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Here comes Big Boy: a children’s story


After spending 50 years on display in a museum, the world’s largest steam engine is finally getting to stretch its wheels and blow the cobwebs out of its steam whistle fora journey across the Midwest. Big Boy, as the locomotive is known, is sparking delight in all the towns he visits. The Union Pacific Railroad restored the historic train engine to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

I have a two-year-old son, so as you can imagine I read a lot of books about trains. Often thesame bookabout trains, over and over again, until it basically has scrambled my brain. Now I’ve been tasked with writing my own children’s story about trains, in honor of Union Pacific locomotive No. 4014, aka Big Boy. So here it goes.


Here comes Big Boy! Oh what fun!

Here comes Big Boy for everyone!

Hear the whistle? See the steam?

The biggest train you’ve ever seen.

Feel the rumble down the tracks.

Got your camera? Got your snacks?

He’s an old engine with a new coat of paint.

He’s always on time, he’s never late.

See those wheels? That’s a 4-8-8-4.

Learning about wheel arrangements, and so much more.

A quick safety reminder from the UP Steam Team.

Please remember to ALWAYS remain at least 25 feet back from the tracks. And NEVER…EVER cross the tracks in front of a train or at any location other than a railroad crossing. pic.twitter.com/3L25Hh8UKK

— UP Steam (@UP_Steam) July 11, 2019

Big Boy is coming for a celebration!

One hundred fifty years since the Transcontinental’s completion.

A puff of smoke, a loud TOOT TOOT.

We’ll take some pictures, it’ll be a hoot!

Steam engines like him used to rule the land,

rolling stock from prairies to sand.

Union Pacific No. 4014

Hop on up, let’s explore!

It used to be coal that made this Big Boy go.

It took 56,000 pounds, wouldn’t you know.

Now it’s oil that makes his fires burn,

his whistle blow, his wheels churn.

He’s 132 feet long, boy I bet!

That’s almost as long as a passenger jet.


A million pounds, our boy is BIG!

Running straight on the track, no zag or zig.

There used to be 25 locomotives if you can believe it

Now there’s just eight, so you better go see it.

He’s been through Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Next stop Iowa on his Midwestern roaming.

He’ll be there in sun, or in snow, or in rain.

He’s the biggest boy of all, he’s a lot of train.

Here comes Big Boy! Oh what fun!

Here comes Big Boy for everyone!

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