Union Pacific steam along the Missouri River

Next week, we’ll all have the rare chance to see real history in action. The Union Pacific Railroad maintains a few historic steam locomotives in operating condition, and sends them around the country on occasional goodwill (and good P.R.) tours to introduce/remind us all of the role railroads have played in American history. At the end of May, locomotive #844, a huge beast of a freight locomotive built in 1944, will arrive in Kansas City and then proceed along the UP’s Missouri River line through Boonville & Jeff City en route to St. Louis and then Arkansas. Here’s #844 passing through Utah under its own power (turn up the volume):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mCw9v9X5YQ]

For true railfans and history buffs like us, the chance to see & hear a large, live steam locomotive travelling along the Missouri river, its sounds & whistle echoing off the bluffs, is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is a chance to see a really important but very rare piece of American history, a fascinating and captivating experience. This is not your average small tourist train steam engine; this is a workhorse steamer that is incredibly expensive and complex to operate, and well worth the experience. The locomotive will be on display at Union Station, KC, on Monday May 30, will pass through western & central Missouri on Tuesday May 31 (including stops in Blackwater & Boonville), be on display in downtown Jeff City on June 1, and head for St. Louis on June 2. Full schedule, with expected ETAs, available here.

We’ll be taking Tuesday off to chase the train from western Missouri down to Jeff City, taking photos and videos from some extremely scenic locations. Hopefully some of you will find a way to steal a few hours and see this incredible piece of history for yourselves.

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