How fast will 4014 roll?

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Monday, April 29, 2019

How fast will Big Boy No. 4014 and 4-8-4 No. 844 run on the 4-8-8-4’s inaugural run between Cheyenne and Ogden across Wyoming and Utah? An analysis of Union Pacific’s public schedule shows the two locomotives and their 9-car train taking it easy on some sections with an average running speed as low as 14 mph and sprinting at an average of better than 60 mph on other sections. Overall, for the entire tour, the engines average a speed of 30.6 mph.


The two locomotives and a diesel backup leave Cheyenne May 4 and arrive in Ogden on May 8. They leave on their return trip May 12 and arrive in Cheyenne on May 19. Typical of UP steam operations, the train runs for periods of 30 minutes to two hours, then stops for a break to service the engines, change on board media representatives, and give the chase pack a chance to catch up.


In the real world, the schedule will stretch and bend with meets, freights blocking the way, work windows, and unscheduled stops. As you’d expect, the portions on mountainous Wasatch grade between Echo and Evanston and Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie are among the slowest sections, and portions in the high desert are faster. A work window on May 6 has the train leaving early and dragging along. I suspect some of the times will change in the next few days, given that Big Boy hasn‘t been able to get out and get some mileage on it before the big event.


Here’s an analysis of the Golden Spike trip using rail miles between stops, time of travel, and an average speed:


May 4

Cheyenne-Harriman via track 3: 26 miles, 75 minutes, 21 mph

Harriman-Laramie via track 3: 30 miles, 60 minutes, 30 mph

Laramie-Medicine Bow: 60 miles, 75 minutes, 48 mph

Medicine Bow-Rawlins: 58 miles, 90 minutes, 39 mph


May 5

Rawlins-Wamsutter: 42 miles, 75 minutes, 33.6 mph

Wamsutter-Rock Springs: 78 miles, 75 minutes, 62 mph


May 6 (early departure due to maintenance of way work window)

Rock Springs-Green River: 13 miles, 55 minutes, 14 mph

Green River-Granger: 30 miles, 65 minutes, 28 mph

Granger-Evanston: 72 miles, 105 minutes, 41 mph


May 8

Evanston-Echo: 35 miles, 85 minutes, 24 mph

Echo-Morgan: 16 miles. 40 minutes, 24 mph

Morgan-Ogden (Riverdale Yard): 20 miles, 60 minutes, 20 mph


May 12

Ogden (Union Station)-Morgan: 25 miles, 75 minutes, 20 mph

Morgan-Echo: 16 miles, 30 minutes, 32 mph

Echo-Evanston: 35 miles, 60 minutes; 35 mph


May 13

Evanston-Granger: 70 miles, 120 minutes, 35 mph

Granger-Green River: 29 miles, 65 minutes, 27 mph

Green-River-Rock Springs: 13 miles, 40 minutes, 20 mph


May 16

Rock Springs-Point of Rocks: 25 miles, 60 minutes, 25 mph

Point of Rocks-Wamsutter: 51 miles, 75 minutes, 41 mph

Wamsutter-Rawlins, 42 miles, 75 minutes, 34 mph


May 17

Rawlins-Hanna: 39 miles, 60 minutes, 39 mph

Hanna-Medicine Bow: 19 miles, 30 minutes, 38 mph

Medicine Bow-Laramie: 60 miles, 120 minutes, 30 mph


May 19

Laramie-Sherman, 21 miles, 75 minutes, 17 mph

Sherman-Cheyenne, 31 miles, 100 minutes, 19 mph









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