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Around The Museum Blog

November 23 to November 30, 2013

Phase 1 of its journey is now complete! Union Pacific’s Big Boy #4014 departs Pomona! It’s now in La Verne.

Big Boy is on the north side of the fairgrounds parking lot, adjacent to Metrolink’s tracks near Arrow Hwy. Somewhere towards the parking lot’s north side is the city line between Pomona and La Verne. We’re not certain where that line is along the asphalt, but suspect Big Boy crossed over it about a week before Thanksgiving. Union Pacific’s steam crew placed #4014 along Metrolink’s rail line a few days before the holiday.

As of late December, we understand Phase 2 of its move is being developed to occur in late January or later. Until then, Big Boy can watch 244 Metrolink commuter trains pass by each week.

Below are several photos captured by our member and railroad photographer Steve Crise and by our website editor.

Metrolink locomotive #857 witnesses construction of final panel track sections.

Anticipating Big Boy’s last move by a Caterpillar.

With a view of the San Gabriel Mountains at its most recent 52-year home, why would Big Boy want to relocate to Wyoming?

After completing Phase 1, a local family’s photograph is captured.


November 15 to 20, 2013

Union Pacific’s Big Boy #4014 continues Phase 1 of its move journey; across the fairgrounds parking lot.

Hundreds of cars containing Big Boy fans traversed the mile-long parking lot targeting #4014. A few of the cars seen with Big Boy are vintage classics.

Below are several photos captured by our member and railroad photographer Steve Crise and our by website editor.

Many railfans brought their cameras.

Editor’s pick for best catch of the week. Another member is caught in the act of recording history.

Preparing for another move, while a Metrolink commuter train passes by on the adjacent track.

Will Big Boy #4014 be off to the races?

Crew preparing to move Union Pacific Big Boy #4014.

Good examples of teamwork removing track.

Two final shots of Union Pacific #4014 a few hours after sunset showing the face of night and the wait until morning for a new day of activity.


November 14, 2013

After NHRA competitions, the Big Boy was moved back inside the RailGiants Museum grounds. The panel track was repositioned and extended further out into the parking lot.

Just before 8am on November 14th, a few of our members walked along the corridor between UP #4014 and UP #9000, which in their respective times manifested Union Pacific’s quest for greater motive power. Our Big Boy’s most dedicated servants posed for final photos standing in front of #4014’s smokebox door.

Our website editor climbed up the fireman’s ladder into its cab for one last look. While there he took a few final photos of its long-time neighbor #9000 to record this point of view soon to disappear. (One was posted on our Twitter page.) Pondered how #4014 and #9000 said goodbye to each other in recent months, and whether they told of all their respective freight hauling stories during their decades here. Union Pacific steam crew members waited to go up, while our editor climbed down the engineer’s ladder, and when he reached the ground told them, “it’s all yours.”

About a quarter past eight, the careful persistent, but cautious move of #4014 began with meticulous eyes validating every wheel turns along the rails. By about 10am, Big Boy reached the end of the assembled track. The few dozen people who where there at its start, grew to about a hundred when it was secured. Some announcements were made by Union Pacific and RailGiants about #4014’s history here and answered questions about its future.

Today wasn’t the first day it had moved in recent months. Last week it was moved out of the museum grounds and moved back. However today, we witnessed it roll out of RailGiants for the last time, because after lunch, the panel track sections behind Big Boy were being removed to be repositioned for its next segment to further it forward into history. More panel track arrives.

Many have asked recently, “what can replace a Big Boy?” Today we answer that nothing has replaced a Big Boy on the Union Pacific System since their last freight runs in July 1959. Therefore, the only appropriate replacement is finally on its way.


November 10, 2013

Waiting for NHRA finals to end, and the subsequent clearing of the fairgrounds parking lot. More panel track sections sit and are ready for assembly.

Big event expected on Thursday, November 14, 2013. Public is welcome.

Los Angeles County Fairgrounds (Fairplex) Blog.


November 3, 2013

About 500 feet of panel track was assembled. This is the furthest the track can extend into the fairgrounds parking lot until conclusion of the NHRA Finals auto race during the November 9th and 10th weekend.

As Union Pacific Big Boy #4014 awaits its next historical event, we observed a past historic recreation.

Union Pacific originally intended to identify the 4x8x8x4 steam locomotives as the “Wasatch” class, named for the mountain range immediately east of Ogden Utah. However, at the Alco facilities in Schenectady New York, workmen nicknamed #4000 as “Big Boy” and wrote this name on its smokebox door.

Hence that famous writing on #4000 in 1941 now appears on #4014.

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