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Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Cheyenne's Big Boy 4004

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Big Story
Randy Harvey [HARV] carries a camera with him as he travels and both RailRoad Modeling and the KitMaker Network benefit from his eagle eye. Cheyenne, Wyoming's Big Boy 4004 is his latest find. He also found 4004's new bushy-tailed crew!
Big Boy!
The Union Pacific Railroad traversed some of the most challenging mountain ranges in the United States. Over these barriers UP hauled long trains of heavy tonnage, often of perishables requiring fast schedules.

Between Ogden and Wasatch the Union Pacific frequently had to rely on expensive helper engines to boost trains up the grades. During the 1930s UP ordered their R&D department to develop an engine that could haul 3600 tons over the 1.14% Wasatch grade without helpers, yet run like a deer along the Plaines. Thus was born UP’s mighty 4-8-8-4 “Wasatch” locomotive. Never heard of the Wasatch? That’s because the official name did not stick. As the first “Wasatch” was being moved out of ALCO, a worker scrawled “Big Boy” upon it. The graffiti became the mantle the engine will forever be known as.

Twenty-five Big Boys were built in two groups, starting in 1941. The first twenty were numbered 4000-4019. Number 4000 arrived at UP’s Omaha facility on 5 September, 1941.

World War 2 traffic required a second group of five, numbered 4020-4024, started in 1944. The final revenue freight hauled by a Big Boy was in July of 1959.

I will not explore the debates as to whether Big Boy was biggest, most powerful, fastest, most efficient, etc. Those are topics I read about, not having the expertise or knowledge of. Some great websites for this are:

Rail Archive
Steam Locomotive
Steam Loco Group
Steam Tech Group


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About Randy Harvey (HARV)
FROM: WYOMING, UNITED STATES

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...