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Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy Live Steam Locomotive

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Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy Live Steam Locomotive
 
Exclusive!
We now offer reproduction railroad drawings for the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy.

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Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy. gif by Justin Nelson

An accurate scale live steam model of the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy can be built using our Challenger castings. The Big Boy is a logical extension of our Challenger model design, as demonstrated by these photographs.

UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy built by Floyd Epperson
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Big Boy on steaming bay at Riverside Live Steamers. Click to enlarge

"I have now had the opportunity to look through the castings. They are absolutely superb. What an achievement to have designed such a complex engine. The tender bed is a work of art even before it is machined. I realized it was a big engine but seeing the parts makes my estimation too conservative! Cannot wait to get started!”
- M.M., Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Please note that we are modeling the Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 Challenger and that we are NOT modeling the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy. We have NOT performed the "reengineering" that is required in order to model the Big Boy.

Nevertheless, the following three photos show that one of our customers has successfully used our Challenger castings
and our 14-wheel centipede tender castings to build an accurate scale model of the Union Pacific Big Boy.

UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy built by Floyd Epperson
UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy
UP Big Boy pulling passengers at Sacramento Valley Live Steamers. Click to enlarge.

Proud builder Floyd Epperson is enjoying visiting different club tracks with his newly completed Big Boy...

UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy built by Floyd Epperson
Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy
UP Big Boy shows off at Sacramento Valley Live Steamers. Click to enlarge

...and showing how many cars and passengers it is capable of pulling.

On display at Train Mountain Trienniel Meet 2003
UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy
UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy built from our Challenger castings by Floyd Epperson. Click to enlarge.

Historical Info

From a historical standpoint, the designs for the full size UP 4-6-6-4 Challenger and the UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy were very, very similar since both locomotive types were designed by Union Pacific Vice President Otto Jabelmann and both types were built at the same time in the same shops by ALCO. Therefore, the same similarity would also exist between a model of Challenger and a model of a Big Boy.

Stretching the Design
Our Big Boy customers are "stretching" our design for our Challenger model into their own design for their Big Boy models.

Geoff Robinson getting ready to start his Big Boy
UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy castings
I've got the castings...

They are obtaining the design for their Big Boy models by: (a) comparing the reproductions of original Union Pacific railroad drawings for the Challenger and for the Big Boy in order to determine the differences between the two full size locomotives and by (b) studying our Challenger machine drawings.

Geoff Robinson stretches the design into a Big Boy
Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy Castings & Drawings
Now let's get started

Please note that customers who choose to build a Big Boy using our Challenger castings and machine drawings assume the full responsibility for doing the "reengineering" work that is required to "stretch" the design for our Challenger model into their own design for their Big Boy model.

If you feel confident that you have the necessary skills to "stretch" the design of our Challenger model as shown on our Challenger machine drawings, then you may find it to be even more of an adventure to use our Challenger castings to build a Big Boy.

Think you can't build a Big Boy?
You just might want to rethink that

We have customers who are overcoming what might seem like insurmountable obstacles in order to build their Big Boy models.

Here are two real life examples for you to consider before concluding that you could not possibly be able to build your own Big Boy:

Example #1:
Does being a full time college student, without the income from a full time job, without having any machine tools, without any prior machining experience and having your friends tell you that you can't build a Big Boy seem like it would be an insurmountable obstacle?

Then you haven't met our determined customer Mattaniah Jahn who was in that exact position but decided to overcome the obstacles by buying a used milling machine and then proceeding to teach himself how to use it while machining castings and parts for his Big Boy.

Self-taught machinist Mattaniah machining frames
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UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy being built from our Challenger castings by Mattaniah Jahn. Click to enlarge.

Learning the basics of how to do machine work is the first step toward building this Big Boy.

Mattaniah displays his completed Big Boy frame
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UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy being built from our Challenger castings by Mattaniah Jahn. Click to enlarge.

Seeing step-by-step accomplishment continues to build self confidence for the rest of the project.

Pushing it to test how it handles the track
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UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy being built from our Challenger castings by Mattaniah Jahn. Click to enlarge.

Example #2:
Does being paralyzed from the chest down and being confined to a wheelchair seem like it would be an insurmountable obstacle?

Then you haven't met our unstoppable customer Steve MacDonald who made the decision to overcome the obstacles by earning a living as an auto mechanic and by specially equipping his home machine shop so that he could machine castings and parts for his Big Boy.

Steve MacDonald shows his completed Big Boy frame
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UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy being built from our Challenger castings by Steve MacDonald. Click to enlarge.

Steve's latest amazing accomplishment to date...

Steve displaying his under construction Big Boy
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UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy being built from our Challenger castings by Steve MacDonald

...has been to complete this Big Boy to the stage where it can now be test run on compressed air.

"I hear everyone give excuses why they're not working on their projects - 'l can't find the time,' 'My back hurts,' etc.

"I'm still working on the Big Boy as time permits.

"What's your excuse for not working on your project? I'll bet I've got a better one but it doesn't slow me down.

"Get to work!”
- Steve MacDonald, Laurel, MD

Some things for you to consider:
Please keep in mind that aptitude, desire to learn and determination are key ingredients toward being able to build a Big Boy and that skills and experience can be developed.

These customers have shown that they are capable of building their own Big Boys.

If you have the aptitude, the desire to learn and the determination, then you might also be capable of building your own Big Boy.


Roger Goldmann * 413 Morrison Lane. * Santa Paula, CA * 93060 * USA