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Just months before Pearl Harbor, the American Locomotive Company delivered the first Big Boy to the Union Pacific Railroad. Writer Henry Comstock beautifully described the Big Boy's place at the apex of steam engine history: "A Union Pacific 'Big Boy' was 604 tons and 19,000 cubic feet of steel and coal and water, poised upon 36 wheels spaced no wider apart than those of an automobile. Still looking for a second Restoration Hardware Locomotive (I couldn't do it to my first one; it's got the box). Was sharing the story behind why it was my favorite, I meant in his collection as opposed to the collection of pics here???? The Union Pacific's mainline through America, the fabled "Overland Route" started in Omaha, went west across Nebraska and Wyoming before entering Utah. Remember, 2’x4’ HO model train layout is small and does not provide the flexibility to grow your layout. One of the main reasons why model train beginners tend to start off with a 4’x8’ HO train layout is because building it is very easy and it also provides enough flexibility to grow your layout.
Some model train enthusiasts prefer to use a single model train on their layout that serves multiple purposes from picking up passengers on their way to work, all the way up to being used a freight train for supplies for the town. The UP's Department of Research and Mechanical Standards had designed the locomotive for a specific task: to pull a 3600-ton train unassisted over the Wasatch Mountains in Utah.
That it could thunder safely over undulating and curved track at speeds in excess of 70 miles an hour was due in large measure to the efforts of two long-forgotten pioneers. The steepest grade was on the Echo Canyon line through the Wasatch Mountains just east of Ogden, Utah.
4’x8’ plywood sheets are readily available and do not take up an incredible amount of space. This is because after experience, they soon realize that it is too small for a proper model railroad layout.


Set up the grid paper scale based on your own preference, I always find it better to use big sheets of paper that can be found at elementary schools.
The most important aspect of HO train layouts that are customized for a single train is the switchers. While the Big Boy is often cited as the biggest steam locomotive ever built, in fact it is not. One suggestion is to start with a 4’x8’ model train layout first and build it out the tracks small first and add to it accordingly. Some others reasons besides size include the fact that curves for tracks are too tight, which does not allow the model trains to turn properly as well. If you currently have grandchildren or know teachers that work at elementary schools, try to ask them for larger grid paper.
Road switchers such as diesel based RS3 and EMD GP series and smaller Mogul and Atlantic types for steam is a crucial decision for HO railroading.
The Norfolk and Western's Y6 and A, the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range's Yellowstones, and the Chesapeake and Ohio's Alleghenys were all in the same league, and some exceeded the Big Boy's weight and power. When he was boxing up all the stuff to transfer to my house the box with it in it was marked "Richies" engine! The UP Railroad needed a locomotive that could be used to pull a 3,600-ton train over Sherman Hill, located west of Cheyenne, Wyoming and from Ogden to Wasatch, Utah without the need for helpers.The designers decided to use a "simple" articulated locomotive. 2’x’4’ is not a bad size for a N or Z gauge starter layout but will not do an HO gauge justice. It is just like getting your haircut, once its cut you cannot change it but if the barber starts off cutting it off slow, you can manage and customize it as you see fit. Perhaps it was the name, simple and direct, scrawled on a locomotive under construction by an Alco shop worker.


Maybe it was timing, as the Big Boys hit the road just when America needed symbols to rally around.
According to legend an unidentified machinist at the ALCO plant is responsible for the name "Big Boy", having scrawled the name in chalk on a partially completed locomotive.Initially the Big Boys were used between Ogden, Utah and Green River, Wyoming. Maybe the UP's publicity department just did a better job of telling the world what great equipment they had.
Whatever the reason, the Big Boy captured the imagination of railfans and the American public over the ensuing years, perhaps more than any other steam engine. The increase in traffic during WWII resulted in the Union Pacific ordering 5 more Big Boys, numbered 4020 through 4024; built in 1944. In many ways it is the symbolic locomotive of the American West, as big and powerful as the country it sped through. These versions were slightly heavier than the original order due to wartime materials restrictions.Even with the infiltration of diesel locomotives following WWII, the Big Boys and Challengers remained the prime power on the Overland Route. They remained active through the 1950s and weren't retired until the early 1960s.There are eight of the twenty five Big Boys that have been preserved in the following locations #4004 in Cheyenne, #4005 in Denver, #4006 in St. Louis, #4012 in Scranton, #4014 in Pomona, #4017 in Green Bay, #4018 in Dallas, and #4023 in Omaha.



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