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Big Boy 4018 Restoration

BigBoy 4018


Basic Information

BigBoy 4018 currently resides at the Museum of the American Railroad in Dallas Texas. Back in 1999, a plan was set forward to refurbish the locomotive back to operational status. Apparently, the locomotive was to be featured in a movie entitled "BigBoy", which was to be produced by HighBall Films upon completion of 4018's restoration. It had been estimated that the restoration would cost anywhere in between 3 to 7 million dollars. Unfortunately, apart from the initial overview of the locomotive, nothing more ever came of the restoration promises. It seems HighBall Films backed out of the deal, making promises they could not keep and budgets they could not secure, typical of 99% of Hollywood deals. Therefore at this point, the locomotive still resides at the Age of Steam Museum, untouched.

Will we ever see a BigBoy brought back into operational status again? The question still remains: if the locomotive was to be restored, who would operate it and where will it run? Steve Lee, head of the Union Pacific Steam Program, says no where...... According to him, the railroad is no longer equipped to handle the behemoth. Presently, they run Challenger #3985 (4-6-6-4) and Northern #844 (4-8-4) on steam excursions. The Challenger is short enough to be turned on the few remaining turntables and wyes in Wyoming and the surrounding states, those facilities just couldn't handle the extra 12 to 14 feet of the BigBoy. In addition, the Union Pacific isn't too keen on running a coal fired locomotive at this point (both Challenger 3985 and Northern 844 are oil fired). Back in the late 40s and early 50s, BigBoy #4005 was briefly converted to burn oil, it was unsuccessful. Then again, can Union Pacific actually turn down the offer if a fully operational 4000 was delivered to their doorstep one morning? I've got my money on NO! Unfortunately though, we will no have the opportunity to see if I am correct or not in the foreseeable future.


Links to other BigBoy 4018 Restoration sources

  1. Museum of the American Railroad
  2. The Official BigBoy 4018 Restoration Site:
  3. BigBoy Links Page
  4. Union Pacific Historical Society



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