U.P. ‘Big Boy’ 4-8-8-4 At ‘Steamtown’, PA — The Restoration Plans (THE Scoop).
Click pictures to ENLARGE.
Attribution WILL be enforced.
ONE of the problems.
- Major problem is asbestos (lots of it) and the huge cost of getting it off.
- No plans, whatsoever, for MECHANICAL restoration (too far gone, way too expensive) — so just cosmetic restoration.
- Only way to move it, for asbestos removal in a contained, airtight space, is through the Turntable.
- Too long for the Turntable — tender needs to be separated from engine.
That is what they have had to contend with.
I lucked out. Got a chance to have a nice, chat with a very knowledgeable, longtime volunteer who was touching up the paint on the beautifully restored (though mechanically inert) Reading 2124. He gave me the scoop.
Unlike the UP 4014 ‘Big Boy’, doing the laps in the Midwest, UP 4012 is unlikely to ever run again. It cost $4.8 million to restore the 4014 and the entire annual budget of ‘Steamtown‘ is $4.2M. Plus, there are no tracks in Pennsylvania that can accomodate the Big Boy. The curves are all too tight! The Big Boy was built for the West!
They have to get it into a contained building in order to get rid of the asbestos. Only way, via rails, is through the Turntable. But, the tender has to be separated from the engine so that they will each fit. This requires the built-in drawbar to be cut. They plan to do that when the weather gets cooler, in September or October. Then they will haul it out via the Turntable.
They also need a new ‘jacket’ for the engine. Restoration will take at least a year.
So, that is the story.