UP 4-8-4 to steam once in 2018

Steam crews to focus efforts on restoring Big Boy 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 to operation
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Union Pacific 4-8-4 Northern-type No. 844 pictured at LaSalle, Colo., in 2009.
Bruce A. Daugherty
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Union Pacific's flagship 4-8-4 steam locomotive, No. 844, will make only one trip at the head of the Denver-to-Cheyenne Frontier Days train in late July. That reduced schedule, the company said in a news release issued late Wednesday evening, will allow the
steam show crew to keep on schedule to have the Big Boy 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 fully operational in 2019.

"We're excited to see everybody out on that one trip," Ed Dickens, senior manager of the heritage program, says in the news release. "We sincerely appreciate everyone’s understanding for only having one trip this year. We want to make sure we can get the Big Boy ready."

Dickens says that the steam crew has disassembled No. 4014 down to its frame to permit repair and cleaning of the piping and other internal components that are inaccessible when the locomotive is assembled. Dickens says that the team will replace up to 90 percent of the 4014's air and steam piping now, while they have the chance to work on the locomotive disassembled. The team acquired new pipe-bending machinery for the work and will also paint the frame and all of the components with rust-resistant paint.

"Why mess around with a part that's got over a million miles on it, when we have the ability to machine a new component and fabricate it just as they did in the 1940s?" Dickens says. "This isn't just a quick fluff and buff, this is a massive ground-up restoration."

Union Pacific officials say the team is on track to finish No. 4014 by 2019, and that both the 4014 and the 844 will participate in the Golden Spike ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
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