“You’re waiting for a train…”

November 14, 2013

Big Boy moved for the first time in 51 years today! Train fans, media crews and Fairplex employees witnessed the largest steam engine in the world move 1,200 feet across the Fairgrounds, marking her first steps on the journey to Wyoming.

Big Boy rolls steadily along the newly built train tracks

A spokesperson from the RailGiants Train Museum thanked Union Pacific for taking Big Boy for restoration. He acknowledged that she will be missed by all local train enthusiasts, a statement backed by the dozens of train fans who came out for the special occasion.

Ed Dickens, leader of the project, also spoke stating that the restoration of Big Boy won’t be an easy task. “It is meticulous, methodical work,” he said. “We build each part of the [Fairplex] track with acute attention to detail. And this is just the beginning.”

Ed Dickens and crew, speaking at the press conference

Ed went on to thank the L.A. County Fair Association and Fairplex for being welcoming hosts for Big Boy and all the other trains at the RailGiants museum.

Union Pacific also confirmed that Big Boy will be returning to Southern California! UP plans to spend several years restoring the metal giant before she’s ready to run, but as soon as she’s able, she will be coming back.

“We want to bring her down here often. We love California!” Ed said. With the warm weather and the scarcity of rain, Fairplex has been an ideal home for a train like Big Boy.

One of Big Boy’s youngest fans takes the engineer’s seat

All guests were invited to come up close and personal with Big Boy. Fans of all ages flocked to the engine, talking to Union Pacific workers and getting their questions answered. Some lucky fans were able to climb aboard the train too!

Big Boy will be making her way across the Fairgrounds from now until Tuesday, the 19th. After that it’s a brief stop in Colton, CA for two weeks of repairs, then it’s onward towards Wyoming!

It’s been fun to watch the train tracks being built over the past few weeks, and now finally seeing Big Boy herself move for the first time in decades. It’s been an adventure from beginning to end.

Were you here to see Big Boy this morning? Share your experiences with us in the comment box below! We’d love to hear from you.

We will be posting additional updates on the train’s progress on the blog as well as our social media pages. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional photos and coverage.

For more information on Big Boy and Union Pacific, click here. To learn more about the RailGiants Train Museum, open year-round at Fairplex, visit www.railgiants.org.


  1. Please note that “One of Big Boy’s youngest fans takes the conductor’s seat” is actually the engineer’s seat. When the Big Boy was in regular service, the conductor’s seat would have been in the caboose- on the rear end of the train.

  2. Was there for the roll out with my son Jason, who is affiliated with the RailGiants Museum. We took lots of pictures and are looking forward to 4014’s trip up over Cajon Pass when it starts its journey to Cheyenne. Hope to be able to follow it for a while, and get more pictures and a video. I know it will not be for a few years, but Jason and I, along with all railfans around Southern California, eagerly await 4014’s return to the Southland

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