Big Boy brings big boost to local businesses along Union Pacific main line

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No. 4014 lays over at Evanston, Wyo., eastbound on May 12. The city brought in extra resources to handles the expected crowds.
Michael D. Harding
ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. – The thousands of people that have been following Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 across Utah and Wyoming this month are a welcome sight for hotel and restaurant owners along the Overland Route.

Business owners and local economic development officials say hotels have been booked solid and restaurants have been packed wherever the big 4-8-8-4 makes an overnight stop.

“We’ve seen people from all over the country and restaurants are packed” says Chad Banks, manager of the Urban Renewal Agency in Rock Springs, where Big Boy and 4-8-4 No. 844 stayed for part of the week. “This has given us a great opportunity to show off our town.”

Banks says all the local hotels have filled their rooms, something that normally only happens in Rock Springs in the summer during the annual National High School Finals Rodeo competition.

In order to prepare for Big Boy’s visits, including a two-day stay in Rock Springs this week, the city put out extra trash cans and portable toilets in the downtown area near where the locomotive is on display.

Further west, Micki Cox of City of Evanston Facilities Department, tells the local newspaper that the town of 11,000 people grew by nearly 4,000 during Big Boy’s overnight stop there on Sunday. Downtown restaurants were also packed full on Sunday feeding hungry train chasers that followed the special from Ogden that morning. The manager of Suds Brothers Brewery tells the newspaper that it served more than 400 people Sunday afternoon.

Big Boy No. 4014 and 4-8-4 No. 844 will continue east to Rawlins on Thursday and Laramie on Friday. The train will stay in Laramie on Saturday before continuing to Cheyenne on Sunday, wrapping up a two-week long tour to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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