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NRHS Convention 2019 Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 and Union Pacific 844 Nose to Nose in Ogden 5/9/2019

by Chris Guenzler

Robin and I got up at 5:45 AM and I left the Radisson Motel 10 minutes before he did and I shot a few pictures before he arrived.

Union Pacific 4014

Union Pacific 4014, or UP 4014, is a Big Boy-type (four-cylinder articulated 4-8-8-4) steam locomotive owned by Union Pacific Railroad. 4014 was retired from service on July 21, 1959, and donated to the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in Pomona, California, in December 1961. The locomotive reached its destination in January 1962 and was thereafter displayed in Fairplex. In 2013, Union Pacific 4014 was moved to Union Pacific's Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it is now being restored to running condition. When 4014 returns to operation, it will displace UP 3985 as the largest, heaviest, and most powerful operational steam locomotive in the world.


UP 4014 was one of 25 4-8-8-4-class locomotives developed by Union Pacific and Alco to overcome problems with its 4-6-6-4 Challenger-class locomotives. UP determined that its goals for the new class could be achieved by making several changes to the existing Challenger design, including enlarging the firebox to about 235 by 96 inches (about 155 sq ft), lengthening the boiler, adding four driving wheels, and reducing the size of the driving wheels from 69 inches to 68 inches.

The Big Boys are articulated like the Mallet locomotive design, though without compounding. They were designed for stability at 80 miles per hour, allowing a wide margin of reliability and safety, as they normally operated well below that speed in freight service. Peak horsepower was reached around 35 mph; optimal tractive effort, around 10 mph. The locomotive without the tender was the longest engine body of any reciprocating steam locomotive in the world.

Alco delivered No. 4014 to Union Pacific in December 1941 and it was retired on December 7, 1961. 4014 traveled 1,031,205 miles for Union Pacific during its 20 years in service.

The last revenue train hauled by a Big Boy (No. 4015) ended its run in the evening of July 21, 1959. Union Pacific 4014 completed its last run earlier the same day at 1:50 AM on that date. Most were stored operational until 1961, and four remained in operational condition at Cheyenne, Wyoming until 1962. Their duties were assumed by diesel locomotives and gas turbine-electric locomotives. Of the 25 built, eight were preserved at various locations around the United States. In 1961, Union Pacific donated 4014 to the Southern California chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society; it reached its destination of Pomona on January 8, 1962.


In late 2012, Union Pacific announced that it was interested in obtaining a Big Boy and restoring it to operating condition.

On July 23, 2013, Union Pacific announced that it had reacquired 4014 from The Southern California chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, with the goal of restoring it to service.On November 14, 2013, UP 4014 was moved from its home at the museum, on temporary track, on to the adjacent parking lot, with plans to take it to Union Pacific's rail yard in Colton, California, before its move to Cheyenne. Union Pacific personnel carried out the transfer of 4014 from its display to the cyclone fencing at the northeastern edge of the Fairplex property at several feet from the Metrolink track by attaching tethers to a front end loader, allowing the loader to pull the steam engine across the parking lot.

On the morning of January 26, 2014, UP 4014 (recently re-numbered on the U.P. active locomotive roster to avoid confusion with an EMD SD70M diesel locomotive using the same number) was pulled out of the Los Angeles County Fairplex by the Southern Pacific-liveried diesel locomotive UP 1996 (part of UP's Heritage Series of locomotives). UP 4014's destination for restoration to full operating condition was the Union Pacific Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming under the guidance of Heritage Fleet Operations director Ed Dickens. A compressor was on board of the locomotive to sound the impressive whistle during the trip. On February 2014, UP 3105 (nee Missouri Pacific 6027), an EMD SD40-2C, UP insulated boxcar 453665, and bay window caboose UP 24567 (nee Rock Island 17149) took No. 4014's place in the museum. On May 8, 2014, UP 4014 arrived in Cheyenne. On August 12, 2016, the UP steam crew announced work on 4014's restoration had begun. Part of the restoration includes converting the locomotive's engine into an oil burner, changing its fuel from coal to number 5 oil. This process will include replacing the coal burning grates with a fire pan and using an oil burner to "flow and atomize the fuel oil into a fine mist." This mist will mix with combustion air, resulting in a fireball that will generate power for the steam engine.

When 4014's restoration is completed, the engine will join the railroad's never-retired 4-8-4 844 and the 4-6-6-4 Challenger 3985 in excursion service, and will officially be "the world's largest operational steam locomotive," displacing the 3985. Union Pacific hopes to return the Big Boy 4014 to active excursion service between 2018 and 2019. The Union Pacific's official YouTube channel regularly publishes "Steam Shop Updates" chronicling the progress on the restoration. Plans for operating the locomotive include the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 2019 and the 75th anniversary of Union Pacific 844 as well.The restoration officially began on August 11, 2016, after the 844's overhaul was completed; in May 2018, it was reported that the process of putting the locomotive back together had begun.

Union Pacific 844

Union Pacific 844 is a 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotive built by the American Locomotive Company in December 1944 for the Union Pacific Railroad. Constructed as a member of the FEF-3 class of 4-8-4's, the 844 was the last steam locomotive delivered to Union Pacific. Though the FEF-3 class was originally built for high-speed passenger work, 844 and the rest of the FEF-3 class were pressed into a variety of dual-service work. While commercial Union Pacific steam operations ended in the late 1950s, 844 was retained by the railroad for special activities. Today, it is one of UP's oldest serving locomotives, as well as the only steam locomotive never retired by a North American Class I railroad.


No. 844 was one of ten locomotives that were ordered by Union Pacific in 1944 and designated as class FEF-3. The FEF-3 class represented the epitome of dual-service steam locomotive development; funds and research were being concentrated into the development of diesel-electric locomotives. Designed to burn coal, they were converted to run on fuel oil. Like the earlier FEF-2 class, FEF-3 locomotives were designed as passenger engines. They pulled such trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.

From 1957 to 1959, UP 844 was reassigned to fast freight service in Nebraska when diesel-electric locomotives took over passenger service.

Saved from scrapping in 1960, 844 was chosen for rebuilding and is now used on company and public excursion trains, along with revenue freight during ferry moves.

Built and designed in a joint effort between the Union Pacific and ALCO, the 844 and the rest of the FEF-3 class could safely handle 120 mph. On one occasion, one of the engines of the FEF-3 class pulled a 1,000-ton passenger train at 100 mph. All FEF classes were considered by the Union Pacific to be capable of producing between 4,000 and 5,000 drawbar horsepower.

Excursion career

Since 1960, No. 844 has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific's publicity locomotive. The locomotive often pulls the annual Denver Post-sponsored Cheyenne Frontier Days train that runs round-trip from Cheyenne to Denver in July.

It appeared at Expo '74 in Spokane, Washington, the 1978 dedication of the Utah State Railroad Museum in Ogden, Utah, the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans, and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Los Angeles Union Station in 1989, when it performed a side-by-side run with Southern Pacific 4449. On February 14, 1975, it pulled Amtrak's San Francisco Zephyr from Denver, Colorado, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, with a pair of EMD SDP40Fs. In 1981 it traveled to the opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento along with Union Pacific 3985 which had recently been restored to operational conditions.

Over the weekend of October 14, 1990, 844 led a procession of special trains from Kansas City Union Station to Abilene, Kansas, for World War II veterans to celebrate the 100th birthday of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The "Eisenhower Centennial Special" was composed of cars from the Union Pacific, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway business fleets, with additional passenger cars provided by the Norfolk Southern and Chicago and North Western railroads. Present also in Abilene was General Eisenhower's command train, code-named "Bayonet", including the British A4 steam locomotive 60008, communication and staff cars from the European Theater of Operations in the Second World War.

In 1991 it traveled to the opening of the 10th Annivesary of the opening of California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento along with Union Pacific 3985.

In 1999 it once again went to the California State Railroad Museum for Railfair 1999 and then the joint NRHS/RLHS Convention where it ran on a Sacramento to Tehama Excursion.

On May 18 & 19, 2007, 844 appeared with Southern Pacific 4449 for the "Puget Sound Excursion", a round trip from Tacoma to Everett on BNSF Railway tracks.

On June 25 and 26, 2010, it made an excursion trip to Milliken, Colorado's centennial celebration.

In September 2012, the locomotive was used in "UP 150", a celebration of Union Pacific's 150th anniversary celebration, hosted by the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. During the event, 844's tender derailed on tightly curved track from the mainline to the museum. It took three hours to get the tender back on the rails.

In June 2013, the locomotive's gyrating Mars light, installed in 1946, was removed due to the bolts that held it in place beginning to fail. That same year, UP announced that 844 and 3985 would eventually be joined in excursion service by Union Pacific 4014, a 4-8-8-4 Big Boy, acquired by UP from the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.<,P>

Following the end of the 2013 season, the locomotive was taken out of service for boiler work necessitated by a change in the water treatment, spending all of 2014 in Cheyenne. In 2015, it was announced that 844 would be receiving an early 15-year inspection and was expected to return to service sometime in 2016.

On June 16, 2016, the 844 was test fired and was completed on June 17, 2016. It was scheduled to pull the Frontier train for the Cheyenne Frontiers Day on July 23, 2016.

On July 12, 2016, the Union Pacific Steam Team took the locomotive on a "break-in run" as a sort of all-systems check and dress rehearsal for the July 23rd appearance at the Cheyenne Frontier Days. The break-in run was described as a complete success.

On October 13, 2016 the Union Pacific Steam Team started its eighteen-day "Trek To Tennessee" journey with the newly restored 844. This was the first major trip for the newly restored locomotive.

On July 22, 2018, the 844 was involved in a fatal pedestrian accident in Henderson, Colorado. The engine was leading the Cheyenne Frontier Days Special, which carries people to and from Denver and Cheyenne each year for the county festival. The train was on its way to Denver when the pedestrian was hit. The train was stopped immediately following the accident. Police reported that the victim was trying to take photos of the train while standing too close to the tracks before getting hit.

Our Visit

I was crossing the street when my first trolley of the morning appeared.

First here came a Blue Line trolley into the Arena station.

Next a Green Valley Blue Line trolley pulled into the station. Robin then arrived at the Arena station.

Next our trolley for a Blue Line for Salt Lake Central arrived into Arena and we both boarded for the short trip to that station.

A few minutes later we arrived at the Salt Lake Central station. We walked over to the Amtrak Salt Lake City station building.

The Amtrak Salt Lake City station building. We walked over to the platform and then were met by several NRHS people going to Ogden this early morning and I told them where the event was going to be held and then we all got caught up on things.

Our Frontrunner train for Ogden arrived into the Salt Lake Central station and we all boarded the second car. I sat with a couple NRHS members while Robin caught up on his sleep on the way to Ogden.

Union Pacific stored motive power in North Yard in Salt Lake City.

UTA GP40 (RP39-2C) 901 at outside their shop building.


The UTA Ride the Train shops at North Yard.

JTPX SW-9 1204 at an oil refinery.

Layton Union Pacific train station.

One of the stars of today's show, Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy 4014.

The other star of the morning was the Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 as also seen from the UTA flyover in Ogden. We pulled into the UTA Ogden station and everyone detrained.

Our train at the UTA Ogden station.


The front end of the train and then I tapped off of the train.

Robin and I had breakfast at the Zephyr Grill in this old railroad car in Ogden.

You order at the counter and they bring out your food by name. I had two large pancakes and two strips of bacon which was very good.

While Robin funished his breakfast I took two more pictures of the unique diner in Ogden, Utah. We went into the Ogden Depot where a Union Pacific event was going on and a very nice young lady offered to take us over the the Union Pacific press tent.

One the way there I clicked off this picture of the Ogden Railroad Museum which would be closed until after the event this morning. She took us through security and led us the rest of the way to the Union Pacific Press tent. There we were given a press badge and a folder with Union Pacific information in it and then told where we could go and not go. We walked out and I took my first picture as a press person.

One star Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 of the show was here. The Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 was out of sight just to the south of us.

The Nose to Nose means the railroad was done.

Another Frontrunner train into Ogden arrived on the UTA flyover.

This lady was letting us know when the program would start this morning.

Views of the crowd behind our press row.

Union Pacific 844 released built-up steam from sitting still this morning. When UP 844 blew its whistle, the crowd cheered and then UP 4014 would answer with its whistle and the crowd cheered.

UTA Frontrunner left for Provo this morning. There is a 150 Years Sign by where the UP 4014 will arrive from this morning.

Union Pacific 844 releases more built up steam from sitting still this morning.

UTA Frontrunner arrived into Ogden with MPI MP36PH-3C 17. I called and waved to Elizabeth who was on that train.

UP 844 steamed a little more.

The UTA Frontrunner passes the UP 844 on the way to Provo.

What a beautiful spring Utah morning. At 10:00 the video screen came alive with a video Union Pacific steam, then the Big Boy going from Pomona to Cheyenne for rebuilding being shown and then a video of the Big Boy song.

Another UTA Frontrunner comes into Ogden from Provo this morning.

We all were welcomed to this morning's ceremony.

This young lady would sing the nation anthem of the United States when it was time.

The Union Pacific Color Guard marches in with the Flags of America and the Union Pacific.

She sang a most wonderful Star Spangled Banner of the United States.

The Union Pacific Color Guard then posted the colors.

Then the Union Pacific Color Guard marched off of the stage.

Next the Chairman of the Union Pacific Lance M. Fritz spoke to our assembled guests this morning. He said, Let's get to what we came in for to celebrate on this morning. To my left Union Pacific 844 the Living Legend brought by the Union Pacific runs out at 100 MPH. On my right, the latest steam locomotive to join the Union Pacific Family 4014 amd 1.2 million pounds 7000 horsepower of steel and fire. Let's get started for what we all came for." He then called the Union Pacific Big Boy 4014. Union Pacific 4014 responds "Chairman Lance Fritz over, "I'm in position in front of your locomiotive, are you ready to move?" "UP 4014 is ready to proceed?" Fritz answers " UP 4014 take them ahead"

Just then a Frontrunner train for Provo left Ogden just as Union Pacific 4014 answered "UP 4014 understands coming ahead."

Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 moved into nose to nose position with the Union Pacific 844.

The Union Pacific Big Boy steam crew.

Nose to Nose.

Next we heard from Governor of Utah Gary Herbert who give a brief talk about the history of Utah and its railroads.

Governor of Utah Gary Herbert then called up four relatives of people who had played a part in railroading during that period.

The Governor of Utah Gary Herbert kept on about their history.

The conductor is holding a red flag.

Union Pacific Big Boy end to end.

They are getting ready to hit the large golden spike in the middle of the picture.

The UP 4014 crew is really enjoying this program.

This TV camerman spoiled everyone's picture. With that I left the event.

People in the bleachers on the street watching the show.

The scene from the rear.

I took my last pictures of the Ogden Railroad Museum. I called Elizabeth and meet me on the UTA platform.

A Union Pacific train came into the Ogden yards.