Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Challenger No. 3985 in Town Yesterday

You can't live in this area and not be a bit of a train buff. We live along the busiest train corridor in the world located between North Platte and Gibbon, Nebraska. Because of our location we are fortunate to see the Union Pacific steam engines pass through about once a year on their way east to Omaha, or in this case the Challenger No. 3985 is on it's way to St. Paul, Minnesota.

The little guy on his dad's shoulders, shown below, was taken by part of the crew up to the engine for an up close and personal look walking across the tracks up to this massive engine. I don't think he ever took his eyes off of this train as you can see in the next two photographs. I was so impressed with the crew for taking the time to let this little guy probably create one of his first great memories of his life.

Union Pacific Challenger No. 3985 was built in 1943 and is one of 105 Challengers built for Union Pacific, and is the only operating engine of its class in the world today - the largest and most powerful operating steam locomotive. It is HUGE and has a maximum speed of 70 miles per hour, and let me tell you, this can boogie down the tracks as we found out when we followed it east out of town. No. 3985 originally used coal but in 1990 they converted the big boy to use No. 5 oil. (can you imagine the expense of pulling this out of Cheyenne to go to Minnesota?!!!!

Challenger is getting ready to leave Kearney.

We love to hear the whistle (totally different sound than today's modern locomotives) and see the steam come out of this massive train engine.

Bye, bye!!

This is the the train leaving Kearney on it's way east.

A short 15 sec. video of the Challenger leaving town can be accessed above...turn on your computer volume to hear the train whistle.
Need studio time!!!! BYE!


1 comment:

Ginny Diezel said...

Oh Laurie! I am in love with those great old horses! My grandparents lived in the small town of Mineral, Virginia, and the train tracks were across the road from their home. I could hear the engines in the distance, and would try to stay on the front porch, but the noise would finally overcome me, and I would run inside and watch through the screen door. My grandfather was a country doctor, and made house calls (what are they?), so I would ride with him in the summertime to visit his patients, and we would cross the tracks, back and forth, many times. Always a thrill, always! Wow! Did these pics bring back fond memories! Thanks!