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June 15, 2021 / Updated July 25, 2023
Union Pacific announced Monday that Big Boy No. 4014, which stole America’s heart in 2019 with its gallant return, is thundering back for an encore.The venerable steam locomotive will depart Cheyenne, WY, Aug. 5 and travel through Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.
This is the first tour since the locomotive was restored for 2019’s “Great Race” that celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion. The multi-year restoration took place at Union Pacific’s steam shop in Cheyenne following a retirement that spanned six decades.
“This summer, we are proud to announce that the Big Boy will be back to tour through 10 of the states and hundreds of the communities which Union Pacific serves,” UP Senior Vice President Scott Moore said.
No. 4014 will be on display in Fort Worth (Aug. 14), Houston (Aug. 17), New Orleans (Aug. 21), St. Louis (Aug. 29) and Denver (Sept. 6).
“We’re still working out the details of overnight and whistle-stops along the way,” UP said.
Following the Denver stop on Labor Day weekend, the Big Boy and its crew will return to Cheyenne.
The “Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car,” a multi-media walk-through exhibition providing a glimpse at the past while telling the story of modern-day railroading, will accompany the Big Boy on its tour. A steam tracking map showing No. 4014’s location and route will be available at upsteam.com .
UP’s historic steam locomotives – the Big Boy and Living Legend No. 844 – rolled through West, Midwest and Southwest on a 12-state tour in 2019 after a ceremony celebrating Transcontinental Railroad’s 150th anniversary. The two met like Jupiter and No. 119 did at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869, when the UP and Central Pacific Railroad connected. The ceremony was about 50 miles from Promontory Summit.
During the tour, the Big Boy was on display in eight cities in California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.
This year’s route is a tighter loop that runs only as far west as Denver. The first leg of the tour will run from Cheyenne to Kansas City, and down to Fort Worth, Houston and New Orleans. From the Big Easy, the Big Boy will run to Shreveport, North Little Rock and St. Louis before heading to Kansas City. The route will go west to Denver and north to Cheyenne.
While no schedule was formally announced, plans were in the works for a fall 2020 run until the covid-19 outbreak.
Ed Dickens, Jr., who heads UP’s heritage program, said at the Rocky Mountain Train Show in Denver last March that he had just completed a 3,500-mile drive over three weeks to inspect the route.
Internet chatter suggested the Big Boy would tour the Pacific Northwest.
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for UP, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden. Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy. The other seven can be found on display in Cheyenne; Denver; Frisco, TX; Green Bay; Omaha, NE; Scranton, PA; and St. Louis.
UP strongly encourages visitors to keep safety top of mind while viewing and photographing No. 4014 on its journey.