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 Post subject: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:27 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:44 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Interesting rumor over on Trainorders- seems like it may have a little more meat to it than most...

"An email went out earlier today, from a pretty well-respected person (Joe Strapac), indicating that (Ed Dickens from UP's steam program) had approached the group that owns the Pomona Big Boy about 'obtaining' it for rebuild. Also mentioned was that UP has evaluated all 7 (actually there are 8) Big Boys, and the implication is they're working down the list to 'obtain' the one in the best shape."

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/r ... 10,2935508

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:48 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
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Location: Scranton, PA
To my knowledge there has never been an evaluation of the 4012 in Scranton, and it's probably the wetest (climate and asbestos) boiler out of the lot. Of course, being owned by an arm of the government, it's probably the least "available" of the 4000's. Maybe that's where the 7 vs. 8 comes from.

Of course, I don't believe any of this. I could cite the usual reasons why - money, logistics, 3985 being out of service for two years now - but if the UP were ever going to do this, wouldn't it be logical to have it ready befor their 150th birthday, not after?

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:57 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:04 pm
Posts: 63
This would seem illogical, as 3985 is in their program already and requires work.

Should UP be interested in such a project, they would have sent letters of inquiry to the owners of the engines stating their intent. If the parties agreed, a thorough inspection of each engine would follow. That would require many people involved in such an undertaking in public places (Steamtown, museums, parks, etc.) that would not be held to confidentiality clauses. We would have seen numerous pictures of workers "poking around" these engines all over the Internet and chat rooms.

This sounds like "all publicity is good publicity" for the California group involved and calls attention to their cause. If the UP representative did make such a statement at a public meeting, their officers would have pre-approved such a discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:17 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3727
Location: Maine
When I visited the shops last November (2011), I was told the next possible candidate would be 5511, the 2-10-2 in the roundhouse. I was told "U.P. management isn't aboard with operating a Big Boy, but it is not out of the question" - that's a quote. My wife and I went cross country, literally Big Boy to Big Boy, only missing 4017 in Wisconsin. The locomotive in Denver (Forney) is beautiful but indoors. The L.A. Fairplex is nearly perfect. The two poorest in external condition are Cheyenne's own park engine and Steamtown's 4012. Reliable people at Dallas, told me the interior of their locomotive is nearly pristine.

U.P. must really be getting a powerful "bump" from the steam program to put anything into taking on a Big Boy. I think this is merely a rumor, one I'd love to believe, but not quite yet.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:20 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:00 pm
Posts: 31
The 150 anniversary of the union pacific put a lot of stress on the steam program. To the point of they have not had a chance to work on the 3985. maybe they are planning to replace the 3985 with the 4014. should be same amount of time to get them up and running ( I was told by a up steam employee it would take them 4 years to get the 3985 running again) and from the video pentex big boy collection vol. 3 the big boys were better running locomotives just bigger.


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
Posts: 965
Location: Leicester, MA.
Now, I'm not a subscriber, so I can't get the whole picture, but I see two possibilities;
1) This is legitimate information in circulation and Union Pacific confirmed the initial rumor to Trains Magazine
2) Trains Magazine may have jumped the gun a bit, for which they might just suffer some embarrassment for falling for speculation (which remains to be seen in my eyes. I do sincerely hope that this rumor has some weight behind it)

http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20New ... rvice.aspx

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
One of the oft-cited reasons as to why restoring a 4000 would be unwise is that the locomotive is so large, that there would be few places on the modern UP system where it could travel, and even turn. Sometimes I think that this is one of those "facts" that doesn't have much real backing, but it is repeated enough that it has become fact.

Anyone more knowledgeable care to chime in?

Also, what about the conversion to oil? UP tried, but with just one burner, and it didn't work well. Are there oil burners out there with a multiple-burner setup?

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:22 pm
Posts: 173
wilkinsd wrote:
One of the oft-cited reasons as to why restoring a 4000 would be unwise is that the locomotive is so large, that there would be few places on the modern UP system where it could travel, and even turn. Sometimes I think that this is one of those "facts" that doesn't have much real backing, but it is repeated enough that it has become fact.

Anyone more knowledgeable care to chime in?

Also, what about the conversion to oil? UP tried, but with just one burner, and it didn't work well. Are there oil burners out there with a multiple-burner setup?

As far as size, there are videos of the 3985 derailing while attempting to turn it - and it's considerably smaller. The Big Boys require a lot larger radius to turn, and the required wyes just don't exist.
Oil conversion is possible, and likely, but it will require two burners.

CD


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I was discussing this with a co-worker and he made a very good point, in that if it's really being planned, maybe it's in conjunction to the explosion in coal imports recently, and maybe 4014 would be a rolling billboard for that, to go along with increased coal traffic. Imagine a Big Boy hauling the first ceremonial coal train out of a new field or launching a new schedule of coal operations.
I had to admit, the theory has merit if indeed UP is really looking into this.
One thing is for sure, at UP right now, they're either laughing at how silly we are over something that is not being planned, or beating fists on tables while demanding how the word got out so early. I'm dying to know which it is!

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:28 am
Posts: 124
I really enjoy this site...great information...fun facts...and occasional banter...and rarely serious thoughtful discourse.

So here is my response: Why do or would anyone, any company, any museum, or any company "hide" or "keep secret" or "not want anyone to know" about ANY of the engines, excursions, or railroad movements? Don't answer insurance or lawsuits...that doesn't hold water anymore than a leaky boiler. It has become the poster boy answer for everything.

If UP is really going to do this...railfans, customers, and public citizens will all see, smell, and hear it/about it.

You can't hide a Big Boy...


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:24 am
Posts: 59
Location: Michigan
I'm not saying anything about this because I don't know anything I was just scanning through Facebook a few minutes ago, and put these together- This was posted by "Union Pacific 3985/844 Info" a little after 3pm EST:

Union Pacific 3985/844 Info
We have some interesting and very large news to share soon. Be patient please and trust us when we say, you'll be VERY surprised when you hear it.

For anyone wanting to take a look for themselves, go see their page for yourself:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Union-Pacific-3985844-Info/101121036621755

I don't know if this Facebook page has any actual or official connection with Union Pacific, so take this for what it's worth.

Food for thought- stranger things have happened; Norfolk Southern now has a 21st Century Steam program and ran NKP 765 around Horseshoe Curve. Who would have thought that possible just a few years ago?


Last edited by aswright on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:44 am
Posts: 627
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
TRAINS newswire apparently thinks it's more than just a rumor.

http://trn.trains.com/Railroad%20News/N ... rvice.aspx

Makes me wonder if the repair issues facing #3985 are bigger than we know about.

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 Post subject: UP Big Boy more details
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:21 pm
Posts: 136
Location: Wisconsin
We left this NewsWire item open to the public as everyone will be interested in this developing steam story! - Jim

http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20New ... rvice.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5252
Location: southeastern USA
Two observations: I've never known Ed Dickens to lie, and if anybody had a realistic grasp of the realities of making this happen it's the UP steam program.

Otherwise, I thought I must have slept through winter and this was April 1.

An oil burning Big Boy publicizing increased coal traffic is an interesting idea. Not intuitively obvious......and there are many different oil firing systems using more than one burner out there. I haven't ever been inside a Big Boy firebox, but I'm not convinced that the right one-burner system wouldn't work without knowing a lot more about it. They have the engineering talent available to figure out what's best.

Last observation: I'm happy I only have a 50 ton prairie to move in February.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:37 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:30 pm
Posts: 209
One thing that puzzles me about the argument against an operating Big Boy is that if the one at Steamtown could have been moved dead in tow first to Bellows Falls, VT, and then to Scranton, PA, over track not designed for the operation of that type, what is the problem with operating one under steam over track not designed with them in mind? Did the fact that Steamtown's Big Boy not carrying any coal or water have something to do with weight issues that would have made operation impossible had it been fully loaded with fuel and water?

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