Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific’

Big Boy 4014 Restoration Underway!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

If you haven’t heard already, Union Pacific is in the process of restoring a Big Boy locomotive for operation. This is pretty exciting news for railfans, especially foamers (I use this term affectionately) with a penchant for steam locomotives. So far, UP 4014 has been moved from the RailGiants Train Museum at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, CA to Union Pacific’s steam locomotive shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. UP anticipates the restoration will take about 5 years; they are hoping to have it operational in time for the 150th Golden Spike Anniversary in 2019.

UP Big Boy 4014

No. 4014 Big Boy, Pomona, Calif., July 2013 (Credit: UP Steam Media Kit of uprr.com)

What makes Big Boys unique? The Big Boy was originally designed by the American Locomotive Company as an articulated, coal-burning, 4-8-8-4 to power wartime tonnage over the Wasatch Mountains and Sherman Hill. In fact, originally it was going to be called the Wasatch locomotive but one of ALCO’s mechanics working on the project wrote the words ‘Big Boy’ in chalk on the boiler and the name stuck. There were originally 20 built for Union Pacific with an additional order for 5 more to handle the increasing loads required by the war effort. Due to the impending switch of the industry to Diesel engines, there were no more produced. Only 8 of the Big Boys survive and all are in various states of (dis)repair in static (non-operating) display.

Once Union Pacific decided they wanted to restore a Big Boy, their Steam Operations Team went to visit all 8 remaining Big Boys to determine which was in the best shape to be restored to operation. They decided upon Big Boy 4014 owned by the Southern California Chapter of The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society where it had been on display in the mild climate of Southern California since 1962. To lessen the blow of taking Big Boy #4014 off their hands, UP gave the museum a freshly painted SD40-2C Diesel Locomotive (UP 3015), UP insulated boxcar #453665, and a CA-13-2 Bay Window Steel Caboose (UP 24567). The RailGiants Museum blog has many pictures and reports of the play-by-play action of the Big Boy moving out and the replacements moving in.

UP Bay Window Caboose

UP Caboose #24567 (Photo by Danny Mouawad)

Pentrex was also on hand for the elaborate process of moving the 4014 out of its Southern California home and onto the rails.  Their new DVD, Big Boy 4014 Update gives some history of the Big Boy locomotive including some nice vintage footage. The majority of the DVD is detailed coverage of  how the Big Boy #4014 made its way from its home of 52 years back onto the tracks so it could be relocated to Wyoming. The DVD shows a front-end loader towing 4014 from its static home at the RailGiants Train Museum through the parking lot using pre-built panel track sections (just like snap track!), to the San Gabriel Metrolink line. Then it joined a Special made up of UP Heritage 1996 (SD70ACE), 7 flat cars (6 empty and 1 carrying a vehicle and supplies for the Steam Operations Team) and UP 4014 (a diesel locomotive specifically chosen to help the Big Boy 4014 head to UP’s facility in Cheyenne, WY which took it onto the mainline.)

Big Boy 4014 Update

Big Boy 4014 Update DVD from Pentrex (Released June 2014) Click for more info or to order.

The first half of the DVD has almost constant narration about the logistics of each step of the elaborate move. The 2nd half of the DVD shows many long run-bys (including some nice footage on Cajon Pass), train meets, and the crowds of fans who turned out along the way to get a glimpse of this historic locomotive and its journey as it passes through Southern California.

More Big Boy

Products

From Pentrex:

Big Boy Combo Part 1

Big Boy Combo Part 1 DVD (Click for more info)

Big Boy Combo Part 2

Big Boy Combo Part 2 DVD (Click for more info)

Union Pacific Big Boy Collection

Union Pacific Big Boy Collection DVD (Click for more info)

Big Boys, Cab Forwards, Challengers & Daylights

Big Boys, Cab Forwards, Challengers & Daylights DVD

Union Pacific Classic Collector's Series Combo

Union Pacific Classic Collector's Series Combo DVD

From Greg Scholl:

Big Boys & Challengers

Big Boys & Challengers DVD

From Sunday River Productions:

Big Boys and Brothers in the '50s DVD

Sunday River Productions just released Big Boys and Brothers in the '50s on DVD, August 2014

For HO Modelers, from Rivarossi:

Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Engine #4008 - DCC Ready (HO)

Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Engine #4008 - DCC Ready (HO) from Rivarossi

Show off your Big Boy enthusiasm with this great Big Boy T-Shirt:

Big Boy at Night (Glow in the Dark T-shirt)

Big Boy at Night (Glow in the Dark T-shirt)

Child Sizes $12.99

Adult M, L, XL $14.99

2X $16.99

3X $18.99

LINKS

To read more about Big Boys here are some links:

UP’s 4014 Page with TONS of info

RailGiants Train Museum Big Boy Page

RailGiants Train Museum Big Boy News

The UP 4014 Project – Memories of the Move (YouTube Video from Union Pacific Railroad)

 

Our Visit to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center (Part of our Fall Focus on #4449)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Early this month we headed on up to Portland so I (Cat) could bowl in a tournament and so Don and I could visit the newly opened Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC)! As soon as we arrived in town we drove directly over to the new home of the Southern Pacific 4449, Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700, and Oregon Railroad & Navigation 197 locomotives.  Before heading inside, we saw the familiar Oregon Operation Lifesaver trailer parked outside of some Empire Builder passenger cars and then we stepped into what is now affectionately known as the Doyle L. McCormack Enginehouse. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by friendly docents & volunteers welcoming us to the new facility. There is no admission to visit the center by the way, they rely solely on donations. I donated my folding money right away and started to explore.

The Doyle McCormack Enginehouse doors are the restored former Brooklyn Roundhouse doors which are a generous gift from Darcy Marentette in memory of David. (From a plaque next to the doors) Photo by Cat Cook

The Doyle McCormack Enginehouse doors are the restored former Brooklyn Roundhouse doors which are a generous gift from Darcy Marentette in memory of David. (From a plaque next to the doors) Photo by Cat Cook

Directly in front of you upon entry is the Nickel Plate Road 190, an Alco PA-1 built in 1948. Originally an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) it was purchased in 2000 by Daylight Locomotive Works and it is currently under restoration with the intent to make it operable once again.

Nickel Plate

Nickel Plate Road #190 at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Photo by Cat Cook

There were train buffs old and young wandering the large space and you are presented with a variety of equipment you can get right up close to and experience.

Cat at the controls - Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Photo by Don Cook

Cat at the controls - Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Photo by Don Cook

The building contains Locomotive Inspection Pits so the engines can remain right on the rails after pulling into the engine house, giving the crews access to the underbellies of these historic locomotives.

4449 perched above her Inspection Pit, you can see the daylight coming in through the back door of the engine house at the other end of the Daylight - Photo by Cat Cook

4449 perched above her Inspection Pit, you can see the daylight coming in through the back door of the engine house at the other end of the Daylight - Photo by Cat Cook

Volunteers were busy maintaining the locomotives and moving heavy equipment including Terry Kimzey who you may have seen at train shows in the Pacific Northwest at the Operation Lifesaver trailer or Friends of the SP&S 700 booth. There’s also a video of this operation on our YouTube Channel: http://youtu.be/_5pYsVcqbw8

Terry Kimzey moves some heavy equipment at ORHC - Photo by Cat Cook

Terry Kimzey moves some heavy equipment at ORHC - Photo by Cat Cook

The center is not just great for seeing stationary trains, while we were visiting, we watched a Union Pacific train go by just feet away on the neighboring track and overhead, Portland’s streetcars traveled on the overpass. Here’s a video of the UP going by ORHC on our YouTube Channel:

UP at ORHC

The Portland Streetcar line passes right over the ORHC yard - Photo by Cat Cook

The Portland Streetcar line passes right over the ORHC yard - Photo by Cat Cook

The center also has a gift shop with apparel, books, calendars, pins, and more all providing an important revenue stream to the ORHC.

4449 Wheel

Is it weird that I have a favorite locomotive wheel? Well I do, it's the 4449's Drive Wheels... - Photo by Cat Cook

Now that the holidays are imminent, make sure to ride the Holiday Express if you are able. Scheduled for November 30th through December 2nd; December 7th – December 9th; and December 14th – December 16th you can ride in a vintage rail car pulled by either the SP&S 700 or SP 4449 all decked out with thousands of holiday lights and holiday decorations. The trip is about 40 minutes starting from The Oaks Station across from Oaks Park in southeast Portland just north of the Sellwood Bridge (free parking is available). Join Santa and his elves for one of these trips! Proceeds from the tickets and your donations help fund the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. For tickets or more information go here: http://www.orhf.org/about-orhf/holiday-express/  or call 503-224-8499.

OR&N 197

ORNC's Oregon Railroad & Navigation 197 looking out the front of the Doyle L. McCormack Enginehouse

Happy Holidays!

SP&S 700

ORHC’s SP&S 700 – To see more pictures from our visit please like us on Facebook

To see more photos please visit our Facebook page: The Short Line


 

Dunsmuir Railroad Days Overfloweth With Train Happiness

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

In my last blog I mentioned Dunsmuir Railroad Days and the Baldwin  Locomotive Works 2-6-0 Mogul I saw in Globe, Arizona. Well, 2 weekends ago we went to Dunsmuir, CA to see one of the sister 2-6-0 Moguls, Southern Pacific #1727, and to see what their Railroad Days (June 10 – 12, 2011) had to offer.

2-6-0 Mogul #1727 in Dunsmuir, CA - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

2-6-0 Mogul #1727 in Dunsmuir, CA - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

From a plaque at the site:

Locomotive 1727 is a class M-6 Mogul built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1901. It served Southern Pacific in California and Oregon until 1956.  1727 is one of only 7 Mogul engines surviving today out of 355 originally built.

Donated by S.P. and brought to Dunsmuir in 1957 by the city council: Vic Petrovics, Mayor; Morgan Jones, Fred Lloyd, E. A. Christensen and Robert Dixon

(What can I say, I like to document signage.)

The forecast was for mostly sun but there was a persistently stubborn drizzle that wouldn’t get out of our way that day, but it did not deter us from gaining maximum train happiness, no sir! First we bought our commemorative button for the steep, steep price of $1 that would give us magical access to all the trains and assorted rail goodness on display. Then we made our way over to the speeders to get in line while it was early in the day and the line was short. Sid took us on a ride in his shiny motorcar with some Atlantic Coast Line paint. You can see a video of our ride on the speeder here:  Speeder ride in Dunsmuir, CA during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011

Here is a picture of me with Sid’s snazzy speeder after our mini motorcar excursion (there were 3 speeders and we went approximately 1/4 mile, I’m not sure how fast we went, I’d guess 25 mph, but maybe faster….)

Cat Cook with Sid's speeder at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Don Cook June 11, 2011

Cat Cook with Sid's speeder at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Don Cook June 11, 2011

There were four privately-owned passenger cars available to be toured. These were powered by Amtrak 190, a P42DC GENESIS locomotive. The Tioga Pass (built as a Canadian National business car for railroad executives in 1959) and the Silver Splendor (built as a stainless steel Vista-Dome coach for Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in 1956) can be booked for one of their public trips or for private charter through www.larail.com.

The Tioga Pass Dining Room - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Tioga Pass Dining Room - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Silver Solarium and Silver Lariat were both built as Vista-Dome coaches for the California Zephyr in 1948. They can be booked for one of their public trips or for private charter through www.CalZephyrRailcar.com. These cars were part of a round-trip excursion trip from the Bay Area to Dunsmuir, as well as an excursion Saturday afternoon to Black Butte and back to Dunsmuir. More information on this and other excursions can be had by visiting: Trains & Travel International.

The Silver Solarium Dome - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Silver Solarium Dome - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

If this makes you wish you had a California Zephyr train on your layout you may be interested in some HO scale passenger cars from the now out-of-business International Hobby Corp. Once this stock is gone it will likely be unavailable in the future.

One of the IHC HO Scale D&RGW Cal Zephyr Vista Dome cars available from www.theshortline.com - Photo by Don Cook

One of the IHC HO Scale California Zephyr Vista Dome cars available from www.theshortline.com - Photo by Don Cook

One of the coolest things about Dunsmuir and its Railroad Days is they have a working turntable. They even gave rides on the turntable every hour! I uploaded a video of my turn riding the turntable on YouTube here: Taking a ride on the turntable at Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011.  And here’s a short video of them locking the turntable into place: Locking the Dunsmuir, CA turntable during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011. Union Pacific generously brought out the 1996 Heritage SD70ACe painted in commemorative Southern Pacific-inspired colors and some of the other displayed rolling stock for the event.

Some nice folks taking their turn on UP 1996 on the turntable in Dunsmuir - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Some nice folks taking their turn on UP 1996 on the turntable in Dunsmuir - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

If you are wishing you had one of these locomotives for your N-scale layout you’re in luck! We just got one of these back in stock: Kato N – UP (SP Heritage) EMD SD70ACe Diesel Locmotive. Soon after I took the above picture, a Union Pacific freight train entered the town for a crew change. I took a video of this train as it left town southbound and added that to our YouTube page as well: Union Pacific southbound leaving Dunsmuir after crew change during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011. This train was being pulled by 1 ES44AC and 2 SD70Ms and bringing up the rear were 2 ES 44ACs. Below you can see the UP train parked in front of the Amtrak Depot.  In the same building you can find the Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Historical Society. Another non-profit with a presence at the fair included The Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society.

UP Freight Train doing a crew change in Dunsmuir during Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

UP Freight Train doing a crew change in Dunsmuir during Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Did you know that Dunsmuir was originally named Pusher for the ‘pusher’ or helper locomotives that assisted trains over the steep grades to the north? Well if not, now you do! After Alexander Dunsmuir came to the town of Pusher and fell in love with it, he promised the inhabitants that he would build them a fountain if they would name the town after him. He did and they did and the fountain (and town name) are still there today! Below you will find a mural highlighting some of the features of Dunsmuir-living which prominently include the railroad, Mt. Shasta, and fishing in the Sacramento River. This mural was designed by John Signor, prolific author of many railroad books including Southern Pacific’s Shasta Division: Over a Century of Railroading in the Shadow of Mt. Shasta.

Mural located in downtown Dunsmuir, CA designed by railroad author John Signor - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Mural located in downtown Dunsmuir, CA designed by railroad author John Signor - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

There were also 3 cabooses on display. 2 were UP cupola cabooses including the one pictured below. If you are looking for some similar ones for your layout we currently have in stock just 1 HO Athearn kit left of a UP Cupola Caboose.

Union Pacific Cupola Caboose at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Union Pacific Cupola Caboose at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Then there was this Western Pacific Bay Window caboose from the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.  Developed in the 1920s, Bay Windows allowed for a safer way to look ahead at the train and monitor for equipment problems than the Cupola. Located in Portola, CA this museum and the related Western Pacific Railroad Historical Society are a great place to visit. You can even arrange to operate locomotives! We don’t have any WP Bay Window cabooses in stock but we do have an HO Union Pacific Athearn blue box kit with 3 bay window cabooses. Once these old blue box kits are gone they are G.O.N.E. So, first come first served!

Western Pacific 484 Bay Window Caboose (Western Pacific Railroad Museum) Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Western Pacific 484 Bay Window Caboose (Western Pacific Railroad Museum) Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

In addition to the plethora of life-sized train equipment, one of the local model train clubs was showing off their layout too.  Below you can see part of the permanent layout of the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Model Railroad Club.

Looks like there's some unauthorized equipment on the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Railroad Club's turntable - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Looks like there's some unauthorized equipment on the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Railroad Club's turntable - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

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National Train Day & Rickreall Model Train Show

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Last Saturday was National Train Day, a holiday started in 2008 by Amtrak to celebrate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. The golden spike was driven home on May 10th 1869 in Promontory, Utah connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads. Although the holiday was initiated by Amtrak, all sorts of railroad museums, model railroad clubs, railfans, and model railroad retailers celebrate with events across the country.

Celebration of completion of the transamerican railroad on 1869-05-10 (May 10th 1869) at what is now Golden Spike National Historic Site.  Public Domain: From the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

Celebration of completion of the transamerican railroad on May 10th 1869 at what is now Golden Spike National Historic Site. Public Domain: From the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

This year we did our celebrating by being a part of the Rickreall Model Train Swapmeet & Show just west of Salem, Oregon hosted by the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club. This club was founded in 1993 and features an HO scale layout which is permanently housed in a large upstairs room of the historic Rickreall Grange Hall.

Show organizer and club president, Tom Pryor, welcomes everyone in at the front door. Photo by Cat Cook

Show organizer and club president, Tom Pryor, welcomes everyone in at the front door. Photo by Cat Cook

The subject of their layout is the Oregonian Railroad which was a narrow gauge railroad that ran through Polk Station to Dallas, Oregon until Southern Pacific acquired the line in 1890 which removed the narrow gauge and replaced it with standard gauge. The layout is quite large and has great use of light and sound. Below you will find just a couple of shots, one includes the Tim Burr logging truck from Woodland Scenics.

The use of lighting in the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club's layout is fabulous as seen in this part of the neighborhood. Photo by Cat Cook

The use of lighting in the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club's layout is fabulous as seen in this part of the neighborhood. Photo by Cat Cook

Section of the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club layout featuring a Tim Burr Logging truck by Woodland Scenics. Photo by Cat Cook

Section of the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club layout featuring a Tim Burr Logging truck by Woodland Scenics. Photo by Cat Cook

One of the best things about participating in train shows is meeting other vendors with unique items we haven’t seen before. This show gave us a few opportunities to meet such folks. First, we met Dave one of our ‘table neighbors’ upstairs. He does custom modeling and scratch building of HO vehicles and equipment. He displays and sells some of his already completed projects and takes on custom projects for customers looking for items that are not already available in the marketplace. Although he mostly works in HO scale, he is not vehemently opposed to doing projects in O or N scale. “If you can imagine it, I can build it,” he says. Dave can be reached at dgeo59@hotmail.com or 503-442-0140.

A custom detailed Ford F350 contactor's pick up by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

A custom detailed Ford F350 contactor's pick up by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

An drill that can be used for oil or water, custom built by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

A trailer-mounted drill custom built by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

Another unique vendor we met this show was photographer, Laurie Breier. Laurie’s collection of photography is called Graffiti Artistry and it provides a unique view of railcars acting as the canvas to graffiti’s paint.  Railroad graffiti is its own subculture which Laurie captures as striking images framed and ready to display. The subject inspires conversation about topics such as the history of ‘graffiti’ on trains back to the days of hobo codes, what is art, and how has graffiti affected railroads, railfans, and modeling. Laurie can be reached at wkndrs@cmspan.net.

Laurie Breier displaying some of her work at the Rickreall Model Train Show. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie Breier displaying some of her work at the Rickreall Model Train Show. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie sharing one of her photos featuring graffiti and rust taken near the Roseburg, OR rail yard. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie sharing one of her photos featuring graffiti and rust taken near the Roseburg, OR rail yard. Photo by Cat Cook

If you missed participating in some of the events for this year’s National Train Day here are a couple of the other big rail events coming this summer:

And here are some lists of other rail events for your perusal:

From the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad to Union Pacific in Dunsmuir

Friday, December 31st, 2010
We attended the Great Train Expo in Pomona, December 18th & 19th, despite the torrential downpour that turned Los Angeles into a rather large puddle a week before Christmas. Attendance was likely diminished due to the historic rainfall (this is the third wettest December since they started keeping track in 1877) but it was a successful show despite it, and Don and his son Alan (who helped out in my stead) met some fine Southern Californian train folks.

We spent the holiday down in So Cal where our respective families still reside.  I was given a tour of the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad, my dad’s N-scale layout which is under construction, and took some pictures.  Below you can see the roundhouse and turntable in the foreground of this photo with my dad inspecting some track in the back section.

Dad Working on the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad Photo by: Cat Cook

Bill Haigler Working on the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by: Cat Cook

All of these switches work and the lights light up! It’s quite something.
The Control Panel for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by: Cat Cook

The Control Panel for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by: Cat Cook

Here you can see some, just some… of the detailed wiring involved in the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad. You can also see some washers used as counterbalances for the coal mechanisms.
Bill Haigler working on the wiring for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Bill Haigler working on the wiring for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

On the way back home we took a spur of the moment jaunt into Dunsmuir, CA. Just as we pulled into town, so did a Union Pacific train coming from the south.  Don quickly navigated us down to the tracks and I jumped out to wave at the engineer and snapped this photo of the GE ES44AC and accompanying video in the nick of time.
UP 7736 (a GE ES44AC) entering Dunsmuir from the south - Photo by Cat Cook

UP 7736 (a GE ES44AC) entering Dunsmuir from the south - Photo by Cat Cook

And here’s a video of most of the rest of the train as it pulls into the station for a crew change:  Union Pacific pulls into Dunsmuir

I’ve been through Dunsmuir at least 8 times before while traveling on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight but as the schedule always puts the train there in the dark of night I’ve never seen the town properly before. Our plan is to go back and spend a day there since it is only a 2-hour drive from Merlin, OR.

A Semaphore in front of the Dunsmuir Post Office

A Semaphore in front of the Dunsmuir Post Office - Photo by Cat Cook

Happy new year to all and happy railroading!