Where can you see a Union Pacific Railroad Big Boy locomotive in Wyoming?
You can see Big Boy No. 4004 in Holliday Park in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The locomotive sits outside surrounded by a chainlink fence.
In the late 1930s, the Union Pacific Railroad often had to use two steam locomotives (the second one was called a "helper") to move heavy freight trains from Ogden, Utah to Green River, Wyoming. Rugged terrain makes this one of the most difficult runs in the world for trains. The railroad asked its Department of Research and Mechanical Standards to design a locomotive that could pull a 3500-ton train unassisted over the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.
The resulting 4000-class locomotive, the Big Boy, is considered by many to be the largest, most successful articulated steam locomotive ever built. "Articulated" refers to the flexibility of the locomotive which is crucial to successfully handling curves on the track. The Big Boys were built in two groups by the American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, New York. "Class 1" included Numbers 4000 through 4019 (later designated 4-8-8-4-1). These were delivered beginning in September, 1941. "Class 2" included Numbers 4020 through 4024 (later designated 4-8-8-4-2). These were delivered in 1944. The "4-8-8-4" refers to the wheel arrangement. The engine was designed to generate 7,000 horsepower and to operate at a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour. This tremendous power allowed one of these locomotives to haul, unassisted, a mile of loaded freight at a speed of a mile a minute, on level track. In short, one Big Boy could do the work of two locomotives.
Just how big was a Big Boy? Each locomotive and tender (the vehicle attached behind the locomotive which carried fuel and water) weighed 1,200,000 pounds (600 tons). Each locomotive and tender had a total length of 133 feet. In fact, Big Boys were so big that the railroad had to build new equipment to handle them, realign some curves for adequate clearance on adjacent tracks, and make other adjustments. It is said that the nickname, "Big Boy," came from a mechanic at the American Locomotive Company. He had scrawled the words in chalk on the locomotive before it received its final painting, and soon, the railroad was using this name to publicize its newest locomotive. The Big Boys served the Union Pacific Railroad well until they were retired in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
On our little junket, we wandered by the locomotive, but not being too interested in getting educated on that weekend, just opined that it was a big train. ooh, ahh.
Pegita, how does the most eloquent defender of Terri Schiavo know so much about locomotives? You impress and amaze me with your knowledge of railroads.