Watch as Union Pacific Big Boy rescues stalled freight train

Published on Jul 12, 2023 at 10:09 AM (UTC+4)
by Adam Gray

Last updated on Jul 13, 2023 at 11:27 AM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

Watch as Union Pacific Big Boy rescues stalled freight train

It was retired from service more than six decades ago, but the Union Pacific Big Boy still has its uses.

The steam locomotive was recently tasked with an important mission – to rescue a stalled freight train.

And it managed to do it with ease.

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The famous Union Pacific Big Boy was the heaviest steam locomotive ever built when it became operational in the 1940s.

An icon of the American railroads, it was retired from service in 1959 as the diesel age took hold.

Fast forward to today, and the only outing Big Boy gets is when it runs excursions for Union Pacific.

Or so we thought.

The steam loco was recently called back into action to save the day for a freight train stuck heading westbound over Blair Hill, Nebraska.

YouTuber Otto the Railfan managed to capture the rescue mission on camera and its pretty impressive.

In the video, Big Boy is seen gently pulling up and coupling with the freight train ahead.

After a while, it roars to life, blasting its whistle before powering up its mighty cylinders to shove its way up the grade.

Weighing a mighty 762,000 pounds, it’s surprising to see a hint of wheel slip, but that’s what 7,000 horsepower does for you.

After finding its footing, Union Pacific Big Boy gets the stuck machine rolling down the rails once again.

Makes a change from hauling passenger cars on excursion services, when it’s paired with a diesel loco to provide motive power in the event of any breakdowns.

It’s also worth noting that Big Boy was converted to run on fuel oil rather than coal, which it hauls in a tender with several cars with an abundant supply of water.

It may not be cost-effective or practical for Union Pacific Big Boy to be sent out to rescue trains.

But it just goes to show, the iconic loco is still more than capable of doing the job it was built to do.

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Adam Gray

Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.