A couple thousand people braved the heat and showed up at the Union Pacific Depot in North Lawrence on Monday to welcome Big Boy, the largest steam railroad locomotive ever built.
Big Boy’s last visit was in November 2019, when a massive crowd gathered to see the stop, which was part of its inaugural tour after the engine, No. 4014, was refurbished and returned to operation by the Union Pacific after many years of disuse. This locomotive is the only remaining one in working condition; seven others, out of a total of 25 built in the early 1940s, are on display around the country.
The 85-foot long, 380-ton behemoth, pulling a train of support cars, will make a brief stop at the Union Pacific depot again for about 20 minutes at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, as part of the five-week tour that will take it from its home base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Texas and New Orleans.
Big Boy was built in 1941 to pull heavy freight trains over the Rockies. Together with the tender that carries oil to power the steam engine, it weighs more than a 747 passenger jet.
— Updated at 11:29 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9, to add video —