We were contacted by a friend in the hobby about the opportunity to purchase a 7.5” gauge Big Boy project during the summer of 2021. After some haggling and discussion, we ultimately struck a deal which resulted in the purchase of this steam project.
Our friend Darwin had purchased this project to save the engine from being scrapped as the builder’s health had begun to fail. The two machinists that were building this Big Boy project were fabricating everything based on drawings using stock materials and scratch made patterns to cast custom driver castings for the project. Darwin ultimately decided a Big Boy project was too much to tackle with the other projects he had going already and wanted to ensure it was passed on to a good home.
At the outset, we had intended to purchase this project only for the centipede tender to use with 844.
What Is Machined:
- The Frame Rails
- The Pedestal Binders
- The Main Axle Boxes Complete With Bearings
- The Driver Castings Are Machined & Awaiting Quartering & Crank Pins
- Most of the axles are machined but are not yet keyed.
- A Good Majority of the spring rigging components have been fabricated including dummy spring sets, driver spring seats, and spring hangers. The original builders intended to put Big Boy on die-springs and not construct an equalized spring rigging setup.
The Future Of Big Boy:
Realistically, it will take between $70,000 to $80,000 to complete this Big Boy Project with moderate detailing. At this time, I just am not able to commit that kind of time or those kind of resources to a single project. Such a commitment of resources would rabbit hole The Steam Channel on a single large project for numerous years to come. My aim is to branch out the brands reach in the coming years into a variety of new content areas. Big Boy, while a neat project, would be a one and nothing else proposition. For us it doesn’t make sense to start a 4000 project at this point in The Steam Channel’s development especially coming off of an ALCO northern build series with UP 844.
I am prioritizing infrastructure investments to ensure we can self-sufficiently produce quality How-To build content for decades to come. A Metal Lathe, Milling Machine, and a welder are among the items on my short list. I also plan to purchase a Bendpak Double-Wide Car lift which will be used to store our large-scale equipment at our shop. These items will be necessary as we start video series highlighting the construction of passenger cars, an F Unit, and other unannounced projects.
With all that in mind, we left the idea of a crowdfunding campaign for a Big Boy series open to our audience for those who don't want to wait a decade to see movement on the project. There was solid support from our viewers to establish a crowdfunding mechanism for the 4000 project so a Go Fund Me page was created. To date, the page has generated several hundred dollars in donations. We’d like to thank everyone who has donated to the campaign so far. If you would like to see this series prioritized - help support it by making a donation via the link below.
The build series would be published freely to view on our social media pages. In addition to the build series, this locomotive, like our other equipment, will be used to create feature length films in the air of Railroading In A Land of Giants. This media will be published free to view on our social media pages like our other content.
Find Out More Information On Our Big Boy Project In The Video Below