Last year the Union Pacific Railroad ran an excellent contest called Union Pacific Railroad's Great Excursion Adventure - You Route the Steam Contest Legendary Steam Locomotive to Tour Winning Route. Below we'll explain it to all of you.
Omaha, Neb., January 04, 2011 - Fans of Union Pacific's legendary steam locomotives will determine the winning tour route in online voting that starts today in the final phase of Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure - You Route the Steam contest. Voting concludes January 17.
The four finalist tour routes were determined by steam locomotive fan voting November 9 through December 6, 2010. The final four segments are:
The Tuscola Turn: Starting in Boone, Iowa, the tour segment travels east through Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids, Mt. Vernon, De Witt, and Clinton. It continues toward Chicago through the Illinois communities of Rochelle, DeKalb, West Chicago, Glen Ellyn and Proviso, turning south to Woodland and Villa Grove before concluding in Tuscola.
The Little Rock Express: Starting in Kansas City, Mo., the tour segment travels east to Boonville, Jefferson City, Chamois and St. Louis before heading south to Cape Girardeau, Dexter and Poplar Bluff. It continues through Bald Knob, Ark., before concluding in Little Rock .
The Baton Rouge Rambler: Starting in Dallas, the tour segment runs east through the Texas communities of Mesquite, Wills Point, Grand Saline, Mineola and Longview. It continues in Louisiana through Shreveport, Natchitoches and Alexandria before concluding in Baton Rouge.
The Boise Limited: Starting in Salt Lake City, the tour segment travels north in Utah to Ogden and Brigham City. It continues to Pocatello, Idaho, where it heads west to American Falls, Shoshone and Mountain Home before concluding in Boise.
The winning tour route will be announced January 18.
In addition to route voting, five individuals who score the most contest "points" will win two tickets each for a special leg of the tour, as well as lodging and air fare. The person with the most points will be awarded the title of "Honorary Engineer" and given the opportunity to ride in the locomotive cab.
Individual contest winners will be notified January 19. Here is how the contest works:
Participants go to www.upexcursion.com January 4-17 and vote for their favorite routes. One of Union Pacific's legendary and rare steam locomotives will travel the route with the most votes. The potential tour routes were determined by fans who nominated and voted online for their hometowns, combined with the ability of the steam equipment to visit specific locations, scheduled railroad maintenance programs and other factors. By voting for their favorite route at www.upexcursion.com, participants earn a point each day they vote, but can cast just one vote daily. By sharing with friends and followers via Facebook and Twitter, participants gain a referral point for every new verified participant who votes as a direct result of clicking on a referral link they share. The timing of the tour will be based on the location of the winning route. Complete rules and restrictions for Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure - You Route the Steam are published at www.upexcursion.com.Union Pacific Steam Locomotive No. 844
Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 celebrated its 50th anniversary of special train service out of Cheyenne, Wyo., in 2010. It is the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad and was delivered in 1944. Formerly a high-speed passenger engine, it pulled such widely known trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger. Many people know the engine as the No. 8444, since an extra '4' was added to its number in 1962 to distinguish it from a diesel numbered in the 800 series. The steam engine regained its rightful number in June 1989, after the diesel was retired. When diesels took over all of the passenger train duties, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service. The engine has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific's ambassador of goodwill.
The Railfair 1981 opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento and the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans.
The 50th Anniversary Celebration of Los Angeles Union Station in 1989.
Railfair 1991 at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. During the 1990s, No. 844 pulled numerous Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days specials.
The UP 844 was at Railfair 1999 at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. The UP 844 visited several Oklahoma cities during the Oklahoma Centennial in 2007. Earlier this year, No. 844 traveled to Harlingen, Texas, and Milliken, Colo., to be a part of those communities' heritage celebrations. Hailed as Union Pacific's "Living Legend," the engine is widely known among railroad enthusiasts for its excursion runs, especially over Union Pacific's fabled crossing of Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyo.
The Little Rock Express begins May 29 with the arrival of Union Pacific's steam locomotive No. 844 in Kansas City, Mo., and concludes June 9 in Little Rock, Ark., as part of Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure - You Route the Steam contest. More than 175,000 votes were cast for four different routes, with the Little Rock Express defeating the Tuscola Turn, Baton Rouge Rambler and Boise Express.
Union Pacific's legendary No. 844 steam locomotive will make a goodwill tour starting in Kansas City, heading east through Jefferson City, Mo., and St. Louis before turning south en route to Little Rock. Details regarding the numerous steam locomotive stops will be announced April 27.
Omaha, Neb., March 07, 2011 - The Little Rock Express begins May 29 with the arrival of Union Pacific's steam locomotive No. 3985 in Kansas City, Mo., and concludes June 9 in Little Rock, Ark., as part of Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure - You Route the Steam contest. More than 175,000 votes were cast for four different routes, with the Little Rock Express 76,217 Votes defeating the Tuscola Turn 73,217 Votes, Baton Rouge Rambler 18,070 Votes and Boise Express 11,213 Votes.
As a result, Union Pacific's legendary No. 844 Northern steam locomotive will make a goodwill tour starting in Kansas City, heading east through Jefferson City, Mo., and St. Louis before turning south en route to Little Rock. Details regarding the numerous steam locomotive stops will be announced soon.
Five individual winners and their guests will ride on the train for a leg of the tour. The individual winners were determined based on the number of points they earned by gathering referrals via Facebook or Twitter. The winners are: Shad Pulley from West Jordan 1023 Votes, Utah, Skip Waters from Dallas 952 Votes, James O'Connor from Willowbrook, Ill., 705 Votes, Nick Benson from Eagan, Minn. 705 Votes and Kevin Mucha from Villa Park, Ill 695 Votes.
Pulley was the grand prize winner, earning him the title "Honorary Engineer" and the opportunity to ride in the steam locomotive cab.
Contest participants who voted for the Little Rock Express will be entered into a drawing for the opportunity to ride a brief segment of the tour. As stated in the contest rules, no tickets will be sold and general public train rides will not be available as part of the tour.The above text taken from the Union Pacific Web Site Interviews from the Winners Little Rock Express Questions
I E-mailed or Facebook Question to the Five Winners. Here is what they sent me to use.Little Rock Express Questions Your Name Shad Pulley
I'm pretty excited to be the winner. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.How many votes did you get from people?
Over one thousand, Have you ever ridden behind a Union Pacific Steam Engine before?
No.How did you get so many votes?
Asked friends, family, co-workers, and members of my web site about g scale trains to vote and get their friends to vote.Which of the Routes did you vote for?
I started with the Salt Lake City to Boise..., switched to the Little Rock Express.Any other thing else to add?
NopeYour Name Skip Waters
I feel Great! I think the contest was awesome, a brilliant marketing and pr move by UP Steam to have this contest. I loved every aspect of it. It was engaging, fun, easy to play and allowed me to promote my love for trains.How many votes did you get from people?
952. See http://upexcursion.com/leaderboardHave you ever ridden behind a Union Pacific Steam Engine before?
Yes, several times. Looking forward to this time as well. Although, I must admit, I prefer chasing it more than riding. I love to see the engine work as it goes by. The steam engine is my favorite part of the whole experience.If yes which one or both. UP 844___x___ UP 3985 __x___
UP 3985 Both on excursions in Texas and Oklahoma. UP 844 in recently in Oklahoma and Texas. Oh...and Utah during the 1997 NRHS convention.How did you get so many votes?
I asked my friends, work associates, train friends and even strangers. I passed out small flyers asking them to go vote for the steam train to come to Dallas. Most did and I'm grateful.Which of the Routes did you vote for?
At first I voted for Dallas to Baton Rouge as the Baton Rouge Rambler, but the last 4 days, switched to the Little Rock Express when the Rambler fell too far behind in the votes.Any other thing else to add?
Again, this promotion was BRILLIANT!! My hat is off to the genus that thought this up. It was fun, exciting and most of all allowed us, the train lover, to be involved in deciding where the train will go. And getting to win a trip to ride the train on top of it all was the icing on the cake! Thank you UP Steam for a job well done. See you on the train!
Skip Waters Dallas, Texas
I feel great! What could possibly be cooler for a railfan than riding behind 844 between Kansas City and St. Louis on UP's amazing passenger equipment? I'll be able to enjoy the experience without putting up with the circus of foamers who'll be chasing after us.How many votes did you get from people?
Well, I earned 705 points, so I ended up getting 600+ people to vote after clicking my referral links.Have you ever ridden behind a Union Pacific Steam Engine before?
No; although I have gotten to ride on UPP equipment a couple of times for Operation Lifesaver Specials.How did you get so many votes?
Fortunately I'm a web developer by trade, so I understood the concept of a "referral link," and immediately figured how the contest worked, and what I'd have to do to do well with it. As soon as I found out about the contest and figured out how it worked, I put together a couple of emails encouraging people on the regional Yahoo! lists I was a part of to vote to bring the steam up to my neck of the woods. The Twin Cities and surrounding areas have a very active railfan scene, so I was able to get quite a few votes that way. I also do a lot of networking with railfans on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, and anyone who was part of my network undoubtedly remembers some of the spam I sent out soliciting clicks - thanks to everyone who voted, and everyone who's still a friend/follower! Initially I was voting to bring steam back to St. Paul; my hope was to get a day to chase 844 down the Mankato Sub out of the Twin Cities to replicate a chase of the Challenger I had done a few years ago. When the four finalist routes were announced, and it became clear which ones had a shot of winning, I threw my weight behind the Little Rock Express, because it was the most interesting of the probable winners.Any other thing else to add?
I really dig being connected to other railfans. Please add me as a contact on Flickr, friend me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter. I'll be posting lots of pictures as the trip goes along, including the view of the foamer circus from aboard the train. My handle on all of those networks is "ottergoose," so I should be easy to find.Your Name Kevin Mucha
I was very pleased to share this experience with my son Colin.How many votes did you get from people?
Surprisingly many.Have you ever ridden behind a Union Pacific Steam Engine before?
No.How did you get so many votes?
Great friends and relatives, work associates, a newspaper article and even handing out flyers at local train stations.Which of the Routes did you vote for?
TuscolaAny other thing else to add?
Very grateful to be part of the trip.
It was a great thrill to be one of the winning contestants. I spent every evening for the week leading up to the final night emailing my friends and updating facebook walls. It looked like I might come in 6th or 7th and not win so we really put the heat on in the last hours.How many votes did you get from people?
705 total unique votes (folks could only vote once per email address).Have you ever ridden behind a Union Pacific Steam Engine before?
No, never. My son and I watched a Union Pacific steam train through the Chicago area about 10 years ago from track side. My son was hooked on steam railroading from then on. We saw the Challenger UP 3985.How did you get so many votes?
My secret weapon was my Live Steam website. I've made hundreds of friends over the years and they came through for me. I wrote each and every one of them an email asking for votes.How did I get on the Little Rock Express?
About three weeks ago I sent an e-mail to Mark Davis Union Pacific Director, Corporate Relations and Media Co, IA,IL, KS, MN, MO, NE, WI and WY about riding the train from Kansas City to Jefferson City to write a story for Trainweb.com. Twenty minutes later he sent me a message "Sounds like a Plan, just look me up in Kansas City". Now to get to and from Kansas City. Amtrak was the highest price. I tried using my Alaska Airlines Reward Points but had no luck getting flights to Kansas City. Next we tried Delta and got a good price going via Minneapolis and coming home via Salt Lake City. I got a hotel room in Kansas City for the first night and out at the Airport the second. To get back from Jefferson City I would use Amtrak back to Kansas City. I would get to visit Nathan my good friend in Kansas City as we have plans to discuss for our La Plata Railfan Event in July before Train Festival 2011.UP 844 to Kansas City
The Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 left Cheyenne on Friday May 27, 2011 for North Plate. The train had a consist of UP 844, Alco 4-8-4 FEF-3, UP 809 Auxiliary Water Car "Jim Adams", UP 1982 EMD SD70ACe Missouri Pacific Heritage Locomotive, UPP 9336 Box Car Step Car, UPP 6334 Maintenance Tool Car "Art Lockman", UPP 209 Boiler Car "Howard Fogg", Baggage Car Concession Storage "Lynn Nystrom", UPP 5818 RPO Concession Car "Reed Jackson", UPP 5468 Coach "Katy Flyer", UPP 7015 Dome Coach "Challenger" and UPP 114 Business Car "Feather River". The next day, Saturday, the train ran to Marysville, KS and on the way there the engine developed a bearing failure. They repaired it during the night. The train then ran on into Kansas City at a much slower speed. Monday would be a display day at Kansas City Union Station where a more intense repair would be made. I would see it there after I arrive into Kansas City on Monday.Getting Chris to Kansas City 5/30/2011
I was driven down to John Wayne Airport at 5:00 AM for my 6:45 AM Flight to Minneapolis. I waltzed through security in my sweat pants then changed into my shorts in the restroom. My rib started to hurt again so I hope this doesn't become a major problem on this trip. I boarded Delta Airline Flight 2376 and had window seat 18F for my trip to the Twin Cities this morning. The trip had a few bumpy areas but it was a good trip. We arrived into the Twin Cities early but then the jetway ramp wouldn't line up so we were delayed. I had to go from Gate G28 to F12 which was over a mile walk. I made it on time to make my flight to Kansas City. I boarded Delta Airline Flight 2097 for my flight to Kansas City and had window seat 19F. On the plane seated in the row behind me was contest winner Nick Benson who noticed my Santa Fe 3751 hat. We talked briefly before the plane took off. The flight was a smooth ride and quick trip. In Kansas City Nick and his guest along with me found the Union Pacific representative and there was Shad Pulley and his wife who is an author. I asked if I could ride with the group to the Westin Crown Center Hotel as I was writing a story about the trip and was told sure. We went outside to wait for the Super Shuttle the UP had called for them.Kansas City 5/30/2011
The group waiting for the Super Shuttle at the Kansas City Airport. The van took us into Kansas City dropping us off at the Westin Crown Center Hotel where I checked in getting room 1126. I went up the elevator to my room.
The view from my room has the former IRS Building.
Along with the War Memorial. I checked my e-mail before I headed to Kansas City Union Station.
The view out the east side of the hotel. I took the KC Air Walk over to the station but had one picture to get before going inside.
The Missouri River Runner waits for the afternoon run to St Louis. From here I walked through the station out to the Freight House Bridge for a few pictures.
Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 at Kansas City Union Station.
Union Pacific 5872 East heads through Kansas City.
Next BNSF 7593 East came through Kansas City. I walked back through the station and went out the north exit.
I used the Kansas City PCC Car as a prop for my next two pictures.
The steam crew was working on the replacing the problem bearing. Now let us look at our train for the Little Rock Express.
Union Pacific 4-8-4 844.
UP 809 Auxiliary Water Car "Jim Adams".
UP 1982 EMD SD70ACe Missouri Pacific Heritage Locomotive.
UPP 9336 Box Car Step Car.
UPP 6334 Maintenance Tool Car "Art Lockman".
UPP 209 Boiler Car "Howard Fogg".
Baggage Car Concession Storage "Lynn Nystrom".
UPP 5818 RPO Concession Car "Reed Jackson".
UPP 5468 Coach "Katy Flyer".
UPP 7015 Dome Coach "Challenger".
UPP 114 Business Car "Feather River". I met Nathan my friend known as Kansas City Nathan on Let's Talk Trains. We visited the UPP 5818 RPO Concession Car "Reed Jackson" gift shop where I got a new UP Hat and a Little Rock Express T-shirt. After that I watched Nathan have a meeting with Jim Coker the Conductor Executive Service - Steam Crew along with Richard and Susan Boone.
Two views of the meeting held in the Katy Flyer.
After the meeting I noticed this on the UPP 5818 RPO Concession Car "Reed Jackson". After that we watched the steam crew working on the bearing problem.
The Union Pacific Steam Crew was hard at work solving the bearing problem.
The Safety First Blue Flag on the Union Pacific 844. Nathan and I left and headed over to the KCS Knoke Yard.
On the way there we found KCS Switcher 4331 working a line of grain cars. We then headed to the KCS Engine Facility where I took pictures through the fence.
There was a nice line of KCS motive power to photograph.
KCS de Mexico 3013.
KCS de Mexico 3014.
KCS 2855 and 7024. We then drove down a little further for more KCS pictures.
KCS 4622. Next we drove over to Mid America Car, Inc. for some more pictures.
Iowa Northern Railway 2004.
Four views of Mid America Car, Inc. From here Nathan took me to his model railroad club at Train Town Kansas City.
The Train Town Kansas City sign.
Views of the layouts at Train Town Kansas City. It hosts two model railroads: HO and N gauge. The N gauge group is known as the Weekend Nginners. From here Nathan, Richard, Susan and I went to the Gates and Sons BBQ locally known as Gates BBQ which is one of the holy trinity of Kansas City BBQs. I had an excellent BBQ chicken dinner. After dinner Nathan drove me back to the Westin Crown Center hotel and I went up to my room and wrote the story.