We were contacted by a friend in the hobby about the opportunity to purchase a 7.5” gauge Union Pacific 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 Roger Goldman’s 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. Our plan was to then sell off the engine components to an interested builder. But, when Big Boy was delivered, it was found to be further along than we had originally thought.
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.
What Big Boy Still Needs:
- Cylinder Blocks & Cylinder Components
- The Trailing Truck
- The Pilot Truck
- The Pilot Casting
- Side Rods
- Valve Gear
- Valve gear Brackets
- Brake Rigging
- Driver Quartering
- Crank Pins
The Future Of Big Boy:
The future of this Big Boy remains unclear. We plan to shelve this project for 10 to 15 years and revisit this later in life. Currently, we have committed to several other projects planned over the next 5 to 10 years which will be turned into educational building series and video tutorials. These projects include:
- Union Pacific 844
-An Allen Ten-Wheeler
- An Allen Mogul Tender
- Six Heavyweight Passenger Coaches for UP 844
- Two Wood Reefer Kits from Pacific Design Shops
- A Standard Hopper Car by Pat Murphy
- A Precision Steel Car Box Car Kit
- A Precision Steel Car Gondola Kit
- A Drop Center Flat Car from Pacific Design Shops
- A Museum Trains F Unit Kit
- And we are still working to finish off work on a Titan Trains Caboose, a Murphy rounded end hopper, and a Precision Steel Car Co. flat car.
What You Can Do:
Our Audience has shown interest in crowdfunding a Big Boy construction series to avoid the shelving of this project. To cover the completion of the chassis running on air and the fabrication of the boiler, an initial sum of $51,000 needs to be raised for this project. That may seem like a major expense, but if each of our more than 80,000 subscribers on YouTube alone donated 64 cents…we would easily hit the mark to fund the initial costs of the Big Boy build. If our audience could raise those funds, Chris would organize the series, helm the project, and cover any build expenses exceeding that initial sum. Work on this project would commence After work on UP 844 is completed.
The build series will 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 videos.
Donate to our crowdfunding effort, linked below, if you would like to see a Big Boy come alive on The Steam Channel! Thank you for your support.
Find Out More Information On Our Big Boy Project In The Video Below