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"Big Boy" Steams Into Town For Railroad Celebration

July 16, 2019 10:52 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Union Pacific’s historic Big Boy steam locomotive is making its return to the rails to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroads.

It arrived in Mason City Tuesday afternoon for an overnight stop, bringing out avid locomotive fans from near and far.

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“I’m interested in railroads and this is a huge piece of railroad history. I’ve seen several of these engines in museums, but I never thought I’d see one run and you never know how long it’s going to be running,” said Bobby Bricker of Dover, Pa.

He took a week’s vacation from work to follow the train along its route.

“I work for a friend and I asked him for the day off just to come see this, and he goes, 'what’s this have to do with work?' And I said, 'well, this is kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity',” said Cory Dahlstrom, of Mason City.

It took two years of meticulous restoration work by the Union Pacific Steam Team to return No. 4014 to the rails, making it the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive.

“This is pretty amazing. I've seen other trains before, other steam locomotives, but nothing this large and this close up," Dahlstrom said.

Despite rain preceding its arrival, many, including Dahlstrom, made the best of it.

“Get right up close and you get the steam kinda blowing in, and it feels like a little bit of a sauna, so feels pretty good,” said Dahlstrom.

Both big and small locomotive fans agree this is the chance of a lifetime.

“You’ll never really get a chance to see something like this, where it’s running, and hear the sounds. It’s an experience different than looking at a museum piece,” said Dahlstrom.

“To see one of these in operation is extremely rare. It’s something I think everybody should go out and check out at least once, just to experience it.” Bricker said.

Credits

Brett Bachtle

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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