Jan 3, 2020
Sad, but not even Union Pacific can do everything. Still, a Big Boy and a Challenger doubleheaded make such an impressive mental picture, but one that can now only happen in our model world, at least for the foreseeable future. But maybe someday- after all, nobody ever thought there would be an operational Big Boy again.
Metal fatigue is not our friend, when the steel is holding in 300 psi.
I'm glad the UP didn't just park her and let her go to waste before it became absolutely necessary, and that I saw her steam by at 70 or so back in the day.
So we won't ever see a DH with #4014 and #3985...That makes me sad, I was dreaming of that. Does anyone know 3985's future fate ? Will she at least remain protected under a shed ?
I would hope she is well preserved. I cannot see any reason they would allow her to fall into neglect. But I suppose that could happen. Perhaps a day will come when they do restore her. I refuse to believe that is impossible.
Is it possible a horse trade with Pomona took place when they relinquished 4014?
They "borrowed" a good number of interchangeable parts off of her including her oil tender to get the 4014 up and going, so in a sense, she lives on. I was fortunate to have ridden behind her and chased her on many occasions.
I cannot recall any public details of that transaction. (Anyone remember?) I would find it difficult to believe UP would allow something so historic as 3985 to leave their possession.
One shouldn't hope this...
Pomona got a SD40 and caboose in exchange for 4014.
Is there a UP corporate collection where it will go into a proper museum?
There are at least a couple of older locomotives that are stored non-operational at the steam shops. One is a very old ten wheeler (video of the 844 and 3985 showed it being hauled on flatcars) and the other a five or six coupled monster (I don't remember which) that is very impressive. 3985 should be in good company and as safe as can be expected.
PSR strikes again.
As much as I dislike PSR and what it's doing to my favorite railroad routes, I doubt PSR is the main culprit here.
844 is the only steam locomotive UP never retired (Living Legend). That alone makes it special.
4014 was resurrected following a full rebuild. It is unquestionably the biggest steam locomotive in the world that operates today.
When you have the "Largest Operational Steam Locomotive in the World", and restore one that's heavier, bigger and more powerful, it loses that title. What then can 3985 claim for fame? First coal burner converted to oil? Nope, UP did that decades earlier with several articulateds on the UP roster.(https://utahrails.net/up-steam-roster/up05-1915-1962-15.php) Never retired? No, it was pulled from retirement in 1979 and returned to service in 1981 (https://utahrails.net/up/heritage-fleet-steam.php). It requires a big rebuild, just like 4014 just received. It's probably a money issue at some point, but at the heart of it, 3985 is no longer as special as it once was. Sure, a tripleheader with 844, 4014, 3985 would be fantastic, but relistically it doesn't make sense. What UP will do with 3885 I have no idea, but I am grateful for all the chases I made of it, and a cab ride I had with the late steam crewman, Lynn Nystrom.
Here's some of my fond memories of the engine.
Cresson Jct, WY:
The Cheyenne turntable:
A 2003 steam excursion (my first, and with a 2MP digital camera), Hermosa, WY:
Archer Hill, WY, east of Cheyenne in bitter cold:
Break-in run passing Coastal Chemical west of Cheyenne:
Sherman Hill summit at last light:
A 2005 run to Ogden, west of Cheyenne:
MP 600, near Rock River, WY:
I have this shield as a belt buckle, bought from the Sherman Hill concessions car:
Do you guys know whether UP plans any run-byes with the beast hauling big freight trains for freight fanatics wanting to take pictures ?
An absolutely superb set of photos. Thanks for posting.