U.S. once again home to the world's largest operating steam locomotive

Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
179
Likes
240
Location
Massachusetts' North Shore
My son just texted me the link:


"Published on May 3, 2019
They said it couldn't be done. It was too heavy, too long, it burned too much fuel, and would cost too much to restore. But they were wrong. Union Pacific, Big Boy #4014, now holds the title of the Worlds largest operating steam locomotive. This locomotive underwent a frame up rebuild and is now better than new. This was a big day for the #4014. It was the first time it was taken out of the yard and onto the main line."

Holy crap, that thing is big....
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
13
Likes
18
Steam is king.

When you look at the shear size of these locomotives and realize "back then" they were built with muscle and sweat, by hand. Think of one pulling a train, capable of 80 to 100mph, that's POWER!
 

Uzi2

NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
5,016
Likes
5,737
And somewhere along its path a punk with a can of spraypaint waits and some shut in soccer mom is dialing 911 to report a train on fire.
 

TC McQuade

NES Member
Rating - 100%
23   0   0
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
1,841
Likes
963
Location
East Coast USA
That's cool! Some Facts

Big Boy No. 4014
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad, the first of which was delivered in 1941. The locomotives were 132 feet long and 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, Wyo.

There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service. Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process.

Vital Statistics
Tender Type: 14-wheeled
Water Capacity: 24,000 gallons
Fuel: Coal**
56,000 lbs.
Gauge of Track: 4 ft. 8-1/2 in.
Cylinder: Diameter: 23 3/4 in.
Stroke: 32 in.
Driving Wheel Diameter: 68 in.
Boiler: Outside Diameter: 106 9/16 in.
Pressure: 300 lbs.
Fire Box: Length: 235 1/32 in.
Width: 96 3/16 in.
Tubes: 2-1/4 in. Diameter: 75 x 22 ft. 0 in.
4 in. Diameter: 184
Wheel Base: Driving: 47 ft. 3 in.
Engine: 72 ft. 5 1/2 in.
Engine & Tender: 132 ft. 9 7/8 in.
Weight in Working Order,
Pounds:
Leading: 97,000
Driving: 540,000
Trailing: 125,000
Engine: 762,000
Tender: 427,500
Evaporating Surfaces,
Square Feet:
Tubes: 967
Flues: 4,218
Fire Box: 593
Circulators: 111
Total: 5,889
Superheating Surface,
Square Feet:
2,466
Grate Area: 150
Maximum Tractive Power: 135,375 lbs.
Factor of Adhesion: 4.00
**Current configuration. Plans call for a conversion to No. 5 Oil
 

KBCraig

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
10,438
Likes
5,167
Location
Granite State of Mind
Steam is king.

When you look at the shear size of these locomotives and realize "back then" they were built with muscle and sweat, by hand. Think of one pulling a train, capable of 80 to 100mph, that's POWER!
When you look at almost any machinery from that day compared to now, you'll be amazed at how the old stuff was perfectly balanced and vibration-free.
 
Rating - 100%
28   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
37,945
Likes
12,926
Location
Chelmsford MA
Steam is king.

When you look at the shear size of these locomotives and realize "back then" they were built with muscle and sweat, by hand. Think of one pulling a train, capable of 80 to 100mph, that's POWER!
They weren't really "built by hand" - there was a crap-ton of machinery that helped build those things - and most of it has disappeared.

I watched some videos on Youtube a few weeks back of the airplane factories during WW2 - and the amazing part to me was the level of industrial machinery that was being used back then. All that's really happened since the WW2 era is that numerical machine controls were invented (they actually had some of that even back then) - and then those controls were "computerized" from mechanical to electronic starting somewhere in the 1970s I believe.

The true modern day advancement has been in repeatability and measurement. The modern day controls allow the machines to build the same EXACT part over and over and over again by monitoring output. Back in the WW2 era that relied on the skilled human operator to accomplish as he monitored the output of the machine he was running.

I watched a video about them restoring those locomotives - and they said one of the issues was that the machines that were used to build them , just simply didn't exist any more.

It's pretty impressive to see the things that were built way back in the WW2 era - and even before. I think there's a bridge in New York city's Central Park - whose spans are made out of SINGLE pieces of cast iron. That's impressive. And I don't think the capabilities to do that exist anywhere in the world any more.

Look at battleships - those big RIFLED main batteries were first cast - then turned out on massive lathes - and then rifled, all using massive machinery. And they were doing this as far back as WW1.

There's an entire world of industrial capability and knowledge that has been lost to the modern world.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JJ4

The5thDentist

NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
8,569
Likes
11,986
Location
1 mile from freedom
How did I miss this thread?

Yea, I've been watching this for the past two years. This is literally the equal of a young Elvis making a comeback.

UP has three steam engines.
The 844, a Northern type engine with a wheel arrangement of 4-8-4, which was NEVER retired. Passenger loco.
The 3985, one of UP's own design Challenger locomotives, which were also passenger locos. Wheel arrangement of 4-6-6-4, which was restored over 20 years ago and is currently undergoing service.
And now the 4014, which was designed for freight service. Again, this was a custom design for the UP.

There are a ton of videos of UP steam in action on YT.
 

greencobra

NES Member
Rating - 100%
24   0   0
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
15,933
Likes
7,475
i missed this the first time through. i was getting bored at first until the camera pulled back and i saw the size of it. holy shit! the thing is massive!
 
Rating - 100%
10   0   0
Joined
May 2, 2010
Messages
978
Likes
136
Location
N.H.
Modern technology has the potential to blow the doors off of technology of even 50 years ago. That CNC is capable of mind-boggling accuracy is true only if the "workers" are fully invested in their craft. Most aren't. Back in the day, circa WW2, e.g., GE used to train people. The cream ended up as Machinists and Inspectors. The rest swept floors, ran drill or kick presses. Go to any successful Machine Shop or Precision Sheet Metal Shop today and you'll find the 5% who are Superstars. You'll also find those in it for a paycheck period. As a retired Mechanical Inspector of 35 years duration, I worked with thousands of people. It was always a pleasure working with the 5%ers. That type were the same people who started the Industrial Revolution and yes, built those trains.
 

The5thDentist

NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
8,569
Likes
11,986
Location
1 mile from freedom
'MURICA!!!
Pacing begins at the 1:56 mark. The diesel is there to provide Dynamic Braking [a.k.a. regenerative braking] which you can hear working as the train rolls on a downhill near the end of the video.
ENJOY!
 

timbo

Navy Veteran
NES Member
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Dec 17, 2010
Messages
9,761
Likes
6,367
Location
Rt 3, NH
'MURICA!!!
Pacing begins at the 1:56 mark. The diesel is there to provide Dynamic Braking [a.k.a. regenerative braking] which you can hear working as the train rolls on a downhill near the end of the video.
ENJOY!
Can you imagine the absolute rush the engineer must be having running that behemoth?
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
393
Likes
329
I would love to see this making runs on the East Coast, but it will only be riding on Union Pacific rails. It's too bad because the majority of early American railroads originated "back east" before the Civil War and well before the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Our own South Station was the busiest railroad station in the world shortly after it opened. An interesting documentary about New England railroading:View: https://youtu.be/G6TadIYmlXY
 

Koolmoose

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
929
Likes
397
Location
Other side of the bridges behind the iron curtain
There used to be one up in Vt. when I was much younger.
That one is now in Scranton PA at Steamtown. US parks department.
IIRC the man that started Steamtown in Bellows Falls VT was killed in a small plane crash and the museum suffered financially after his death. Plus the VT winters weren’t kind to iron stored outdoors. The collection was moved to PA.
 

mwalsh9152

NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
May 12, 2013
Messages
4,186
Likes
2,207
Location
Pelham
North Conway Scenic Railroad has a steam locomotive. It was in for a major service for the past few years, but going for a ride on one is an experience you need to have.
Here's one of the pictures I took of it.
6656645617_ee7d0a2035_b.jpg
 
Rating - 100%
28   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
37,945
Likes
12,926
Location
Chelmsford MA
I would love to see this making runs on the East Coast, but it will only be riding on Union Pacific rails. It's too bad because the majority of early American railroads originated "back east" before the Civil War and well before the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Our own South Station was the busiest railroad station in the world shortly after it opened. An interesting documentary about New England railroading:View: https://youtu.be/G6TadIYmlXY
"There is a lot of magic in a railroad"

LOL. That surely applies to whoever is running the MBTA ......
 
Rating - 100%
28   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
37,945
Likes
12,926
Location
Chelmsford MA
Those Big Boy locomotives were from the WW2 era. I hadn't thought of this before - but for some reason it just entered my mind to go and look for what the largest European locomotives from the era were. My takeaway from watching WW2 movies since I was a kid was that European railroads used smaller cars, smaller locomotives - etc.

Interesting to compare the Big Boy specs:

Union Pacific Big Boy - Wikipedia


Against one of the largest German locomotives:

DRG Class 45 - Wikipedia


Big Boy : locomotive weight 381 tons
DRG45 : locomotive weight 125 tons

Big Boy : 6290 HP
DRG45 : 2761 HP
 
Top Bottom