Just months before Pearl Harbor, the American Locomotive Company delivered the first Big Boy to the Union Pacific Railroad at Council Bluffs, Iowa September 4, 1941. Union Pacific's love affair with larger than life locomotives, allowed for the successful advent of the Big Boy and Challenger, but also led to the failures of other gas turbines such as the DD40AX "Centennial". One of the UP's earliest and most successful big engines was the 9000-class 4-12-2, which boasted the longest rigid wheelbase of any American steam locomotive. Designed for fast freight service, the eighty-eight 9000-class engines were built by Alco in 1926-30, during a period when low-speed "drag" freight service - the norm on American railroads for decades - was being largely supplanted by freight trains running at passenger speeds. The 9000s could haul a mile-long train at 50 mph, twice the speed of the Mallet articulateds they replaced.
Designed specifically by UP's Department of Research and Mechanical Standards, the Big Boy pulled 3600-ton trains unassisted over the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. While this locomotive is often cited as the biggest steam locomotive ever built, in fact it is not. The Norfolk & Western's Y6 and A, the Duluth Missabe & Iron Range's Yellowstones, and the Chesapeake and Ohio's Alleghenys were all in the same league, and some exceeded the Big Boy's weight and power.
This enduring symbol of American railroading returns to the Premier line for 2015, complete with industry-leading speed control, synchronized puffing smoke timed to driver revolutions, and a range of accurate sounds that characterize all M.T.H. locomotives. Our model features a powerful motor for pulling power and speed that rival the original Big Boy - as well as authentic articulated chuffing sounds with the two engines drifting in and out of sync.