Train Simulator

BIG BOY!

Written by Gary Dolzall
Union Pacific’s legendary Big Boy – re-created in extraordinary and exacting detail by renowned developer Smokebox – is coming soon to Train Simulator!
BIG BOY! In size, no steam locomotive was ever greater, and few if any locomotives were more legendary than Union Pacific’s 4-8-8-4 behemoths. Among Train Simulator developers, few if any are more renowned -- for extraordinary realism, operational fidelity, and magnificent detail -- than Smokebox. And now soon comes the Smokebox Union Pacific Big Boy!
Union Pacific’s famed 4-8-8-4s were designed with a specific task at hand – being able to lift 4,000-ton trains, without helpers, up the long and unrelenting 1.14 percent grades of the west slope of the Wasatch Mountains between Ogden and Evanston, Utah. Led by UP’s talented Otto Jabelmann, Union Pacific’s Mechanical Department designers, together with those of the American Locomotive Works (Alco), went to work. The Union Pacific, of course, was no stranger to big steam power – the railroad rostered 88 of its unique Alco-built, three-cylinder 4-12-2s, the earliest of which dated to 1926, and in 1936 UP acquired its first 4-6-6-4 Challengers (a powerful and fast fleet that would eventually grow to 105 strong).
The new locomotive that resulted from the UP and Alco designers’ talents and blueprints was simply monumental: A 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement with 68” drivers, 23-3/4" diameter by 32" stroke cylinders, a grate area of 150-square feet, 300 PSI boiler pressure, 135,375 pounds of tractive effort, and an estimated output of 6,290 horsepower (which is to say, greater than an A-B-B-A set of Electro-Motive F-units). Together with its massive pedestal-bed tender, the 4-8-8-4 would weigh in at nearly 1.3 million pounds.
Union Pacific initially ordered 20 of the 4-8-8-4 locomotives, to be numbered UP 4000-4019, which took form at Alco’s Schenectady (New York) works in 1940. During construction of the first locomotive – Union Pacific 4000 – an Alco worker scrawled “Big Boy” in chalk on the locomotive’s smokebox door and the name, like the locomotive, became forever iconic.
In service, the 4-8-8-4s proven to be every bit as good, and better, than expected. And the Big Boys were both handsome and “good riders” for the crews as well. During World War II, Union Pacific acquired five more Big Boys (4020-4024) and in addition to working the Wasatch crossing, the railroad’s fleet of 25 Big Boys became regulars on UP’s Sherman Hill in Wyoming. The Union Pacific last employed its 4-8-8-4s in regular revenue freight service in June 1959 and formally retired the locomotives in 1961-62. Befitting the 4-8-8-4s fame and stature, no less than eight were preserved. In 2019, as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the American transcontinental railroad, Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 was returned with much fanfare to service as a premier member of UP’s Heritage Fleet.
Developer Smokebox is highly respected for its authentic re-creations of steam locomotives – including its AT&N 2-8-0 Consolidation, its superb Union Pacific FEF-3 4-8-4, and its captivating collection of 1860s Union Pacific and Central Pacific locomotives. And now, the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 is taking Smokebox’s artistry and realism to even greater levels! In addition to an exacting replication of the Big Boy’s operating controls, characteristics, sounds, and visual details, the upcoming Smokebox 4-8-8-4 delivers a wide range of features including advanced air brake simulation, numerous animations, an auto-fireman, and innovative auto-engineer. For those wishing the ultimate realistic challenge, operating the Big Boy manually will deliver that maximum immersive experience, and yet use of the optional the auto fireman and auto engineer will make the locomotive accessible and enjoyable to all users.
The upcoming Smokebox Big Boy will also feature a range of customizable locomotive details, multiple livery variations (clean, weathered, and with silver trim) and a fine selection of six types of era-authentic freight rolling stock (with multiple loads and a variety of liveries) including UP’s CA-4 caboose in two schemes. Fittingly, the Big Boy DLC will also provide four realistic scenarios on the Train Simulator Union Pacific Wasatch Grade: Ogden - Evanston Route (route available separately) and the 4-8-8-4 will also be authentically suited to work on the popular Train Simulator Sherman Hill route.
The ultimate experience of taking the throttle of American steam – BIG steam – will soon be yours with the magnificent and extraordinary Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy as created by Smokebox, coming soon to Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
BIG BOY! In size, no steam locomotive was ever greater, and few if any locomotives were more legendary than Union Pacific’s 4-8-8-4 behemoths. As masterfully re-created with extraordinary fidelity and authenticity by renowned developer Smokebox, the Big Boy is coming soon to Train Simulator! Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
The Smokebox Big Boy will feature customizable locomotive details, multiple livery variations (clean, weathered, and with silver trim, above) and a wide range of features including advanced air brake simulation, animations, an auto-fireman, and innovative auto-engineer. For those wishing the ultimate realistic challenge, operating the Big Boy manually from the authentic cab (below) will deliver the full experience, but the auto fireman and auto engineer will also make the locomotive accessible to all users. Note screenshots depict content while in development.
Union Pacific’s Big Boys were designed to lift heavy tonnage up the west slope of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. On the Train Simulator Union Pacific Wasatch Grade: Ogden - Evanston Route, Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 4004 is handling just the task it was designed for as it works east from Echo, Utah. From any angle (above and below), the Big Boy was indeed a behemoth.
The Big Boy’s statistics were simply extraordinary: 68” drivers, 23-3/4" diameter by 32" stroke cylinders, a grate area of 150-square feet, 300 PSI boiler pressure, 135,375 pounds of tractive effort, and an estimated output of 6,290 horsepower! Union Pacific Big Boy 4001 rides the turntable at Ogden, Utah, which was one location where the railroad installed new 135-foot-long turntables to accommodate the great 4-8-8-4s.
Destined for fame decades in the future, Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 drags tonnage east of Ogden (above), then grinds up Weber Canyon near famed Devil’s Slide (below). Developer Smokebox is highly renowned for its authentic re-creations of steam locomotives – including its AT&N 2-8-0 Consolidation, its superb Union Pacific FEF-3 4-8-4, and its captivating collection of 1860s Union Pacific and Central Pacific locomotives. And now, the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 is taking Smokebox’s artistry and realism to even greater levels.
Fabulous 4000, the first of Union Pacific’s 25 Alco-built 4-8-8-4s, makes for a glorious sight as it climbs out of Echo Canyon (above), then pounds below the flyover at Curvo, Utah (below). The Smokebox Big Boy will feature a selection of six types of era-authentic freight rolling stock and four scenarios on the Train Simulator Union Pacific Wasatch Grade: Ogden - Evanston Route.
The ultimate experience of taking the throttle of American steam – BIG steam – will soon be yours with the magnificent and extraordinary Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy as created by Smokebox, coming soon to Train Simulator!
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Train Simulator
19 May
BIG BOY!
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