'Big Boy' Returns To Steam!

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Deepgreen, 15 May 2019.

  1. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    I have seen nothing in the railway press about the fact that Union Pacific 'Big Boy' class 4-8-8-4 no. 4014 has returned to fully-restored main line use. It made a run over the famous Wasatch pass on 8 May (photo (not mine) here: https://flic.kr/p/25ikBgt - there are more on Flickr).

    I can't understand the lack of coverage of this major steam project's completion.
     
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  3. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Well it is covered by the US press of course. I have a subscription to the US magazine Trains and have seen all the details there since the restoration started in 2014.

    In general, American and European/Asian/African train networks tend to largely ignore each other. They are really separate worlds. The European magazines that I read almost never mention anything American, and it is the same the other way around.
     
  4. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Now, if you're interested, there are plenty of videos on Youtube worth watching.
     
  5. longhorn

    longhorn Member

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  6. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    I mentioned it because there was significant coverage in the UK when the project was announced, but it died away. I look forward to seeing the videos.
     
  7. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    I've seen a few videos now and 4014 looks amazing. There has been talk of UP using her on revenue-earning freights. I don't know the relative costs to run her vice, say, two or three diesels (coal v diesel, crew costs, preparation facilities, etc.) but I imagine 4014 would not be cheap to operate! However, publicity would obviously be huge. My question would be; does this publicity actually garner any significant extra revenue in the longer-term? UP has a large network, but freight customers only have them to choose on their particular network. I remember 3985 being used on at least one revenue-earning freight in preservation - there's a video here:https://binged.it/2YAIeWN. To see 4014 doing something similar would be very special.
     
  8. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    4014 can't go everywhere because of missing turning facilities of the appropriate size. Remember they were built for a very specific line, and even there the turntables could barely accomodate them.

    Also, UP never lets steam engines go alone on the main line, they always have a diesel engine in the consist, usually right after the tenders. That would make revenue runs quite expensive. And I'm not sure that UP steam locos are equipped with all the security devices (PTC, etc) that you would expect on tevenue trains.
     
  9. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Apparently 4014 is now an oil burner.
    That at least should reduce operating costs and complexity.
    (Although there's plenty of hard coal in Wyoming and Utah, the staple rail traffic in the area!).
     
  10. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    It was converted to oil, I think in order to avoid starting fires along the line (bushes, etc). As a consequence, the tender she's hauling is not her one but has been borrowed from another loco.
     
  11. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    I was thinking something along the lines of this: . Things may have changed even since this, of course.
     
  12. 181

    181 Member

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  13. gysev

    gysev Member

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    I went to Utah with a friend to see 4014 in action. However, the day it arrived (8 may) the weather was horrible with plenty of rain. The next day, after the official ceremony, 4014 and 844 were displayed at Ogden Union Station. There were a lot of railfans from around the world - we spoke with people from the UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. However, I think we are the only Belgians alive who can claim to have seen a BigBoy in action !
     

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