big steam trains
Preserved Big Boy locomotives can be seen today in railroad museums in Cheyenne, Denver, Omaha, Neb., St. Louis, Mo., and other cities. Produced from 1941 to 1944 by the American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, N.Y., exclusively for the Union Pacific Railroad, the Big Boy locomotives were designed primarily to handle heavy freight traffic in Big Boy is a tremendous hit wherever he goes. That New York Post Story Raises One Legitimate Question: Is Hunter Biden Hot? The XA Triplex and other, similar 2-8-8-8-2 locomotives were considered to be failed experiments since many of them struggled to reach their already-low max speed of 10 MPH. Big Boy, one of the largest and most powerful series of steam locomotives ever built. While the PRR’s static test plant verified 7,987 horsepower after testing, some people argue that the impressive PRR Q2 actually reached a full 8,000 horsepower and was the most powerful locomotive to ever have been static tested. The world’s largest steam engine is making its way across the country, attracting crowds in cities and small towns wherever it goes. Union Pacific’s project to rebuild the Big Boy was so ambitious that it was likened to resurrecting a T-Rex! * Union Pacific acquired the retired engine from a museum in 2013 and spent the past several years restoring it. Today, however, we’ll be ranking the 10 largest steam locomotives ever built according to their weights in order to see how they compare. He also produces impressive quantities of charming reactions from awed observers. The steam engine’s name is Big Boy, and he is a very big boy. Correction, July 31, 2019: This post originally misidentified the manufacturer of the Big Boy engines. Big Boy is 132 feet long and weighs more than a million pounds. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. That is a lot of feet and pounds! Big Boy steamed into Ogden, Utah, for the festivities in May, and then continued his journey. The Yellowstone was the largest steam locomotive ever built. This locomotive was originally intended to be much lighter, but World War II resulted in light steel alloy restrictions alongside delaying the PRR S2’s construction schedule. Popular sing-along songs by James Coffey. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Only two Union Pacific Challengers remain intact today, one of which is the impressive Union Pacific 3985. Twenty-five Big Boys were produced. The vast majority of trains around the globe have been converted to diesel or electric, making a trip aboard a steam train a truly memorable experience. You, your children, and grandchildren will thrill to every exciting minute of these big, colorful steam and diesel trains as they thunder on by with lots of close-up action and real life train sounds. In the end, Big Boy is mostly a reminder that huge trains are awesome. Big Boy is currently crossing Iowa, where he will be on display in Des Moines on Thursday and then making his way to Omaha, Nebraska, by the weekend. So just how large can steam locomotives get? This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/technology/Big-Boy-locomotive. The Big Boy locomotives had an articulated design; the frame of the front engine was hinge-connected to the rear engine under a single boiler. The Allegheny steam locomotives were built nearly exclusively for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, except for a few purchased by the Virginian Railway. The sleek, Art Deco -style outer shell of the PRR S1 was designed by French-American industrial designer Raymond Loewy, whom you can see standing with his masterpiece in the photo. He’s so big and trainy that he tends to reduce onlookers and writers to expressions of childlike wonder. It became known as "Big Bertha" or "Big Emma" by railwaymen and railway enthusiasts. And you'll never see this message again. “Thousands turned out to view the engine, whether it was children on their way to Sunday school or travelers from across the continent and around the globe,” Trains magazine reported of the western leg of Big Boy’s journey this summer. Although the Norfolk & Western Y-Class isn’t the largest steam locomotive, it was the strongest in the world while it was up and running. 4014—is in operation. A Big Boy locomotive along with its tender weighed about 604 tons and measured more than 132 feet (40 metres) in length. This articulated locomotive was one of two 2-6-6-6 locomotives that claimed the joint title of most powerful reciprocating steam locomotives to ever have been built. It retired from regular rail service back in 1959, but Norfolk & Western kept its steam locomotives highly active until the 1960’s. (“The soul within 4014’s soundoff is hard to beat,” one poster enthused.) If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. The Yellowstone was the largest steam locomotive ever built. Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! The Challengers were originally designed for speedy freight service, but expanded their repertoire to occasionally include passenger transportation. The steam engine’s name is Big Boy, and he is a very big boy. What Happened to All Those Pandemic Victory Gardens. While the Big Boy might claim the title of largest operating steam locomotive, the Yellowstone tops it in terms of weight. Where duplex locomotives have two sets of drivers running them from within, triplex locomotives have three sets of drivers and a completely different internal design as a result. Many of the countless Big Boy fan videos on YouTube capture that robust steam whistle as he chugs along the tracks. You can cancel anytime. The final surviving Norfolk & Western Y-Class locomotive is now on display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Few machines are as impressive as locomotives, with their sleek appearance and staggering hauling power. The vibe at official Big Boy viewings is one of communal awe and delight. Corrections? With a 14-wheel build and the capacity to carry 25,000 gallons of water, the Union Pacific Challenger easily topped a million pounds in weight. They operated almost exclusively in the mountainous region between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ogden, Utah, and their most prominent service was the pulling of long trains loaded with agricultural produce. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Produced from 1941 to 1944 by the American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, N.Y., exclusively for the Union Pacific Railroad, the Big Boy locomotives were designed primarily to handle heavy freight traffic in the Wasatch Mountains, where trains faced a continuous grade of 1.55 percent on a stretch of track east of Ogden, Utah. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. At over 140 feet in length, this hefty machine was the largest passenger locomotive ever built. Currently chugga-chugga-choo-chooing across the Midwest, the hulking black engine is spreading old-fashioned analog delight across America’s heartland and leaving wholesome local news stories in its wake. While the Big Boy might claim the title of largest operating steam locomotive, the Yellowstone tops it in terms of weight. What Was Your Last Night Out Before Lockdown? Since the resurrection of the Union Pacific Big Boy, it has reclaimed its title as the largest fully-operational steam locomotive in the world. In West Chicago, Illinois, Union Pacific estimated that 45,000 people came to see the behemoth; town officials had initially planned for fewer than 10,000. The added weight resulted in the need for six-wheel leading and trailing trucks to provide extra pushing power. The PRR S2 was able to successfully reach 97% mechanical efficiency, meaning that only 3% of the steam power was lost during propulsion. The experimental PRR S1 was completely unique in its construction and was aptly nicknamed “The Big Engine”. It had a maximum power capacity of more than 6,000 horsepower and could haul a 3,600-ton train unassisted up the Wasatch Mountain grade. There he is! Relatively few Yellowstone locomotives were manufactured: only 72 in total, which were divided into five different classes. The engine had previously had been out of commission for six decades, which makes his journey this summer a very big deal to “railfans,” or train buffs. Suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald reported that some small communities along Big Boy’s path have seen their populations triple as he rolls through town. The American Locomotive Company (ALCO), which manufactured the Challenger, prided itself on incorporating cutting-edge technologies alongside its reliable, high-quality manufacturing. “As my mom and I were getting our first glimpses, a man walking past said to us, ‘There’s Big Boy!’ ” Amanda Zeigler, a friend in Chicago who made the Big Boy pilgrimage last weekend, told me. Big Boy prompts strangers to talk to strangers. Meet the Union Pacific Big Boy, a steam locomotive built to handle extremely heavy freight through the treacherous grades of the Wasatch Mountains. These locomotives were often extremely durable, with some of them even running to this day. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. “Your heartbeat goes up, it’s exhilarating.” —Roger Libra, Minnesota, “I wish my mother was here to see it.” —Regina Smith, Illinois, “We never thought we’d see this day.” —one Wyoming fan, “I’ve been wanting to see one actually running for all my life.” —Rick McClellan, Wisconsin, “As I stated in my Facebook post, it was a big adrenaline rush.”—my dad, in an email that included three video attachments. This astounding machine was so powerful that it could reach speeds of 50 MPH with a full 125 freight cars in tow! Bonus Videos of big trains from engine to caboose plus, how trains work and how to drive them. Steam-powered locomotives were the first type of locomotives built, ushering in a new industrialized era with promises of more efficient cargo hauling and passenger travel. Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. The Triplex certainly carried its share of design flaws, and was not reproduced as a result. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. You’ve run out of free articles. The magazine added that the engine received a “hero’s welcome” in Rock Springs, Wyoming. He is currently on a leg that Union Pacific is calling “The Great Race Across the Midwest.” (You can track his progress on this interactive map.). Big Boy generates tremendous puffs of thick black smoke and white steam as he puffs along the tracks. The name “Yellowstone” was coined by the Northern Pacific Railway, the first owner of one of these powerful locomotives, in reference to their railway lines that ran past Yellowstone National Park.

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