Donated by Union Pacific Railroad in December 1961, locomotive number 4014 is the most famous locomotive in RailGiants Train Museum’s impressive display of locomotives. Number 4014 is a Big Boy class steam locomotive having a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement. It is the heaviest single expansion steam locomotive ever built, weighing about 1,200,000 pounds. Number 4014 is hinged (or articulated) because of its great length. Its forward pony trucks and drive wheels swivel independently of the boiler and rear drivers when rounding curves. The Big Boy class was designed for heavy freight trains and was used between Ogden, Utah and Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was retired in 1959 after only 18 years of service. Number 4014 arrived at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in January 1962.
In the summer of 2013, Union Pacific reacquired Big Boy number 4014 and plans to restore it for operation as part of its Heritage Locomotive fleet. Relocation of No. 4014 to Cheyenne, Wyoming is expected during the fall of 2013. For many years numerous people have asked, “will a Big Boy ever run again?” For the first time since the days of steam, the very real possibility exists that a Union Pacific Big Boy will thunder over the rails again, and for the first time in over 50 years.
Though only 25 Big Boys were built, eight still exist today. The other Big Boys are located at these locations:
Bar none, Alco’s Union Pacific Big Boy articulated engines were, in their time, the true kings of the rails, and most rail fans to this day, still believe it is. In total, 25 Big Boys were built in two groups of twenty and five locomotives respectively. All were coal burning, with large grates to burn low quality Wyoming coal from mines owned by the railroad. One locomotive, number 4005, a conversion to fuel oil was attempted as an experiment, but was not completed. This attempt was motivated by a threatened coal workers labor strike. When this threat disappeared, the conversion efforts were no longer needed.
The Big Boys rendered important service in the Second World War, especially since they proved so easy to fire that even a novice could do a fair job. Since many men were unsuited for combat service or otherwise exempted from military service, they were hired by the railroads to replace crewmen who had gone to war. This proved advantageous for the military and the railroads. During the war, German agents filed reports that the Americans had giant steam engines that were moving huge trains full of vital war material over steep mountain grades at high speed. These reports were dismissed as impossible. Their performance in moving a huge volume of war material throughout WWII was repeatedly cited and the Big Boys are generally acclaimed as having made a huge contribution to the war effort.
Postwar increases in the price of both coal and labor and the efficiency of diesel-electric and gas-turbine motive power foretold a limited life for the Big Boys, but they were among the last steam locomotives taken out of service. The last revenue train hauled by a Big Boy was on the evening of July 21, 1959. Most were stored operational until 1961, and four remained in operational condition at Green River, Wyoming until 1962. Their duties were gradually taken over by diesels and turbines.
Click on the PDF icon to open your copy of our Union Pacific #4014 Brochure.Union Pacific #4014 Brochure