The Museum's "Big Boy" steam locomotive #4018, a gift of the Union Pacific Railroad 48 years ago, arrived at its new, permanent home in Frisco yesterday. The 1.2 million lb. engine, regarded as the largest of its type in the world, was eased into the Museum of the American Railroad's facility at 2:20pm.
Hundreds of Museum supporters and fans of Big Boy cheered as the large engine rolled to a stop, following the 25-mile journey over BNSF's main line. The celebrated locomotive performed flawlessly throughout the entire move from Dallas' Fair Park to Frisco via Irving. "It's a real testament to the original designers and builders, and the team we assembled to inspect and prepare it for movement," said Museum CEO, Bob LaPrelle.
Under the direction of Scott Lindsay of Steam Operations Corporation, the Museum's Steam Crew spent countless hours inspecting, lubricating, repairing, and even fabricating mechanical components of the Big Boy locomotive. No mechanical issues arose during the 55-mile trek over busy main lines between Dallas and Frisco. The engine rolled silently and effortlessly, sharing the line with modern passenger, commuter, and freight trains pulled by high horsepower diesel locomotives. Still considered the most powerful, the 71-year-old #4018 seemed to garner the respect of its younger counterparts even after having sat static for 48 years.
The locomotive departed South Irving at 10:35am, arriving in Frisco 3 hours and 45 minutes later. Two stops were made en route to inspect and lubricate #4018's running gear. Thousands of onlookers lined the tracks throughout the move, with clusters of people in Irving, Carrollton, and Plano cheering the engine on to its final destination. Upon arrival in Frisco, #4018 was greeted by residents, city officials, and Museum stakeholders.
After Big Boy's week-long adventure on main line trackage, including a layover in Irving next to TRE's busy commuter line, it begins a new chapter in its life. While brief, the engine's trip to Frisco demonstrated its ability to amaze and inspire a new generation of fans and keep the fascination with trains alive! It will become the centerpiece of the Museum of the American Railroad's new rail history and technology center in Frisco.
BNSF crews were diligent in providing a safe and timely move. We are greatly indebted to BNSF Railway for its untiring commitment to the Big Boy move.
Photo above courtesy of Ken Fitzgerald.
Our thanks to WFAA, Channel 8 television for the news clip below.