After months of planning the lower level bench work is complete! A newly constructed 4×8 table has filled the gap but there’s still a lot of work to be done. I have laid out the outer loop of Lionel Fastrack however it will be temporary. Why? Well, I’ll be using the same track for the Amherst Train Wreck 100th Anniversary Event so the rest of the track will have to wait until after March 29th!

In the mean time I might as well have some fun with my Lionel Vision Line Union Pacific Big Boy #4014! This locomotive was cataloged in 2014 and broke new ground in the O-Gauge World with 4 smoke units both stacks, whistle and blowdown, three speakers, the disappearing coal load along with all the other fantastic features of Lionel Legacy equipped locomotives. It’s hooked up to 29 refrigerator cars and one UP bobber caboose. The reefers are a mixture of wood sided and steel car models from Lionel, MTH, K-Line, Atlas, and Weaver. If you hear squeaking wheels those sounds are coming out of one of the new Lionel Vision Line Pacific Fruit Express reefers.

In real life the Union Pacific Big Boys were arguably the largest steam locomotives ever built. 25 of them were built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) between 1941(20) and 1944(5). Each was 132 feet long, weighed 1,250,000 lbs (625 tons), produced 7,000 horsepower and had a top speed of 80 MPH. Big Boys had a wheel arrangement of 4-8-8-4 meaning that it has 4 pilot wheels, two sets of of 8 drive wheels, and a 4 wheeled trailing truck. You might notice that the front end of the locomotive swings out to go around curves and believe it or not it did the same exact thing in real life. It’s called articulation, in fact the Big Boy’s are technically classified as simple articulated steam locomotives. Meaning that they had two sets of drives wheels which were powered by 2 pairs of cylinders receiving high pressure steam from the boiler. All were retired by 1959 and 8 were preserved. In 2013 Big Boy 4014 was re-acquired by Union Pacific Railroad and is now undergoing restoration to operational status and should run under its own power by 2019.

So sit back and relax while 4014 relives the glory days of moving perishable freight across Wyoming or in this case going around the lower level of the layout!