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World's largest steam locomotive coming to Wisconsin in July

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel logo Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 6/18/2019 Alexa Buechler
a train on a track with smoke coming out of the water © Provided by Gannett Co., Inc.

The Big Boy is coming to Wisconsin. And, by “Big Boy” we mean the Big Boy No. 4014, the world’s largest steam locomotive. It will be making a stop in Altoona at 1 p.m. on July 23 and stay until 8 a.m. the following day.

Altoona is the only Wisconsin location where people can check out the Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car.

The train will also be making stops in Superior, Baldwin, Merrillan, Warrens, Adams, Friesland and Butler. The stops and times are subject to change, but you can track the locomotive’s movement online. You can also keep up to date on Twitter and Facebook

The closest stop to Milwaukee is in Butler. It's scheduled to arrive at 1 p.m., July 25 and depart for West Chicago, Ill., at 8 a.m., July 26. However, there will be no public access in Butler. 

The public will have access to the train at the stop at the Union Pacific Larry S. Provo Training Center, 335 Spencer St., in West Chicago, Ill., July 27-29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The train will start and end its journey through the Midwest in Cheyenne, Wyo., as part of Union Pacific’s 150th anniversary celebration of the transcontinental railroad. Union Pacific is calling it the "Great Race Across the Midwest" as a tribute to The Great Race to Promontory in 1869. However, it is not a literal race, just the Big Boy No. 4014 visiting towns to meet train enthusiasts of all ages. 

In its prime, Big Boy No. 4014 traveled more than 1 million miles during its 20 years of service. It retired in 1961. The locomotive is 132 feet long. 

Union Pacific has been working to restore the steam locomotive for more than two years. The steam locomotive is one of eight trains of its type still in existence. In its heyday, there were 25 locomotives of its kind.

Big Boy No. 4014 is the only functioning one. The other seven trains are sprinkled throughout the Midwest. One of them even resides in Green Bay at the National Railroad Museum.

If you wish to visit the Big Boy No. 4014 in Altoona, the train will arrive along the tracks of Spooner Avenue. It will be on public display – people can walk around and take photos – from 2 to 5 p.m. 

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: World's largest steam locomotive coming to Wisconsin in July


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