Lmackattack

Union pacific 4-8-8-4 Big boy will return home,rebuild and put under steam

37 posts in this topic

It will be one hell of a restoration project!

As a kid, I saw one of the Big Boys at Steamtown USA in Bellows Falls, VT. It is now in Steamtown in Scranton. PA.

Enormous!

Jim

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Imagine 16 drivers, the front 8 articulating to take the curves, weighing in at 600 tons, with 50 tons of coal on board and 25000 gallons of water which gave them a range of 40 miles pulling a heavy load.

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Crap that's a big loco! I appreciate company's who embrace where they came from and preserve their history.

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Anyone interested can type in Union Pacific Big Boy on U Tube where there is a lot of footage. Very impressive to see two in tandem pulling a freight train of just flat cars with two tanks on each, headed west in the winter with yard workers shoveling sand under the drivers to get the traction to get moving. Imagine, 1200 tons of locomotive with 32 drivers which I believe were around 5 feet in diameter trying to get the traction to start moving. American Locomotive works built them, if I remember right in New York state.

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I also think they were 136 feet long. They still run one for show cross country that has the 4-3-3-4 arrangement, the predecessor to the 4-8-8-4's. It pulls a passenger train of Union Pacific yellow cars. The Big Boys ran for 20 years from around 1941 to 1961, with the last run of running in tandem with a diesel electric in front, the ultimate insult.

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I also think they were 136 feet long. They still run one for show cross country that has the 4-3-3-4 arrangement, the predecessor to the 4-8-8-4's. It pulls a passenger train of Union Pacific yellow cars. The Big Boys ran for 20 years from around 1941 to 1961, with the last run of running in tandem with a diesel electric in front, the ultimate insult.

Yep awesome locos, the drivers on the big boys are 68", dont remember the loco weight but loco and tender was 1,250,000, not light by any means, the key to the big boy was the then amazing 135,000lb tractive effort to get the train rolling. The 4-3-3-4 you speak of was the Challenger type 4-6-6-4, they were built for fast freight and occasional passenger service and did a heck of a job, they were light enough to be used all over the UP system where the Big Boys were not. The challengers fell just short of the 100,000lb tractive effort mark but had the speed to make them useful in fast freight service where the Big Boys were more suited to climbing mountains with lots of tonnage. If you look at the locos of today its amazing how far they have come, 1 ES44AH makes 4400 hp from a V12 versus the older AC4400 and its V16 and over 186,000lb of tractive effort, they have high adhesion software and steerable trucks along with the ability of the locomotive to sense a wheel slip and ease power to one axle independantly which is why GE took the lead in the high tractive effort locomotive race from EMD. I cvould talk trains and trucks all night but I have to go work on a draw bridge in the morning so Ill type at ya later BMT.

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Hi 84superdog, I understand, wasn't it Sherman Hill that killed them out to the west coast? Anyone within reasonable driving range of Scranton, PA should at least go see #4012 before it rusts into the ground.

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The other thing 84superdog, I can't remember what I saw, but did the 2nd and 3rd driver wheels on each of the 4 x 4 arrangement on the Big Boys have no flanges to help take the curves? I knew they did that on a lot of the big east coast engines for the sharp curves out this way. I do have on my to do list, is set up my model train collection, LOL. I have 36 engines, American Flyer 3/16 scale which I think is the most realistic models ever built with the 2 track layout, not 3 like Lionel. These were built by A.C. Gilbert of New Haven, CT.

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Thanks for the info. Steam power has always intrigued me...locos, tractors, and stationary.

I don't mean to hijack this thread but the Altoona Railroaders Museum is restoring a PRR loco K-45 #1361 that was manufactured at the Juniata (pronounted as june...iata) Shops. The loco used to sit at the Horseshoe Curve. Restoration is to be completed this year (been delayed many times). I can't wait to see and hear it in operation.

If anyone is in the Altoona area, plan to visit the museum and Horseshoe Curve.

http://www.railroadcity.com/

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Paul all the drivers are flanged, I have a ton of HO scale trains but I've almost lost interest since I work for the railroad.

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Nothing better then a "Big Boy". Very cool stuff. I can't image the money it is going to take to get just one back into service?

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Well its a great time for railroad history, UP is the oinly railroad to never retire steam, keeping 844 on the roster since its purchase, and being the only US railroad to take such an interest in its rich history. Norfolk Southern has taken a much greater interest in its heritage of late with the release of the 20 Heritage locomotives painted in the exact heritage road paint schemes, a few were actually painted twice to get them perfect. I wish CSX would take an interest in its history, I and many other employees have asked but we get the run around and the bottom line from the chief operating officer is "it doesnt make our investors any money". Now with the return of 4014 to UP they can get her back in steam for generations to see, it will be a several year project but it will get done with the UP (Steve Lee) team involved, add to that the 611 restoration looming on the horizon ( I sent in my donation did you) for use on NS lines in their 21 century steam program and it is easy to see railfans have a lot to be happy about. I remember riding an excursion on NS rails behind the 611 when I was a kid and just as soon as it is back in steam Ill do it again, oh and I may actually make the trip out west to see the 4014 on its inaugural run, word has it UP will be using all three Steam locos 844,3985,4014 for an upcoming anniversary celebration, that would be a sight to see all three at one place running on the Main line. If you look on YouTube there is a video of 3985 pulling a 143 car intermodal train all by its lonesome, yes UP will make them work for their keep if its on the way. I think there will be many more videos of Steam pulling big freight once the 4014 gets rebuilt to its former glory. Paul as far as a 5.5 mile freight, they might get it rolling on flat ground but any hill would kill it, if you watch CSX trains if they are running light we may have three locos but only one will be online unless its in the mountains, they run most Coal trains here with three locos, and the light move back has only the lead loco running, loaded all three are needed. With 110 coal cars and three locos your around 6500' of train I think, not even a mile and a half, our longest intermodals come in around 9,000-10,000' and require three 4400hp AC locos to maintain track speed and intermodal is a light duty for railroads comparatively they dont weigh squat. 1 intermodal well car and two loaded containers weighs around 140,000- 160,000#, one loaded rapid discharge coal car weighs 286,000#, its crazy the tonnage ionvolved if you add it up, just figure three GE ES44AH locos at 532,000 ea, then 150 coal cars at 286,000 ea. it gets ridicarus.

Their history is at the Port of Tampa right now

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Hi 84superdog, I can understand lost interest, people wonder why I don't make "stuff" in my spare time in my machine shop. Didn't those Big Boys cost around 250K when they were built? Paul

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This is going to be one hell of a taking. I do plan on taking a steam train ride in the future

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a dream come true for all us steam buffs

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They had one on display at a park in Cheyenne Wyoming , got picks of it somewhere .

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We have a group in Cleveland that is restoring a steam engine that used to run on the Cuyahoga valley line excursion. Midwest railway preservation society? They have a website and I have been to their round house. They are in cahoots with CSX.

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