"...I was in the UP steam shop last weekend-the Challenger was disconnected from it's tender and much of the jacketing around the firebox was removed, exposing some very rusty looking staybolts. The UP man we spoke to said it might run next year, but more likely 2014. :( ..."
The above quotes are from the Thread Started on the Forum in 2012. The 3985 has been down apparently since its last major trip ( Went to Nebraska in the first quARTER OF 2010).
The quote from the Thread dated below and contributed by rsj4trains details several problems that apparently occurred during that Nebraska trip.
"... UP 3985 has
been undergoing some major modifications and repairs. The work is being
done on a "time-available" basis and is considered secondary to other
shop activities necessary to maintain UP 844 and the other equipment.
the modifications made to the smoke box and steam exhaust systems prior
to the Minnesota trip in 2008 were considered unsuccessful and removed.
The original system was re-installed.
Second, one of the springs
which is necessary to center the boiler on the articulated frame as the
engine comes out of a curve was damaged or lost. New springs was
ordered. The new springs apparently had some sort of a defect so a
second set was obtained and are being installed. This work is nearly
complete or has been completed.
At least one test run will be
necessary to determine the success of the modifications and repairs
before UP 3985 can return to service. I don't believe the test run has
The next scheduled steam trips are for Cheyenne
Frontier Days, July 22-25, 2010. Optimistically, It is possible the the
engine could be ready for this trip or one of the future steam trips
planned later in September and October. Realistically sometime in 2011
is more likely..."
Here we are entering into the Third Quarter of 2012, apparently 3985 is still being worked on(?).
My guess is that the problems with the 844's tires, and those repairs sabotaged the time line on 3985's repair schedule.
The UP's website does not offer a lot of illumination as to when we'll see the Challenger back running the system. Hopefully, sooner than later.
So the Big Question do any Posters here have any information as to how the 3985's repair schedule is progressing, and some of the repairs and modifications they've been making?