Hello Big Boy: World’s Largest Steam Engine Rolls Into Kansas City
Big Boy 4014 drifted into Union Station on Monday evening as part of a multi-state tour. The world's largest steam locomotive will leave Kansas City early Wednesday morning.
Big Boy 4014 rolled into Union Station on Monday evening, thrilling fans with its steam release and making them cover their ears as it blared its horn.
The vintage 1941 locomotive measures 133 feet long and weighs more than a million pounds.
Fred Overton, from Leawood, was one of hundreds of visitors who wanted to see the historic engine make a stop in Kansas City.
"It's wonderful. It's so good to see a steam train," he said. "It gets your attention. You just don't see many vehicles like that. When you get a chance to, you're looking at history."
Big Boy 4014 was put into service in 1941 to carry loads between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was retired in 1961 after logging more than 1 million miles.
Number 4014 is only one of eight remaining of its kind, but it is the only one still operating.
Henry Ward, a recently retired Union Pacific employee, was one of the hundreds of people milling around waiting for the arrival of the steam engine. He was carrying a digital camera with a telephoto lens for the occasion. Even he was impressed with Big Boy.
"A regular train, I see all those every day. But these other steam engines that come out. They've got a lot of history behind them," Ward said. "There's not that many of them here."
The engine rolled into Union Station around 7 p.m. Monday, but continued down the tracks and out of sight — to the confusion of many waiting visitors.
It had to move down the tracks to allow other trains to pass before it backed up and returned to Union Station to the spot where it will stay so visitors can get a glimpse of it before it leaves Wednesday morning.
Union Pacific completed restoration of the train in 2019 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. When Big Boy is not traveling around the country, it rests in Cheyenne, Wyoming.