Union Pacific’s historic “Big Boy” steam engine will roll through Columbus on two different occasions this summer.
The newly restored Big Boy No. 4014, which is the world’s largest steam locomotive, is returning to the rails for the “Great Race across the Midwest." That will begin at the Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming on July 8 before making its way along its route through Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The locomotive will be making two brief whistle stops in Columbus. It's scheduled to arrive at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 12, at 26th Avenue crossing and depart the same location about 11:15 a.m. to make its way to its next stop in Fremont. It will return to town at 11:45 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, at the 21st Avenue crossing and depart at 12:30 p.m. that same day.
The Big Boy will also be making two longer stops in Omaha throughout the trip including at Railroad Days on July 13-14.
The train will arrive in Omaha at approximately 5:45 p.m. on July 12 and will be featured on display during Railroad Days events from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 13, and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on June 14.
The “Great Race across the Midwest” is part of Union Pacific’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion, which also included a ceremony in Ogden, Utah commemorating the anniversary back in May.
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden.
Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy. It recently completed its inaugural tour to Ogden for Union Pacific’s 150th-anniversary ceremony.
The Big Boy and historic steam locomotive Living Legend No. 844 met nose-to-nose, recreating the iconic image taken May 10, 1869, when the last spike was tapped into place at Promontory Summit, creating America’s first transcontinental railroad.
“The transcontinental railroad forever changed our country, uniting the nation and igniting economic growth that is still evident today,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president of corporate relations and chief administrative officer at Union Pacific. “There’s no bigger way to honor this milestone than bringing the Big Boy back to life and giving people an opportunity to share this historic moment.”
Accompanying the Big Boy on its tour will be a new multi-media walk-through exhibition known as “The Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car”, which provides a glimpse at the past while telling the story of modern-day railroading.
A comprehensive route map and schedule, including Big Boy No. 4014’s GPS location tracking information is available at upsteam.com. Due to the dynamic nature of these operations, running times and scheduled stops are subject to change.
Union Pacific strongly encourages fans to keep safety top of mind while viewing and photographing No. 4014 on its journey. For everyone’s safety:
- Remember, trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
- A train’s distance and speed can be deceiving.
- The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet – take extra precaution and stand back at least 25 feet.
- Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and right of way are private property.
- Never assume tracks are abandoned or inactive – always expect a train.