spotted Big Boy in Laramie, we really, really wanted to see it
under its own power. Our visit the prior day was rewarded
with nice views of a stationary locomotive in shutdown.
After some extended discussions, we decided that staying close
to the track was the best way to insure that we got a good view
of the train leaving Laramie. Indeed, it was an excellent
decision. The night was cold and windy, but the new camper
made the stay comfortable and warm.
The photos below are what we saw.
and I had not decided whether we would chase Big Boy after he
left Laramie. So, we set our alarms for "early" and
insured that Thor was ready to roll with no delay. When I
got outside for the first time, I could see the steam clouds
coming from Big Boy. We knew from conversations with other
people that the crew was in the cab 2 hours before the scheduled
0800 departure. They were not idle, but rather brought the
boilers up to operating temperature. The steam clouds rose
in the frigid morning air.
Thor was a smoky challenge. Nothing like a "high, cold"
start to create huge clouds of acrid smoke. After the
motor warmed up a bit, we moved Thor from our sleeping spot to a
place close to the embankment and ready for a hasty exit chasing
the train. Our plan was simple: climb the embankment of
the overpass and get an unobstructed view of Big Boy's
passage. From higher up we could see the individual steam
plumes from 4014 and 844.
waited about 10 minutes and then 4014's light came on and huge
clouds of steam were released.
engineer engaged the throttle, clouds of black smoke rose from
the engine. 4014 was on track 3, but needed to get to
clouds of steam obscured everything as 4014 transitions from
track 3 to track 2. Big Boy is so long that the front
boiler is articulated to handle tighter radius turns.
was rolling very slowly as it worked it's way from track 3 to
taking the transition from track 2 to track 1.
display of raw power as jets of steam are vented.
transitioned to track 1 but the trailing cars are on other
tracks, so progress was slow. The spectators were engulfed
with steam as the engine slowly passed by.
not clear whether the spectators knew what they were going to
experience by standing so close.
approaching our position, so I had to widen the lens to get the
loco and tender in the same shot.
slightly wider view of the train.
first locomotive started going underneath the freeway, we would
lose our view soon.
would be our last view of 4014.
4014 was 844 another steam engine with tender.
along in case of mechanical failures.
baggage car door was open with a worker peering out at us.
car was filled with folks waving at me because I was pointing a
lens in their direction.
cars in the train were prepared for this trip, the
undercarriages were cleaned and painted silver.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.