Union Pacific's Steam Locomotive Prepares to Visit Old Fans and New Friends
Communities along Little Rock Express Route Prepare to Celebrate Their Social Media Networking Success
Omaha, Neb., May 03, 2011 In a case of old technology meeting new, Union Pacific's legendary steam locomotive, No. 844, is a month away from visiting communities that cast the widest social media network through Union Pacific's Great Adventure – You Route the Steam contest.
The Little Rock Express route won in voting conducted via a special contest website. In addition, individuals who garnered the most "points" via Facebook and Twitter earned two tickets each for a special leg of the tour.
No. 844 will make good on Union Pacific's promise to travel through the communities along the Little Rock Express route, which beat competing routes that included the Tuscola Turn, Baton Rouge Rambler and Boise Express. No. 844 starts its 2,500-mile trek from the locomotive's home in Cheyenne, Wyo., May 27.
The Little Rock Express portion of the tour begins May 29 in Kansas City, Mo., and concludes June 9, after a stationary display day in North Little Rock, Ark. The trip will celebrate the railroad's past with today's wired, social media generation in eight states. Known as the Living Legend, No. 844 is scheduled to make overnight stops with stationary displays along the route before arriving back in Cheyenne on July 3. A detailed schedule that includes arrival and departure times for all of No. 844's stops can be found at www.upsteam.com.
"Union Pacific received an overwhelming response to the Great Adventure Steam Contest, which helped unite us with the communities we serve," said Robert W. Turner, Union Pacific senior vice president - Corporate Relations. "The contest connected this legendary piece of railroad history to people of all ages through today's technology. It is our privilege to bring No. 844 to help the Little Rock Express voters celebrate their social media networking success."
Joining the steam team inside No. 844 for a portion of the trip will be honorary engineer Shad Pulley from West Jordan, Utah, who scored the most contest points by referring other voters to the contest. He and four finalists will ride special segments of the Little Rock Express in an historic passenger rail car that was built in 1956. Union Pacific will provide travel accommodations for Pulley and each finalist and a guest. The four finalists are Skip Waters of Dallas, James O'Connor of Willowbrook, Ill., Nick Benson of Eagan, Minn., and Kevin Mucha of Villa Park, Ill.
While tickets to ride in the Great Excursion are not available to the general public, contest participants who voted for the Little Rock Express will be entered into a drawing for an opportunity to ride a brief segment of the route.
"Riding aboard the steam train is an incredible opportunity, and I am looking forward to meeting the new friends I made through Union Pacific's Great Adventure," said Pulley, who has more than 400 Facebook friends. "I have even become friends with some of the finalists who also were competing to become the honorary engineer, and it will be nice to share our experiences after the ride."
About Union Pacific Steam Locomotive No. 844
Steam Locomotive No. 844 is the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad. It was delivered in 1945. 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 of the 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.
The engine has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific's ambassador of goodwill. 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. During the 1990s, No. 844 pulled numerous Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days specials and visited several Oklahoma cities during the Oklahoma Centennial in 2007. Last year, No. 844 traveled to Harlingen, Texas, and Milliken, Colo., to be a part of those communities' heritage celebrations.
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 at www.upsteam.com. Website visitors will be able to access a detailed schedule, route maps and other information. The GPS system will update the map every five minutes showing No. 844's location. GPS updates are also available at http://twitter.com/UP_Steam.
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 friendly 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.
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