Western Heritage Tour steams up Downtown Truckee
A toast to old times steamed through downtown Truckee Friday, April 17. Dozens of Truckee-ites and train enthusiasts dotted the tracks in anticipation of Steam Locomotive No. 844.
The last steam engine built for the Union Pacific Railroad chugged its way from Wyoming on a “Western Heritage Tour” ” celebration of railroad and train towns across the country.
“We are very excited to be a part of so many celebrations this year. The towns that we are visiting have strong ties to the railroad,” said Steve Lee, Union Pacific’s manager – operating practices and locomotive engineer.
No. 844 stopped in the warm spring morn just east of Truckee, puffing white-gray plumes in preparation for Donner Summit and a stop in nearby Norden. The living legend was once a high-speed passenger engine, pulling widely-known trains such as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.
When diesels took over all passenger train duties, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska from 1957 to 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service.
The engine has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific’s ambassador of goodwill. It has made appearances at Expo ’74 in Spokane, the 1981 opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Los Angeles Union Station in 1989.
For information about steam locomotions visit http://www.up.com.