'Big Boy' scheduled to pass through county on Wednesday

PARKER – The world's largest steam locomotive is scheduled to travel through western Linn County after noon this Wednesday, Aug. 11. Union Pacific's Big Boy No. 4014 is slated to make a stop in Paola before heading south on the company's tracks to Moran.

The locomotive will make no stops in Linn County, but will pass through Parker, Centerville and Kincaid in Anderson County along the way. It it scheduled to leave Paola at noon and arrive at Moran at 1:45 p.m.

For those who want to see the locomotive up close, it arrives at the West Peoria Street crossing near South Fourth Street at 11:15 a.m. and will remain there until it heads south at noon.

Big Boy will arrive on the tracks at North Chestnut Street and East Randolph Street in Moran and stay 45 minutes before heading south to Parsons, Kan., at 2:30 p.m.

In a release about Big Boy's 2021 tour, the company said 25 Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ogden, Utah. Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world's only operating Big Boy.

This is the first tour since the locomotive was restored for 2019's "Great Race" tours celebrating the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion. The multi-year restoration took place at Union Pacific’s steam shop in Cheyenne following a retirement that spanned six decades.

"Weighing in at 1.2 million pounds, the Big Boy makes a big impression in communities it visits, reminding us of bygone days and the important role the railroad continues to play in our global economy," said Scott Moore, senior vice president of corporate relations and chief administrative officer. "This summer, we are proud to announce that the Big Boy will be back to tour through 10 of the states and hundreds of the communities which Union Pacific serves."

Union Pacific reminds the public to keep safety in 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 rights of way are private property.

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