Union Pacific 4014 Restoration?
Union Pacific is talking about possible obtainment and restoration of Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4014.
We may be seeing this scene again within a few years.
She currently resides in Pamona, California. The dry Southern California climate makes her the best choice to be restored. Rumours say that Union Pacific has evaluated all eight currently existing locomotives. Also considered was 4017 located in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Union Pacific stated that if they bought 4014 from the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, they would replace her with a new steam locomotive to fill the gap. The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society is hesitant about selling the locomotive, because she is the centerpiece of their collection. However, they stated they would, “take pride in knowing they were the ones who helped made her run again.”
Being from California myself and seeing 4014 in person, and now knowing it could be re-purchased and restored for regular service, I am very excited. I am a fan of steam myself, even though I am only 17 years old. Not many like me care about trains at all, nevermind a piece of 762,000-pound history like this. Should Union Pacific deside to restore this locomotive, I will want to donate time and money to the restoration.
Drawbacks currently include the conversion from coal to oil fuel, money as always, and turning her around (the only turntables able to hold her are only a few miles apart, and there are only two of them).
However; 4-6-6-4 Challenger #3985 was sucessfully converted to oil-firing. The firebox in the Challenger series locomotives and the Big Boy series locomotives are not very different.
Wye switches have been stated as a possible turn-around solution in other forums I’ve read.
Despite the issues and the controversy of the possible project, I am hopeful for it. Watching this behemoth steam up again would be an epic sight for all to see.
Sources: Trains Magazine, Muiltible Forums sites