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Big Boy locomotive steams its way into downtown St. Paul

Updated: July 17, 2019 08:48 PM

Union Pacific's historic Big Boy steam locomotive is making its return to the rails to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroads.

The locomotive arrived at Union Depot in downtown St. Paul Wednesday. It will depart at 8:30 a.m. Friday. It's noted as the largest steam locomotive in the world. 

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Big Boy will be on display for the public on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free. Metro Transit is offering free downloadable passes for easy access to Union Depot Thursday.

According to a release from Union Depot, the locomotive is 132 feet long and weighs 1.2 million pounds. It was retired in December, 1961 after logging over 1,000,000 miles, primarily hauling freight between Wyoming and Utah. Twenty-five Big Boys were built during the 1940s, with only eight remaining in existence. The only one that remains operational is No. 4014 — the locomotive touring throughout the Midwest.

The locomotive runs on recycled motor oil. All of its fuel is provided by Wayne Transport in Rosemount. They have a tanker that follows the train all over the country that refills it. 

The locomotive left Cheyenne, Wyoming on July 8, kicking of its "Great Race Across the Midwest" tour with the Union Depot being one of the few stops. The tour will continue on to Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.

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