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Published: December 7, 2012
No. 4014 climbing Wyoming's Sherman Hill on June 25, 1949.
Photo by R.H. KindigPOMONA, Calif. – Union Pacific may be bringing back the ultimate steam machine, an Alco-built 4-8-8-4 Big Boy, the last of which steamed more than 50 years ago.
Company spokesman Mark Davis told Trains News Wire Friday that the company has been approached by and is working with a third party interested in restoring and operating a Big Boy. He said the railroad is evaluating the condition of preserved UP Big Boy locomotives and that it believes two might be available for restoration. Davis declined to name the other party or give a timeline for the project. But at least one organization is already talking about its potential to put a Big Boy back on the main line.
The treasurer of the Southern California railroad club that owns a displayed Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 says his group hopes to learn more Saturday about a UP offer to acquire No. 4014 for restoration and operation.
In an exclusive interview with Trains News Wire, John Mastrobuoni from Prescott, Ariz., said the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society is eager to find out if the railroad can meet its requirement that a replacement piece take the place of the Big Boy at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona. The engine is one of eight survivors of the 25 locomotives that Alco built beginning in 1941 for freight service between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ogden, Utah until the last steamed in 1959.