The Gregarious Railfan
Excursion Steam Locomotives
     These are the “Big Guys”, the primary love of many railfans. These are the restored steam engines that pull
full length excursion trains out on the main lines of Class 1 railroads.  Differentiated from tourist line steam engines,
these engines are generally classy looking, fully operational, well financed and meet all the federal laws to operate
commercially on the class one railroads.  This is a small list and there are a few engines that qualify for this list but
run less frequently than the others, and escape my memory as I compile this list.  I will add them to the list as I
remember or run across them again.
The Federal Railroad Administration maintains strict laws for the operation and safety of steam locomotives in
the modern era. Rules promulgated  in 1999 take up 90 pages in the Federal Register.  See the link:
here.  The
rules include stipulations for 31 day, 92 day, and annual inspections as well as a 1472 day (4 year) boiler inspection
which includes a full tear down and rebuild of the boiler. In addition, insurance cost are astronomical.  Logistics of fuel
and water need careful thought and many unanticipated  other things can throw up roadblocks, but railfans and
corporations continue to fund these magnificent machines with donations and high excursion ticket prices because they
love steam.  

The list below is in no particular order and is by no means complete. I can't remember them all. Senility is fast
approaching, (help me here, If you know of a qualifying locomotive not listed here please let me know. See my

Steam Inspection requirements   
A NEW Steam Locomotive?   
 Union Pacific has three locomotives in it's corporate Steam Program based in Cheyenne, WY
UP 844   from Wikipedia: Union Pacific 844 is a 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotive built by the American
Locomotive Company in December of 1944 for the Union Pacific Railroad. Constructed as a member of the FEF-3 class
of 4-8-4's, the 844 was the last steam locomotive delivered to Union Pacific. Though the FEF-3 class was originally
built for high-speed passenger work, 844 and the rest of the FEF-3 class were pressed into a variety of dual-service
work. While commercial Union Pacific steam operations ended in the late 1950s, the 844 was retained by the railroad
for special activities. Today, it is one of UP's oldest serving locomotives and is the only steam locomotive never retired
by a North American Class I railroad.
Originally built to burn coal, 844 was converted to burn fuel oil for convenience.  
UP 3985   from Wikipedia: Union Pacific 3985 or UP 3985 is a four-cylinder simple articulated 4-6-6-4
Challenger-type steam locomotive owned by Union Pacific Railroad. It was built in 1943 by the American Locomotive
Company. The locomotive is one of only two of the original 105 Union Pacific Challengers in existence, the other being
UP 3977 on static display in North Platte, Nebraska. Currently it is being stored. Before it was stored, it was the
largest and heaviest operational preserved steam locomotive in the world.

Union Pacific senior manager of Heritage Operations Ed Dickens Jr. announced in February 2016 about UP 3985
possibly returning to excursion service after the restoration of Union Pacific 4014 is completed. If the locomotive is
restored and does return to service, it will become the world's 2nd largest operating steam locomotive, as UP 4014
will displace UP 3985 as the world's largest operating steam locomotive.
UP 4014  from Wikipedia: Union Pacific 4014, or UP 4014, is a four-cylinder articulated 4-8-8-4 Big Boy-type steam
locomotive owned by Union Pacific Railroad. 4014 was retired from service on July 21, 1959 and donated to the
Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in Pomona, CA on December 1961. The locomotive reached its destination in
January 1962 and was displayed in Fairplex through 2013. Thereafter, Union Pacific 4014 was moved to Union Pacific's
Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it is now being extensively restored back to running condition. When 4014
returns to running condition, it will displace UP 3985 as the largest, heaviest and most powerful operational steam
locomotive in the world.
Google images <click on thumbnails to enlarge>
Google images <click on thumbnails to enlarge>
Google images <click on thumbnails to enlarge>
The Virginia Museum of Transportation owns and has restored the former Norfolk & Western Class J #611
Google images <click on thumbnails to enlarge>
NW Class J #611  from Wikipedia:  The Norfolk and Western Railway's J class steam locomotives were a class of 4-8-
4 locomotives built by the railway's East End Shops located in Roanoke, Virginia between 1941 and 1950. The first
batch, numbered 600 to 604, were built in 1941–42 and were delivered streamlined. In 1943, 605–610 were delivered
without shrouding and lightweight side rods, due to the limitations on the use of certain materials during the war;
they were classified J1. When N&W showed the War Production Board the reduced availability numbers because of this,
the Board allowed the J1s to be re-fitted as Js with the lightweight rods and shrouding in 1944. The last batch, 611–
613, were built in 1950, all streamlined. The Js were built and designed completely by N&W employees, something
that was uncommon on American railroads. The class should not be confused with the much earlier J class of 1903.
The total cost for building 611 was $251,544 in 1950 (equivalent to $2,441,000 in 2015).
Links:   Access may be limited to TRAINS subscribers   
Virginia Museum of Transportation   
Friends of SP 4449 is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration, maintenance, and operation of the
former Southern Pacific steam locomotive #4449 based in Portland, Oregon.
Google images <click on thumbnails to enlarge>
Southern Pacific 4449 is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad's (SP) (today Union Pacific) GS-4
class of steam locomotives. There is one other GS-class locomotive surviving, but it is a GS-6. The locomotive is a
streamlined 4-8-4 (Northern) type steam locomotive. GS is abbreviated from "Golden State", a nickname for
California (where the locomotive was operated in regular service), or "General Service". The locomotive was built by
Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio, for SP in May 1941; it received the red-and-orange "Daylight" paint scheme for
the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career.  SP 4449 completed it's 15 year
inspection in 2015, and has resumed it's excursion career.
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