Postponed: ‘Big Boy’ West Coast Steam Tour

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The American Locomotive Company (ALCO) built 25 Big Boys for UP from 1941 to 1944. As the story goes, the 4000-class series originally was to have been designated the “Wasatch,” but an unidentified ALCO worker wrote “Big Boy” in chalk on the smokebox of one unit during construction, and that’s the nickname that stuck. The chalk marking that appeared decades ago has been reproduced on 4014’s restored smokebox (center photo).

The American Locomotive Company (ALCO) built 25 Big Boys for UP from 1941 to 1944. As the story goes, the 4000-class series originally was to have been designated the “Wasatch,” but an unidentified ALCO worker wrote “Big Boy” in chalk on the smokebox of one unit during construction, and that’s the nickname that stuck. The chalk marking that appeared decades ago has been reproduced on 4014’s restored smokebox (center photo).

Union Pacific’s (UP) articulated 4-8-8-4 “Big Boy” No. 4014—one of the largest and perhaps most famous steam locomotives ever built—was to head on a month-long tour this summer, but the trip has been postponed.

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