Union Pacific 3985
UP 3985 running through Alton, Iowa in October 2008
|Type and origin|
|Builder||American Locomotive Company (ALCO)|
|Build date||July 1943|
|UIC classification||(2′C) C2′ h4|
|Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Driver diameter||69 in (1,753 mm)|
|Weight on drivers||404,000 lb (183,000 kg; 183 t)|
|Locomotive and tender
|1,073,900 lb (487,100 kg; 487.1 t)|
|Boiler pressure||280 lbf/in2 (1.93 MPa)|
|Cylinder size||21 in × 32 in (533 mm × 813 mm)|
|Tractive effort||97,350 lbf (433.03 kN)|
|Operator(s)||Union Pacific Railroad|
|Number in class||11 of 25|
|Number(s)||UP 3967, UP 3718, UP 3985|
|Disposition||Union Pacific Heritage Fleet|
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 of Schenectady, New York. 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. Before it was stored, it was the largest and heaviest operational preserved steam locomotive in the world.
Designed by UP chief mechanical engineer Otto Jabelmann in 1941, UP 3985 was part of the second order of this second version of the Challenger. The design drew on recent experience with the enormous 4-8-8-4 Big Boy locomotives, and resulted in a locomotive in working order weighing some 317 short tons accompanied by a tender weighing 174 short tons when 2/3 loaded. Calculated tractive effort is 97,350. The Challenger class was intended to speed up freight operations on the 0.82% grades across Wyoming; the 1.14% Wasatch climb east from Ogden was to be conquered by the Big Boys without helpers. The Challengers and Big Boys arrived on the scene just as traffic was surging in preparation for American participation in World War II.
Service and Restoration
UP 3985 operated in its last "regular" train service in 1957. The locomotive was retired about 1962 and after many years of storage in a roundhouse at Cheyenne, Wyoming, UP 3985 was placed on an outdoor display beside the Cheyenne depot in 1975. Beginning in 1979, a group of Union Pacific employee-volunteers started work on restoring the locomotive, and it was returned to operational condition in 1981. Originally a coal-burner, to prevent lineside grass fires it was successfully converted to oil firing in 1990. Stationed at Cheyenne with other equipment in the UP's heritage collection, it's currently used for excursion trains and occasionally mainline freight on ferry moves. It was in the maintenance shop at Cheyenne in 2007 and underwent necessary repairs for service in 2008. In September 2010, 3985 was selected to pull the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train from Cheyenne to Denver, Colorado, where the circus held a special performance to celebrate P.T. Barnum's birthday. She last ran in October, 2010 and since then has been stored in Cheyenne.
- "The History of the Challengers". www.uprr.com. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- Ehernberger, "Challenger Portraits", Challenger Press, Cheyenne, WY, 1993.
- Kratville, "The Challenger Locomotives", Kratville Publications, Omaha, NE, 1980.
- Union Pacific Steam Shop Information on locomotives and excursion schedules.
- UP 3985 Challenger, Steam Locomotive - photos and additional information
- Railyard Productions -Early 1980 video of UP 3985 at Tie siding
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