Big Boy 4014 Rides Again

Published: May. 8, 2018 at 12:18 AM CDT
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History is being made at the Union Pacific in Cheyenne. Big Boy 4014, the world's largest steam engine, is being restored to operating condition.

Ed Dickens, Assistant Manager, UP Steam Shop, says, “It’s just ionic… Big, massive, unique sound.”

Big Boy 4014 was built during WWII. It was made to move the commerce of war, and the commerce of peace.

The Big Boys were eventually replaced with more, efficient diesel-electric engines, but their memories never faded. It's been 60 years since Big Boy 4014 last operated. That is about to change.

Dickens explains, “The world understood that it would never happen again... But when you announce that you’re going to rebuilt one, you’ve got a tremendous amount of excitement.”

This Big Boy will once-again cruise the transcontinental railways. It will leave Cheyenne, passing by our historic Depot Plaza, and will participate in the 150-year Golden Spike celebration in Utah.

Dickens says, “From the time we started talking about restoring a Big Boy, this is the same crew, all nine of us, that went out, and we actually brought this locomotive from California.”

The restoration began a year-and-a-half ago, and it has been nonstop ever since. Except for outsourcing the largest parts, all the work in this mammoth project is being done right here in Cheyenne.

The crew won't stop until the Big Boy is fully restored, even if that means nine or ten-hour days, six-to-seven days a week. To them, every minute is worth it.