up 4012 4-8-8-4 big boy

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by mummert, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. mummert

    mummert Member

    I was at steamtown this weekend in Scranton Pa. and took a few pictures.

    UP 4012 4-8-8-4 big boy
    Snow plow

    Snow blower


    If you have never been there it is worth the trip. You can even take a short train ride for $3.
  2. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    that is ver cool,yet o so sad to see all that awesome equipment rusting away.what all there is still running?that big boy didnt look too awful.--josh
  3. mummert

    mummert Member

    I couldnt look around as much as I wanted to because I had my three year old with me. But I believe they have three steam locomotives that can run one of which was not there because because it was out on a run to the Deleware Water Gap and the other two were in the roundhouse for maintanance. I did do a little history check on the big boy and found it could become operational with a few minor repairs but there are no plans to do so because of the engines huge weight.:(
    Here is a link to their web site if anyone is interested. Steamtown National Historic Site - Steamtown National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)
  4. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    mummert:wav: , THANK YOU!, for posting those GREAT SHOTS!!!:thumb::thumb: guess which one i liked the best:winki: . boy, that Russell snow plow has sure seen better days:frowns: . THANKS! :deano: -Deano
  5. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    that place is soooo cool.i wish i had time to go,but alas,work is in the way...again.but it is truly sad to see incredible items that are totally repairable yet time,money or insufficient equipment get in the way of fixing one of the coolest locos ever* :(--josh​

    *i mean the 2-6-6-6 Alleghany :D JK​
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    There was an artical in Trains magazine a few years ago (I think it was Trains, may have been Railroad & Railfan). The director of the steam program for the U.P. was asked if they would ever retore a Big Boy to running condition and use it like the Challenger. He said no. The cost to operate a Big Boy in fuel alone is huge. I think it was twice the cost of operating the Challenger per mile, but I don't remember for sure. I do remember that he contrasted the cost per mile of the Challenger to the Big Boy, and the difference was huge.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    That doesn't sound too likely.
  8. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    correct me if im wrong here but it couldnt cost that much more per mile could it?,the tender on a big boy was not THAT much bigger than the challenger.its only 4 more driving wheels and a little bit bigger pistons.--josh
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I mentioned this just a few minutes ago in another thread, but the cost is actually probably due to the restrictions placed on the Big Boy's clearance. You have to send more labor out into the field to check boiler overhang and such...not to mention the axle and bridge loadings.

    Further...the railroad didn't restore the challenger (or the 844). Volunteers (most of whom happened to be UP employees) restored the 3985 on their own time. The 844 was actually never retired. So they wouldn't really have much reason to restore a Big Boy.

    But, nice pictures from Steamtown! They been restoring Altoona's Pensy K-4 now for around a decade! They've also got a few other projects in addition to their Canadian engines that they run and their Baldwin 0-6-0. The 759 used to run in the 1960's and 70's...she's there. Personally, I prefer their NYC&Stl 4-6-0, but I'm obviously a little biased from my screen name ;-) It's really hard for any organization to keep up with the weather, especially when you have 20+ steam locomotives and a bunch of cars. Nice picture of the Rotaty snow plow!
    PS: was the big boy still next to the hotel, or has it been moved to the museum...that looks like their roundhouse in the background of your picture.
  10. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    Wow, that Big Boy sure looks sad in its current state. Plus I really don't see why they care about fuel differences. The way I see it, if the 4012 really IS as fuel ineffecient as they say, just charge more for the excursions. I believe the profit from the tickets alone should pay everytime for the fuel prices, because c'mon! 4012 is one of the 8 remaining LARGEST ENGINES IN THE WORLD!!! Wouldn't it be marked as a historical artifact or something? Shesh, aparently money is always at the base of almost everything.

    EDIT: Just did some research, and aparently the problems about fuel are a ctualy well founded. From what I've researched, a Big Boy CANNOT be oil fired and run well due to its mechanics, and coal isn't a popular fuel because of how much the EPA hates it.
  11. pennman

    pennman Member

    That big boy can run if they want itto.There wasaperson/fiemthat offered a fewyears ago to fully restore her a no charge to the museum but they declined. Stating it would cost to much to operate and the rail restrictions. due to wieght. The person also offered a kicker to help fund the update to the rails and they still refused.
    Guess steamtown isjustnot a UP fan.
  12. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    How much were they offering to restore it and how much was offered for maintenance? Do they have the facilities to turn a 4-8-8-4?

    I suspect that the person whom offered it was not fully aware (or capable) of fulling their promise.

    There are a number of locomotives around the country in a partially torn apart state...and you don't want to trust just anyone.

    Jerry Jacobson, owner of the Ohio Central...whom has restored: (1) 4-8-4, (1) 4-6-2, (1) 4-6-0, (1) 2-8-0, and (1) 0-4-0 offered to restore the Katy locomotive at St. Louis in exchange for a lease on the NKP 170...he was told no despite his proven track record and resources...he's recently bought the NKP berk that is in Roanoke (although it should be moving soon).

    I suspect that it wasn't anything against the 4-8-8-4...but rather the offer.
  13. pennman

    pennman Member

    No, it was a reputable firm and individual, they where going toput the money up,notdo the restoration them selves.
  14. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Man, I'm going to have to make the trim to Scranton. I've only been there once and didn't get a chance to stop, as I was in a greyhound, bound for Virginia.
  15. mummert

    mummert Member

    The big boy has been moved to the museum. nkp174 if you mean turn the 4-8-8-4 as on their turn table, no they can't the big boy is to long. If I remember right it measured 132 feet in length.
  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Cool that it's now at the museum. While its total length is 132...the key is actually the wheelbase for turning. It has a wheelbase of around 118'...so it would fit on a 120' turntable...and commonly they're only around 90'-110'. While they could use it without turning it...it could cause some problems/headaches.

    They also could have some right-of-way issues in order to fix clearance issues...don't they have a tunnel and a few other items on their line? Don't they use a Lackawana line?

    Interestingly, the engine with the longest wheelbase and the longest total length was "The Big Engine", the Pennsy S-1. It had a wheelbase of 124' and a total length of over 140'! It was a rigid frame 6-4-4-6 with 84" drivers. It was primarily used in northern Indiana and Ohio...turned on a wye at Crestline, OH. It was the forerunner to the T-1s. The Pensy fell far behind in steam locomotive technology while they poured the money into electrification...and the S-1 was amongst their famous attempts to catch up...S-1, S-2, T-1, Q-1, Q-2...the J-1s were copies of the C&O T-1s (with pennsy aesthetics). I certainly wouldn't mind having a Q-2, T-1, and S-1 model someday...
  17. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Not about the Big Boy, but I just thought of this, with the discussion of weight and clearances...

    Is it true that, around 1990-91, CSX was intending to restore an Allegheny? We all know they didn't, but... If I recall, the Allegheny had the highest axle load of any locomotive ever.
  18. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've never heard that rumor, but in the early '90s, their management had such a good relationship with the 765 crew that they could pretty much take their engine anywhere they wanted and almost whenever they wanted. They certainly were very pro-steam back then...hence the 2765 season as a thank you CSX.

    If I was to make a statement about the rumors I've heard (or not in that case)...I would say that CSX had no interest in starting a steam program and that the only (C&O) engine worse than an Allegheny would have been a 2-6-6-2. That being said, there were some attempts to get the 2-6-6-2 at Baltimore restored for a tourist line in WV, but that, of course, never happened. If I recall correctly, both surviving 2-6-6-6s would need the works...the running gear and everything. The HF museum was supposed to receive a later 2-6-6-6, but their engine ended up going back into service (briefly) so the 1601 was given instead. They are very few railroads in the country which could tolerate a 2-6-6-6s axle loadings. Probably the best locomotive for CSX would be the 490. That streamlined hudson is modern, powerful (50,000lb of tractive effort), and distinctive. While the Kananahs would be good too, I suspect something unique would fly better (there are already 2 berks of that design running...3 once 763 is rolling again).

    You are absolutely correct at them being the heaviest axle loadings. They were so heavy that Lima fudged the scale house measurements in order to avoid weight penalties...it wasn't until the Virginian's lighter 2-6-6-6s were order, but had a higher official weight, that the C&O figured it out. That was actually a huge safety risk because of bridges. Lima actually lost money on the 2-6-6-6 design...not just from construction, but also the settlement with the C&O after the fact. Sadly, the C&O used them mostly in coal service and it wasn't until the end that they saw some high speed freight service...which is where they really shined.

    The 2-6-6-6 design was actually a C&O T-1 (2-10-4) that was increased in size by 20%. The NKP berks were a 20% smaller version of the T-1s. So arguably, the T-1 was one of the finest designs of all time...the Pensy & C&O had T-1s, the C&O and virginian had 2-6-6-6s, and the RF&P, C&O, PM, and NKP had NKP berks. The T-1 was designed in the spirit of those fine Erie Berks...with the 70" drivers.

Share This Page