Tragedy touched the Union Pacific steam heritage program on July 21 when a woman apparently using a device to record the approach of Union Pacific 844 was struck and killed while standing on the tie ends of the track on which the train was traveling, according to video posted online from the scene of the accident.
The famed 4-8-4 was nearing the end of a round trip excursion to Cheyenne Pioneer Days at about 7:45 p.m. when the accident occurred near a grade crossing in Henderson, Colo., about 15 miles northeast of Denver. Passengers on the train were bused to Denver Coliseum from the scene.
Union Pacific quickly announced that 844 would not be able to pull a scheduled excursion the next day, but that the train would run with UP 1943, The Spirit, as the power. The commemorative unit was the backup power behind 844 on the Cheyenne special, which was sponsored by the Denver Post.
A UP spokesperson said 844 would return to its Cheyenne base once crew members have had time to rest. The accident remains under investigation at this time.
—Eric Berger, Railfan & Railroad