Union Pacific’s Historic Steam Locomotive No. 844 to Tour the Southwest

Monday, October 17 2011 20:54   Western Travel Buzz

Union Pacific Railroad's iconic steam locomotive, No. 844, will travel through the Southwestern United States during fall 2011 to kick off state centennial celebrations in New Mexico and Arizona, respectively.

No. 844, the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific, will travel more than 2,900 miles from its base in Wyoming on a 32-day, nine-state tour that will honor the rich railroad heritage of the scenic Southwest.

844_locos_web"Union Pacific long has been a part of the Western United States landscape," said Scott Moore, vice president of public affairs for Union Pacific's western region. "It is fitting that No. 844 will be the flag bearer for these centennial celebrations."

The "New Mexico/Arizona Centennial Tour" begins Oct. 29 when No. 844 departs Cheyenne, Wyo.

The train, which will include passenger cars from Union Pacific's renowned Heritage Fleet, will stop in each of the following cities before arriving back in Cheyenne on Nov. 29.

• Denver, Greeley, Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colo.;
• Stratford, Dalhart and El Paso, Texas ;
• Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Vaughn, Carrizozo, Alamogordo, Santa Teresa, Deming and Lordsburg, New Mexico;
• Wilcox, Benson, Vail, Tucson, Coolidge, Gilbert, Tempe, Phoenix, Picacho, Casa Grande, Gila Bend, Wellton and Yuma, Ariz.;
• Niland, Thousand Palms, Colton, and Yermo, Calif.;
• Kelso, Las Vegas, Moapa, Caliente and Modena, Nev.;
• Milford, Delta, Lynndyl, Faust, Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah;
• Evanston, Rock Springs, Wamsutter, Rawlins, Medicine Bow and Laramie, Wyo.

No. 844, also known as Union Pacific's "Living Legend," returned to service in 2005 after one of the most extensive steam locomotive overhauls in the United States since regular steam service ended.

The work, which started in 2000, included overhauling the locomotive's running gear, pumps, piping, valves and springs, along with replacement of its firebox and extensive boiler work.

The cab interior also was refurbished. No. 844 was the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad and was delivered in 1944. A passenger locomotive, it pulled such widely known trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.

When diesel-electric locomotives took over all passenger train duties, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service.

The engine has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific's ambassador of goodwill.

It has made appearances at Expo '74 in Spokane, the 1981 opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Los Angeles Union Station in 1989.

During the 1990s, No. 844 pulled numerous Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days specials and visited several Oklahoma cities during the Oklahoma Centennial in 2007. In 2010, No. 844 traveled to Harlingen, Texas, and Milliken, Colo., to be a part of those communities' heritage celebrations.

Earlier this year the locomotive traveled 2,500-miles pulling the Little Rock Express Tour special as well as being on public display during the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., and pulling the Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days train.

One of the rail cars that travels with No. 844 has a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) transmitter. The GPS system is integrated with a map on UP's website. Enter the word "Steam" in the search box on the homepage for a shortcut to the map.

Website visitors will be able to access route maps with varying amounts of detail. The GPS system will update the map every five minutes showing No. 844's location. GPS updates are also available at

For more information, visit the Website at
www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/index.shtml .


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