Chasing Steam: U.P. “Big Boy” #4014 & U.P. #844 in Wyoming, Part 2 – Evanston

33914358958_cf20fb835e_c

Big Boy – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Part 1: Richardson Draw

After leaving Richardson Draw, we followed the line of cars to Evanston, Wyoming, to watch the big steam locomotives chug into town. This is where the Union Pacific “Big Boy” #4014 and U.P. #844 were going to park for the rest of the day. I had a couple of ideas where a good spot to watch and photograph the action might be, but ended up going with the crowd to the Walmart parking lot, which turned out to be a decent enough location. There was a large group already gathered when we arrived.

It didn’t take long for the steam train to appear and gradually crawl closer. It was moving much slower this time. The train soon came to a stop and the crew climbed down out of the locomotive cab. There were conversations among the railroad employees. Some of them began to move some large rocks out of a rock pile that was next to the tracks near the front of the Big Boy. Apparently, because the #4014 is so large and swings so wide on curves, they didn’t think it would clear the rocks. We watched a little while, then headed for some breakfast, as it was now late-morning and we had not eaten.

After breakfast, we found the train parked just a little ways down from the rock pile. This is where the railroad would park it overnight. A group of spectators were gathered around the train snapping pictures and taking in the sight. My kids enjoyed seeing the steam locomotives up close. They could feel the heat and see steam escaping from different places on the engines. There were members of the steam crew busily working, doing all sorts of different jobs. I imagine that it takes much effort to maintain a large steam engine. There’s a lot more to do than just park it and extinguish the fire. I was fascinated by this aspect of the operation and focused my photographic attention towards that. My favorite pictures are those of the crew doing their different jobs. I would love to spend more time and energy capturing those types of images. Soon it was time to drive home, and our Big Boy adventure came to a close.

I used a Fujifilm X-T20 (my wife’s, actually) with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens and a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens to capture these pictures. It was a good call to avoid changing lenses as there was a lot of dust, especially at Richardson Draw. I’m pretty happy with the photographs that I captured. I felt like I did the best that I could with what I had. If there was more time available to me, perhaps I could have found the train in better light and in a more interesting location. Still, I think I managed to create at least a few interesting pictures that are different from those captured by others. I feel like my images tell a story. That was the point: to have a story to tell about this historic event. Not only do I have that story in pictures, but my kids have it in their minds, and they will carry it with them for many years to come.

Steam Crew (Color)

47739471802_52e56efd73_c

Climbing Down From The Cab – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

40825456833_8bd15f0173_c-1

Discussing The Big Issue – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

40825263033_f069950515_c

Three Railroaders & A Big Boy – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

32848263887_de19114768_c

Discourse – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47739472152_56ce82cb95_c

Moving Rocks – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

32848048367_12758810ea_c

Steam Maintainers – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47002192604_e89cd3cfe6_c

Oil Containers – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

33914526778_a3659e4c9e_c

Carrying Hoses – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47791543631_108c562204_c

Hose Work – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

33914321588_aa27d42613_c

Tender Latch – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

46874934885_122606559c_c

It Takes Two – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

46874835385_fe616104dd_c

Teamwork – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

46874835365_d9ced24bf0_c

Greasework – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Steam Crew (B&W)

32848076917_5ce90efd8b_c

Thirsty – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47002062334_872ac71e85_c

Engineer Reaching – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

32848048557_0a179d2368_c

Water Test – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47002189124_0d9334ca11_c

The Engineer – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

40825028913_8eafe490b0_c

Steam Conductor – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

47738939312_be4bedeced_c

Shop Talk – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

47739227282_872ba01770_c

Climbing Aboard – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Evanston Steam (Color)

32848076777_55b23de20a_c

Safety First – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

32848048227_bcaff6dbd8_c

Big Boy X4014 – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

32847771697_163ab2d6d8_c

U.P. 844 Bucket – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Evanston Steam (B&W)

47739227212_8ccc69f19e_c

Union Pacific X4014 – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

40825043913_2ea8cb9a99_c

844 Bell – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

40825030703_70774ba0e2_c

Steam Above Steel – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47002571254_f7fb4ce106_c

Big Boy Wheels – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47002059364_294ac52656_c

Big Circles – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

47739227122_567c57d495_c

Steampunk – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

46875147525_bb43ffca4e_c

Dripping Hot Water – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47738939932_2087feaf44_c

Big Steam Machine – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Onlookers

47002675124_4555e5f773_c

Waiting For The Steam Train – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

47791243461_937a8b3e3d_c

Viewing The Giant – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Advertisements

Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 + U.P. 844

14063269936_df1fd526c6_c

4014 Flag – Barstow, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill – April 2014

13899785817_c6bc3350c6_c

4014 Crowd – Barstow, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill – April 2014

Have you heard? The Union Pacific Big Boy #4014 locomotive, along with the Union Pacific #844, are heading west out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, towards Ogden, Utah, for the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike. The Big Boy locomotives were the largest steam locomotives ever built. Their service ended 60 years ago, and a few were kept in museums. None of them were operational, until now.

Five years ago my son and I drove across the Mojave desert to the dusty town of Barstow, California, to witness the U.P. Big Boy #4014 move from Los Angeles to Cheyenne where it was to be restored. People came out in droves to see the huge locomotive, even though it was being pulled by a diesel and could not move on its own. It was a neat event from a historical perspective. My son, Jon, who was only four-years-old at the time, still remembers it.

14178393556_5dacf038a3_c

Flare & Flag – Barstow, CA – FED 5C – Velvia X-Processed – April 2014

Three years after that, we saw the Union Pacific #844 at the Ogden Union Station. It’s not nearly as big as the Big Boy, but still large and impressive. A lot of people might be unaware that the Union Pacific still owns and operates steam locomotives. I knew this because many years ago I used to be a train dispatcher for the U.P. Railroad. They have three steam locomotives now: the Big Boy #4014, an almost-as-big Challenger #3985 (which currently doesn’t run because it is due for an overhaul), and the Northern #844, which was the very last steam locomotive delivered to the Union Pacific. The two that are currently in operation, the #4014 and the #844, left Cheyenne towards Ogden today.

Over the last five years the crew at the Cheyenne steam shops have been hard at work restoring the Big Boy to operation. And they completed it just barely in time for it to make the Golden Spike anniversary celebration, which marks 150 years since the completion of the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah. For those outside of Utah, this might not seem like a big event, but I can assure you there is a lot of buzz here! I look forward to seeing the two steam locomotives, and capturing a few pictures of the historic run. Most of all, I look forward to my kids witnessing the train, an event that will undoubtedly stick in their minds for many years to come.

13899836488_113a912dde_c

Joe Cool – Barstow, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill – April 2014

14357608977_f4ec77f519_c

Tender Wheels – Barstow, CA – Sigma SP2 Merrill – April 2014

34144390401_ddf886f919_c

Alco Steam Locomotive Monochrome – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – April 2017

34144351331_5ef10ba928_c

U.P. Steam Engine No. 844 – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – April 2017

34144333181_901993ef09_c

X-844 – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – April 2017

34118026052_170160a83e_c

Union Pacific Steam – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – April 2017

34234746476_6ab7271253_c

No. 844 – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – April 2017

33433397544_dba293c997_c

Everybody Loves Trains – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – April 2017