Sunday, March 1, 2009

Heartland Rails: Union Pacific's #3985

The post from Viewliner Limited contributor Ray Peacock will be a regular feature on Sunday's and will showcase Ray's great railroad photography. (To visit Heartland Rails just click on the banner.)

Built in 1943 by the American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, New York, Union Pacific's 3985 is a four-cylinder simple articulated 4-6-6-4 Challenger type steam locomotive. It is currently the largest operational steam locomotive in the world and was designed by UP chief mechanical engineer Otto Jabelmann in 1941.

UP 3985 crosses the Mississippi river heading to West Chicago, where it will stage for upcoming excursions to Milwaukee. June 12, 2002.

UP's challenger heads back to Chicago from Butler Yard in Milwaukee. Train is shown on former CNW "freight belt" just a few minutes after departure from Butler at West Allis. June 15, 2002.

UP 3985 blasts through the northern suburbs of Chicagoland, returning from Milwaukee alongside US 41. June 15, 2002.

UP steam special is out of Butler headed back to West Chicago on the old CNW freight belt around Milwaukee. June 16, 2002.

UP steam heads north to Milwaukee over the old CNW "new line". June 16, 2002.

Here is the link provided by Ray to the Union Pacific Steam Website.
Thanks Ray!


The Old Nail said...

Great to see those old giants still running!

Major Pepperidge said...

Are these old locomotives still owned by the big railroad companies? And are they occasionally brought out just so that railroad lovers can come out and enjoy them?

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Major, the UP owns this steamer amongst other trains such as the EMD E9 diesels and most of the coach cars that go with them

It is brought out many times a year for excursions and photo ops. And also for the executives and employees to ride for promotional purposes.

If I am not mistaken, the Union Pacific is the only major RR in the country that still maintains vintage RR equipment.

Keith said...

I love all these trains. Hope you've had a good weekend.

Ray Peacock said...

In the early 1980s, UP #3985 was retired and renovated after being on static display for a number of years in Cheyenne.

However, the UP was the only US railroad to not retire every steam locomotive on it's roster in the era of dieselization-the late 40s and early 50s. #844, a 4-8-4 speedster, was kept on the active roster and used for annual appearances. After renovation, #3985 once again joined #844 on the UP steam roster. For more, see

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Thanks for the additional info Ray. Always appreciated.