The locomotive’s progress can be tracked here.

The Big Boy  is coming! 

 Martin City businesses prepare watch parties for train fans. 

By Sue Reames

 In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, Union Pacific’s Big Boy No. 4014 Locomotive has been touring the Southwest. On Sunday, November 17, the steam locomotive will pass through Martin City sometime between 4 and 4:15 pm (NOTE: a change from previous time reported as 5-6 pm), making its way toward its Union Station destination. 

“Ballpark is around 4:15,” says Raquel Espinoza, spokesperson for Union Pacific. “We made a request for the Big Boy to slow roll for [Martin City].”

While Martin City is not a whistle stop for the Big Boy, many at surrounding watch parties in town will be whistling and cheering as it speeds through, leaving spectators in a gust of steam.

“We expect a lot of people because they are calling about the train,” says Debbie VanNoy of Jess & Jim’s Steakhouse, 517 E. 135 St. Jess and Jim’s will feature a Big Boy special featuring a prime rib dinner (until they run out), domestic draws for $2 and a Big Boy Bloody Mary. Jess and Jim’s is located only a few feet from the Union Pacific train track crossing.

Martin City Coffee, which will also have a close-up view of the train at 130th and Holmes Rd, has created three new drinks for the special occassion: Fire Engine Hot Chocolate (with cayenne and cinnamon), Snickerdoodle Steam Cloud Latte, and Gingerbread Steamer (perfect for the kids). Starting Sunday afternoon,  16 oz. lattes will be discounted.  

The Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit outside Ogden, Utah on May 10, 1869 where it was celebrated with the driving of a Golden Spike to join the rails. Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific. Only eight Big Boys still exist, and No. 4014 is the only one in operating condition. After more than a million miles of service it was retired in 1961. It has undergone a multi-year restoration process and in May it made its way from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Ogden to recreate that moment in 1869 by going nose-to-nose with steam locomotive Living Legend No. 844.  

Big Boy weighs 1.2 million pounds and runs completely on coal-powered steam. Its tour will take it through 10 states, including Kansas and Missouri. You can monitor progress of Big Boy’s tour at https://www.up.com/forms/steam-trace.cfm.

According toUnion Pacific, No. 4014 will depart Osawatomie, Kan., at 3 p.m. November 17 and arrive at Kansas City’s Union Station at 6:30 p.m. Big Boy will be on display there from Monday, November 18 until it departs on Tuesday, 8 a.m. on its way to Lawrence, Kan.

Raquel Espinoza, Public Relations staff member for this region says, “It is amazing to see the multi-generational crowds who turn out to watch No. 4014 as it tours. There is so much excitement! It is a great time for grandparents to share the memories of rail travel with the children.” 

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