Athearn N Scale: 4-8-8-4 Big Boy - DCC Ready - Union Pacific
Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad, the first of which was delivered in 1941. The locomotives were 132 feet long and weighed 1.2 million pounds. Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were “hinged,” or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves. They had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of “pilot” wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive. The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo.
There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service. Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process. In 2019 UP #4014 was brought back to life. It had been almost 60 years and multiple generations since the last time a 4-8-8-4 Big Boy operated under it’s own power.PROTOTYPE SPECIFIC INFORMATION
The Union Pacific’s Overland Route, the eastern portion of the Transcontinental Railroad, was built west from Omaha, across Nebraska and Wyoming, and on into Utah. The steepest grade was the eastbound climb on the Echo Canyon line through the Wahsatch Mountains just east of Ogden, Utah. Forty 4-6-6-4 Challenger locomotives were acquired in 1936 and 1937 to move fast freight over the grades in Utah and Wyoming. They were rated at 4,290 tons across Wyoming, but were limited to 3,100 tons eastbound through Echo Canyon.
Union Pacific wanted something that could make the same speeds as the Challengers but could carry the entire 4,290-ton train over the Wahsatch Mountains without a helper. The easiest solution was to scale up the successful Challenger design by adding another pair of drivers to each half of the locomotive thus making a 4-8-8-4.
In 1941 UP placed an order for twenty 4-8-8-4’s, numbered 4000 through 4019, with the American Locomotive Works. Each engine cost $265,174. According to legend an unidentified machinist at the ALCO plant is responsible for the name “Big Boy”, having scrawled the name in chalk on a partially completed locomotive.WARTIME ERA VERSION FEATURES:
- As delivered from ALCO in service 1940s era
- Coal Tender
- Fully-assembled and ready-to-run
- DCC-ready features Quick Plug™ plug-and-play technology
- Scaled from prototype resources including drawings, field measurements, photographs, and more
- Accurately-painted and –printed paint schemes
- Full cab interior with boiler backhead with printed gauges
- Individually applied piping, valves, generators, etc.
- Operating eccentric cranks on both sides operating in correct direction
- Headlights and indicator number boxes (number boards) with directional light change
- Five pole, skewed armature motor with flywheel for smooth operation
- Pivoting front and rear engines for negotiating 11” radius curves - 15” radius recommended
- See-through running boards
- See through cab windows
- McHenry scale knuckle couplers
- LED Lighting for realistic appearance
- Heavy die-cast frame for greater traction and more pulling power
- Packaging securely holds for the model for safe storage