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August 25, 2008
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Relic, Survived by classictrains Relic, Survived by classictrains
One amazing day in Cheyenne, Wyoming while taking pictures of Union Pacific's gas-turbines (see #4 in the background) I happened to see, sitting over in the dead line, Big Boy #4023.

I had heard that it was locked away in a roundhouse and that there were on-and-off discussions about trying to get her under steam again. I never expected to be able to see her but there she was getting a sunbath. To my utter amazment I was actually able to walk around to her sunny side and grab a snap while hanging on the side of some other car on the next track.

She hasn't ever been under steam again but she has been cosmetically restored beautifully and can be seen in today in a Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
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:iconmatt-durkan-railways:
matt-durkan-railways Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
What a machine. Power defined.
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:iconpwesty:
Pwesty Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2008
Man he is mighty sight. If I would have been there I would have given him a big hug just for surviving the cutters torch.
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:iconclassictrains:
classictrains Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
I never expected to see her outside... my jaw hung open.
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:icondragstrip:
Dragstrip Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
How difficult would it be to get this under steam again? It couldn't be any harder than getting an old airplane into the air...
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:iconclassictrains:
classictrains Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2008
Incredibly difficult. Her guts are rotten. You would be better off building a new one from scratch. She has also been used for parts to keep the Challenger alive. Different engine but lot's of gauges, valves, piping, etc. could be reused.
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:iconpwesty:
Pwesty Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2008
I have heard that out of the eight BB that are left to us, four are are good shape to be restored. And out of those four, two are in the best shape to return. But the sad thing about that it will never happen.
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:icondragstrip:
Dragstrip Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2008
I see what you mean an airplane is easier than that giant because it didn't have superheated water running through it's inards. Still it would be an awsome sight.
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:icondragstrip:
Dragstrip Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
All hail the Big Boy and it's 560 tons of steam driven glory!
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
560 tons of RAW POWER!!! :D
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:iconclassictrains:
classictrains Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
Impressive even when cold.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
Most Deffinentaly! :D
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:iconmikopol:
mikopol Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
Amazing steam monster :)
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:iconshenanigan87:
shenanigan87 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Magnificient machine! :)
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:iconherrdrayer:
HerrDrayer Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
There seems to be talk about restoring a big boy to steam about once every three years or so, but thus far I've only seen Challenger 3985 fire up. It would be neat to see one running again, but I'm focusing my anticipation on Doyle McCormack's Alco PA instead. :)
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:iconfactorone33:
factorone33 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008  Professional Photographer
Challenger was supposed to make an excursion back in June, and I don't know if it did or not, but rumor has it that one of the Challengers could be restored if UP can find a boiler shop willing to do all the welding and re-casting of the tubing to get it going.

Plus I think one of the cylinders needs to be re-honed or something like that.
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:iconherrdrayer:
HerrDrayer Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
The only reason 3985 came back from the dead is because some nut job went out to the park where it was on display and oiled the bearings on a regular basis. If the bearings had frozen up, restoration would have been prohibitively expensive. So, the question is whether some nutter has kept up with oiling the bearings of a static big boy...
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:iconfactorone33:
factorone33 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008  Professional Photographer
Considering one has been in the roundhouse at North Platte (or Cheyenne, depending on who you talk to), it's plausible one could have been maintained at that level for some time. You also have to remember that the 844 and 3985 were both restored by volunteer employees, not the company (though the company does take credit now), so it's plausible that someone's out there lookin' out for the Challenger.
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:iconherrdrayer:
HerrDrayer Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Let's hope so. The only trouble is that there would be very little use for a working Big Boy. Challenger rarely pulls a train long enough to challenge its horsepower. Only railfans really care about the difference between a 4-6-6-4 and a 4-8-8-4. I just think there's not much of a market out there for a big boy that the challenger 3985 can't fulfill. It would be cool though.
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:iconhunter1828:
hunter1828 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Fantastic, Chris!
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:iconpmccrory72:
pmccrory72 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
This is an amazing find!!! Imagine the feel of this going by under full steam. I am glad you got this great photo.
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:icondesertdogh:
desertdogh Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
An amazing creation....
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:icontarryagoat:
TarryAGoat Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008   Photographer
What a gorgeous machine!
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