Big Boy Steam Locomotive

Picture of Big Boy, a steam locomotive from The Olden Days
Big Boy (4-8-8-4)


Built: Alco (American Locomotive Company) built 25 units between 1941 and 1944 for the Union Pacific Railroad .


Description: Challenger-type (4-8-8-4) articulated; Without the tender, it had the longest engine body of any reciprocating steam locomotive. Locomotive length: 85 ft 3½ in (25.99 m); with tender: 132 ft 9¼ in (40.47 m) Fuel: coal (oil was trialed but was not sucessful); Designed for stability at 60 miles per hour. Weight 381 tonnes. Tractive effort 135,375 lbf.


Duties: On Union Pacific's main line across Wyoming, (which for most of the way had a maximum grade of 0.82% in either direction, but the climb eastward from Ogden, Utah into the Wasatch Range reached 1.14%), hauling a 3,300t load.


Significant Events: One (no. 4005) was converted to run on oil experimentally, but was later converted back to coal-firing. One day while one of the engines was being built an unknown worker scrawled "Big Boy" in chalk on its front. With that, the legendary name was born, and has stuck ever since.


Retirement: Last load hauled in 1959, but eight still exist in storage.


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