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View Full Version : Big Boy 4014 hits the main line - They said it couldn't be done.



DATo
05-04-2019, 11:43 AM
This is a story that could bring a tear to the crustiest machinist and/or railroad aficionado. After five years of restoration the first Union Pacific "Big Boy" has achieved full restoration and hit the main line YESTERDAY, May 3, 2019 for trial runs and evaluations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR7Q27cIEvo (35 minutes)

They said it couldn't be done. It was too heavy, too long, it burned too much fuel, and would cost too much to restore. But they were wrong. Union Pacific, Big Boy #4014, now holds the title of the Worlds largest operating steam locomotive. This locomotive underwent a frame up rebuild and is now better than new. This was a big day for the #4014. It was the first time it was taken out of the yard and onto the main line.

To get a sense of the size of this behemoth go to the 16 minute mark and compare it to the size of the workers.

We have one in my city and you can go and look at it, but to see this beauty under power in this video as it looked when it was first made is something quite special to behold.

fjk
05-04-2019, 12:23 PM
Awesome
Thanks

Frank

tlfamm
05-04-2019, 12:43 PM
Another video of a (the?) test run, complete with whistle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMNOnduYV3M



The Big Boy will appear from the upper right of the frame.

lynnl
05-04-2019, 01:05 PM
Why do we not hear that familiar steam engine "chuffing" sound? Is this a steam turbine?

CarlByrns
05-04-2019, 02:23 PM
Why do we not hear that familiar steam engine "chuffing" sound? Is this a steam turbine?

This locomotive has four cylinders, hence the different stack sound.

LKeithR
05-04-2019, 02:31 PM
Why do we not hear that familiar steam engine "chuffing" sound? Is this a steam turbine?

You need to get a little load on the engine and get the speed up, then the exhaust begins to "pop" some...

CarlByrns
05-04-2019, 02:36 PM
It's worth noting that UP has a full-time paid steam staff and deep pockets, not a few volunteers with limited funds. Also, 4014's rebuild was on a strict schedule and missing a target date meant heads would roll.

RB211
05-04-2019, 04:08 PM
You are hearing a steam turbine, but it is the electric generator that powers the lights.
I was in Salt Lake City Utah, near where they are going to run it. Was thinking about flying up there to see it in person, but rather not compete with the 100,000 rail fans from around the world doing the same, if not twice that number.
It is a miracle that anyone would restore a Big Boy, let alone do it RIGHT! Every rail fan should have a tear in their eyes, and if you don't, you ain't a rail fan.

quasi
05-04-2019, 04:43 PM
what is with the pusher locomotive on the back of the train?

RB211
05-04-2019, 05:14 PM
what is with the pusher locomotive on the back of the train?

Most operations with steam locomotives will have a diesel in the consist as a backup, it is just sitting idle. They don't want to tie up a line in case of something breaking on the steamer that would preclude it from running on its own.

JRouche
05-04-2019, 05:16 PM
This is a story that could bring a tear to the crustiest machinist and/or railroad aficionado.

Im not even into trains and that was super cool. Thanks for sharing. JR

Tungsten dipper
05-04-2019, 07:11 PM
Had a close friend who was in charge of bring back the 4014 from Los Angeles to Cheyenne to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, Ed died of a heart attack in the process. Attached is a photo of the crew from the Union Pacific, speaking at Ed's funeral. What Ed would give to see this magnificent steam locomotive finished. Every time I hear itís thunderous whistle my heart goes out to Ed Gerlits.
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190504/404c4e41cc8b507776fcdaaccd25b38b.jpg


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MikeL46
05-04-2019, 08:02 PM
As the engine is backing out of the house, in the next track is a tender marked 4014. The tender on the back of 4014 simply marked UP. Is that piece not yet ready for use? Or is the original for different fuel? Or why?

Mike

Tungsten dipper
05-04-2019, 08:15 PM
As the engine is backing out of the house, in the next track is a tender marked 4014. The tender on the back of 4014 simply marked UP. Is that piece not yet ready for use? Or is the original for different fuel? Or why?

Mike

It hasn't been converted to oil yet.

Sparky_NY
05-04-2019, 09:35 PM
You are hearing a steam turbine, but it is the electric generator that powers the lights.
.

I searched but could not find any reference to a steam turbine in that locomotive. Any reference where you got that information?

CarlByrns
05-04-2019, 10:15 PM
I searched but could not find any reference to a steam turbine in that locomotive. Any reference where you got that information?

The turbine being referred to is the turbogenerator that supplies electricity to the locomotive (mostly for lighting). It sits on top of the boiler and makes a constant whirring sound.

CarlByrns
05-04-2019, 10:20 PM
Most operations with steam locomotives will have a diesel in the consist as a backup, it is just sitting idle. They don't want to tie up a line in case of something breaking on the steamer that would preclude it from running on its own.

Also, the steam locomotive may not have the electronics necessary for traffic signalling. The diesel will.

JoeLee
05-05-2019, 12:00 AM
That was really interesting thanks for posting it. I saw something about that once before here, maybe it was when they were working on it. just out of curiosity, where has this thing been sitting all these years before they started restoring it? Any pictures of when it was tore down and what exactly they did to it to during the restoration ?

JL....

J Tiers
05-05-2019, 01:23 AM
I like it.

I'll have to keep an eye out for it passing through here. But my uncle, who I used to send the videos I made of other engines to, died last year, and nobody else in the family will appreciate them.

Now someone needs to do an Allegheny... they were even bigger, at least weight-wise.

Willy
05-05-2019, 01:56 AM
I like it.

I'll have to keep an eye out for it passing through here. But my uncle, who I used to send the videos I made of other engines to, died last year, and nobody else in the family will appreciate them.

Now someone needs to do an Allegheny... they were even bigger, at least weight-wise.

Someone already has.:)

https://www.wyso.org/post/recreating-large-locomotives-smaller-scale



https://www.wyso.org/sites/wyso/files/styles/x_large/public/201612/DSCN2700.JPG

Paul Alciatore
05-05-2019, 02:27 AM
Well I do.

That is a magnificent piece of machinery.




You are hearing a steam turbine, but it is the electric generator that powers the lights.
I was in Salt Lake City Utah, near where they are going to run it. Was thinking about flying up there to see it in person, but rather not compete with the 100,000 rail fans from around the world doing the same, if not twice that number.
It is a miracle that anyone would restore a Big Boy, let alone do it RIGHT! Every rail fan should have a tear in their eyes, and if you don't, you ain't a rail fan.

DATo
05-05-2019, 06:51 AM
Glad you guys liked the video.

Long ago on a lazy weekday when I was off work I visited The Missouri Museum Of Transportation in St. Louis and spoke with one of the administrators. I and a friend were the only people visiting at that time and the guy we were talking with was able to spend quite a bit of time with us. One of the things I never forgot was his explanation of the size of the links which connect the wheels. He told us that way back in the day the manufacturers had no way to tell if a casting was defective. There was no ultrasound or X-ray techniques for metals available back then. Tensile tests were performed which could insure the strength of the batch of metal which went into the pour, but there was no way to know if there were cracks or flaws in the casting itself. As a result they oversized the casting significantly to add greater strength which is why on some of the older engines the links look massive in comparison to the wheels.

They have a "Big Boy" in the yard I visited and I think they actually got it moving at one point in the yard but never on any extended runs such as the one in the video. I got inside the engineer's compartment on several of the engines including the Big Boy and one thing I noticed was asbestos warnings on every engine. Apparently asbestos was used extensively in the assembly of the boilers ect. Back then they would let you get in, I don't know if they still do. I remember that I was absolutely flabbergasted by the number of valves, levers, gauges and other adjustments in the cab.

A bit of trivia involving the "Big Boy" that he told us (the Big Boy was the object of our visit) was that when the first engine was complete and ready to be rolled out of the factory one particularly enterprising worker hauled a ladder to the landing of the front deck and wrote "Big Boy" in chalk on the front of the engine. This was the nickname the workers had been calling it during construction. Little could this worker have known that this simple act of chimerical playfulness would baptize this series of engines with a name which would go down in railroad history and lore and eventually become known around the world among railroad enthusiasts. I thought it was particularly fitting and moving that the restoration included this on the restored #4014 as it was originally displayed.

And ..... my apologies for not including "OT" on the title of the thread.

/

Tungsten dipper
05-05-2019, 06:59 AM
Also, the steam locomotive may not have the electronics necessary for traffic signalling. The diesel will.

This engine is equipped with all electronics necessary to communicate with the traffic signaling. No diesel is needed.

CarlByrns
05-05-2019, 07:35 AM
This engine is equipped with all electronics necessary to communicate with the traffic signaling. No diesel is needed.

Hence the qualifier "may". I'm surprised- the cab of a steam locomotive is a very hostile environment for electronics. I know that back in the day steam locos were equipped with Automatic Train Stop, but that was a simple electromechanical system. Did steam ever use CTC?

RB211
05-05-2019, 07:48 AM
Hence the qualifier "may". I'm surprised- the cab of a steam locomotive is a very hostile environment for electronics. I know that back in the day steam locos were equipped with Automatic Train Stop, but that was a simple electromechanical system. Did steam ever use CTC?

The newly built British steamers have CTC for modern day mainline running. However, most railroads will not allow a steamer on a mainline, much less friction bearings. The UP is the UP, and can do what it wants.
By 1960, everything was Diesel, don't know when modern CTC came about.

old mart
05-05-2019, 12:21 PM
I think the diesel is along just in case the steam locomotive breaks down, it would save so much time.

Willy
05-05-2019, 01:49 PM
Glad you guys liked the video.

Long ago on a lazy weekday when I was off work I visited The Missouri Museum Of Transportation in St. Louis and spoke with one of the administrators. I and a friend were the only people visiting at that time and the guy we were talking with was able to spend quite a bit of time with us. One of the things I never forgot was his explanation of the size of the links which connect the wheels. He told us that way back in the day the manufacturers had no way to tell if a casting was defective. There was no ultrasound or X-ray techniques for metals available back then. Tensile tests were performed which could insure the strength of the batch of metal which went into the pour, but there was no way to know if there were cracks or flaws in the casting itself. As a result they oversized the casting significantly to add greater strength which is why on some of the older engines the links look massive in comparison to the wheels.

They have a "Big Boy" in the yard I visited and I think they actually got it moving at one point in the yard but never on any extended runs such as the one in the video. I got inside the engineer's compartment on several of the engines including the Big Boy and one thing I noticed was asbestos warnings on every engine. Apparently asbestos was used extensively in the assembly of the boilers ect. Back then they would let you get in, I don't know if they still do. I remember that I was absolutely flabbergasted by the number of valves, levers, gauges and other adjustments in the cab.

A bit of trivia involving the "Big Boy" that he told us (the Big Boy was the object of our visit) was that when the first engine was complete and ready to be rolled out of the factory one particularly enterprising worker hauled a ladder to the landing of the front deck and wrote "Big Boy" in chalk on the front of the engine. This was the nickname the workers had been calling it during construction. Little could this worker have known that this simple act of chimerical playfulness would baptize this series of engines with a name which would go down in railroad history and lore and eventually become known around the world among railroad enthusiasts. I thought it was particularly fitting and moving that the restoration included this on the restored #4014 as it was originally displayed.

And ..... my apologies for not including "OT" on the title of the thread.

/

I meant to say thank you for posting this previously, I've been following the restoration project for some time now.
The last video I saw was taken about 5 days before she hit the tracks, while they were doing some steam tests and firing up the boiler for the first time. I was going to post that one here and thought I'll wait a few days till she's ready, Then life got in the way and it had slipped my mind till I saw your thread.
What a beauty, and yes I noticed the chalk written Big Boy as well. Nice touch!

No "OT" required, lots of machine work went into that puppy!

JoeLee
05-05-2019, 03:34 PM
As the engine is backing out of the house, in the next track is a tender marked 4014. The tender on the back of 4014 simply marked UP. Is that piece not yet ready for use? Or is the original for different fuel? Or why?

MikeThanks for clarifying that. Some people may have thought that it meant this side "up" for assembly purposes. Ha, ha,.

JL........................

JoeLee
05-05-2019, 03:35 PM
The newly built British steamers have CTC for modern day mainline running. However, most railroads will not allow a steamer on a mainline, much less friction bearings. The UP is the UP, and can do what it wants.
By 1960, everything was Diesel, don't know when modern CTC came about. What's the difference what kind of bearings it has??

JL...................

tlfamm
05-05-2019, 06:28 PM
Interesting excerpt on the B.B.:

http://trn.trains.com/~/media/files/pdf/ebooks/bigboy.pdf

tlfamm
05-05-2019, 06:32 PM
I can't find any discussion on whether or not the Big Boy was equipped with a "drifting throttle" (mechanism for dynamic braking). Anybody know??

JoeLee
05-05-2019, 07:23 PM
What is a drifting throttle?

JL.....

Tungsten dipper
05-05-2019, 08:23 PM
I can't find any discussion on whether or not the Big Boy was equipped with a "drifting throttle" (mechanism for dynamic braking). Anybody know??

Dynamic braking is used only with electromotive diesels. It is when they reverse the traction motors to generators to produce "braking" under 7mph; and the excess electricity is diverted to the top on the engines to the heat grids.

Tungsten dipper
05-05-2019, 08:27 PM
As the engine is backing out of the house, in the next track is a tender marked 4014. The tender on the back of 4014 simply marked UP. Is that piece not yet ready for use? Or is the original for different fuel? Or why?

Mike

The tender that is in current use behind the Big Boy is from the 3985 engine which is an oil burner. The 4014 was built to burn coal, it's tender is up next, for the conversion to oil.

tlfamm
05-05-2019, 08:42 PM
Dynamic braking is used only with electromotive diesels. It is when they reverse the traction motors to generators to produce "braking" under 7mph.

Steam locomotives can have a form of dynamic braking (roughly equivalent to a Jake brake on a semi-truck) in which the valve gear is set to "reverse motion", while the loco/train are making forward progress, causing the loco's pistons to start compressing saturated steam in the cylinders. The steam is admitted into the cylinders via the "drifting throttle", a process that also prevents the cylinders from inhaling (abrasive) cinders. As the steam-engine (the prime-mover) is now an energy-sink, train speed is retarded. The engineer might also apply the loco's air-brakes and/or the train brakes as necessary (and prudent).

The previous generation of dynamic braking on a steam loco, "water-brakes" (Le Chatelier brakes), was devised mid/late 19th century; the current "drifting-throttle" system was developed early in the 20th century. There is a long history of experimentation with dynamic-braking of steam locomotives. Sometimes these braking systems are termed "counter-pressure brakes".

More info here:

http://ngdiscussion.net/phorum/read.php?1,321563,321579

J Tiers
05-06-2019, 01:24 AM
What's the difference what kind of bearings it has??

JL...................

My understanding is that ONLY roller bearings are allowed on the tracks, by a Federal level rule. Has been like that since way back when steam was still in use. Some steam locos were made with them, and they can run, nothing with plain bearings can, not a loco, not a railcar.

I have seen where a locomotive had to be shipped on a car because of that.

alcova
05-06-2019, 01:26 AM
One reason you don't hear much chuffing of the steam engine is that it is still in the break in period, they used slight amount of steam on the throttle.... mostly to keep the cylinders lubricated, the diesel engine was the prime mover while they are breaking in the engine while running on the line

JoeLee
05-06-2019, 07:06 AM
My understanding is that ONLY roller bearings are allowed on the tracks, by a Federal level rule. Has been like that since way back when steam was still in use. Some steam locos were made with them, and they can run, nothing with plain bearings can, not a loco, not a railcar.

I have seen where a locomotive had to be shipped on a car because of that.Yes, but what is the reasoning behind this?

JL................

DATo
05-06-2019, 07:08 AM
One reason you don't hear much chuffing of the steam engine is that it is still in the break in period, they used slight amount of steam on the throttle.... mostly to keep the cylinders lubricated, the diesel engine was the prime mover while they are breaking in the engine while running on the line

I think if you go to the 17 : 08 mark you can hear the chugging sound faintly against the clanking sound if you listen carefully. The camera is just too far away to record the sounds well. I think if the cameraman was next to the engine as it was passing by you'd hear it a lot more distinctly.

old mart
05-06-2019, 09:21 AM
The powers that be, are worried that the busy tracks could be blocked by a large locomotive with seized bearings. Especially in the USA where long stretches of single track are common.
I remember, many years ago, adverts in National Geographic magazines for Timken taper roller bearings on rolling stock. You could tell straight away if there was impending failure just by feeling the temperature of each axel bearing block. It took only a couple of seconds for each one.

Willy
05-06-2019, 09:51 AM
The powers that be, are worried that the busy tracks could be blocked by a large locomotive with seized bearings. Especially in the USA where long stretches of single track are common.
I remember, many years ago, adverts in National Geographic magazines for Timken taper roller bearings on rolling stock. You could tell straight away if there was impending failure just by feeling the temperature of each axel bearing block. It took only a couple of seconds for each one.

I believe this is correct.
Plain journal bearings required much more maintenance, monitoring , and constant attention to make sure the cotton batting used to keep them oiled had not dried out. Their rate of failure was much greater and were the cause of derailments and fires.
They were the reason the term "hot box" was coined, not that roller bearings completely eliminated the issue but their failure rate was much lower as was the amount of maintenance and supervision required.

Fasttrack
05-06-2019, 12:26 PM
I've been following the Big Boy restoration for a little while now. Very cool to see a bohemoth like this brought back to life.

I'm also currently involved in a rail-related project at work. I was astounded to learn how well instrumented the rails are. I tend to think of trains as being a somewhat antiquated mode of transportation but there is some very cool technology in place including, among other things, "hot box detectors". They measure the temperature of the bearings as cars roll by. Nearly every piece of rolling stock in the US also has its own unique RFID so if a hot bearing is detected, it is reported along with the unique identifier of the car that needs service. There is actually a whole slew of "defect detectors" that allowed railroads to do away with cabooses and instead use instrumentation to monitor trains and rails.

The rail aficionados here know way more about this than I do, I'm sure, but the talk above about plain vs. roller bearings made me think of it. For casual rail fans like me, I was really surprised!

RB211
05-06-2019, 01:46 PM
Yes, but what is the reasoning behind this?

JL................

Talking to the old timers, hobo's and others would open up the axle box covers and remove the wadding inside that would wick the oil up to the axle. Apparently they were an excellent way to start a camp fire in a pinch. Those old bearings were almost exactly like a headstock bearing of an old South Bend lathe, except only the top half of the axle had a bearing to ride in, and that brass pivoted. The Big Boy was one of the last to be designed and made, so thus had roller bearings. Older locomotives, before the late 1930's would be friction bearings. Timken had a locomotive that was all roller bearings as a sales piece, #1111, that toured the country in 1930.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timken_1111

lynnl
05-07-2019, 12:38 PM
Here's another 4014 video, on a Cheyenne to Rawlins, WY run:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REgH3pT4IH0

For the rail and train enthusiasts who may not know, the RFDTV channel runs a weekly "Trains and Locomotives" hour-long program, consisting mostly of old films made to appeal to the rail aficionado. Very informative, especially for those like me having not much knowledge about trains and the rail business. I've learned a lot from those, but still have a million questions every time I watch one.

tlfamm
05-12-2019, 10:41 AM
Tripped over this:

The wreck of Big Boy 4005 in 1953:

https://www.forneymuseum.org/News_BigBoyWreck.html

tlfamm
05-12-2019, 07:21 PM
Clever role for the diesel-electric locomotive in the initial test runs of the rebuilt Big Boy:

"With the words “Big Boy” chalked on its smokebox door over a “V” for victory as it was in 1941 on the first Big Boy, No. 4014 left Cheyenne with a water car and two tool cars in tow, bound for Greeley, Colo. A modern diesel trailed in dynamic brake mode to simulate a load."

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2019/05/03-big-boy-debuts-with-test-run