Sadly, I will miss today and this weekend’s show of this monstrous locomotive as it travels from #Cheyenne to #Denver and back but have a big smile thinking of the last couple of times I have seen it. Most recently, last September, my wife and I chased the metal behemoth on the plains of Colorado as it headed toward Denver. There, we were able to find a nice spot as No. 4014 crossed a bridge and climbed the hill. This image is a different look than any I shared of it previously, going with a sepia tone to date it to a more age-appropriate like capture. You truly can’t appreciate these mechanical marvels until you see them in person. They are truly impressive.
Union Pacific’s Big Boy rolls across the Colorado plains
Let’s call it Train Tuesday! I’ve “chased” all sorts of wildlife in the past but this is only the second time I have gone after this metal beast. 😉
Two years ago, Union Pacific Railroad rolled out Big Boy No. 4014 for the first time after a multi-year restoration. I photographed it then on a clear, fall day and then two days later in a massive blizzard.
This time, the weather was quite summer-like in eastern Colorado as my wife and I enjoyed a road trip to follow along.
We first met up with the Big Boy east of Deer Trail where we were caught a bit off guard as it was running 20 minutes or so ahead of schedule. I barely had time to grab my camera and nab a few shots as it barreled by. We then headed west to catch it again after its stop in Deer Trail, just outside of town. Lastly, we photographed it a third time outside of Strasburg, a location that gave me my best captures of the day.
I don’t know that you can fully appreciate what an engineering marvel these machines were / are until you see them up close and personal.
Video: Big Boy on the move!
Not my usual type of photo subject but these events happen pretty rarely so I had to take advantage of it. My bride and I headed to Colorado’s eastern plains and did a bit of train chasing. Not just any train but Union Pacific’s Big Boy No. 4014, the world’s largest operating steam locomotive.
I took tons of pics and I will share some tomorrow but for today, here is a quick video from my GoPro that I had setup on a tripod on the ground. It really does not do justice to the sound of this metal beast as it rolled by. So impressive!
Note that you will the shadow of someone too close to the train – that is not me! I placed the camera, stepped an appropriate distance away and started it remotely.
Black and white remnants of Colorado’s mining history
Mining played a tremendous role in the Centennial State and still does to this day. This image shows a trestle above the old Idarado Mine on Red Mountain Pass south of Ouray.
Surrounded by a ghost town now, the mine used to produce lead, silver, zinc, gold and copper. During World War II, the lead and zinc was critical to the war effort. Shut down in 1979, the site has undergone reclamation to repair the damage caused by the mining operations. This trestle remains, part of a system that carried the ore to the bottom of the hill for processing.
My grandfather in fact was a coal miner west of Trinidad until those mines were all shut down. Working the mines was incredibly difficult, back-breaking labor that claimed many lives during their operation and afterwards (i.e. black lung in the case of coal mining).
It is hard to imagine working under those conditions, let alone at 10,000+ foot altitude.
When we visited this site a couple weeks ago, it was mid-morning without a cloud in the sky so coming up with a decent composition was kind of tough. Putting the sun bursting through the trestle and a conversion to black and white make for a kind of neat shot.
The Polar Express heads northbound in a snowstorm
Snow day! Even though I was off work it was bad enough outside here in Denver, Colorado that I wasn’t too inclined to go far for pictures. However, I couldn’t resist the temptation knowing Union Pacific Railroad’s Big Boy 4014 was going to be heading north on its final leg to Cheyenne.
The weather caused a three-plus hour delay but it was well worth the wait. It came thundering by at 50mph or more, steam bellowing from its engine and the ground shaking. Once it was there, I didn’t mind the cold one bit!
Union Pacific’s Big Boy No. 4014 rumbles across the Great Plains
Road trip! Not too far of one but we headed a couple hours east of Denver to catch this awesome steam engine as it nears the end of a months long tour celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad.
This behemoth of a train engine is 132 feet long, weighs 1.2 million pounds and is the world’s largest steam locomotive. On the first crossing we saw it at, it came flying by at probably 50mph and it shook the ground! Nothing short of impressive!
I’ll have more pics of it in the coming days but wanted to throw one out there right away. I liked the black and white as these trains definitely evoke a bygone era.
FasTracks train on the move
Something a bit different this evening. A friend of mine runs the website Complete Colorado and oftentimes needs stock images. He was wanting pictures of our local light rain system, FasTracks (or TaxTracks as I prefer to call it), and asked me if I could get some images.
Last week I was in the area of one of the stations for the new line that runs to Denver International Airport (when it works) and I stopped to snap some pictures.
The lighting was kind of harsh as it was mid-day but I was able to get some cool captures. By using a slow shutter speed (1/4 of a second) as the train pulled out of the stop I was able to blur the motion. Kind of a fun effect.
Train rides into the storm
The last few days have brought the first, real springtime thunderstorms to the Denver area and that has me thinking about storm chasing, something I hope to do in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I dug up this image taken back on May 29, 2010. While chasing in the Nebraska Sandhills area, the sky was rather ominous as a coal train headed west. Ultimately this particular chase was relatively uneventful beyond the dramatic skies but it was still a very pretty scene.