Cosmetic Restoration of UP Big Boy Nears Completion at Steamtown

Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4012 inside the shop at Steamtown in Scranton, Pa. this week. Photo by Steve Barry.

Cosmetic Restoration of UP Big Boy Nears Completion at Steamtown

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

SCRANTON, Pa. — The National Park Service has nearly completed its cosmetic restoration of Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 “Big Boy” 4012.

UP 4012 is one of eight Big Boy locomotives to survive the steam era. In some ways, the locomotive is responsible for Steamtown’s existence. In the early 1960s, Steamtown founder F. Nelson Blount wanted a Big Boy for his growing collection of steam locomotives but UP would only give it to an established non-profit. In order to comply with the railroad’s wishes, Blount created the non-profit Steamtown U.S.A. The locomotive was on display near Bellows Falls, Vt., for 20 years before the Steamtown collection was moved to Scranton. In 1986, the collection was transferred to the federal government.

In late 2019, Steamtown moved the locomotive into the restoration shop to be refurbished. The park service is currently working with Diversified Rail Services to complete the work. Steamtown has not given a date for when the locomotive will be completed and put back on display.

Big Boy 4012 outside the Steamtown shops in February. Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service. 

This month, Steamtown is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of main line steam operations by putting a number of its locomotives on display on its turntable. Grand Trunk Western 4-8-2 6039 has been on display since Oct. 1; from Oct. 15 to 21, Nickel Plate Road 759 will be on the turntable; from Oct. 22 to 28, Reading Company 2124 will be featured; and finally, from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, Illinois Central 790 will be on display. Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 2317 and Canadian National 2-8-2 3254 will also be outside for optimal viewing.

The sand dome and other exterior pieces from 4012 sit outside of the Steamtown shop. Photo by Steve Barry. 

K.C. Smith of Diversified Rail Services works on 4012 in the Steamtown shop. Photo by Steve Barry. 

This article was posted on: October 9, 2020