Union Pacific #3985 Hauls a 143 car Container Train - Solo

Since the 4014 is an 4-8-8-4 it could probably pull more than 143 container cars compared to 3985 which is an Challenger and 4014 is a Big Boy
 
We're not just talking about any steam locomotive here. Between the Challengers and the Big Boys, these were two of the most powerful locomotives ever produced, and the most powerful of their time. In their heyday, seeing units #3985 and #4014 pull trains in excess of 140 cars on their own was not an uncommon site. #3985 pulls 97,000lbs of tractive effort. One of the most popular diesel locomotive models ever produced, the SD40-2, only pulls 83,000lbs of tractive effort. The #4014 pulls 135,000lbs of effort, we're talking now being on par with some of the later GE models, like the Dash 9 and C40-8's. Unlike UP #844 which is an FEF Northern built more for high-speed action, these two models were built with only freight in mind. They were made to conquer the toughest of grades on the Overland route, and a few other locations. These need to be preserved and need to be respected as they are. They are the last hurrah for steam age in the freight, and propelled the history of American locomotives in to the idea of what can be accomplished with that kind of power. Believe it or not, going to the EMD's and early GE's were a step down from the power that a big boy produced, but, instead, they were cheaper to maintain and somewhat more efficient. How could they be more efficient? Dragging monster trains up grade used a tremendous amount of water, so they would have to strategically place water towers where the grades were in case of rundown to near zero. Re-watering would occur and the train would roll away again. For the railroads, a move into the diesel world would cut the maintenance cost on uneeded structures, and actually cut jobs, because they wouldn't need somebody out at every water tower just to re-water trains that needed it. Out here, there are several water towers from the days still standing. They used to run helper service out at Glenns Ferry for a long time up until latter part of the 90's. Between Glenns Ferry and Mountain Home going west is the 1.5% grade known as Medbury Hill. This grade even test modern equipment and trains still occasionally stall! From Glenns Ferry going east, there is another 1.5% grade known as King Hill. There is a water tower at Bliss and a water tower at Orchard, which is a few miles west of Mountain Home. These stand just for re-watering trains that would have to make the run. They are non-operational today, but they still stand as relics from days that were of a different era than the one we're in now. I believe that every once and a while, these beasts should get out and stretch their legs. People need to see it, so that they too can respect the days that were. I see so many railfans now that don't even have any idea what the era I grew up in looked like. All they know is GEVO's and ACe's. I see so many railfans that miss out on the history, as it is quite a long one dating all the way back to the driving of the gold spike and earlier than that if you want to reach outside of just American railroading.
 
. . . They were made to conquer the toughest of grades on the Overland route, and a few other locations. . .

And based on the videos I've seen on them doing that, they did a darn good job at that.
 
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It's impressive but weird seeing a steamer pull double stacks, like a really bad anachronism. Considering how they're oil-fired and look pretty damn clean at track speed, has anyone ever calculated whether or not emissions from a single 3985/4014 is still cleaner than an equivalent number of trucks? Especially seeing how muricans like their trucks big, blocky, heavy and smoky. :eek:
 
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Just a little information on that video clip. Its from a tape/DVD of a run by 3985 at the front of a scheduled block train for APL (American President Lines) in celebration of the centenary of the APL company. If I remember correctly, there was mention that the 3985 ran in place of the normal motive power of (I think) 4 x SD40/45 dash2s. Not a bad effort for a machine that is old enough to retire. You have to hand it to the crew at Cheyanne, they sure know how to keep the old girl in top condition. Its also an awesome display of just how powerful these UP articulated steamers are(were)
 
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