Boy No. 4014, is one of the Union Pacific Railroad's 4000-class articulated,
coal-fired, steam locomotives that were manufactured by the American
Locomotive Company (Alco) in Schenectady, New York between 1941 and
to Ed Dickens Jr., Union Pacific's senior manager of heritage operations,
the legendary name was coined by an unknown worker who scrawled "Big
Boy" in chalk on the front of one of the engines as it was being
built and it became the nickname for that class of steam engines.
Big Boy Locomotives were designed to eliminate the need for doubleheading
and helper operations previously employed by Challenger locomotives
to handle steep grades. To justify the design and manufacturing of such
a locomotive, it would have to be faster and more powerful than slower
locomotives like earlier compound 2-8-8-0s that UP tried after World
War I. The new class would need to pull long trains at a sustained speed
of 60 miles per hour once past mountain grades.
by mechanic Otto Jabelmann, the Union Pacific Railroad's design team
worked with the American Locomotive Company to determine how to achieve
their goals for a more powerful locomotive. They succeeded by making
several changes to the Challenger design, which included enlarging the
firebox, lengthening the boiler, adding four driving wheels, and reducing
the size of the driving wheels from 69 to 68 in.
The Big Boy fleet
totaled twenty-five locomotives. They were 132 feet long and weighed
1.2 million pounds. Because the frames were so long, they were articulated
(hinged), to allow them to negotiate curves. Without the tender, they
had the longest engine body of any reciprocating steam locomotive. The
engines were primarily used in UP's Wyoming Division to haul freight
over the Wasatch range between Green River, Wyoming and Ogden, Utah.
Big Boy locomotives were the only locomotives to use a 4-8-8-4 wheel
arrangement, consisting of a four-wheel leading truck for stability
when going around curves, two sets of eight driving wheels and a four-wheel
trailing truck to support the large firebox.
Big Boy locomotives had large grates to burn the low-quality bituminous
coal that was sourced from Union Pacific's own mines in Wyoming. As
an experiment, Locomotive 4005 was converted to burn oil, but unlike
a similar effort with the Challengers, the conversion was unsuccessful,
and the engine was changed back to burn coal.
with a wide margin of reliability and safety, the Big Boys could operate
smoothly at 80 miles per hour, but they were not intended to be run
that fast and normally operated below 60 miles per hour for freight
service. Their peak horsepower reached at about 35 mph with an optimal
tractive effort at about 10 mph.
increases of the prices of both coal and labor, compared with the cost-efficiency
of diesel-electric motive power resulted in the eventual retirement
for the Big Boys. However, they were among the last steam locomotives
taken out of service. Toward the end of their career, the Big Boys could
still pull more than their rated tonnage of 3,600 tons. Their ratings
had been increased several times until they regularly able to pull 4,450
short tons over the Wasatch range.
last Big Boy run was made on July 21, 1959. Most of the Big Boys were
stored in operational condition until 1961. Four engines remained in
operational condition at Green River, Wyoming until 1962, when their
duties were assumed by diesel locomotives and gas turbine-electric locomotives.
Of the 25 Big Boy locomotives manufactured, eight remain. Seven of the
eight surviving Big Boys are on static display in railroad museums throughout
the United States.
late 2012, Union Pacific announced that it was interested in acquiring
a Big Boy to be restored, then put on a national tour. On July 23, 2013
Union Pacific announced that it had acquired engine number 4014 from
The Southern California Chapter of The Railway and Locomotive Historical
Society in Pomona, California.
Union Pacific then began inspecting and preparing to move the locomotive
from Pomona to its Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In November 2013,
Union Pacific Heritage Fleet Operations director Ed Dickens reported
that UP4014 was prepared for the move and that track laying was in progress.
On the morning of January 26, 2014, the Big Boy was pulled out of the
Los Angeles County Fairplex by a 4,300 horsepower Union Pacific diesel
locomotive. The Fairplex property had been the Big Boy's home for 52
years, where it was displayed on a track managed by the Historical Society.
engine was moved to Union Pacific's West Colton yard in Colton, California.
It left there on April 28, 2014, on its journey to Union Pacific's Heritage
Fleet Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it arrived on May 8, 2014.
the direction Operations director, Ed Dickens, a UP team has started
renovation to restore the 4014 to operating condition. Big Boy No. 4014
had traveled 1,031,205 miles during its 20 years in service. As part
of the restoration process, Union Pacific will convert the engine's
fuel source from coal to oil. Renovation is expected to take three to
five years, after which Big Boy 4014 will go on a national tour.
by Mel Fenson from information obtained from the web.