nature of these operations, running times and scheduled stops are subject to change.