‘Big Boy’ steams into Utah ahead of restoration project

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-03 17:06:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Union Pacific Railroad is getting ready to restore one of the world's largest steam locomotives, but beforehand they are taking the train on a tour.

The locomotive, dubbed Big Boy No. 4014, is stopping in Utah on its way to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Utahns will have the chance to take a look at the steam-powered piece of history.

"It's really a once in a lifetime sort of thing," said train enthusiast Jay Bachman, who drove from Salt Lake City to Juab County to see the vintage locomotive.

Train buffs lined State Road 36 and hundreds of people flocked to Stockton to see Big Boy before it arrived in Salt Lake City Friday night.

There were 25 Big Boys built exclusively for Union Pacific in the early 1940s. These locomotives were the muscle hauling freight trains from Cheyenne to Ogden.

For the last 50 years, the antique steamer sat in a museum at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. Now it's being towed to Cheyenne for new parts and restoration over the next five years.

"It hasn't moved in like 50 years, a lot of people alive today have never even seen it," said Lee Rands, a train buff from Layton.

"It's unbelievable how thrilled I am even to this day, I can't wait to see this thing let alone to see it running," said John Belmont from American Fork.

The train will be on display in Salt Lake City Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1020 Warm Springs Road. The train departs that location Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and then will stop in Ogden Sunday and Monday. The train will head to Echo Tuesday, where it will be displayed for about a half an hour before it leaves for Wyoming.

Click here for details about the train's schedule.