Big Boy on May 4: The railfan chase day of a lifetime

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RAWLINS, Wyo. – Looking back a few days, Saturday, May 4, was a crazy railfan chase day in the annals of railfandom.

When a Trains video team left Laramie, Wyo., midday, they were supposed to leap frog the majority of railfans chasing Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 and head directly to Walcott, Wyo. Instead, they had to drop off a team member who scored a cab ride in Union Pacific 4-8-4 No. 844, which is coupled directly behind Big Boy.

That drop-off involved a detour to Walcott over U.S. Route 30, which ended up being clogged by traffic much of the way – more than 30 miles.

The team arrived in Medicine Bow, Wyo., minutes after Big Boy, and just in time to hop on.

The planned shot in Walcott, however, got skunked by a double-stack intermodal train and a Big Boy with so little smoke, it was hard to detect at a distance.

With a planned shot blown, the only thing left to do was follow Big Boy to the end of its journey May 4 to Rawlins.

For more on the Golden Spike celebration, pick up our special issue Journey to Promontory and its companion DVDs, available now. Coming in June: Big Boy - Back In Steam special issue and companion DVD.
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