Union Pacific Bigboy #4014 Roars Past

The 150th anniversary of completion of the Trans-continental Railroad is celebrated in 2019. During the 1940s, Union Pacific built 25 large steam locomotives. They normally operated between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Ogden, Utah. Their heavy weight and multiple traction wheels provided the force needed to transport trains of freight over the continental divide. More history of Union Pacific here.

Bigboy #4014 was restored to operation and has been on tour. It traveled the tracks not far from our home on 30 July. My friend and I scouted out a good location for pictures the week before. Our wives joined us, along with a hundred others, at this rural crossing to see it go by. We heard the whistle in the distance. The crowd got quiet and moved closer to the tracks. The crossing gates came down. It rounded the bend blowing the whistle – two longs, a short, one long. The ground shook. My body shook. It was power on wheels. Turn up the sound on the video for maximum effect.


This gallery is a sequence of stills from the video. It went by too quickly. These give better views. Click on the images to embiggen.

How big is Bigboy?

Details about #4014 are at this url from Union Pacific. It was built in 1941 weighing 1.2 million pounds, and 132 ft long. This U.P. graphic compares it to a car, a school bus, standard locomotive, and a 747.


11 thoughts on “Union Pacific Bigboy #4014 Roars Past

  1. B.J. Good

    Good/glad you got to experience it moving by planning ahead for your location. LOUD for sure. It was parked overnight about 1.5 miles south of my home [near General Mills plant] & drew big crowds. People had to walk a ways to see it there.

  2. shoreacres

    Oh, my. I wondered if you would get to see it, and you did. I still remember in extraordinarily sharp detail all the experiences I had with UP844. I wish I could have been there to see this one, too. I actually thought about it, but it just wasn’t possible to get away. At least I have your post to enjoy!

    1. Jim R Post author

      It was too brief. Friends were in Des Moines today to get up close and pictures. They shared them on facebook. It is so big.

    1. Jim R Post author

      I wondered that, too. I found this in a discussion forum. “The UP thus adds a modern diesel unit which can be used as need for addition pulling power with a heavy passenger train, and saves disc brake shoe and wheel wear, by using the dynamic brake on the diesel unit.”


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