The Resurrection.... Of a Steam Locomotive

edited April 23 in Heaven
Steam Locomotive restorations are far rarer on the left side of The Pond. Which is why this one is so special. Of all the Class I mainlines in North America, Union Pacific is by far the most steam-positive. Rarer still then, that a locomotive is being restored by her original owner and returned to (excursion) service. And it's a Union Pacific 4000-Class Big Boy.

With fire in her boiler.

https://youtu.be/fBwKkMw7T8A

On May 4th she will roll out of the Cheyenne Steam Shops under her own power for UPs 150th Anniversary on a run to Ogden.

It to be hoped that UP will put her on a revenue freight run, as they are known to do.

[Edited the title - jedijudy]
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Comments

  • Only $3000 for a seat on the inaugural special ($5000 in the dome car). But what a locomotive! (The FEF and Challenger aren't bad either!)
  • It's a historic event.
  • The historic last steam run on British Rail in 1968 cost 15 guineas - and we thought it outrageously expensive!
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    It sounds wonderful. (But would it be out of line to request that a Host repair the spelling of "Resurrection" in the subject line? Things like that make me twitch...)

  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host
    I was already twitching too, Rossweisse!

    jj-HH
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host
    Just to add, I'm certainly not a spelling bee expert!

    Back to the subject of the Union Pacific 4000-Class Big Boy!
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    A great loco.
  • The Challeger is currently in storage in Cheyenne awaiting overhaul, Big Boy took priority. 3985 us expected to return in 2021.
  • I actually prefer the Challenger, perhaps because it was more of a GP loco than one designed for a specific duty. And I definitely prefer the Norfolk & Western J class and the Southern Pacific GS-4 to the FEF. Mind you, I've never seen (nor are likely to see) any of them in RL!
  • My ideal is for UP to purchase SP 4449, they aren't totally in denial about the other constituents of the current UP (Southern Pacific, Denver & Rio Grande Western, Rock Iskand and Chicago & Northwestern), but they don't have any heritage steam from those lines. A restored SP Cab-Forward would be my dream.
  • Forgot the Missouri Pacific and the Frisco.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Big Boy is magnificent and has a tender larger than many British locomotives! I look forward to seeing her running and burning a colossal amount of coal again!
  • She's been converted to oil, as was Challenger in 1988. Coal cinders caused too many lineside fires. Steam locomotives used to burn off the brush but diesels don't.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    She's been converted to oil, as was Challenger in 1988. Coal cinders caused too many lineside fires. Steam locomotives used to burn off the brush but diesels don't.

    A shame, in its way, but for the best. Some of our preserved railways are taking care because of the risk of ground fires.
  • The WombatThe Wombat Shipmate
    Don't tell the Climate Change activists ! Coal Fired anything is not 'Kosher' at the moment.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 26
    These YUGE American engines, despite having all their insides slung about their outsides, are indeed impressive Beasts.

    The former Dobwalls Adventure Park in Cornwall had a wonderful 7.25inch gauge 'miniature' railway, complete with a Big Boy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobwalls_Adventure_Park

    (BTW, I have had first-hand experience of driving/firing steam engines - nothing larger than 2-foot gauge, though - and would LOVE to be at the controls of even a miniature version of a Challenger or Big Boy :grin: ).
  • The size and power of US steam engines compared to British steam engines beggars belief. My interest is narrow gauge (fave US loco is the 3' gauge Eureka 4-4-0) but even on the 3' gauge a small US loco like the K37 2-8-0 of the Denver & Rio Grande Western has almost as much tractive effort as the British Railways 9F 2-10-0, one of the largest locos to run in the UK!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 26
    Re climate issues, here's a rather out-of-date article about a very sophisticated, environmentally-friendly, oil-fired steam locomotive developed in Switzerland some years ago:
    https://advanced-steam.org/5at/modern-steam/modern-steam-miscellany/dlm-52-8055/

    The Finnish State Railways, until comparatively recent times, also had a stud of clean steam engines, fired by oil, or (O! the wonderful aroma!) by birch logs. I know, from having used birch logs on the stove in my Episcopal Ark, how long, and hot - with little smoke or ash - these burn.

    Birch trees, AIUI, are not exactly uncommon in Finland, and, therefore, presumably count as a sustainable, and renewable, energy source, though I don't doubt there may be emission issues IYSWIM.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Until about ten years ago a couple of Krupp-built Pacifics ran on the 15" gauge at Bressingham Garden Centre. They were absolutely beautiful and according to a couple of the drivers way too powerful for the job! One is now being restored (at what aappears to be the bargain cost of £36,000) and I will make a trip over to Norfolk if the job is complete while I am still around.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 26
    Sorry to triple-post (most unseemly), but here's a nice shot of a Finnish wood-burner:
    https://pohjoiseen.fi/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/IMG_4237-1016x762.jpg

    The Discerning Eye will note that this Finnish engine (though built as recently as 1947) is, with its lean and hungry look, rather reminiscent of much earlier (i.e. mid-19thC) American engines.

    Colin Smith is, of course, quite right about the size and power of US narrow-gauge engines!
  • sionisais wrote: »
    Until about ten years ago a couple of Krupp-built Pacifics ran on the 15" gauge at Bressingham Garden Centre. They were absolutely beautiful and according to a couple of the drivers way too powerful for the job! One is now being restored (at what aappears to be the bargain cost of £36,000) and I will make a trip over to Norfolk if the job is complete while I am still around.

    If you'd like to see a Krauss 15" gauge pacific working hard you might take a look at Whillan Beck on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Rly.
  • Well, some of these 15-inch gauge German Pacifics, as any fule kno, were inspired (if not actually designed) by Roland Martens, who was a talented contemporary and friend of the late, great, HENRY GREENLY (on whom be peace).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Greenly

    Greenly's enduring memorials are, of course, the superb locomotives of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited April 26
    sionisais wrote: »
    Until about ten years ago a couple of Krupp-built Pacifics ran on the 15" gauge at Bressingham Garden Centre. They were absolutely beautiful and according to a couple of the drivers way too powerful for the job!
    The third of them is the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch "Black Prince", still in service AFAIK. See: https://www.rhdr.org.uk/locomotives/black-prince/

  • Yes indeed - and much more suited to the long RHDR than the three-steps-out-and-back at Bressingham!

    They are, of course, very much the German equivalent of Greenly's engines (which were based on Nigel Gresley's designs for the London & North Eastern Railway), but still have a certain uncluttered 'British' look......

    We are rather getting off the subject of the OP, but full marks to the Union Pacific RR, over the Pond, for taking the trouble they take with STEAM (however produced). :grin:
  • Catching up after a week away... The Big Boy is a favourite of mine too, and I am a little smug about having seen three of them: the one that used to be in Dallas, the one at Steamtown when it was in Vermont, and the one still in Omaha. (And I have an unassembled HO plastic kit, free to a good home...). The designers at Alco always seemed to be able to create a visually attractive locomotive, even is, as BF said, they had all their guts outside (which makes them easier to restore and maintain).

    But all this leads to another obvious discussion, similar to the dog thread. Will there be steam locomotives in Heaven? The answer is quite clear to me; the theology less so.
  • Aren't they too heavy?
  • Aren't they too heavy?

    Is there gravity in Heaven?
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    Of course there are steam locomotives in Heaven, but only those that belong on God's Wonderful Railway.
  • Oh, you mean the London & North Western then? [Devil]
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    Of course there are steam trains in heaven: the Bible tells us that is how God travels. 'His train filled the temple . . . and the house was filled with smoke.' (Isaiah 6: vv 1, 4.)
  • :lol:

    Given the sheer pleasure, hard work, but satisfaction, that Steam Machinery (not just railway engines) has given us, yes, they will all be there in Heaven!

    But the various challenges will NOT be insurmountable!
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    Of course there are steam trains in heaven: the Bible tells us that is how God travels. 'His train filled the temple . . . and the house was filled with smoke.' (Isaiah 6: vv 1, 4.)
    Indeed. Presumably poor firing practice, or the wrong kind of coal.

  • No, no - just using the blower, temporarily, to get up a bit more steam....!
  • HarryotomHarryotom Shipmate
    Oh yeah! Train collectors, unite!
  • edited April 30
    The whistle was tested on April 27th. After 60 years off silence, there is Life. :smiley:
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    Heavenly coal not avalable in this world, obviously.
  • I see a flaw. Coal is a fossil fuel and fossils are an invention of the devil so... no coal in heaven :wink:
  • Only in that part of heaven reserved for Literal 6-Day Creationists - if there indeed be a space for them. No problem for the rest of us. [Devil]
  • I see a flaw. Coal is a fossil fuel and fossils are an invention of the devil so... no coal in heaven :wink:

    This problem may be solved with trump's famous 'clean coal', though I am not sure what it will be like. Perhaps, just as we can have white chocolate, there will be white coal? Lots of other problems for God to deal with, though. We'll need mineral - fossil - oils and greases for the valve gear and axleboxes. A locomotive smelling of olive oil wouldn't be quite right.
  • Except in Italy or Greece, perhaps? Or on the long-defunct Cyprus Govt. Railway: https://www.cyprusalive.com/en/railway-in-cyprus
  • Except in Italy or Greece, perhaps? Or on the long-defunct Cyprus Govt. Railway: https://www.cyprusalive.com/en/railway-in-cyprus

    One railway owner in the UK is looking into the possibility of converting its steam locos to burn seed oil. Admittedly the Statfold Railway (2' gauge) is unusual in being based on a farm that grows the stuff.
  • Wow!

  • Her voice was a little croaky at first, but this was a recent firing and the boiler was still full of saturated steam. Takes a little time to warm up.
  • Stercus TauriStercus Tauri Shipmate
    Ah.....
  • Just to put this all in context, here's a link to a video (one of many!) of UP Big Boys in action, hauling freight trains, as they were intended to do:
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=t_hj5HW6jTk

    As a Uklander, I nonetheless have to hand it you Usanians for begetting such Puissant Beasties!
  • BTW, note how in some shots, the Big Boy is working very hard, with clouds of black 'clag', yet still making steam (witness the white steam drifting from the safety valves).

    A sign, not only of the sheer power of the locomotive, but of the skill of the crew. That 'extra' steam will doubtless be used to top up the boiler, by means of the injectors.

    I am proud to say that I achieved something similar - albeit on a much smaller scale (2-foot gauge) - by managing to produce enough steam whilst going up a long incline, not only to get the heavy train to the top, but also to partially fill the boiler again by the time we got to the station.
    Yes!
    :grin:

    There is a certain photo in an Ian Allan book about the Welsh narrow-gauge, showing Myself leaning nonchalantly out of the cab of a certain not-much-used (but rather nice) little locomotive, having done this Mighty Deed.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited May 3
    BTW, note how in some shots, the Big Boy is working very hard, with clouds of black 'clag', yet still making steam (witness the white steam drifting from the safety valves).

    A sign, not only of the sheer power of the locomotive, but of the skill of the crew.
    I have to say that I wasn't happy with that clag. Is it a sign of poor coal, or is it a consequence of the mechanical stoker mashing up the fuel into tiny particles (and, if so, why aren't they getting burned?) If that's what Big Boy is going to do today, please let me know when it's coming so I can get my washing in.

  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited May 3
    I am proud to say that I achieved something similar - albeit on a much smaller scale (2-foot gauge) - by managing to produce enough steam whilst going up a long incline, not only to get the heavy train to the top, but also to partially fill the boiler again by the time we got to the station.
    Yes!
    :grin:

    There is a certain photo in an Ian Allan book about the Welsh narrow-gauge, showing Myself leaning nonchalantly out of the cab of a certain not-much-used (but rather nice) little locomotive, having done this Mighty Deed.
    And which loco would that be (PM me if you like)?

    I remember working on the Festiniog in 1969 - not on the railway itself but as a Deviationist (let those who know, understand). There was a severe motive power shortage as the only useable steam locomotives were "Mountaineer" and "Blanche" as "Earl of Merioneth" had failed and was in the Works. They tried using the diesel "Upnor Castle" but it either kept breaking down or (I think) spread the track - so they were down to using "Moelwyn" on service trains. One day I was at Dduallt when "Blanche" came in, very late, with a packed train of about 10 coaches. You could hear her coming for a very long time as she was going so slowly - but she made it (just!). I have no idea how good she was at raising steam, and of course in RL she'd been a loco which always hauled the heavy loads downhill.

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 3
    Re clag, yes, you may be right on both counts. American coal was not always of the best quality, off the Norfolk & Western RR, but no disrespect to our cousins across the Pond.

    Re Blanche on the Festiniog, AFAIK the Penrhyn sisters Blanche and Linda have always been Very Useful Engines on the FR, so maybe she was having a Bad Day, as even good Engines sometimes do.

    Re my exploits - no secret - 'twas on the Peckett 060ST Triassic, and the pic is on page 9 of Ian Allan's Welsh Narrow Gauge - a Colour Portfolio. The occasion was the Bala Lake Railway's gala w/e in August 1999 - ye gods, 20 years ago....

    We started off at the bottom of the bank with a hole in the fire (!), and I managed not only to mend the fire, but to get the lovely little gem of an Engine to make steam up the hill. Those who appreciate such things will know how much more comfortably a six-wheeler rides, in comparison with the equally lovely and puissant Hunslet 040STs usually employed on this delightful little railway! Once they get going, they tend to wag about a bit.

    I rather suspect that it's actually more enjoyable to work on it, than to ride on it.....

    We had some tremendous fun with Hunslet Una (usually based at the Llanberis Slate Quarry museum) earlier in the day, but that's another (very oily) story...suffice to say that she enjoyed stretching her wheels....
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