Oil Firing on Big Boys

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 27 19:54:34 EDT 2017

My understanding is that without question, the 4000 class Big Boy will
be oil-fired when it is restored to operation. When Challenger #3985
was restored to operation in time for the 1981 Sacramento Railfair and
the first year or two afterwards, it was coal-fired and started
range-fires wherever it went and cost UP a lot deal with the problem.
It ended up being banned as I recall from Colorado until it was
converted to oil-firing, which it was, using parts available from
suitable other donor engines and tenders. It has worked just fine
since then until it went out of service a few years ago.

With all the available data and experiences these days, I have no
doubt that when Big Boy rolls again under its own power, the oil
firing will be just fine

As for BIG Boy and oil, in 1946, when there was a post-WW II
coal-miner strike, UP converted ONE and only one engine, I think the
#4005 for oil burning in place of coal for fuel. They apparently only
put one burner in its firebox and after a short period it was restored
as before as it apparently was no longer needed that way plus had not
been successful. If I am correct with the right engine, that still
exists and used to be at the Forney Museum I think it was in Denver.

Bob Cohen

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