Big Boy makes tracks from Fairplex to Wyoming

November 6, 2013

Big Boy No. 4014

The Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 is one of the largest steam engines in the world, and she is embarking on a journey from Fairplex, CA to Cheyenne, WY.

In order to accomplish this, a railroad is literally being built into the L.A. County Fairgrounds, connecting Big Boy from her home at the Rail Giants Train Museum to the Metrolink station on Arrow Highway. This is the first time Big Boy has moved in 51 years. Union Pacific crew members have spent the last 2.5 months cleaning and tending the engine in preparation for her big move. That’s no easy feat; the locomotive will weigh 605 tons by her departure.

“We are making sure this track is meticulously built,” said Ed Dickens, head of the big train endeavor. [Big Boy] is our baby. We’re taking good care of her.”

The railroad track will run approximately a mile in length. Big Boy will travel to Colton, CA for a brief period of restoration before continuing on the 1,300-mile trek across the Pacific trans-continental railroad to Wyoming. Once in Wyoming, she will undergo restoration and repair by the Union Pacific’s Heritage Fleet Operations team.

Big Boy’s active years date back to World War II, when she spent most of her days pulling mile-long freight trains as part of the transcontinental railroad. “It opens the imagination,” Ed said. “It’s a living piece of history.” Just looking at the enormous piece of machinery invites you into the past.

Big Boy is one of the toughest pieces of machinery in the world. If it were to be taken apart, the metal could build hundreds of thousands of cars. Once she is up and running, she can go as fast as 70 mph.

We hope to welcome Big Boy back to Fairplex at some point in the next few years. Until then, we wish this beautiful engine a wonderful time of restoration and recovery. We can’t wait to see what she looks like in nine years!

The Rail Giants Train Museum will be installing a new engine in place of Big Boy. For additional details on future plans for Big Boy, click here.


  1. What a wonderful exciting event! Union pacific has exceeded their long history in wisdom. Rail fans around the world are talking and passing the news. U P may spend a couple million or more doing this, but the payback will be multi-fold that amount. The excitement now is nothing to what it will be when 4014 comes back to life with steam. I say because I have experience with Live steam and it makes people who aren’t really rail fans smile from ear to ear.

    Kutos to UP and the work team and good luck on a marvelous journey

    James (Mitch) Mitchell
    Salt Creek & Red River Railway
    Greers Ferry, Arkansas

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