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UP"s steam program

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UP"s steam program
Posted by vader225 on Thursday, February 02, 2017 8:54 PM

Can anyone tell me if the UP challenger is still running and if not will it be comming back now that the big boy will be running in the furture.

Dennis Ewing

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, February 02, 2017 9:58 PM

No, it is not running. UP has stated that now that the 844 is running, all effort that is not expended on the 844 will be going to the 4014. UP recently released a quick update on both the 844 and 4014, you can see that here: http://www.up.com/aboutup/community/inside_track/steam-update-2-1-2017.htm

3985 has been mothballed until both the 4014 and 844 and up and running.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 02, 2017 10:09 PM

Suspect UP will have its hands full keeping all three compliant with required inspections once they are all operational again.  Suspect there will always be two locomotives operating and one undergoing inspection and rebuilding.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Saturday, February 04, 2017 8:31 AM

From a friend who works in the steam program at the UP.  The plan is 4014 up and running by 2019 in time for the 150th  anniversery of the Transcontinential Railroad.  Then throw everything at the 3985 and get her up and running by 2021 or 22 at the latest.  As for 844 the trip they took to TN was a test to see how well she could handle long runs and according to what he has seen and heard she aced it.  No problems at all have been found in the post trip inspection at all in any major systems they found no busted staybolts nothing that will prevent her from running scheduled trips in 2017.  Look for all 3 up by 2021.  Why is 3985 down well alot of that has to do with the quality of her last overhaul according to my contact at the shop.  When they started to tear her down for an inspection they found 2 parts of the boiler that had been patched replaced by non certifed materials.  Non boiler grade steel was being used on a pressure vessel.  So until all non certified parts are removed and replaced on her she is parked.  This is what he told me and I trust him.

 

Now this may rustle a few feathers around here as the person that is going to be involved is their Sainted Steve Lee that ran the Steam Program at the UP.  More and more has come out in the last few years from people that worked with him that he was hanging paper on the FRA compliance on both 3985 and 844.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, February 04, 2017 7:17 PM

I never met Mr. Lee, but all I know is that he kept 844 galloping at 75 per and had 3985 pull a mile and a half of doublestacks on the advertised during a time when he had to make things work with what he had. He brought 3985 back, and without him at the helm, I doubt if we would have 3985 today. So I am glad he was at the helm during that time.

Fast forward to today. We need to applaud UP for continuing to put funds toward bringing back their Big Three and making sure that they are better than new. They are ensuring that the Last Of The Giants soldier on, that the thunder continues to roll, and the spirit of the men and women who built this great country is forever remembered.

In my book, the work done through the decades by all the UP Steam Crew members during their time keeping the torch lit is a noble endeavor indeed.

 Related image

Related image

Image result for union pacific big boy pulling passenger train

 

 

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Saturday, February 04, 2017 7:40 PM

+ 1, couldn't say it better.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 04, 2017 8:50 PM

When things are done on the cheap - they are done so for a reason - the money to do it RIGHT doesn't exist; so it is either done on the cheap or not at all.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, February 04, 2017 9:12 PM

He didn't bring the 3985 back.

People like John Boehner, Tim Grotheer, Lynn Nystrom, Craig Ringgenberg, Don Ringstad, Bob Krieger, Bill Haley, Bob Fryml, "Swede" Nath, and other members of the 3985 Committee composed of Union Pacific retirees and employee volunteers brought her back to life with permission of brass like President Kenefick. 

Steve Lee was a road foreman and the only involvement I've ever heard of with the 3985 during the restoration days was when he was involved in her break-in runs. He didn't become the operating officer of the Heritage Program until 1982, followed by becoming the road foreman of the whole shebang in 1988.

The 3985's trip back to life started in October 1978 with the initial inspiration and concluded with the handover to the UP steam program in March 1981, with the 3985 Committee ceasing to be responsible for the now restored engine as per their agreement with Union Pacific. 

In fact if he hadn't been so deadset against the very thought of an operational Big Boy, the 4023 in Cheyenne might've been running years ago. Instead despite 15 years of indoor storage after her running days had ended, she's now just about the one in the worst condition with the possible exception of Steamtown's example.

She didn't have a savior like the 3985 did with John Boehner before she deteroriated from outdoor display in Wyoming. Not saying that it would've been possible 20-25 years ago and that Steve Lee is at fault for her current condition, but I bet if he had been in control before the 3985 restoration, that one also would've never happened and she too would only be good for a static display piece after over 40 years of Wyoming weather. 

While likely for the best, he seemed to champion keeping what they had safe and in good condition, while making the steam program relevant. That's something to appreciate and quite likely why the program still exists. 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, February 05, 2017 12:26 AM

Thank you for adding historical content and reinforcing the fact that for over six decades now, many, many people have had a hand in keeping fire in the firebox on the UP. Heroes all.

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Posted by Frisco1522 on Monday, February 13, 2017 8:33 PM

And I assume this is verifiable through records and hard copy?  These are serious accusations and should not be just BS and rumors passed down through the rotating shop crew since Mr. Lee left.

I also see no reason for this to be spewed on a public forum.  Given the questionable things that have gone on since 2011, I would think that the UP would take offense at this post.

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Posted by Lord Atmo on Friday, February 17, 2017 12:42 AM

I miss 3985. Haven't seen it since it visited St Paul back in 2008. Unfortunate that it's on hiatus, but 4014 will be nice to see running...assuming it visits the Twin Cities

Since then, the new depot in that area began hosting an annual railroad event. We here in the midwest would love to see the steam return!

Listen twice, talk once.

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Posted by GERALD L MCFARLANE JR on Friday, February 17, 2017 3:09 PM

Frisco1522

And I assume this is verifiable through records and hard copy?  These are serious accusations and should not be just BS and rumors passed down through the rotating shop crew since Mr. Lee left.

I also see no reason for this to be spewed on a public forum.  Given the questionable things that have gone on since 2011, I would think that the UP would take offense at this post.

 
I'm going to presume that with the number of times the UP has backed up the current steam program leadership(Mr. Dickens), I highly doubt they'd want to open up the can of worms from the previous group?
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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, February 18, 2017 2:40 PM

GERALD L MCFARLANE JR

 

 
Frisco1522

And I assume this is verifiable through records and hard copy?  These are serious accusations and should not be just BS and rumors passed down through the rotating shop crew since Mr. Lee left.

"I also see no reason for this to be spewed on a public forum.  Given the questionable things that have gone on since 2011, I would think that the UP would take offense at this post."

 

 

 
I'm going to presume that with the number of times the UP has backed up the current steam program leadership(Mr. Dickens), I highly doubt they'd want to open up the can of worms from the previous group?
 

 

             SoapBox    When a Thread takes a turn toward ad hominum attacks, it seems to diminish all of us. It seems that the whole social structure is turned upside down, not only politically, but socially, as well.

            I think it is safe to say, that there are more of us on this Forum who have enjoyed the UP's Steam Program and its Heritage Locomotive acknowledgement Programs than have not.   So lets not look that proverbial 'gift horse' in its mouth.

     As to Mr. Steve Lee, It is completely unfair to attack him or any decisions made under his management. Particularly, from the stand point of outsiders making judgements based on supposition or inuendo; in light of not knowing any of the details of constraints he operated under while managing the Steam Heritage Group at U.P.   

      Be satisfied that the Steam Heritage Group brought us all the pleasures of seeing two massive steam engines operating in areas, and circumstances many would never have enjoyed seeing them in. Then, added bonus of Centenial #6936 also operating, as well.  Who would have thought that the static display of UP1243 on it's flat car, would eventually lead to seeing operational 844 and 3985 and then 4014, also. And then the UP's, award winning, Diesel Heritage Fleet. Bow  

Do not forget that they still have #5511 (a 2-10-2) in the roundhouse at Cheyenne, as well.        Just be thankful as railfans, and parents, we have not only UPRR, but also NSRR who are willing to let their heritage steam roam their territories, to give present and future generations a taste of American history.

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Saturday, February 18, 2017 5:10 PM

Amen!!!!  If you take the steam program in its totality, since it's inception in the late 50's to today with the 844, 4014 and the 3985, and the heritage diesels what is their to complain about. Maybe mistake were made maybe not. It's not easy. So let's be thankful for what we got and enjoy the ride. Things are about to get real interesting.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Saturday, February 18, 2017 6:19 PM

Ditto!  Big Smile

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Posted by Dr D on Saturday, February 18, 2017 8:30 PM

UP 5511 2-10-2,

I think this un-appreciated historical gem could lead the UP steam program in a whole new direction.  Lets think out of the box -

about - UP HOBO SPECIALS -

I am talking about a 1930's drag freight train experience adapted to steam train fans - riding passenger oriented period freight cars - for shorter trips - in order that they can dress up as vagrants and ride the boxcars - gondolas - I'm talking maroon paint - orchre yellow and black freight cars of the old tradition - etc! - at low low speed.

UP of course would have to supply suitable Woodie Guthrie musicians strumming to the tunes of "Pastures of Plenty" - "This Land is Your Land" - "Worried Man Blues" and "Hard Travilin." 

I would expect such UP HOBO fantrips to operate at a max of 20 mph in drag freight tradition - and serve "mulligan stew" and coffee for sale in something like the caboose." 

Of course such a train ride experience would feature not only the rods down drag freight experience - but offer excellent front and rear historical performance with caboose and steam engine!

----------

I mean - UP could offer up such local senic wonders as the famed main line ride through the historic "Red Butes" of the Sweetwater River trip - famed through history but lost to the modern highway traveler.  Or travel past the famed Green River site the the historic fir trading rendevous of mountain men of the 1830's such as the Lost Horse valley.  Such things that can be appreciated slowly. 

Or what about the slow ride through the famous Snake River Valley sites of Idaho - to see the famed "big horn sheep" mountain or equally famous "oil springs" and mountain ranges leading to the Tetons.

Or ride the vast wheat covered prairies of the endless skies to small town Nebraska.  Low speed fan trips with local senic wonders of the Union Pacific Line -------

-------- why limit fantrips to the Heritage "high speed" fast passenger model of the 1940's? 

- I'm thinking short trips like you find in the surviving Rio Grande narrow gauge steamers - by going outside of the limited surviving Colorado narrow gauge empire.

-----------

Yah - Just thinking iconoclastic out of the box here - are you listening Ed Dickens?

- Doc

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Posted by Falcon48 on Saturday, February 18, 2017 10:47 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

From a friend who works in the steam program at the UP.  The plan is 4014 up and running by 2019 in time for the 150th  anniversery of the Transcontinential Railroad.  Then throw everything at the 3985 and get her up and running by 2021 or 22 at the latest.  As for 844 the trip they took to TN was a test to see how well she could handle long runs and according to what he has seen and heard she aced it.  No problems at all have been found in the post trip inspection at all in any major systems they found no busted staybolts nothing that will prevent her from running scheduled trips in 2017.  Look for all 3 up by 2021.  Why is 3985 down well alot of that has to do with the quality of her last overhaul according to my contact at the shop.  When they started to tear her down for an inspection they found 2 parts of the boiler that had been patched replaced by non certifed materials.  Non boiler grade steel was being used on a pressure vessel.  So until all non certified parts are removed and replaced on her she is parked.  This is what he told me and I trust him.

 

Now this may rustle a few feathers around here as the person that is going to be involved is their Sainted Steve Lee that ran the Steam Program at the UP.  More and more has come out in the last few years from people that worked with him that he was hanging paper on the FRA compliance on both 3985 and 844.

 

I worked with Mr. Lee very extensively during my years at UP, although not in the steam shop (given my mechanical skills, I would have been quite useless there).  I have nothing but the highest respect for him.  He was also well regarded by the rest of the steam loco fraternity, and was an important figure in the FRA steam rule revisions.  I have no reason to believe he was "hanging paper on FRA compliance" (and, if I had any reason to believe this at the time, I would have immediately brought it to the attention of senior UP management).  Further, the FRA people responsible for steam loco rule compliance (many of whom I also know) wouldn't have permitted Steve to make non-compliant boiler repairs.  Contrary to what you may think about government employees, the FRA steam people are very professional and competent. They are not about to roll over and play dead for anyone.

I never worked with Mr. Dickens. I retired before he took over the steam program, so I don't personally know anything about him.  But I know enough about UP's corporate policies and management oversight practices to know one thing.  If the really bad stuff being said about him on railfan websites (and other places) were true, he wouldn't be working for UP anymore.  You can bet that senior UP management has looked into this stuff.  The fact that he is still working for UP speaks volumes about UP's internal evaluation of the merit (or lack thereof) of these allegations.  

Can we all just enjoy the locomotives and stop the personal attacks?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, February 19, 2017 7:18 AM

Falcon48
Can we all just enjoy the locomotives and stop the personal attacks?

Better than it was, at least.


A running #844 silenced the bulk of the nonsense. 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, February 19, 2017 8:39 AM

I called my friend last night for an update on 4014 they are hoping for first steam up late 2018.  His only complaint is the 60 hour weeks he is running until all 3 are back in Steam per Headquarters orders.  5 12 hour shifts a week until all are running was the word given this week.  He is like yeah the OT will be nice however I would like to see my kids sometime in the summer.  Trust me UP is not happy with what was uncovered however they are also grateful for Steve Lee's years of dedication to the Steam and Heritage Program.  As for the future of the Program a few years ago UP put it into the Charter of the company that they will always have a top level heritage program supported by the sales of their Models and memoribilla sold worldwide.  So all those Model trains and such we buy with UP and their merged partners on them support keeping the 844 and her friends alive. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:11 PM

"Hobo Specials?"  I don't know Doctor D, that sounds about as workable as a Civil War re-enactment with live ammo.

I mean really!  A complete hobo experience would involve having railroad "bulls" beating the hell out of passengers found riding in the boxcars!  Ow!

I assume your tongue was firmly planted in your cheek!

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Posted by Falcon48 on Sunday, February 19, 2017 8:28 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

I called my friend last night for an update on 4014 they are hoping for first steam up late 2018.  His only complaint is the 60 hour weeks he is running until all 3 are back in Steam per Headquarters orders.  5 12 hour shifts a week until all are running was the word given this week.  He is like yeah the OT will be nice however I would like to see my kids sometime in the summer.  Trust me UP is not happy with what was uncovered however they are also grateful for Steve Lee's years of dedication to the Steam and Heritage Program.  As for the future of the Program a few years ago UP put it into the Charter of the company that they will always have a top level heritage program supported by the sales of their Models and memoribilla sold worldwide.  So all those Model trains and such we buy with UP and their merged partners on them support keeping the 844 and her friends alive. 

 

  I seriously doubt that UP would have put their "heritage program" and its sources of financial support into the formal "charter" of the company (i.e., the "articles of incorporation" filed with the State of Delaware).  Provisions locking a corporation into specific programs and sources of income don't usually appear in articles of incorporation of major businesses.  At most , there could be some general language in the articles authorizing the corporation to engage in historical preservation activities, without specifiying what they are or their sources of financial support.  Anything more detailed could conceivably appear in an internal "vision statement" or some other internal policy statement that doesn't have any legally binding effect, but not in the "charter" (i.e., the "articles of incorporation").  

By the way, while it's off topic, some of you (well, maybe one or two of you) may wonder why today's UPRR is a Delaware corporation, as UPRR was historically a Utah corporation since the transcontinental RR was originally built.  The reason is that the current UPRR corporation is actually the Southern Pacific.  When the UP-SP merger was effectuated, UPRR (the Utah corporation) was merged into SPT (a Delaware corporation), with SPT as the surviving corporation.  SPT was then immediately renamed Union Pacific.  The reason for this structure had to do with taxes, a subject which (particularly at this time of year), no one probably wants to read anything about. UP Corporation (the holding company) remains a Utah corporation.   

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Posted by Dr D on Monday, February 20, 2017 12:28 AM

Falcon 48 -

An incorporated company in the United States has the same legal standing as a "living person."  This unique structure allows individual company officers to have separate legal liability and protection from certain wrong doing.  Unlike England and other countries an American Corporation can only be held liable for the value of its assets.  It can act as a person etc. and not be put in prison.  This is one of the reasons that American companies have prospered in comparison to other nations - company officers will take risks and seek aggressive advantages.

Delaware being a very very small state with little population and few resources makes a "great state" of itself by providing very advantagious business laws for corporate use. 

DELAWARE ADVANTAGES

- The state business law is one of the most flexable in the country.

- The Delaware Court of Chancery focuses solely on business law and uses judges instead of juries.  An advantage for shareholder lawsuits.  For corporations with thousands of shareholders this can be a big plus.

- For Corporations, there is no state corporate income tax for companies that are formed in Delaware but do not transact business there.

- Taxation requirements are often favorable to companies with complex capitalization structure and with large shares of stock.

- There is no personal income tax for non-residents.

- Shareholders, directors and officers of a corporation or members or managers of a Limited License Corporation LLC don't need to be Delaware residents.

- Stock shares owned by persons outside Delaware are not subject to Delaware taxes.

-------------

It's really all about money - and the politics of other states.

- Doc

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Monday, February 20, 2017 6:53 AM

Falcon that was why UP started their licensing requirements for all their Mecheridise in about 15 years ago.  It was to provide a dedicated source of funding for the Heritage programs.  IIRC they charge each company that wants to make anything with a UP or predecessor RR marking on it 500 bucks a year per trademark.   Do the math it adds up fast in a hurry with models of the 4014 844 and 3985 alone.  Then throw in their Heritage painted 70 ACES or their cars containers T-shirts anything with the UP logo on it.  It makes bank nationwide. 

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Monday, February 20, 2017 7:22 AM

Shadow the Cats owner

Falcon that was why UP started their licensing requirements for all their Mecheridise in about 15 years ago.  It was to provide a dedicated source of funding for the Heritage programs.  IIRC they charge each company that wants to make anything with a UP or predecessor RR marking on it 500 bucks a year per trademark.   Do the math it adds up fast in a hurry with models of the 4014 844 and 3985 alone.  Then throw in their Heritage painted 70 ACES or their cars containers T-shirts anything with the UP logo on it.  It makes bank nationwide. 

 

smart move on up part. Off set small portion of the program and make  the shareholders happier.

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Posted by Falcon48 on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:50 PM

The licensing requirements were done for essentially two reasons.  One, as you state, was for revenue generation.  The other was to protect the various UP trademarks themselves.   With respect to the latter, a trademark holder who makes no effort to contol who is using its marks or how they are being used risks losing rights to the marks.   

Neither of these measures would have required any changes to UP's corporate "charter" (i.e, the articles of incorporation), and I very much doubt if any were made.

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Posted by Falcon48 on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 6:38 PM

Dr D

Falcon 48 -

An incorporated company in the United States has the same legal standing as a "living person."  This unique structure allows individual company officers to have separate legal liability and protection from certain wrong doing.  Unlike England and other countries an American Corporation can only be held liable for the value of its assets.  It can act as a person etc. and not be put in prison.  This is one of the reasons that American companies have prospered in comparison to other nations - company officers will take risks and seek aggressive advantages.

Delaware being a very very small state with little population and few resources makes a "great state" of itself by providing very advantagious business laws for corporate use. 

DELAWARE ADVANTAGES

- The state business law is one of the most flexable in the country.

- The Delaware Court of Chancery focuses solely on business law and uses judges instead of juries.  An advantage for shareholder lawsuits.  For corporations with thousands of shareholders this can be a big plus.

- For Corporations, there is no state corporate income tax for companies that are formed in Delaware but do not transact business there.

- Taxation requirements are often favorable to companies with complex capitalization structure and with large shares of stock.

- There is no personal income tax for non-residents.

- Shareholders, directors and officers of a corporation or members or managers of a Limited License Corporation LLC don't need to be Delaware residents.

- Stock shares owned by persons outside Delaware are not subject to Delaware taxes.

-------------

It's really all about money - and the politics of other states.

- Doc

 

Well, from my persepctive, the theoretical adantages of Delaware incorporation had nothing to do with the structure of the UP-SP merger. After all, if Delaware incorporation were so advantageous, why didn't Union Pacific Corporation (UPC), the holding corporation for the  railroad and the company that's publically traded (the railroad corporation itself is not), also change its incorporation from Utah to Delaware?  Why just the railroad corporation?  In fact, UPC (the holding company)  is still a Utah corporation to this day.

As i understand it, the reason for this structure had to do with Federal income taxes.  SPT had been losing money for years and had a very substantial Federal tax loss carryforward (well over a billion dollars).  To preserve it, so it could be used to offset income of the merged railroad,  the SPT had to be the surviving railroad corporation.  Thus, the merger was structured for UPRR to be merged into SPT (with SPT being renamed UPRR)  None of this made any difference for management or operations. UPRR was very clearly the dominant partner in the merger.       

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