Big Boy 4014 steam engine coming to Prescott

By Staff, 11/5/19 1:01 PM

PRESCOTT – Train enthusiasts will be thrilled next week when the Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 rolls in to Prescott.

The train is scheduled to arrive at the Nevada County Depot at 3 p.m. on Nov. 12 and remain overnight. Judy Duke, curator of the Nevada County Depot and Museum, said the museum will be staying open later when the train arrives to allow visitors to check things out. The Prescott High School Band will be on hand to perform, most likely setting up in the breezeway.

In addition, Duke said, the Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs will be on hand, helping out. The Kiwanis Club will be helping with parking, using the vacant lot across the street from the Depot, while the Rotary Club will have refreshments. The Lions will be bringing the club’s food wagon for those who get hungry while viewing the train.

It can’t be stressed enough, Union Pacific officials will not allow anyone on the tracks while the train is in Prescott. While the line the Big Boy is on won’t be in use, the rest of the tracks will be. Officers with the Prescott Police Department will also be on hand to make sure everyone stays safe.

Local residents need to realize the Olive Street crossing will be closed from the time the train arrives until it leaves Nov. 13 around 9 a.m. The Big Boy engine is 133 feet and the entire train will be about 1,500 feet long.

The reason for this, Duke said, is UP is celebrating its 150th anniversary, along with the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. “This will be a big day,” she said, “and a great opportunity as the train is only being made open to the public in 10 stops and is only stopping overnight in 10 places.”

The Big Boy’s return to the rails is the result of more than two years of restoration by UP Steam Team. The 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive. This is a one-of-a-kind machine and is described as a “mechanical beast” being 133-feet long, standing 17-feet tall and weighing 1.2 million pounds.

It’s the largest steam locomotive in the world. This particular engine was in service for 20 years and traveled more than 1,031,205 miles before being retired. For this commemorative trip, the Big Boy 4014 started in Cheyenne, WY on Sept. 27 and will be making stops along the Union Pacific Southwest corridor with stops in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah, before returning to Cheyenne on Nov. 27.

The cities the 4014 is being displayed are: Provo, Utah; Las Vegas, NV; Greater Los Angeles, CA; Tucson, AZ; El Paso, TX; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; Marshall, TX; Little Rock, AR; and Kansas City, MO.

When the train arrives in Prescott, people are reminded to stand back at least 25 feet or more from the tracks to avoid debris and steam from the locomotive, as well as to avoid being hit by the train.

The public’s safety, Duke said, is one of the top priorities for UP officials on this trip. She added, businesses in Prescott should benefit from the train’s visit as it has a following and upwards of 2,500 people could descend on Prescott when it’s here.