The Union Pacific railroad depot in North Lawrence will briefly return to the Age of Steam Monday afternoon when Big Boy, the largest steam railroad locomotive ever built, stops at the depot as part of its national excursion tour.
The 85-foot-long, 380-ton Iron Horse will be en route to Kansas City from its home base in Cheyenne as part of a monthlong tour that will take it to Texas and New Orleans. If you miss it Monday, the big engine will be back through Lawrence on Sept. 2.
Big Boy was last in Lawrence in November 2019 as part of its inaugural tour after the 70-year-old engine, No. 4014, was refurbished and returned to operation by the Union Pacific after many years of disuse. That visit drew huge crowds to line the tracks in North Lawrence to see the smoke-belching giant.
The 3:30 p.m. stop in town Monday is set to last about 45 minutes.
If you want to get a closer look, Big Boy will be parked at Union Station in Kansas City all day Tuesday. According to the Union Pacific site, there are no plans for passenger excursions on the Kansas legs of the tour.
The historic locomotive is the only remaining one of its kind in working condition; seven others, out of a total of 25 built in the early 1940s, are on display around the country.