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The most famous route of Big Boy?

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The most famous route of Big Boy?
Posted by Railroad on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 2:31 PM

Which is the most famous route of the Big Boy? Starting point and destination with what gargo?

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Posted by simon1966 on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 2:41 PM
The main purpose was hauling mixed freight East-Bound from Ogden UT up and over the Wahsatch mountains to Cheyenne Wyoming.  They spent their entire carreer shuttling back and forth between these two points.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:29 PM

 simon1966 wrote:
The main purpose was hauling mixed freight East-Bound from Ogden UT up and over the Wahsatch mountains to Cheyenne Wyoming.  They spent their entire carreer shuttling back and forth between these two points.

Passing, enroute, through some of the most desolate countryside, and some of the vilest weather, on the planet!  (Opinion based on a number of journeys along the parallel Interstate at all times of year.)

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by bb4884 on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:36 PM

Here is the tonnage rating for the BB and other UP locomotives

It includes major stops enroute

http://www.cowboystrainzstation.com/Locomotive%20Ratings.jpg

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Thursday, June 21, 2007 1:31 AM
 Railroad wrote:
Which is the most famous route of the Big Boy? Starting point and destination with what gargo?

The Challengers and their 4-8-8-4 big brothers were designed and built to overcome the Onion Specific's major operational headache, the Wasatch Mountains between Ogden, Utah and Green River, Wyoming.  The Challengers could venture east from there because turntables at Laramie and Cheyenne were of sufficient length to accomodate them; the Big Boys did occasionally venture east to Cheyenne - where they had to be turned on the wye - but did so only rarely until diesels booted them out of the Wasatch Mountains in the early-'50s. To give them a few extra years of life the turntable at Cheyenne was expanded to 126 feet - the one at Laramie was already that length - and they spent their last few years dragging freight across Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie.

Why was there a 126 foot long turntable at Laramie but not at Cheyenne?  As I understand the story, when what would become known as the Big Boy was in development in the late-'30s Onion Specific originally intended to operate them between Ogden and Laramie and a 126 foot turntable was constructed at the latter location, but when they finally made their appearance in 1941 the volume of traffic across the Wasatch had increased to the point that that was where the operations department decided they could best be utilized.  Bridge restrictions kept them from going north or south of Ogden, up the Oregon Short Line, and east of Cheyenne.  Whether they ever went south of Cheyenne or not I don't know and perhaps a member of the historical society can shed some light on that issue.

Both the Challenger and Big Boy were designed as horsepower machines and their size reflected the fact that, to get that horsepower, drivers larger than 63 inches were needed.  Speed/train miles became the esssence of Onion Specific's operational philosophy in the thirties.  Although both locomotives were used for hauling general manifest freight the Big Boys were known to lug seventy or more reefers unassisted eastbound out of the Greater Salt Lake Basin and do it with a real flair.

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by Tom Curtin on Thursday, June 21, 2007 6:46 AM
 tomikawaTT wrote:

Passing, enroute, through some of the most desolate countryside, and some of the vilest weather, on the planet! 

. . . And, to this day,  some of the most spectacular big-time railroading to be seen in the universe --- all the way to Omaha!

BTW, your evaluation of the weather is right on.

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Thursday, June 21, 2007 4:13 PM
 tomikawaTT wrote:

 simon1966 wrote:
The main purpose was hauling mixed freight East-Bound from Ogden UT up and over the Wahsatch mountains to Cheyenne Wyoming.  They spent their entire carreer shuttling back and forth between these two points.

Passing, enroute, through some of the most desolate countryside, and some of the vilest weather, on the planet!  (Opinion based on a number of journeys along the parallel Interstate at all times of year.)

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)



tomikawaTT, you made your post response while I was putting mine together; I've made more than one trip across southern Wyoming, mostly before I-80 went in.  A number of those trips were made in the wintertime and more than once I got stranded with US30 closed because of blowing snow.  We used to say that the only thing between Wyoming and the North Pole was a barbed wire fence.

I handed once in the late-'50s up in the Yellowstone country of Montana with a fellow who had handed for many years down in the Snake River country of southern Wyoming/northern Colorado - this is not the Snake River found over in Idaho.  When we ask him why he had left there to come to Montana he said it was because he wanted to find out what it was like to get warm!

But there sure is some exciting railroading down there; I was impressed with UP's fast moving freights before I ever became a model railroader and a railfan!

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by CAZEPHYR on Thursday, June 21, 2007 4:34 PM

 R. T. POTEET wrote:
 Railroad wrote:
Which is the most famous route of the Big Boy? Starting point and destination with what gargo?


 Bridge restrictions kept them from going north or south of Ogden, up the Oregon Short Line, and east of Cheyenne.  Whether they ever went south of Cheyenne or not I don't know and perhaps a member of the historical society can shed some light on that issue.

.

 I have two pictures in Union Pacific books of a Big Boy on the Denver to Cheyenne route.  Who knows why they would be used on that route, but they did get pulled occasionally for that work.  The probably turned on the Y in Denver.  It was not a common use of the Big Boy.

They also worked their way from Green River to Cheyenne for the back shop work over the years before they were assigned to Sherman Hill duties in their last years.  

 CAZEPHYR

 

 

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Posted by bb4884 on Thursday, June 21, 2007 4:46 PM
I rember seeing a clip on a video about the Big Boy's there was train enroute from Denver to Cheyenne.
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Posted by BigZee on Thursday, June 21, 2007 5:29 PM

And this is the turntable at Cheyenne today...well, a couple years ago, actually.  It's hardly used at all anymore, mostly to turn the steam locomotives that call Cheyenne home today (844, 3985). 

 

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Posted by UNIONPACIFIC4018 on Thursday, June 21, 2007 5:58 PM

 R. T. POTEET wrote:
 Railroad wrote:
Which is the most famous route of the Big Boy? Starting point and destination with what gargo?

The Challengers and their 4-8-8-4 big brothers were designed and built to overcome the Onion Specific's major operational headache, the Wasatch Mountains between Ogden, Utah and Green River, Wyoming.  The Challengers could venture east from there because turntables at Laramie and Cheyenne were of sufficient length to accomodate them; the Big Boys did occasionally venture east to Cheyenne - where they had to be turned on the wye - but did so only rarely until diesels booted them out of the Wasatch Mountains in the early-'50s. To give them a few extra years of life the turntable at Cheyenne was expanded to 126 feet - the one at Laramie was already that length - and they spent their last few years dragging freight across Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie.

Why was there a 126 foot long turntable at Laramie but not at Cheyenne?  As I understand the story, when what would become known as the Big Boy was in development in the late-'30s Onion Specific originally intended to operate them between Ogden and Laramie and a 126 foot turntable was constructed at the latter location, but when they finally made their appearance in 1941 the volume of traffic across the Wasatch had increased to the point that that was where the operations department decided they could best be utilized.

 I am pretty sure the TT at Laramie, Green River and Ogden were 135' not 126' and a big boy could fit on the 126' at Cheyenne with the pilot and rear of tender overhang basically just the wheels fit.

Sean Steam is still king
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Posted by bb4884 on Thursday, June 21, 2007 6:19 PM

Here is a picture of a Big Boy on the Cheyenne TT....

 

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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, June 22, 2007 6:12 AM
 tomikawaTT wrote:
Passing, enroute, through some of the most desolate countryside, and some of the vilest weather, on the planet!  (Opinion based on a number of journeys along the parallel Interstate at all times of year.)

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

That would be the desolation of such places as Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and the desolate beauty of the formations around Green River, right? I'm heading back through that general area this summer.

Being from Wyoming, I can only say that re-entering the desolation to which you refer is like applying a soothing balm to the soul of one raised in the state.

The weather can get a bit severe, but you just have to be prepared, and respect how it can suddenly change. A 30-below-zero blizzard can be a beautiful thing when you're prepared for it.

Now, if you want to talk about truly vile weather, we can talk about the skanky humidity and heat of the northeastern summers and the horrendousness of the conditions that fluctuate between ice sheets at night and slushy mess in the daytime during the northeastern winters!

Thirty-two degrees in New Jersey feels colder than zero in Wyoming.

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Posted by dti406 on Friday, June 22, 2007 9:44 AM
 tomikawaTT wrote:

Passing, enroute, through some of the most desolate countryside, and some of the vilest weather, on the planet!  (Opinion based on a number of journeys along the parallel Interstate at all times of year.)

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

We who lived in Colorado called I-80 through Wyoming the "Snow Chi Min Trail".  There was a ridge just north of Fort Collins and the temperature dropped twenty degrees when you crossed that ridge and the wind increased. 

Rick 

 

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Friday, June 22, 2007 10:15 AM

UNIONPACIFIC4018, you may very well be right about the length of the turntables at Ogden, Green River, and Laramie; I am going on something I heard one time which said that the 4884 classes required at least a 126 foot turntable - and that was a tight squeeze.  I should have reasoned that Onion Specific would have put something bigger than that 126 feet at Ogden, Green River, and Laramie since the loke was designed to operate between those points.  I will remember this fact.  Thanks for the heads-up!!!

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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