Union Pacific's Historic Steam Locomotive No. 844 Coming to North Platte's Railfest Celebration
Omaha, Neb., September 09, 2009 Union Pacific Railroad's historic steam locomotive, No. 844, will be heading to North Platte, Neb., later this month to celebrate the Railroad's history and heritage as part of the community's RailFest celebration.
"Union Pacific's presence and historical ties run so deep in North Platte that it is only fitting we display such a historically significant steam locomotive during RailFest," said Brenda Mainwaring, Union Pacific's director – public affairs for Nebraska and Iowa.
"We are proud to have No. 844 on display during the weekend when North Platte takes time out to celebrate the impact the rail industry has on the community now and in our past," said Steve Lee, UP's manager – operating practices and steam locomotive engineer.
More information about RailFest is at: http://site.nprailfest.com.
The steam locomotive will be on public display during RailFest on September 18 through September 20 at the railroad tracks along Front St., between Chestnut and Poplar. Guests will have an opportunity to look inside the cab of the legendary locomotive from a viewing platform alongside the locomotive.
No. 844, 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 2000 and included extensive overhauls of its running gear, pumps, piping, valves and springs, along with replacement of its firebox and extensive boiler work. Even the cab interior has been refurbished. No. 844 was the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad and 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, 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.
No. 844 has run hundreds of thousands of miles for UP's Heritage program. It has made appearances at Expo '74 in Spokane, the 1981 opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Los Angeles Union Station in 1989. It is based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Also on display with No. 844 during RailFest are Union Pacific's restored E-9 passenger locomotives No. 951 and 963B. No. 951 was one of 69 E-9 locomotives once owned by Union Pacific. Built in 1955, it pulled such famous trains as the City of Los Angeles, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, City of St. Louis and the Challenger. No. 951, along with No. 963B, which has no cab and is used for additional power on longer trains, were rebuilt with modern components in 1993, while their outward appearance continued to retain the look of the 1955 era.
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 at www.up.com. 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.
Twitter users will be able to "follow" the 844 at twitter.com/up_steam. Tweets will include the 844's latest GPS location as well as brief reports from along the route.
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. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive 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.
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