The Big Boy No. 4014, the largest steam engine locomotive, made a quick stop in Opelousas, La today and it was by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

Big Boy 4014/ Staff Photo

 

A little history about the world's largest steam locomotive:

The Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941 and was retired in December of 1961 after it traveled 1,031,205 miles during its 20 years of service. There were originally twenty-five Big Boys built for Union Pacific Railroad, the Big Boy No. 4014 being one of them. The Big Boy locomotives are 132 feet in length and weigh 1.2 million pounds. Since these locomotives are so long they were "hinged" to allow them to navigate curves properly and have a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement. This means that they have four wheels on the leading set of wheels that guide the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels that support the rear of the locomotive.

 

This video gives you a good close-up look at the Big Boy 4014, the largest steam engine in the world.

While we were waiting for the Big Boy 4014 to leave I got to talking to a very nice man who was a Union Pacific Police Officer, now this man had a very interesting story of his own but he told me a little something about Big Boy that I thought was really interesting. The Engineer, Ed Dickens, is the only man in the entire company who can drive the Big Boy 4014. Dickens has always had a passion for trains since he was a little boy and quite honestly never thought he would have the job he has today. Dickens worked on several famous railroads throughout his career, including Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. It was on that railroad that he fell in love with steam engines and learned as much as he could about them, thus setting himself up to be a superstar to many.

Big Boy 4014/ Staff Photo

If you weren't able to make it out to see the Big Boy 4014 today, don't worry it will be in the state for a few more days. Tomorrow it will leave Livonia, La at 8 am and head to New Orleans, La where it will be at the Audubon Riverview Park for the weekend. On Sunday the steam engine will depart from New Orleans at 8 am and head back towards Texas. For a complete schedule of where the Big Boy 4014 will travel to next, you can visit the Union Pacific website. 

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