World’s largest locomotive to visit Portola museum |

World’s largest locomotive to visit Portola museum

Staff reports

The world’s largest and most powerful locomotive will be making a stop in the area next week.

Historic Union Pacific steam locomotive 3985 will be making a west coast visit and is scheduled to arrive in Portola, Calif., during the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 30.

The locomotive will be on public display at the Portola Railroad Museum on Wednesday, Aug. 31 and Thursday, Sept. 1.

Admission to the museum to view the locomotive will be free, although donations are welcome. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Locomotive No. 3985 was designed by Union Pacific and built in 1943 by the American Locomotive Company.

It is one of 105 Challenger types built for Union Pacific between 1936 and 1943 and is the largest and most powerful operating steam locomotive in the world today. The locomotive and its tender together are over 120 feet long and weigh more than 1 million pounds.

The locomotive last operated in regular train service in 1957. It was retired in 1962 and stored in the roundhouse at Cheyenne, Wyo., until 1975, when it was placed on display near the Cheyenne depot.

A group of Union Pacific employees volunteered their services to restore the locomotive to running condition in 1981.

Since that time it has been part of the Union Pacific’s famous historic locomotive fleet.

This will be the first trip by locomotive 3985 to the west coast in five years.

The museum is located at 700 Western Pacific Way, in Portola, just west of old town Portola and adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad yard. For further information or directions, call the museum at 832-4131 or visit

The Feather River Rail Society (FRRS) is a nonprofit, public benefit California corporation founded to operate the railroad museum in Portola.