View Full Version : Took a ride on the UP3985.

Kyle Brooks
10-18-2010, 3:44 PM
I had the opportunity to take a ride on the Challenger UP3985 the other day. Massive machine. It has been converted over to use diesel and does it ever. The engineer said we average around 18 gal/mile. Fuel efficient. LOL The one thing I really noticed is how dirty I was after riding it for 140 miles. LOL That thing needs to be greased every 100 miles or so and I see why now, it spits it out everywhere. Just thought I would share my experience with all you train buffs out there. Happy woodworking to all.

John M. Smith
10-18-2010, 9:08 PM
Pictures? Train fan for many years and would really enjoy some pics.


Kyle Brooks
10-21-2010, 12:44 AM
I did not take any pictures. I work for UP and happened to be called to go on it and really did not know what I was doing till I was at work. I'm sure someone has a picture cause there was a person at every crossing we went by for 250 miles, or so it seemed. LOL What is amazing is how many valves and levers it takes to make that hunk of steel move. The engineer and fireman were great guys. They were taking it home to Cheyenne. Next time it is in town I will see if I can get some pics of it. I'll try to climb up on the locomotive and take some pictures of the valves, levers, and gauges. It really is a sight. It really was a great experience.

Marty Paulus
10-21-2010, 1:32 PM
From the UP web site: http://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/locomotives/3985.shtml

From American railroads:

Wow what a locomotive!!!

Bryan Morgan
10-21-2010, 3:26 PM
That thing looks like something out of a Mad Max movie! Awesome!

Rick Markham
10-21-2010, 5:21 PM
I'm truly envious. I've been a steam engine fan since being a child. I had the luck of getting to stand next to one of the few remaining (non running, restored BIG BOYS) as a child. The challengers and Big Boys were my favorites by far. That's truly amazing you got to take a 140 mile ride on one... I'll take all the grease it can throw at me for an opportunity like that! That is just plain cool! :cool:

Charlie Reals
10-21-2010, 7:20 PM
When I was a kid steam was still prevalent. Our house was about 400 ft across a field from the Up and SP tracks where they crossed in Oakland,we would sit on the roof outside our bedroom and count cars. One of my uncles was an engineer on the sp and he would play the steam whistle when he came by any time of the day or night. The only diesels I ever saw where pulling passengers or switching in the yards. I lived in Cheyenne for awhile and used to stand on the viaduct and watch the yards there. Nothing comes close to watching steam engines pull a grade.
I did get to ride the 844. This is the Davis st crossing, we used to hop the slow moving freights about two miles down the way this is coming from and ride all the way to Hayward to go swimming and hop one back in the p m or walk 12 miles lol

Mike Archambeau
10-22-2010, 7:07 AM
What a magnificant beast from a glorious period. When I looked at that photo I had to chuckle. How audacious it was to imagine such a monster, but then to go out and build so many of them is just amazing.

Thanks for sharing...........

Van Huskey
10-23-2010, 5:31 AM
Kyle, sounds like a WONDERFUL experience. I have had rides behind a few of the greats: Southern 4501, 722 and 630, N&W 411 (last trip up the 5% Saluda Grade, slippin' and stallin'), C&O 2765, CPR 2839, T&P 710 & 610, NKP 765 and UP 3985 repainted as Clinchfield 676. Steam is amazing and always captures my heart.

Sounds like time for a which loco was the most powerful argument! :eek:

The usual suspects:

UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy
N&W Class A 2-6-6-4
C&O H-8 Alleghany 2-6-6-6
Or maybe the dark horse PRR S-1 6-4-4-6

LOL none of these the top 10 HP producers in order:

PRR Q-2 4-4-6-4
C&O H-8 2-6-6-6
PRR S-1 6-4-4-6
PRR S-2 6-8-6
NYC S-1-b 4-8-4
WM M-2 4-6-6-4
DM&IR M-4 2-8-8-4
PRR T1 4-4-4-4
SP AC-12 4-8-8-2
UP 4-8-8-4

Tractive effort top 10:

N&W Jawn Henry C+C+C+C
Virginian X-A 2-8-8-8-4
Virginian AE 2-10-10-2
N&W Y6b 2-8-8-2
Erie P-1 2-8-8-8-2
GN R-2 2-8-8-2
N&W Y6b 2-8-8-2
WP M-137/151 2-8-8-2
DM&IR M-4 2-8-8-4
UP 4-8-8-4

I will say the UP had the most beautiful steam loco in the 4-6-6-4 Challenger in gray ghost livery, don't even mention the SP's garish Daylights! ;)

Rod Upfold
10-27-2010, 8:22 PM
This quite the steamer to watch...


To see the Big Boy must have been quite the sight....same as a Cab Forward


paul cottingham
10-27-2010, 11:55 PM
Very nice.