Big Boy christened, begins trip to Golden Spike celebration

Day two of trip to Ogden set to see 4-8-8-4 and 4-8-4 No. 844 make 130-mile trip to Rock Springs
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UP Chairman Lance Fritz and his wife Nancy christen Big Boy No. 4014 while Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, right, applaud.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
No. 4014 and No. 844 roll through Dale Junction, Wyo., on Saturday, while a stack train waits.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
RAWLINS, Wyo. – Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 made a soft return to the main line Saturday, returning to legendary Sherman Hill in the company of 4-8-4 No. 844, a diesel, and a short VIP train heading west. The locomotive, which was completed days ago and only had some 70 miles of break-in mileage earned Thursday evening, added about 170 more miles after leaving its home base in Cheyenne, Wyo., for Rawlins, Wyo., where it overnighted.

Thousands of onlookers from across the country and around the world crowded roads and populated every vacant spot along the UP main line following a christening ceremony headlined by UP Chairman and CEO Lance Fritz, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, and Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr. Fritz’s wife, Nancy, smashed a bottle of champagne on the pilot of the locomotive before a crowd of several hundred who paid to see the event at the Cheyenne depot. They wanted to see a Big Boy in steam, which hasn’t happened since July 1959.

No. 4014 appeared to do little work Saturday, which is not unusual given that it was freshly shopped. The diesel in the consist was heard in a high throttle notch as the train moved up Sherman Hill through Dale Junction. The train left Cheyenne on time but the trip soon dragged, arriving in Rawlins almost 3 hours late.

The doubleheader is bound for Rock Springs on Sunday, a journey of about 130 miles. It is on the way to Ogden, Utah, as part of celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike.
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