- Member since
Posted by Anonymous
on Saturday, December 13, 2003 12:20 AM
BIG BOYS FOREVER!!! I, being a Union Pacific fan naturally support the Big Boys. But instead of basing my arguement solely on that, I have a great deal of evidence to support my conclusion that the Big Boys were better:
Firstly, in the arena of size, I do not dispute the fact that the Big Boy engine itself weighed less than the Allegheny. However, the Big Boy with tender weighed appreciably more than the Allegheny. Furthermore, and even more importantly, the Big Boys had the greater adhesive weight (weight of the locomotive supported on the driving wheels), in part because the firebox was suppoted over the last two driving axles in addition to the four wheel trailing truck. Why this greater adhesive weight is relevant is that the adhesive weight affects the factor of adhesion, giving the 4000 class more "grip" on the rails. And don't think that locomotives as large as the 4000 class and Allegheny didn't have wheel slippage: they did, and I can prove it. Furthermore, the Big Boys were larger in other ways: they were longer, and more.
Secondly, in the area of pulling power, I of course acknowledge the Allegheny's greater horse-power. But let us not forget that the Big Boys had a much greater tractive effort. And while there were some locomotives with greater tractive effort, no locomotive had greater tractive effort and horse-power.
However, railroads have locomotives to pull trains, not to brag about having the largest locomotive. As such, we should pay even more attention to the Big Boy's and Allegheny's perforance and service than their basic specifications. The 4000 class locomotives were very reliable, and were very efficient and relatively inexpensive to operate and maintain for locomotives of their immensity. Of course, those who wi***o detract from the Big Boy's legacy point out that they burned up to 12 tons of coal per hour and used thousands of gallons of water in the course of a run. But what they conveniently omit is what a cost savings these beloved 4-8-8-4s were to the Uncle Pete. The largest locomotive of all time probably saved the Union Pacific millions of dollars by eliminating the crew costs of double heading, the extra maintenance costs of many helper locomotives, and the time lost in the turning and servicing of these helpers. At the time that the Big Boys were being scrapped, a Union Pacific employee said "these locomotives don't owe this railroad a thing," to paraphrase him.
And then let us also account for the 4000 class's legacy and reputation. What other locomotive has routinely hauled five and one-half mile long trains at speeds exceeding 65 miles per hour? And of course we all know of these locomotives literally shaking the ground as they passed. Don't believe me? Get the Pentrex video on the Big Boys: it has footage where the ground shook so much the camera shook as well! And of course, the world's longest train of all time was pulled by dobleheading Big Boys-7 and 1/2 miles of train, although we sadly cannot prove it.
I hope I have demonstrated to you that the Big Boys really were superior. I encourage all Union Pacific fans, all supporters of the Big boys, and anyone else who agrees with me to post here stating so--especially those of you with Big Boy in your screen names. I am of course not saying that the Allegheny type locomotives should be ignored, only that the Big Boys be given the title they have certainly earned in the past 60 years. And, if you have a different opinion, please post it here: I do not consider my conclusions so weak that they cannot withstand debate, and I am never afraid of hearing someone elses side.
Long live the Big Boy legacy,