Alas, poor Union Pacific 3985

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SOO2719
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Alas, poor Union Pacific 3985

Postby SOO2719 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:35 pm

I am a member of the Union Pacific Steam Club. Their most recent update, which I got via email today, contained this bit of sad news:

"The Challenger No. 3985 Will Remain Officially Retired

Since work was completed on No. 4014 people have asked about the fate of The Challenger No. 3985.

The short answer: There are no plans to restore No. 3985. Many years of hard operation have resulted in the locomotive requiring a complete frame-up restoration similar to what was needed to make No. 4014 operational. Historically, Union Pacific's steam program has had two steam locomotives on its roster, and that count will remain the same moving forward.

No. 3985 last operated in "regular" train service in 1957. It was retired in 1962 and stored in the roundhouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming, 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.

Where No. 3985 will ultimately reside is still in question, but it's safe to say the locomotive will remain officially retired from service."

Alas, poor UP 3985. I was destined to see her under steam only once, northbound on the Spine Line at Rosemount in late September 2008. :(
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UP 3985 northbound Rosemount Sept 26th 2008.JPG
Richard "Tony" Held

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Mark D
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Re: Alas, poor Union Pacific 3985

Postby Mark D » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:58 am

Well, you got to see it once more than I.
But at least I have had the opportunity to actually work on, repair on, and fire a reasonably large steam locomotive. I will treasure those times until the day I die.
I think that, for me anyway, makes up for not being able to see someone's locomotive that I can look at, but not touch.
But still, to see the 3985 in steam and maybe even pulling a consist of some sort, would also be a lifetime memory.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Junk_Man999
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Re: Alas, poor Union Pacific 3985

Postby Junk_Man999 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:54 am

The reality is that numbers are looking down in the railroad industry, and it looks bad when you keep spending millions on a steam program while also laying off large numbers of employees elsewhere.
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John Bohon
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Re: Alas, poor Union Pacific 3985

Postby John Bohon » Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:21 pm

I have never seen any of the UP steam engines. I was suppose to go see 3985 when it came to the Clinchfield for the Christmas train but a boss on the railroad found out I had plans and at the last minute made me work instead. Living near the Atlantic Ocean for most of the years 3985 ran made it a really long trip to see it. Even on the Clinchfield I was nearly 3oo miles away.

When UP decided to run 4014 the writing was on the wall for 3985. The railroad certainly has no use for two engines that large. It is always sad to see old friends die but at least this one will not get cut up. I have seen a few old friends come back to life including 630, 4501, 611 and now the EBT. As long as they are not scrapped there is hope. In the early eighties the Southern steam program became the NS program just as 2716 was being out shopped the first time. The N&W merger and the return of 611 killed 2716 after less than a season on the road. Now there is hope 2716 will come back to life for the second time since then.

John Bohon


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