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Union Pacific Big Boy Features
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Key Model Imports Announces "O" Scale 
Union Pacific "Big Boy"

up4002-11.jpg
4002 at Laramie WY, August 17, 1957
  • Fully Hollow Bored Driver Axles - The prototype bored holes all the way from one end of the driver axles to the other to lighten the axles.  Hollow axles are also stronger then solid axles.  Instead of the usual simulation of hollow driver axles by just drilling into the ends of the axle slightly, the Big Boy axles will have a hole all the way through.  you will be able to look clear through the axle, just like on the prototype.
  • Scale Wheel Profiles - All the wheels will have exact scale wheel profiles.  They will be gauged to work perfectly on NMRA Standard O Scale track, but will look exactly like the real thing.  While no Proto 48 versions will be produced, the exact wheels will greatly simply Proto 48 conversion for those wishing to do so.
  • Double Drawbar - These engines will have an exact scale double drawbar between the engine and tender.  This is a huge visual improvement that help fill the void between the engine and tender usually seen on models.
  • Engine to Tender Hoses - These models will come equipped with a full complement of engine-to-tender water and air hoses.  This will provide the best appearance ever done on the engine-to-tender space, completely filling it as on the prototype.
  • Fully Operational on Both DC and DCC - There will be two complete and ready to run electronic systems on the Big Boys.  They will run on straight DC for those not yet into DCC, but they will also run with no compromise on DCC complete with Tsunami sound from SoundTraxx.  The two systems are completely separate and these is no compromise in performance in either system.  No parts have to be added or adjusted.  The DC system is optimized for straight DC, the DCC and sound system is optimized for DCC right down to the adjustments on the CVs.  This will be ideal for the modeler who may be considering DCC but is not sure about converting yet.
  • Ball Bearings - All Axles, the drive train, and motor will have ball bearings for smooth operation. 
  • Details -  All visible detailing will be included and will be accurate to the years being modeled.  The buyer will be able to specify exactly which engine number he wants.  All lighting will be operational and Kadee Couplers will come installed for immediate operation.
  • Dual Pittman Motors located in the Firebox.
  • Operation Smoke Deflectors
  • Smoke Box Front opening with details
  • All Hatches will open with appropriate interior details
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4002 at Laramie WY, August 17, 1957

Basic Information on the Union Pacific Big Boy........

     Big Boy, the largest successful engine ever created, was not only a technological achievement and trophy piece, rather a necessity for the Union Pacific Railroad.The Big Boy fleet of twenty five locomotives were used primarily in the Wyoming Division to haul freight between Green River, Wyoming and Ogden, Utah.  Before BigBoy, a helper service was required. This is where a smaller engine is coupled to a mainline freight to "help" it over the hill. The engine would then return to the bottom of the hill and await the next through train. Not only was this a slow process, but rather expensive. A new engine was needed, one that could pull a train up the hill unassisted. The UP Class 4000, 4-8-8-4 articulated BigBoy was the answer.

     Alco Locomotive Works was commissioned to build the engine. Starting in 1941, 20 engines were built: #4000 to #4019, then again in 1944, 5 more were delivered #4020 to #4024. At 6PM on September the 5th, 1941, the first BigBoy, #4000, strode through the east end of the UP's Omaha yard. After testing and trials, 4000 was immediately put into active service. Mainly used during the peak season from July through November, the 4000s were used to take the massively heavy red balls over the Hill. The red balls are also known a PFEs, or Pacific Fruit Express Reefers, basically produce trains. Due to the heavy nature of these cars when fully loaded, prior to BigBoy, it wasn't unusual to see 2, 3 or even 4 engines struggling up Sherman Hill! Now, just one BigBoy and one engine crew was needed, saving the Union Pacific a lot of money.

     BigBoy served as king of the hill for 21 years! Over those 21 years, his track record will ever be remembered by steam BUFFs around the world. Traveling an astonishing 1 million miles each (4016 had the lowest mileage at 1,016,124 and 4006 the highest at 1,064,625), they accumulated more service then most, fighting their way relentlessly up the grades every day. They reigned supreme over Sherman Hill until the summer or 1957. Normally, it was not uncommon to see anywhere from 3 to 6 BigBoys traveling from Cheyenne to Laramie everyday, all pulling separate trains.

     The day came that all steam BUFFs refused to accept, September 4th, 1957, not a single BigBoy was dispatched west out of the Cheyenne yards. The year 1958 saw even less BigBoy revenue, in fact, it saw the last of the regularly scheduled trains over Sherman Hill being pulled by a Class 4000. That year, only 10 were called into service and saw constant use from late August to early October, the rest sat dormant in the RoundHouse and engine storage tracks in the Cheyenne Wyoming yards; waiting for a call that would never come. The last revenue freight pulled by a BigBoy was July of 1959.  "The 10 that saw action are to be commended, though, for their spectacular show once again on the Hill. It was grand and glorious and a little sad, knowing this was the last. For the symbol had fallen and the prophets were right, over the great forty-eight steam was gone. One of this great race should be forever enshrined for posterity at the root of Sherman Hill." (Joe G. Collias, The Last of Steam).  Most were then retired in 1961 after lying and waiting, the last one retired July of 1962. Until September of 1962, 4 were still in fully operational condition, sleeping in Cheyenne...

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