Union Pacific Leads the Way
Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 1:21AM
Joe Perry in 844, @UP_Steam, Centennial Tour, Events, Locomotive, News, Railfan, Ramblings and Such, Steam, Technology, Union Pacific

So Much For Having a Plan

Last night I settled in to my usual haunt, the easy chair in the front room, and perched upon my lap was my trusty Apple MacBook Pro. I had plans to research and craft a blog post that was long overdue. You see, the Union Pacific Railroad is embarking on a grand tour of the Southwest with one of their treasured and glorious steam engines replete with appropriate carriages of old in tow. The purpose of the event is best left described by a few passages from their press release:

Omaha, Neb., October 10, 2011 – Union Pacific Railroad’s iconic steam locomotive, No. 844, will travel through the Southwestern United States to kick off state centennial celebrations in New Mexico and Arizona, respectively. No. 844 is the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific and will travel more than 2,900 miles from its base in Wyoming on a 32-day, nine-state tour that will honor the rich railroad heritage of the scenic Southwest.

“Union Pacific long has been a part of the Western United States landscape,” said Scott Moore, vice president of public affairs for Union Pacific’s western region. “It is fitting that No. 844 will be the flag bearer for these centennial celebrations.”

The “New Mexico/Arizona Centennial Tour” begins October 29 when No. 844 departs Cheyenne, Wyo. The train’s consist, which will include passenger cars from Union Pacific’s renowned Heritage Fleet, will stop in each of the following cities before arriving back in Cheyenne November 29…

Map of the scheduled route compliments of the Union Pacific Railroad.

UP No. 844 - Photo courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad.

Obviously this is a big event with a lot of visibility that, over the course of a month, will bring joy and stir the hearts and imagination of many throughout the Southwest. Sure, the UP runs trips like this now and again, but there is something about seeing a steam locomotive, and particularly a large locomotive such as UP Np.844 roaring by at track speed that makes these events special each and every time. Hence, I felt the need to help spread the word about the event and to enlighten the uniformed of the opportunity to chase this train as it makes it way on a circular route through Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and finally returning to Wyoming.

The most appropriate place to start, for me, was crafting a colorful map detailing the route and stop-overs. Also, I wanted to mark the locations that I am familiar with that might present some amazing photographic opportunties and help identify good, safe locations for non-fans to see the train up close. I turned to the Union Pacific’s web site to gather details.

While I was reading UP’s material on the subject, and “hitting the links,” I came across a page that, excuse me, gave me the cause to exclaim aloud, “Holy Shit!”  The page is titled “Union Pacific Railroad’s Steam Locomotives Join the App World.”

Now i have praised the Union Pacific in the past, not only for their steam program, but for their prolific use of current technology to inform and entice the general public to become part of the event. It is clearly an excellent marketing strategy that I, as a die-hard railfan, am thankful for. Here is the complete press release from the Union Pacific Railroad:

Union Pacific Railroad’s Steam Locomotives Join the App World

Free UP Steam App Now Available

Omaha, Neb., October 28, 2011 – In the golden age of steam locomotives, trains were tracked using a timetable and a pocket watch. Converging old and new technology, Union Pacific’s legendary steam locomotives now can be tracked with the touch of a screen. The free UP Steam app is available at Apple’s App Store in iTunes for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users.

Combining new technology and Union Pacific’s historic steam locomotives, the UP Steam app offers users the chance to keep up with the locomotives on their latest excursions.

App features include:

In addition, the app includes an “About Union Pacific” section describing the company’s operations, shipping information and an overview of the products Union Pacific routinely ships.

As you can glean from the release, it is a rather comprehensive application — offering some great features. Based solely on the description it seems like the application was conceived purposefully to present the technologies that most folks would care about. Now, I say “based solely on…” because I haven’t actually had a thorough oppotunity to test the application. I intend on doing a complete review sometime soon.

So, rather than putting together a traditional blog post about the excursion event, I cracked open a new program for me and used it to craft an homage to the Union Pacific’s effort and desire to put out the app. Hopefully it will serve to inspire and encourage you to try out the app and follow the excursion on your iOS device, along with me. My thought is that application could, and should, serve to enlighten and inform, fans and the general populus alike, about the doings of Union Pacific’s Steam Program.

Chasing Steel’s Homage to Union Pacific’s Steam Program iOS App

 

 

Thank you Union Pacific.

Article originally appeared on railroad photography and blog by joe perry (http://www.chasingsteel.com/).
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