UP Museum excursion set for July 15; will 4014 pull it?

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Will No. 4014, No. 844, or diesel power a July 15 excursion from Omaha, Neb., to Boone, Iowa?
Trains: Jim Wrinn
OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific will operate an excursion from its headquarters city of Omaha, Neb., to Boone, Iowa, traveling across the famous Kate Shelley Bridge on July 15, the UP Museum confirmed Monday. But whether it is a steam or diesel excursion or the second public excursion for newly restored Big Boy No. 4014 isn’t known just yet.

The Omaha-based Camerail railroad club newsletter says No. 4014 will pull the fundraiser excursion to benefit the UP Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The newsletter says the excursion will be one-way with a bus return. UP Museum Director Patricia LaBounty confirmed the trip but said power and details were not available. The route is former Chicago & North Western.

UP has said that No. 4014 would tour much of the system in 2019, but no schedule has been announced. Omaha Railroad Days is the weekend prior to the excursion, but that organization has only said that UP's Chicago & North Western heritage unit will be on the display.

A webpage for the excursion at the UP Museum site shows 4-8-4 No. 844 pulling a train. The original Kate Shelley bridge, just west of Boone, was one of the highest and tallest bridges when it was built in 1901. A doubletrack replacement was built in 2009 that is 2,800 feet long and 190 feet tall.

Coach tickets for a May 12 one-way fundraiser excursion with Nos. 4014 and 844, the first ever using a Big Boy, between Ogden, Utah, and Evanston, Wyo., are still available at the www.spike150.org website at $3,000 each; dome seats at $5,000 sold out in minutes. That trip benefits Spike 150, the umbrella organization for Utah’s observance of the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad, as well as the UP Museum.

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