Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Union Pacific Living Legend 844 steam locomotive stopped at Union Station during Great Excursion Adventure
While it is true that we typically only discuss road-going vehicles here, there is another mode of transportation that touches the Hover household in a big way. My wife’s dad Joe is a retired signal supervisor for the Union Pacific Railroad, and he has every bit as much passion for the railroad as I could ever have for cars. So when we heard that the “Living Legend” 1944 steam locomotive would be passing through our area, we gave him a call and went on an adventure.
The Kansas City stop was only the third day of the tour, but it already wasn’t completely without challenges.
Highway 24 runs parallel with the tracks for awhile, so we were able to keep pace with the 844 for a few miles. It was great to see it chugging along without having to see it disappear in the distance for a change.
On Sunday, we stopped at Kansas City’s Union Station to catch some detail shots, and we got a little unexpected action there as well. As I said before, they were running late because a wheel bearing was overheating. So while they were at Union Station, the crew was replacing that part. And let me tell you, it did not look like an easy job. The huge wheel coupling rod was sitting on the ground next to the train, while workers were busy heating, welding, and beating the new bearing into place. This is how you would imagine life on the railroad 70 years ago.
Originally, the 844 was designed to burn coal, but it was eventually converted to fuel oil. On a straight track, it could reportedly pull 26 passenger cars safely at 100-mph, and could run in excess of 120-mph.
Take a look at the slideshow below for pictures of the Living Legend 844 steam train in action, parked at Union Station, and even this one from on top of the Liberty Memorial. I know; it isn’t like the car pictures that you’re used to. But trust me, you’ll like it anyway.