Notes from the 4014 chase: Wyoming

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Thursday, May 8, 2014

UP 4014 departs Rock Springs, Wyo. for Thursday's trip to Laramie, Wyo.

LARAMIE, Wyo. – We arrived here last night after a day that included blowing snow, lightning, rain, and not far away, tornadoes. Fortunately, everyone and everything got here to the western slope of Sherman Hill for today’s last lap on the way into Cheyenne, Wyo., where Union Pacific steam lives and where Big Boy No. 4014 will be reborn. The locomotive, and the Trains chase crew, have come almost 1,300 miles to be here for this historic occasion. With only roughly 60 miles to go, let’s take a look at notes from yesterday’s trip from Rock Springs, Wyo., to Laramie.

Big Boy No. 4014 rolls eastbound behind SD70M No. 4014 through Red Desert, Wyo., site of Big Boy No. 4005's fatal 1953 derailment.

The train left a few minutes early on Wednesday, and it is a good thing it did because the busy UP Transcon was packed with all sorts of freight trains that either met or overtook the 25 mph special. We witnessed numerous stack, automotive, and mixed freights throughout the day with the only lull coming early in the evening.

We made sure to visit Red Desert, Wyo., the site of Big Boy No. 4005’s fatal 1953 derailment. All three on the head end crew died when the westbound train hit an open switch. No. 4005 is still with us at the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver.

No. 4014's train departs Wamsutter, Wyo., after a brief school lesson.

At Wamsutter, a local school had its history lesson for the day in front of No. 4014, stopped on the main line. We also loved the water tank, left from steam days.

Rawlins turned to be a significant stop to display the engine, shoot the rods, and adjust the steam locomotive bell. The crew also used it as an opportunity to refuel SD70M No. 4884.

One of many freights that No. 4014 eastbound met en route from Rock Springs, Wyo., to Laramie. This one was east of Wamsutter.

The crowd at Two Medicine, Wyo., was large and enthusiastic despite downpours and wind.

We hope you’ll join us today for the last few miles across fabled Sherman Hill and the welcome home ceremony for No. 4014 in Cheyenne. Trains magazine subscribers can watch us on our live streaming web cam – subject to weather and transmission conditions. Check it out at, where you’ll also find a page with information and photos about Big Boy locomotives. If you want to know more about the No. 4014 project or Big Boys, be sure to pick up a copy of Big Boy on the Road to Restoration, available now from Kalmbach Publishing Co., or your favorite magazine dealer. 

Rick Brown adjusts the bell at Rawlins, Wyo.

To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.