Union Pacific Big Boy

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Union Pacific Big Boy
Big Boy 4014 on display in Pomona, CA
Power typeSteam
Reference:[1]
BuilderAmerican Locomotive Company
Build date1941 (20), 1944 (5)
Total produced25
Configuration4-8-8-4
UIC classification(2′D)D2′ h4
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel
diameter
36 in (914 mm)
Driver diameter68 in (1,727 mm)
Trailing wheel
diameter
42 in (1,067 mm)
Wheelbase72 ft 5.5 in (22.09 m)
LengthLocomotive: 85 ft 3.4 in (25.99 m)
Overall: 132 ft 9 14 in (40.47 m)
Width11 ft (3.4 m)
Height16 ft 2 12 in (4.94 m)
Weight on drivers540,000 lb (244,939.9 kilograms)
Locomotive weight762,000 lb (345,637.4 kilograms)
Tender weight342,200 lb (155,219.3 kilograms) (2/3 load)
Locomotive & tender
combined weight
1,250,000 lb (566,990.5 kilograms)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity28 short tons (25.4 t; 25.0 long tons)
Water capacity25,000 US gal (95,000 l; 21,000 imp gal)
Boiler95 in (2,400 mm)
Boiler pressure300 lbf/in² (2.1 MPa)
Firegrate area150 sq ft (14 m2)
Heating surface:
Tubes and flues
5,035 sq ft (468 m2)
Heating surface:
Firebox
720 sq ft (67 m2)
Heating surface:
Total
5,735 sq ft (533 m2)
Superheater typeType A
Superheater area2,043 sq ft (190 m2)
CylindersFour
Cylinder size23.75 in × 32 in (603 mm × 813 mm)
Top speed80 mph (130 km/h)
Tractive effort135,375 lbf (602.18 kN)
Factor of
adhesion
4.11
CareerUnion Pacific Railroad
Class4000–4019: 4884-1
4020–4024: 4884-2
Last runJuly 21, 1959
Preserved4004, 4005, 4006, 4012, 4014, 4017, 4018, 4023
DispositionEight preserved, remainder scrapped.
 
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Union Pacific Big Boy
Big Boy 4014 on display in Pomona, CA
Power typeSteam
Reference:[1]
BuilderAmerican Locomotive Company
Build date1941 (20), 1944 (5)
Total produced25
Configuration4-8-8-4
UIC classification(2′D)D2′ h4
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel
diameter
36 in (914 mm)
Driver diameter68 in (1,727 mm)
Trailing wheel
diameter
42 in (1,067 mm)
Wheelbase72 ft 5.5 in (22.09 m)
LengthLocomotive: 85 ft 3.4 in (25.99 m)
Overall: 132 ft 9 14 in (40.47 m)
Width11 ft (3.4 m)
Height16 ft 2 12 in (4.94 m)
Weight on drivers540,000 lb (244,939.9 kilograms)
Locomotive weight762,000 lb (345,637.4 kilograms)
Tender weight342,200 lb (155,219.3 kilograms) (2/3 load)
Locomotive & tender
combined weight
1,250,000 lb (566,990.5 kilograms)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity28 short tons (25.4 t; 25.0 long tons)
Water capacity25,000 US gal (95,000 l; 21,000 imp gal)
Boiler95 in (2,400 mm)
Boiler pressure300 lbf/in² (2.1 MPa)
Firegrate area150 sq ft (14 m2)
Heating surface:
Tubes and flues
5,035 sq ft (468 m2)
Heating surface:
Firebox
720 sq ft (67 m2)
Heating surface:
Total
5,735 sq ft (533 m2)
Superheater typeType A
Superheater area2,043 sq ft (190 m2)
CylindersFour
Cylinder size23.75 in × 32 in (603 mm × 813 mm)
Top speed80 mph (130 km/h)
Tractive effort135,375 lbf (602.18 kN)
Factor of
adhesion
4.11
CareerUnion Pacific Railroad
Class4000–4019: 4884-1
4020–4024: 4884-2
Last runJuly 21, 1959
Preserved4004, 4005, 4006, 4012, 4014, 4017, 4018, 4023
DispositionEight preserved, remainder scrapped.

Big Boy was the name of the Union Pacific Railroad's 4000-class 4-8-8-4 articulated steam locomotives, built between 1941 and 1944 by American Locomotive Company (Alco). The 25 Big Boys were the only locomotives to have the 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, with two sets of eight driving wheels, a four-wheel leading truck for stability entering curves and a four-wheel trailing truck to support the large firebox.

Contents

Design

Union Pacific Railroad (UP) introduced the Challenger-type (4-6-6-4) locomotives in 1936 on its main line across Wyoming. For most of the way the maximum grade is 0.82% in either direction, but the climb eastward from Ogden, Utah into the Wasatch Range (Wahsatch, on the railroad) reached 1.14%. Hauling a 3,600-short-ton (3,300 t; 3,200-long-ton) freight train demanded doubleheading and helper operations, and adding and removing the helper engines from a train slowed operations.

The answer was to design a new locomotive, but for such locomotives to be worthwhile they had to be faster and more powerful than slow mountain luggers like the earlier compound 2-8-8-0s that UP tried after World War I. To avoid locomotive changes, the new class would need to pull long trains at sustained speed—60 miles per hour (100 km/h)—once past the mountain grades. (The 1950s Wyoming Div timetables allowed them 50 mph (80 km/h) or less, passenger or freight.)

Led by Otto Jabelmann, the UP's design team worked with Alco to re-examine the Challengers, which had been designed by A.H. Fetters. They found that the goals could be achieved by making several changes to the Challenger design, including enlarging the firebox to about 235 by 96 inches (5.97 m × 2.44 m) (about 155 sq ft/14.4 m2), lengthening the boiler, adding four driving wheels and reducing the size of the driving wheels from 69 to 68 in (1,753 to 1,727 mm).

The Big Boys are articulated, like the Mallet locomotive design. They were designed for stability at 60 miles per hour (100 km/h). They were built with a heavy margin of reliability and safety, as they normally operated well below that speed in freight service. Peak horsepower was reached at about 35 mph (56 km/h); optimal tractive effort, at about 10 mph (16 km/h).

Without the tender, the Big Boy had the longest engine body of any reciprocating steam locomotive.

Operation

The backhead (controls) of 4017 at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI

Twenty-five Big Boys were built, in two groups of ten and one of five. All burned coal, with large grates to burn the low-quality Wyoming coal from mines owned by the railroad.

As an experiment Locomotive 4005 was converted to burn oil, but unlike a similar effort with the Challenger types, this was not successful, and the locomotive was soon changed back to coal. The cited reason for this failure was the use of a single burner, which created uneven heating in the Big Boy's large firebox. It is unknown why multiple burners were not employed, though with dieselization in full swing after 1945 the company probably lost interest in steam.

Postwar increases in the price of both coal and labor and the efficiency of diesel-electric motive power foretold a limited life for the Big Boys, but they were among the last steam locomotives taken out of service. Towards the end of the 4000s' career (in the late 1950s) it was found that they could still pull more than their rated tonnage of 3,600 tons (3,300 t). Their ratings were increased several times until they regularly pulled 4,450 short tons (4,040 t) up the Wasatch grade.

The last revenue train hauled by a Big Boy ended its run early in the morning on July 21, 1959. Most were stored operational until 1961, and four remained in operational condition at Green River, Wyoming until 1962. Their duties were assumed by diesels and turbines.

Preservation

Big Boy 4023 on permanent display in Omaha, Nebraska

The Big Boy is well represented among preserved steam locomotives in the United States. All except 4005 and 4017 are in the open without protection from the elements. The dry air of Southern California has helped 4014 to remain well preserved, assisted by care of the local chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. The Steamtown example is also said[by whom?] to be in good condition, though the harsher weather of the northeast has taken its toll. The Forney Transportation Museum in Denver moved 4005 to a renovated building in January 2001. Thanks to considerable fundraising and volunteer efforts, 4017 now resides with other pieces of railroad equipment in a climate-controlled shed at the museum in Green Bay. Number 4023 is the only known Big Boy to move by highway since preservation, to the new Kenefick Park in Omaha. Number 4018 is planned to be moved to a new location north of Dallas in Frisco, Texas. There are no operable Big Boys, though Union Pacific announced in late 2012 that it is interested in possibly acquiring a Big Boy to restore to operating condition. 4014 appears to be the one UP would like to restore. [2]

Big Boy 4012 on display at Steamtown National Historic Site
Big Boy 4006 on display at the Museum of Transportation, outside St. Louis, Missouri
Eight of the 25 Union Pacific Big Boys still exist:

Current and past scale model manufactures

References

  1. ^ C.B. Peck, ed. (1950). 1950-52 Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice. New York: Simmons-Boardman. pp. 501, 519, 523, 545.
  2. ^ "Union Pacific looking to restore Big Boy for excursion service". Trains. http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20News/News%20Wire/2012/12/Union%20Pacific%20looking%20to%20restore%20Big%20Boy%20for%20excursion%20service.aspx. Retrieved 2012-12-08.

Kratville, William W. (1972). Big Boy. Omaha: Kratville Publications.

External links