|No. 844 on Track 1 - Ogden, Utah|
The Union Pacific Railroad has steam locomotives that they occasionally run just for the heck of it. One of those steam locomotives is number 844. Yesterday it puffed and chugged into the old Ogden Union Station in downtown Ogden, Utah. My wife and I took our three young kids to see it.
The Union Pacific 844 was built in 1944 by the American Locomotive Company (also called Alco). It was designed for passenger service, with a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement, and had a top speed of 120 M.P.H. It was the very last steam locomotive that the Union Pacific Railroad would buy brand new. It is also the only steam locomotive to never be retired from service by a major North American railroad.
A great resource to know when these trains will be operating, and to GPS track them as they travel, is right on the Union Pacific's website. I knew where the train was coming from and where it was going and where it was currently at. Still, I almost drove up to the station too late to watch it operate. Literally it arrived at Ogden Union Station the same time that we arrived. We hurried out of the car and we were able to watch it slowly back down track one right next to the station. The whistle was really loud and scared my three-year-old boy.
|Union Pacific No. 844 - Ogden, Utah|
To say that it was crowded is an understatement. Hundreds of people turned out to see it. I was trying to capture interesting images while also keeping my kids close to my side, slowly making our way through the crowds of rail enthusiasts.
My seven-year-old son had made a poster for the train's arrival. He was holding the sign up and one of the train crew saw it. He approached my son, read the poster and asked him several questions about it. My son is very shy, but he loved that the trainman took notice and talked to him. He also talked to my three-year-old son (who is not shy) about trains.
We didn't stay long--just enough to let the kids take in the experience. It was a little chilly and the rain kept threatening. Besides, it was nap time for my three-year-old. It was great to see such a large relic of industrial past still operating. It was pretty neat to watch the old steam engine--with all of its moving parts--still working. Vintage is cool, and this was cool to see.
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