By Justin Franz
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Just two weeks after announcing that Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4014 would go on a month-long tour of the west, the railroad decided to postpone the highly anticipated trip. The railroad blamed the postponement on ongoing “supply chain congestion” across its network.
“We know many rail enthusiasts make travel plans and communities prepare to act as hosts, which is why we made this decision now,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president of corporate relations and chief administrative officer. “We have a duty to continue our efforts to reduce supply chain congestion and provide customers the service they deserve; given the impact of a steam tour on our operations that focus must be our priority.”
The tour was expected to depart Cheyenne on June 26, and head west to Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and Idaho. Highlights were to include a run over California’s Donner Pass and through Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. Officials said they would announce new dates for the tour “once service performance levels return to normal.”
While the pandemic has upended the global supply chain, Class I railroads have had their own service struggles in recent weeks. So bad, in fact, that the U.S. Surface Transportation Board plans to hold a hearing next week to question executives about the challenges.