Frequently Asked Questions on Trains' Big Boy coverage

Posted by Steve Sweeney
on Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday, we've noticed certain questions appearing regularly. We hope that posting answers will help some of our viewers enjoy the live streaming video even more.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: When will Big Boy No. 4014 be restored to operating condition?
A: Union Pacific needs to return the Big Boy to Cheyenne, Wyo., where the locomotive will receive a complete overhaul. Although the railroad’s heritage operations department has a good idea of what work lies ahead of them, they won’t know the full scope until they disassemble the locomotive in 2014 and 2015. When all is said and done, the locomotive will take years to rebuild. Enthusiasts hope it will be ready for the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad's Golden Spike ceremony in 2019.

Q: While watching the live streaming camera I saw railroad workers underneath the Big Boy several times with wood beams and what looked like grease guns. What’s going on?
A: Wood beams, call them “two-by-fours,” are used to help re-align portions of track or moving pieces of the locomotive as it moves, and to help guide it. Wood is preferred because it will not damage the locomotive and it helps the crews keep their hands and arms safely out of harms’ way. The “grease guns” contain friction modifiers that help reduce the binding and tightness that the Big Boy creates as it moves on the temporary track. The friction modifiers are the same kind used by railroads throughout the world in mainline operation.

Q: I heard Jim Wrinn call the temporary railroad, panel track or “snap” track. What’s that?
A: A panel track is a section of track that is pre-assembled to be easily laid and taken up with minimal work. It is similar to toy train tracks that ‘snap’ together and can later be taken apart and put away for storage. Union Pacific has 20 40-foot sections of used track that it is using to make this 5,000-foot move.

Q: I’m at work, or sleeping, or way around the other side of the world. Will you please re-broadcast this move?
A: We’re doing the best we can to make sure moving Big Boy No. 4014 is available to all train enthusiasts wherever they live and whatever their schedule. Right now, Trains’ live streaming camera can either record video or stream it to Trains Nation. Trains is recording this historic event with a second high-definition video camera and footage from that camera will be available as soon as Trains' Live Stream Dream Team can itself away from the gentle breezes and warm temperatures of sunny Southern California!

Q: Live streaming video isn’t working for me? What happened?
A: Thank you for your patience. Sharing the move of Big Boy No. 4014 live with the world is Trains’ first venture into live streaming video. Like many new experiences, there is excitement, adventure, and learning, all rolled together. We know there are connection issues with viewers who use Apple mobile products, such as iPhones and iPads. Viewers with older PCs are also reporting difficulties connecting to live streaming video. We are working with our information services department to find solutions and ways to make this and future experiences as enjoyable as possible.

Q: What is the route of the Big Boy to Wyoming? When will it happen?
A: Union Pacific will publish schedules of when Big Boy No. 4014 will be available to the public and when it will move. We expect this to happen in late winter or spring of 2014, but it depends on whether the Big Boy can pass all safety inspections first. The route the locomotive will take will also be published. Rely on Trains to update you with the information as soon as it becomes available. 


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