Thursday, April 17, 2014


From the Salt Lake Tribune: In its prime, a massive steam locomotive known as Big Boy No. 4014 was a moving eruption of smoke and vapor, a 6,300-horsepower brute dragging heavy freight trains over the mountains of Wyoming and Utah.
It’s been silent for half a century, pushed aside by more efficient diesels, but now it’s coming back to life. The Union Pacific Railroad is embarking on a yearslong restoration project that will put No. 4014 back to work pulling special excursion trains.
"It’s sort of like going and finding the Titanic or something that’s just very elusive, nothing that we ever thought would happen," said Jim Wrinn, editor of Trains, a magazine that covers the railroad industry.
 "Something that’s so large and powerful and magnificent, we didn’t think any of them would ever come back," he said.
 The American Locomotive Co. in Schenectady, N.Y., built 25 of the monsters to Union Pacific’s specifications between 1941 and 1944, and they became legendary. They were the largest steam locomotives ever to work the rugged terrain of the American West, and by most standards the largest anywhere in the world, said Gordon McCulloh, a meticulous historian of Union Pacific steam power.
 Even the name is legendary. An unknown worker scrawled "Big Boy" on the front of one of the engines when it was under construction....
Big Boys are 132 feet long, including the tender, which carried coal and water. They weigh 1.2 million pounds with a full load of fuel. They are essentially two engines under one boiler, with two sets of eight drive wheels, each set powered by two enormous cylinders nearly 2 feet across.
 Big Boys are so big that the front set of drive wheels has to pivot separately from the back set to get around curves.
It's cool that the Union Pacific is going to restore the train and run it for special occasions.
But look for the Obama administration, Harry Reid and the EPA to make sure this project doesn't see the light of day because of all the pollution it will cause because the train is coal powered.

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