Iconic steam locomotive to roll into Albert Lea

Published 12:04 pm Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Union Pacific’s iconic steam locomotive Big Boy No. 4014 is slated to stop in Albert Lea Wednesday morning as part of a tour across the Midwest to commemorate the transcontinental railroad’s 150th anniversary.

Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Ogden, Utah, according to a press release. Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy and the only one still owned by Union Pacific.

Following more than 2 1/2 years of restoration, No. 4014 recently completed its inaugural tour to Ogden for Union Pacific’s 150th anniversary celebration of the transcontinental railroad’s completion. The Big Boy and historic steam locomotive Living Legend No. 844 met nose-to-nose, recreating the iconic image taken May 10, 1869, when the last spike was tapped into place at Promontory Summit, creating America’s first transcontinental railroad.

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The locomotive is in the middle of what is being deemed The Great Race Across the Midwest, and on Wednesday will travel from Mason City to Albert Lea, arriving at 9:15 a.m. at the old depot behind Cars-N-Credit and the Albert Lea Car Wash near the intersection of East Main Street and East William Street. It will depart at 9:30 a.m.

After Albert Lea it will stop in Owatonna, Northfield and then St. Paul later Wednesday. From there, it will travel to Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.