The last Big Boy locomotive in operation will steam its way into East Texas in early November, with a handful of local stops for enthusiasts – including in Overton and Longview.
The train’s trip is part of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The route for ‘The Great Race Across the Southwest’ takes the vehicle through Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
The locomotive is passing through this area Sunday, Nov. 10.
“Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941,” the railroad reports. “The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service.
UP reacquired 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013.
“The Big Boy’s return to the rails is the product of more than two years of meticulous restoration work by the Union Pacific Steam Team. No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive.”
After departing Palestine at 8 a.m. Nov. 10, there are stops in Jacksonville (9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.) and Troup (10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.) before Big Boy No. 4014 reaches Overton’s Henderson Street crossing at about 11:15 a.m.
The train departs Overton at noon to reach Longview (at 920 E. Pacific Ave.) at 1 p.m. for another 15-minute stop before heading to Marshall, arriving at 3:40 p.m. and staying overnight.
The local stops are ‘Viewing Only.’ Notably, the scheduled stops are subject to change – get up-to-date information online from Union Pacific via up.com/heritage/steam/schedule/index.htm.
There were 25 Big Boys built for UP, and the first was delivered in 1941. At 132-feet-long, the locomotives weighed 1.2 million pounds.
“Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were ‘hinged,’ or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves. They had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of ‘pilot’ wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive. The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.”
When the train’s in town, UP requests viewers stand back at least 25 feet from the tracks, not trespass on the railroad (tracks, trestles, yards and right-of-way are private property) and never assume tracks are abandoned or inactive – “Always expect a train.”