World’s Largest Steam Locomotive To Make A Stop In West Chicago

Bernie Tafoya
July 22, 2019 - 1:17 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The world’s largest steam locomotive will be making a stop in the Chicago area next weekend as part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

Big Boy number 4014 is coming to town, more specifically, to West Chicago. 

According to Union Pacific Railroad spokeswoman Kristen South, the world’s largest steam locomotive is 1.2 million pounds and 133-feet long. Because of their length, the frames of the Big Boys were "hinged," or articulated, to allow them to bend around curves.

Big Boy No. 4014
Photo provided by Union Pacific

It was restored in time for the May commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. 

"The steam locomotive is a rock star in its own right. There were only 25 of these locomotives built for the Union Pacific back in the 1940s and, of those 25, only eight exist today and this is the only one in operation," South said.

South said it had been nearly 60 years since Big Boy No. 4014 was in operation. Next Saturday, Sunday and Monday you’ll be able to see it in West Chicago near the Metra depot.

She said "Steam Team" staff will be on hand to answer people's questions and you'll also get a chance to visit the Union Pacific's railroad museum on wheels. It's free of charge.

Some people are so taken by seeing Big Boy #4014, South said they have tears in their eyes.

"There are eight in existence and some people may have seen one at a museum somewhere, but most people have probably only read about them or seen them in photos," South said.

The Union Pacific had the steam locomotive restored over the past two-and-a-half years in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  It then made its initial run to Ogden, Utah in May for the commemoration of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.