The #4014 was part of what was known as "Class 1," the first group of 4-8-8-4s delivered by Alco (her builder plate proudly displays the builder and the year in which she was delivered; September, 1941). In all these totaled twenty of the Big Boys, 4000-4019 (4020-4024 were listed as "Class 2"). During #4014's years of service it regularly muscled heavy freights over fabled Sherman Hill in Wyoming and through Utah, logging 1,031,205 miles in the process. According to Union Pacific the locomotive saw its last major overhaul in 1956 and then traveled around 41,000 miles before being retired during December of 1961. By that time most of the Big Boys had been retired although the last did not occur until July of 1962 and even then a few remained serviceable at Green River,
Wyoming until September.
Only a month after retirement #4014 was donated to the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive
Historical Society where she arrived on January 8, 1962 in Pomona at the Rail Giants Train Museum. Naturally, the big articulated steamer became a prized attraction at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. Over the years it was well cared for by volunteers and museum staff, allowing the locomotive to remain in relatively excellent condition (considering its age), which was also thanks to the dry, warm air of southern California. According to the website SteamLocomotive.com, even into the 2000s #4014 still looked like it could steam away from its display location (which was surely a deciding factor in Union Pacific selecting it). It seemed the Big Boy was destined to forever remain a tourist trap until the end of 2012.
On December 7th Trains Magazine broke a story that Union Pacific was studying the possibility of restoring the locomotive as part of its Heritage Fleet based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. During the next seven months nothing of further significance was released concerning the project although reports about its potential continued from time to time. Finally, the unbelievable occurred on July 23, 2013 when Union Pacific officially confirmed that it had reached an agreement with the Chapter to purchase #4014 and restore the massive steamer back to operational status. This news not only caught the attention of the railfan community but also the mainstream media as well. During early 2014 the Big Boy moved from its long-time home at the fairgrounds and returned home to Wyoming, which drew coverage wide and far during its long trip, particularly the initial move from California.
Union Pacific #4014
||Maximum Tractive Effort
||Wheel Base (Engine & Tender)
|Alco||69585||9/1941||135,375 Pounds||117 1/2 Feet|
There is currently no timetable as to when #4014 is projected to be fully restored and ready for service although the consensus seems to be that it will still take several years. However, it is entirely the discretion of Union Pacific as to when it wants the project completed and the railroad most likely already has a date or time frame in mind. Of note, one thing is known about the project; while the Big Boys were coal burners UP plans to convert #4014 to run on #5 oil. In the meantime, while we wait on the restoration of this 4-8-8-4 we will have to enjoy the other heritage locomotives in UP's growing fleet from the queen, 4-8-4 #844, to DDA40X "Centennial" #6936.
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Union Pacific #4014