random thoughts on railroad photography, railfanning, technology, and such

Entries in @UP_Steam (4)


A Union Pacific Living Legend Stretches Her Legs On an Eight State Tour

Union Pacific’s famed and historic steam locomotive, No. 844, will make an eight state, 28-day tour to south Texas in celebration of the Union Pacific Railroad’s heritage.  The entire trip will encompass more than 3,500 miles.  The tour is known as the “Valley Eagle Heritage Tour” and takes it name from a former Missouri Pacific Railroad passenger train that ran over a portion of the route from 1948 until 1962.  The Missouri Pacific Railroad merged with the UP in 1982. 

The No. 844 was the last steam engine built for the Union Pacific Railroad and was delivered in 1944.  During it’s 16-year tenure at UP the No. 844 pulled some very legendary passenger trains such as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger until the dieselization of the roster was complete.  She is a Northern class locomotive which means she has 4-8-4 classification.  Weighing nearly 1 million pounds, with a loaded weight of 907,980 pounds, she is massive.

The “Valley Eagle Heritage Tour” will begin from Cheyenne, Wyoming April 2, 2010 and conclude on April 29, 2010.  The locomotive will make overnight stops and be on display in the following cities before arriving back in Cheyenne April 29:

  • North Platte, Nebraska
  • Marysville, Parsons and Coffeyville, Kansas
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • McAlester, Oklahoma
  • Ft. Worth, Hearne, Houston, Bloomington, Raymondville, Harlingen, Palestine and Longview, Texas
  • North Little Rock and Van Buren, Arkansas

 Here is a map of the planned route provided by the Union Pacific Railroad:

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

Programs such as UP’s Steam Program are not the norm for most railroads and are costly ventures.  I thank the Union Pacific for their commitment to their history and heritage by having a steam program at all.  I would also like to commend the UP on embracing technology embodied by their extensive use of technologies such as Twitter and Facebook.

One more example of their progressive approach to technology and appreciation of fans is this web page which allows you to follow the location of their steam locomotives as they travel across the UP system on their excursions.  A Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) transmitter was installed on one of the rail cars that will travel with No. 844. The GPS system has been integrated with a map on UP’s Web site as shown:

Click to track the UP’s steam locomotives.

Union Pacific also utilizes YouTube to connect with fans and communities alike.  Here is a neat video of the No. 844 provided by the Union Pacific Railroad.  It provides a good glimpse of what chasing steel (844 steel in this case) is like.  Enjoy. 

RSS feed of UP_Steam's tweets

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