After a 2-year absence, the Living Legend No. 844 returns to service July 23 for the 2016 Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days train trip.
“For the past three years, we’ve used E-9 locomotives to pull the Denver Special,” said Ed Dickens, manager of heritage operations, referring to UP’s Streamliner diesel-electrics. “The E-9 locomotives are a crowd pleaser, but I think we can all agree that there’s nothing quite like a steam locomotive.”
The steam team currently is wrapping up reassembly of No. 844 after extensive restoration work. The required inspections are scheduled, and the team has its eyes set on break-in runs that lie ahead in the near future.
“Once we have all the regulatory documentation in place that allows us to run again, we’ll take her on a shake-down run,” Dickens said. “We know we have to do a bit of work on the running gear, so that will be our opportunity to confirm that all those new parts fit and work the way they’re supposed to.”
Since the last steam update, the steam team has reassembled nearly all the locomotive’s piping. “We still have some additional piping left to reassemble. We'll put that back on after the test, coordinated with the Federal Railroad Administration, is complete,” Dickens said.
The cab will then be reassembled along with the exterior jacketing – the painted part on the outside of the locomotive. “Once we’re there, it’ll go quick, but until then we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Dickens said. “This is the final push. We all understand how important it is.”
Be among the lucky few who will ride in the passenger train accompanying locomotive No. 844 for her debut trip July 23. Reservation requests are being accepted at www.cfdtrain.com through 7 p.m. MT Wednesday, May 18. Winners will be randomly selected using a lottery system.