|Dave Thomas | profile | all galleries >> Miscellaneous Travels >> Nebraska >> UP Challenger||tree view | thumbnails | slideshow|
North Platte Nebraska was, and still is, a major Union Pacific Railroad town. In Cody Park, on the north side of the town, they have a railroad museum. The primary feature is #3977, a 4-6-6-4 steam locomotive of the design the UP called the "Challenger." There is also a diesel locomotive, a caboose, a small railroad station, and other railroad items. A number of the displays are accessible to see inside, a quite nicely done exhibit.
Ready to run, these machines weighed in excess of 1,000,000 pounds and are the second largest locomotives the Union Pacific had on its roster. There are two sets of cylinders and driving wheels, with the front unit able to turn a few degrees from side to side to facilitate getting this monster around curves. Ye Olde Photographer has endeavored to document at least a little bit of the mechanical complexity of this 1943 vintage locomotive. The original 1800s Mallet design used compounding where the exhaust of one set of cylinders supplied the other, a method of boosting efficiency. In the 1940s when these were built, the goal was shear brute force power and both sets of cylinders were running "simple," powered directly from the boiler.
This was part of the Grand Tour 2016, a 5800 mile drive through flyover country!