ROCHELLE – Rail fans both locally and across the country are excited as the Union Pacific celebrates the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad with a cross-country tour for one of its original steam engines.
Big Boy No. 4014 is one of 25 original Big Boy steam engines that were built exclusively for the Union Pacific Railroad. The steam engine will be making a transcontinental tour and plans to stop at the Rochelle Railroad Park on Tuesday July 30, between 9:45 and 10:30 a.m.
These old steam-powered engines are much larger than the newer diesel-powered locomotives used today, and according to the Union Pacific website the Big Boy locomotives are 132 feet long, weigh 1.2 million pounds and have hinged frames to allow such a long engine to negotiate curves in the tracks.
These engines are supported by 14 wheels arranged in a 4-8-8-4 pattern and carry a total of 56,000 pounds of coal used as the trains power supply.
Engine No. 4014 that will be stopping in Rochelle was originally delivered to Union Pacific in December of 1941 and was retired in December of 1961. The Union Pacific website states that in the locomotives 20 years of service it traveled a total of 1,031,205 miles.
Since 2013 the Big boy engine No. 4014 was on display at the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California and then was relocated to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a multi-year restoration process.
Since the completion of the restoration process, Big Boy No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive.
“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,” said Jenny Thompson, City of Rochelle director of marketing and tourism.
Thompson added that due to the dynamic nature of these operations, running times and scheduled stops may be subject to change. For the most up to date information visit rochellerailroadpark.org or facebook.com/rochelleRRpark.