Union Pacific Celebrates Oklahoma Centennial With Special Historic Steam Train Visit of Oklahoma and Midwest Cities
Railroad honors everyday heroes by inviting them to ride the train
Spring, Texas, September 05, 2007 Union Pacific will celebrate Oklahoma’s Centennial with a special visit by its historic steam locomotive, the UP No. 844, which will be on public display as the Oklahoma Centennial Sooner Rocket in various communities along the railroad’s west central Oklahoma line and other communities in the Midwest.
From September 3 through 24, North America’s largest railroad is operating its historic No. 844 steam locomotive and vintage excursion train to commemorate Oklahoma’s centennial and to honor everyday heroes for their contributions in various communities. The railroad also hopes to help educate the public about rail safety, the environmental benefits of rail, and to strengthen its ties to the communities it serves.
"Union Pacific is honored to be a part of the Oklahoma Centennial celebration, and we’re pleased to provide everyday heroes of our communities a fun ride on our historic steam train," said Joe Adams, vice president Corporate Affairs for Union Pacific’s Southern Region. "We truly appreciate the hard work that the Oklahoma Centennial Commission has put into celebrating this historic milestone for the great state of Oklahoma, and giving Union Pacific the opportunity to be a part of it."
Union Pacific is recognizing the historical significance of the state by visiting as many communities as possible along the railroad’s west central Oklahoma route and other communities in the Midwest, making whistle stops to display the train for the general public.
Also as part of the state’s 100th anniversary celebration, Union Pacific is honoring the communities’ everyday heroes for their contributions by inviting them and family members to ride the historic train. Union Pacific has sent invitations to educators, members of the military, law enforcement officers, first responders and civil servants from the communities along the route.
The No. 844 steam engine, also known as Union Pacific’s "Living Legend," returned to service in 2005 after one of the most extensive steam locomotive overhauls in the United States since the 1950s. The overhaul began in 1992 and included extensive overhauls of its running gear, pumps, piping, values and springs, along with replacement of its firebox and extensive boiler work.
Steam locomotive No. 844 is the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific. It was delivered in 1944. A high-speed passenger engine, it pulled such widely known trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.
When diesels took over all passenger train duties in the mid-1950s, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service.
Along with the No. 844 engine, the Oklahoma Centennial Sooner Rocket will also feature:
- the "Art Lockman" tool car,
- the "Howard Fogg" boiler-dorm car,
- the "Golden State Limited" and "Council Bluffs" baggage cars,
- the "Sherman Hill" souvenir car,
- the "Sunshine Special" coach car,
- the "Columbine" dome coach,
- the "Portland Rose" coach car,
- the "City of Portland" and "Missouri River Eagle" dome diner cars, and
- the "Idaho" inspection car.
A Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) transmitter was installed on one of the rail cars that will travel with No. 844. The GPS system has been integrated with a map on UP’s Web site. Enter the word "Steam" in the search box on the homepage for a shortcut to the map.
Web site visitors will be able to access route maps with varying amounts of detail. The GPS system will update the map every five minutes showing No. 844’s location.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.
For more information, contact Joe Arbona at 281-350-7771 or 832-257-4363 (cell).
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