Union Pacific #3985 " a sight to behold
by Larry Darrington Jr.
Union Pacific Challenger No. 3985 was designed by Union Pacific and built in 1943 by the American Locomotive Company. It is the only operating engine left in the world today of the original 105 in its class ” the largest and most powerful operating steam locomotive.
Old 3985 last operated in “regular” train service in 1957. It was retired in 1962 and stored in the roundhouse in Cheyenne, Wyo., until 1975, when it was placed on display near the Cheyenne depot. A group of Union Pacific employees volunteered their services to restore the locomotive to running condition in 1981.
Challengers like number 3985 were designed for fast freight service, but occasionally pulled passenger trains. Number 3985 originally burned coal and pulled a tender with a 32-ton capacity. In 1990, it was converted to use Number 5 oil. The top speed of 3985 is about 70 miles an hour.
This photo shows #3985 taking on water at the Pierce Elevator in Pierce, Colo. The steam engine was chugging its way back to Cheyenne, Wyo., on one of its tourist runs during the Cheyenne Frontier Days celebration held in July each year.
For more information about historic trains, go to http://www.uprr.com.