Is it too late to make plans to see Big Boy 4014 or the Golden Spike?

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Thursday, January 24, 2019

Is it too late to make travel plans to attend the Golden Spike ceremony and see Big Boy No. 4014 in Utah in May? What’s the schedule for No. 4014’s trip from Cheyenne to Ogden? Are the hotels all sold out?


Ah, questions. I hear them all the time, and I know everyone is anticipating both of these big events. A few friends have even gone as far as to book rooms on speculation across Wyoming and in Utah. They may be right on the money or they may be way off. But lacking a full schedule, we’re starting to see a picture emerge that could help you get the experience you want.


Union Pacific on Wednesday said tentatively (their word) it will announce in mid-February its transcontinental railroad anniversary schedule. The railroad also said it plans to have both No. 844 and Big Boy No. 4014 in Ogden on May 9 to mimic the Golden Spike ceremony. Given that May 10 will be focused on the National Park Service site at Promontory Summit, that’s two days you can count on. But let’s go a little further. The Spike 150 folks organizing events at Promontory are planning on a three-day weekend, and UP would be wise to stick around for the weekend and display at Ogden at least through May 12, so you can see a picture begin to emerge of at least what’s in the works for May 8-12.


I ran a quick check of hotels in Ogden May 8-12 on the Hilton and Holiday Inn brand pages and also at I didn’t find any Hilton or Holiday Inn hotels in Ogden that were not sold out, but there were still rooms at those brands nearby in Layton and Bingham City. Other brands like Comfort Inn, Days Inn, and Motel 6 were still offering rooms.


Knowing that UP likes to make its steam journeys in legs and break them up with extended service and display stops, expect that the trips both eastbound and westbound will be multiple days. Hopefully, we’ll know more about the schedule sooner than later. National Railway Historical Society is close to releasing its schedule for its Salt Lake City-based convention May 7-11. At Trains Magazine, our Journey to Promontory tour sold out in June, but we still have space for our Big Boy Chase Bus at Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to miss this once-in-a-lifetime show. See you there!


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