World's largest steam locomotive stopping in West Chicago in late July
The 150th anniversary celebration of the Transcontinental Railroad's completion isn't over yet. Union Pacific is just gathering steam following its May 9 ceremony in Ogden, Utah, commemorating the anniversary. The newly restored Big Boy No. 4014, the world's largest steam locomotive, is returning to the rails for its own "Great Race Across the Midwest."
No. 4014 left the Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, July 8, but heavy rains and high water levels in central Nebraska made for a longer stay in North Platte.
On July 15, the train left Omaha, heading east with several brief whistle-stops in Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 16-17. It then headed north to Minnesota for a longer stop at the Union Depot in St. Paul. On Friday, July 19, the train will continue its northward journey to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth over the weekend. On Monday, July 22, the train will be heading back south to Union Station in St. Paul before heading southeast to Altoona, Wisconsin and making brief whistle-stops in various Wisconsin towns July 23-25.
The train will be arriving Friday, July 26, in West Chicago at the Union Pacific Larry S. Provo Training Center, 335 Spencer St.
"Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car," a new, multimedia walk-through exhibit providing a glimpse at the past while telling the story of modern-day railroading, is accompanying the Big Boy on its tour.
The exhibit will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 27, or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday, July 28-29.
After entering the converted baggage car, learn about the investment, hard work and know-how that went into building the Transcontinental Railroad. See the evolution of the locomotive, beginning with the world famous UP No. 119 and leading to the modern-day diesel powerhouses. On the opposite wall, rail fans will trace how fresh apples are delivered from California and Washington to New York, and learn about every aspect of rail operations and innovation along the way.
Interactive technology will show how Union Pacific is using lasers, cameras and other detection devices to accurately inspect moving rail cars and railroad track. Folks will be able to test their skills to see how they would measure up as rail car inspectors.
Before they leave, exhibition-goers can see how they connect to the railroad using high-tech thermal reactive tiles. A final display celebrates the history of the Passenger Heritage Fleet through vintage photos. Note: Due to its historic nature, Union Pacific's Heritage Passenger Fleet equipment -- including the Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car -- is not ADA accessible.
In addition to historic rail equipment and traveling museum car, visitors on Saturday and Sunday will have the opportunity to visit a souvenir tent and displays featuring the Illinois Railway Museum, West Chicago City Museum, Pullman National Monument and the National Parks Foundation, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Safe Kids Worldwide and Operation Lifesaver.
Recommended parking is available at the West Chicago Metra train station. The historic rail equipment will be about a 10-minute walk from the depot.
On Tuesday, July 30, the train will depart West Chicago at 8 a.m. and head back west with stops in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden. Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world's only operating Big Boy. It recently completed its inaugural tour to Ogden for Union Pacific's 150th anniversary ceremony. The Big Boy and historic steam locomotive Living Legend No. 844 met nose-to-nose, recreating the iconic image taken May 10, 1869, when the last spike was tapped into place at Promontory Summit, creating America's first Transcontinental Railroad.
"The Transcontinental Railroad forever changed our country, uniting the nation and igniting economic growth that is still evident today," said Scott Moore, senior vice president -- Corporate Relations and chief administrative officer. "There's no bigger way to honor this milestone than bringing the Big Boy back to life and giving people an opportunity to share this historic moment."
Union Pacific strongly encourages fans to keep safety top of mind while viewing and photographing No. 4014 on its journey. For everyone's safety:
• Remember, trains can't stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
• A train's distance and speed can be deceiving.
• The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet -- take extra precaution and stand back at least 25 feet.
• Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and right of way are private property.
• Never assume tracks are abandoned or inactive -- always expect a train.
A comprehensive route map and schedule, including No. 4014's GPS location tracking information is available at upsteam.com.
Due to the dynamic nature of these operations, running times and scheduled stops are subject to change.
For information on nearby public parking and travel tips, visit westchicago.org.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP). One of America's most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. The railroad's diversified business mix is classified into its Agricultural Products, Energy, Industrial and Premium business groups. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.
Nearby public parkingNote: For those traveling from out of town to attend the event, taking Metra is strongly advised. The event is a short walk from the West Chicago Metra station.
Public Parking within walking distance of the Union Pacific Larry S. Provo Training Center in West Chicago is available at the following locations:
• West Chicago Metra Station parking lot at 508 Main St. Handicap parking is located in the Permit Lot, near the train depot. Unmarked spaces are reserved for permit holders Monday through Friday. The permit must be displayed from the inside rear view mirror of the vehicle so that it may be visible from the front of the vehicle. Daily parking at non-permit spaces is $1.75 for a 24-hour period. Multiday parking at non-permit spaces is $3.50 for two days (48 hours), $5.25 for three days (72 hours -- maximum of three consecutive days allowed). The payment machines accept all major credit cards.
There is no charge to park at Permit or Daily Commuter Lot locations on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 12 a.m. Saturday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
• 223 Turner Court -- Triangular parking lot
• 101 Main St. -- Republic Bank parking lot
• Ann & Joliet Street parking lot, just South of Ann across the street from West Chicago Community High School
• 238 West Stimmel St. -- Kerr-McGee parking lot
• 122 Fremont St. -- General parking lot
Parking available on Saturday and Sunday, July 27-28, only:
• 157 W. Washington St. -- District 94 Administrative Building
• 475 Main St. -- City Hall parking lot
Learn more at westchicago.org.