In honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion, Union Pacific’s historic Big Boy steam locomotive No. 4014 has ridden the Union Pacific system throughout the year, and will stop in Palestine Saturday.
“We have been fielding calls all week from people across the state coming to Palestine to see this historic steam engine,” said Mary Raum, Manager of Tourism and Marketing for the city of Palestine. “We are fortunate that Union Pacific selected our community as an overnight stop for the Race Across the Southwest Celebration, it gives our locals and visitors and better opportunity to see for themselves this historically important relic.”
Weighing in at 1.2 million pounds, the Big Boy is aptly named, recalling bygone days and underscoring the importance of the railroad in today's global economy, Scott Moore, Union Pacific senior vice president, said.
"Union Pacific wants to thank the countless rail fans and communities who have helped us celebrate this tremendous anniversary,” he said.
Departing from Jewett, the train is expected to arrive at West Spring Street and Tennessee Avenue in Palestine at 2 p.m. The train will stay in town overnight and depart on Sunday at 8 a.m., traveling to Jacksonville. Running times and scheduled stops are subject to change. A route map and NO. 4014’s GPS tracking information is available at upsteam.com.
Palestine’s stop is viewing-only.
Riding with the Big Bog is an “Experience the Union Pacific” rail car that offers a multi-media walk-through exhibition of railroad history.
Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country, providing a critical link in the global supply chain.
Approved by President Abraham Lincoln, Union Pacific Railroad was incorporated on July 1, 1862, by the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. The Act of Congress provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific as a war measure to preserve the Union.
Part of the First Transcontinental Railroad project, later known as the Overland Route, the railroad stretched westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to the Central Pacific Railroad line that ran east from Sacramento.
The line was built primarily by Irish labor, trained during the Civil War. The first rails were laid in Omaha.
The “Handbook of Texas” states the International Railroad and Houston and Great Northern Railroad met in Palestine in 1872, merging in 1873 to become the International and Great Northern Railroad. IGN built a major depot here in 1892, as well as a modern passenger coach shop in 1902, making Palestine an important locomotive and coach center.
In 1952, the Missouri Pacific line bought the IGN and constructed an office building in Palestine four years later. The railroad contracted with the city to retain a certain number of railroad employees in Palestine. When the Missouri Pacific sold its lines to UP in 1982, the contract remained in effect. Railroad jobs in Palestine, however, have slowly declined.
Today, the Palestine Car Shop is one of only two car shops on the Union Pacific Railroad that modifies and repairs freight cars.
In what is called the Great Race Across the Southwest, the Big Boy is touring Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
In May, the restored locomotive toured across the upper Midwest. During that inaugural tour, the Big Boy and the historic steam locomotive Living Legend No. 844 met nose-to-nose, recreating the iconic image taken May 10, 1869. That's when the last spike was driven at Promontory Summit, creating America’s first transcontinental railroad.
The No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive.
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for UP to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden. The first was delivered in 1941. These engines routinely pulled trains of up to 4,200 tons.
Of the 8 remaining, No. 4014 is the only operational Big Boy. The Big Boy’s return to the rails follows more than two years of meticulous restoration work by the Union Pacific Steam Team
This is the final time in 2019 the Big Boy No. 4014 will ride the rails.