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Live Steam- Union Pacific Challenger 4664 #3985(11 posts)

Live Steam- Union Pacific Challenger 4664 #3985rwbadley
May 6, 2003 8:24 PM
69" drive wheels. I think it was built in the early forties.

I like the steam enginesmickey-mac
May 6, 2003 8:50 PM
However, my clearest railroad memories are bringing lunch to my dad who was walking a UTU picket line in the L.A. Harbor while working as a Southern Pacific freight conductor. He's still a freight conductor, but with the passing of the SP, he's now UP. He's counting down the days to retirement. As kids on car trips, my sister and I saw every railroad museum and most big railyards west of the Rockies. OTOH, my dad's younger brother was more inclined to boxcar-hopping. 30 years and four kids later, he still tells his wife that he gets the itch every time he hears a whistle.
That was my secong guess :O)Live Steam
May 7, 2003 5:27 AM
She's big and beautiful and a real hauler. The UP built some of the largest freight locomotives ever. The Big Boy was the largest of their fleet. Actually not tremendously larger than #3985. The wheel config. was 4-8-8-4. Isn't it amazing that something that large can not only propel itself, but drag tons of freight along with it? Your son got a real treat that day :O) It's too bad than many of these great machines went to the scrap yard. There is a yard in Roanoke, Va. That is a graveyard for old steamers. They are mostly all overgrown with weeds and trees. Kind of Jurassic looking.
He's been lucky...rwbadley
May 7, 2003 6:00 AM
In Virgina City they have been trying to revive the old V&T line. A few years back (I guess he was about 8) we were riding a short loop they have set up with one of the old steamers. The engineer asked me if it was ok for the kid to ride up front in the engine... of course! My only regret was I couldn't talk him into taking me with!

He has been interested in engineering stuff...

He was set to do an internship with our local Reno Intl. Airport. He had a spot in the control tower for a semester... His first week started, he went for a couple days then...9/11 hit. They shut that down asap. I felt sorry for the kid on that one.

Re: Graveyard for steamers. I bet you could get some real photos out of there. We have a couple old boneyards around here too.
This is across the street from my officemoneyman
May 7, 2003 5:58 AM
I could hit this with a rock if I were to be so inclined (and had a much better arm). I can step out my front door, look to the east, and about 200 yards away rests Big Boy #4004. It sits on rails to nowhere, strictly as a tourist attraction in a park in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1985, we had a tremendous flood that killed 13 people. The park where Big Boy sits was under water, and the train was in water up to the top of its drivers.

May 7, 2003 7:00 AM
Have you ever ridden one? Steam engines are beautiful machines, but riding a steam train is kind of stinky and filthy. The smoke and soot from the engine comes back into the cars and you end up smelling like a firefighter when you get off. Still, there's something romantic about the whole affair. Gary Cooper pulling Audrey Hepburn onto the train into a kiss, music swells, credits roll... and how many others?
...but it's a GOOD stinky and filthy!The Walrus
May 7, 2003 1:21 PM
If you want smoke and soot, try riding the Cumbres & Toltec out of Chama, NM, when they're running a doubleheader to the top of Cumbres Pass--two Mikados sending up such huge clouds of black smoke I always expect to see lightning bolts. The only other thing that good is being able to walk all around the yard in Chama in the morning while the hostelers are loading up at the coal tipple, blowing the sediment out of the cylinders, cleaning out the firebox over the ash pit...probably doesn't look significantly different than it did 100 years ago.

As far as the big stuff goes, I'd gladly put ex-ATSF 3751 up against 4449 or 3985 any day. It's "only" a 4-8-4, but it's awesome. Just hope I can scrape up the money for the excursion trip it's pulling in September...
Chama - I hear ther's some great trout fishing ...Live Steam
May 8, 2003 7:21 AM
in them there parts! I was in NM to fish two years ago. We went up to Dulce to the Jicarillia Apache Reservation. We slaughtered them for three days straight :O) Three to five pounders! I wanted to go to Chama for the fishing and to see the yards, but the weather turned on us. We went back to Albuquerque to my buddy's house to watch the World Series Yanks vs Mets for the duration of the trip.

I appreciate your love of the old Santa Fe, but I believe #3751 is a Northern, not a Mikado. 4-8-4 would make it a Northern and these were the workhorses of the AT&SF. They could haul quite a bit of tonnage, but the tractive effort of the Challenger was quite a bit higher - somewhere around 97,000lbs. I believe that a Northern's tractive effort is under 70,00lbs. Still a beast though.

When in September does the excursion run? Maybe I can really make a trip of it :O) Let's see - some fishing, cycling and a cool ride on a steamer out of Chama :O) I would love to see the yard works and the picture you painted of the hostler performing his yard duty was really appreciated!
Hang on there...The Walrus
May 8, 2003 11:40 AM
3751 and the Mikados are two totally separate things--the Mikes are what they run on the C&T (plus the occasional Mudhen). Not only a totally different class, they're not even the same gauge--C&T is a 3ft narrow gauge.

3751 was indeed a Northern, the first of 14 3751-class locos that they had built to spec by Baldwin. You're right about tractive force; it's "only" 66,000 lbs. Ironically, after several sad decades on static display in a park in San Bernardino, the now-restored engine is kept at the Amtrak yard at Redondo Jct, which used to be the ATSF yard where it was stationed. I see it everytime I take Amtrak or Metrolink to/from Orange County.

Definitely do the trip out of Chama--in fact, allow at least two days. One to ride the train, and one to chase it by car to photograph it. For a preview of what you'll see, watch the opening of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"--the circus train segment was filmed on the C&T. (You might want to check the website, because they used to run a photo excursion in September every year, where they'd have a half-dozen run-bys at some of the more dramatic locales. This should be combined with the photo excursion on the Durango & Silverton, which happens around the same time.) The
i 3751
excursion, however, is between L.A. and San Diego, so you might have a problem combining that with New Mexico and Colorado....
A bit silly perhaps but....Buzzlitespeed
May 7, 2003 6:44 PM
Has anyone else ever noticed a similarity between the crank arms, gears and chains of a bicycle and the running gear of a steam locomotive? I suppose it's silly but sometimes when I'm climbing a long grade I feel like one of those locomotives. Unfortunately I know first hand the meaning of running out of steam.
Not silly at all ...Live Steam
May 8, 2003 6:49 AM
I believe from an engineering standpoint the motion is identical. It's funny, but I use the same imagery when pulling at the front and I am trying to stretch the field a bit. Like taking the "slack out" of the consist. (railroading jargon :O)