Big Boy, Peru Hill, and Green River with the Trains chase van

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Big Boy locomotives were made for Wasatch grade in Utah. They later migrated east to include Sherman Hill in their regular assignments. Those are well known challenges to these muscular steam locomotives. But there is a third grade that was synonymous with the Union Pacific 4000s: Peru Hill.

This grade begins at the bridge over the Green River in its namesake city and ends five miles to the west after a twisting and curving climb with a .82 percent grade. You are familiar with this grade whether you know it or not. Some of the earliest transcontinental railroad construction photos were made at Green River, showing crews hard at work. Later, Big Boys were often photographed with a butte called Castle Rock that overlooks the town.

Our Trains magazine / Special Interest Tours Big Boy Chase Van had the day off Wednesday since No. 4014 was on display in nearby Rock Springs. Our small group spent the morning on the grade, (where we noticed cinders on the ground to this day), took our shots of Castle Rock with a westbound accelerating out of town, and later stood on the footbridge in the yard in Green River where the classic station is located. That footbridge that has carried generations of local residents and countless fans across the tracks to see where Big Boys once called. And now the members of our Trains / Special Interest Tours chase van have joined them on this historic structure.

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