100th Anniversary of the First Cheyenne Frontier Days Special Train to be Pulled by Legendary Union Pacific Steam Locomotive
Union Pacific Railroad’s legendary steam locomotive No. 844 will pull a special train marking the 100th anniversary of the first Frontier Days, as well as a fundraising special for the Cheyenne Depot Museum between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Denver, Colo. The excursions will celebrate railroad heritage on Union Pacific.
In order to get in position to pull this year’s Frontier Days special train, No. 844 will move to Denver’s Union Station from its base in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Thursday, July 17. On Friday, July 18, the locomotive will be on public display at Union Station.
The “Denver Post Frontier Days Special” will make a round trip on Saturday, July 19, between Denver and Cheyenne. This is the 17th annual operation of this special train in as many years. Special trains have carried passengers to Frontier Days’ activities as far back as 1908. The trains operated each year for invited guests only until 1970, with a time out for WWII. In 1992, the Frontier Days special train was resumed, though as a public event. The 20-car passenger train is sold out for this year’s trip.
“We are proud to be a part of the 100th anniversary of the first Frontier Days passenger special with our collection of historical railroad equipment as we celebrate the history of the railroad along the northern Colorado Front range,” said Steve Lee, Union Pacific’s manager – operating practices and locomotive engineer.
A special train sponsored by the Cheyenne Depot Museum also will be pulled by No. 844 on Sunday, July 20 from Denver to Cheyenne. Tickets still are available for this fundraising public excursion. For ticket information, contact the Cheyenne Depot Museum at 307-632-3905 or www.cheyennedepotmuseum.org.
No. 844, also known as Union Pacific’s “Living Legend,” was returned to service in 2006 after one of the most extensive steam locomotive overhauls in the United States since the 1950s. The overhaul began in 1992, and included extensive overhauls of its running gear, pumps, piping, valves and springs, along with replacement of its firebox and extensive boiler work. Even the cab interior has been refurbished. This was the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad. It was delivered in 1944. A high-speed passenger engine, it pulled such widely known trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.
When diesels took over all passenger train duties in the mid-1950s, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service.
No. 844 has run hundreds of thousands of miles for UP’s Heritage program. 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.
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