Railway Preservation News

U.P. Big Boy selection?
Page 1 of 3

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:47 am ]
Post subject:  U.P. Big Boy selection?

I think "Interchange" is an appropriate place for this question.
Does anyone have reliable knowledge of why 4014 was selected, considering the expense to relocate it, over other survivors? I particularly wonder why 4004 wasn't taken from the park in Cheyenne for the rebuild. Some thoughts:

4004 was flooded several times in the past; Cheyenne just paid to have it repainted and "made pretty".
4005 is a focal point of Forney Museum, although readily accessible.
4006 is a focal point of St. Louis Museum, although readily accessible.
4012 is in the poorest shape of all, and a focal point of Steamtown.
4017 is away up in Green Bay, and ensconced indoors, not as accessible.
4018 was being moved anyway, and has a very good boiler from all reports.
4023 would have been an excellent candidate, but is perched in a ridiculous location.

4014 has been greased, painted, asbestos abated, but stuffed in the back of the Pomona Fairgrounds, where she is a significant exhibit.

Can anyone speak with knowledge regarding these other locomotives? Were other owners approached?

Author:  GN2882 [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

Excellent question. Hope that maybe a systematic evaluation of how each loco has fared in it's corresponding environment might be of use in future preservation efforts since the locomotives themselves are almost a "control".

Author:  tomgears [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I think you've answered your own question. Moving it from Southern California should not be a big deal, the UP has a lot of experience moving stuff.

Author:  p51 [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I think many people are forgetting what should be an obvious factor:
Some museums wouldn't want to give their UP 4000 back to the UP for any length of time.

Author:  Stephen Hussar [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I too think you answered your own question perfectly. But no matter which one they chose there are plenty of spare parts out there!


Author:  David Johnston [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I believe the Union Pacific has the historical maintenance records on all the locomotives in question. They could have made a preliminary selection without even looking at the candidates. The dry weather in Southern California made that one particularly attractive.

Author:  solar1953 [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

Spare parts aplenty alright, but not the 4018's piston rods. They were severed back in the 1960's when the engine was brought to Texas.

Author:  EDM [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I'm sure new piston rods could be made up without too much trouble. Its just a matter of getting the right grade of steel...

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I have been advised that severed piston rods, on Big Boy's or 2-10-2's are not an issue.
Thank you to everyone who has offered their own view on the topic.

Author:  train guy [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

The December 2012 Trains article says two Big Boys were considered for restoration. Not sure if that means there were only two that UP considered restorable, or if there were only two that the owners would consider returning to UP. My guess - #1, 4014; #2, 4023.

Author:  Rick Rowlands [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I would think that because of the service that the piston rods are in and the damage that would result from a failure, new rods made of the correct steel would be preferable to the originals. High quality forgings can be had that would be of much higher quality and strength than the original rods.

Author:  CanPac2317 [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I wonder if the climate the locomotive has spent its preserved life in factored into it? SoCal, for example, seems much more inviting climate-wise, than say, Scranton, for preserving a hunk of metal outside.

Author:  Ron Goldfeder [ Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

I wouldn't be so sure that UP has any maintenance records on the Big Boys it donated years ago. When I was working at the Museum of Transportation near St. Louis, home of Big Boy #4006, I was working on a masters degree in Museum Studies. One of the papers I wrote was about record keeping on museum artifacts. I contacted a number of museums about their practices and also Steve Lee at UP. His reply was that all his crew got from the railroad for 4-8-4 #844 was about a shoebox size file that only included the dates and class of repairs over they years and the cost of these. There were no details at all about what was done beyond what the class level would suggest. Since that was for a locomotive still in the active fleet I would expect nothing would still exist on those it donated 50 or so years ago.

Author:  ctjacks [ Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

This entire process has been surrounded more by rumor than fact. Original rumors were that a wealthy individual was going to foot the bill for this restoration, and that this wealthy individual had some affinity for the Pomona Big Boy. I have never heard any confirmation of this rumor. Another rumor was that UP inspected all the remaining Big Boys before selecting the one in Pomona, but this was quickly put to rest by the other museums owning one. The mystery to me is why they wouldn't have selected the one in Cheyenne - it is already in the city, and I think the people of Cheyenne would be thrilled to see it operate. Yes, it may have taken somewhat more work to get done, but at this point, any Big Boy is going to need a complete tear-apart and multi-million dollar restoration.


Author:  train guy [ Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: U.P. Big Boy selection?

It's my understanding that 4004 in Cheyenne has been under water at least to the tops of it's drivers on several occasions, and has been used as a parts source for Challenger 3985.

I think 4023 was the last big Boy that was overhauled, and spent close to 20 years stored inside the Cheyenne roundhouse with 3985. I would think she would be in excellent condition for restoration.

Just my thoughts, we'll just have to wait and see, it's very exciting, though! Has anybody heard anything about a replacement display locomotive for Pomona?

Page 1 of 3 All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group