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Steam & Excursion > Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55

Date: 09/10/19 14:38
Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55
Author: Copy19

I ran across this media clip from the Little Rock Arkansas Democrat that included this photo of the 8444 on display behind the Texas & Pacific station in Fort Worth back in 1985.  Recently there has been speculation on TO about whether or not 4014 could negotiate Tower 55 prompting the question  how many times the 844  or 3985 has been in Fort Worth, so with much appreciated help from my friend Bob Krieger in Cheyenne we pieced together would we could about the record.  Between media clip and his copy of 50 Years of UP Steam Excursions Bob and I believe this was the sole visit by 8444 to Fort Worth on January 27, 1985.

I happened to be on board the train and clip really helped me refresh my admittedly rusty memory.  The train was the World's Fair Headin' Home Special running from New Orleans through Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to Omaha.    We came up from the south, crossed the diamonds, and pulled up north so the train could be spotted In the northwest quadrant near the T&P station for display.  The issue of getting through the sharp curve at Tower 55 was described by Democrat business writer Randy Tardy.  He quoted Lowell Turner of Union Pacific System's operating staff from the VPO's office in Omaha.  At that time Lowell was probably more widely known as the face of UP steam than the engine crew or myself. 

Tardy wrote:
Getting into Fort Worth required gentle handling, Turner said:  "We had to uncouple the train and have a switch engine push the (11 coaches) back into the (parking) track.  And then we had to "walk" the tender and locomotive around the curve, very slowly around the curve, very slowly, and keep an eye on everything." To help out, he said the curved track had to be double-spiked and heavily greased "so that we could back it in."

Otherwise for other movements, Bob sent me this e-mail:  "John, I think the times we were thru there we went straight thru Tower 55.  I know the time we were there with the E's we came in thru Peach and backed around into the old T&P depot.  I'm trying to recall but I thought we stayed south of Tower 55 with the 3985...."

4014 seems unlikely to follow suit IMHO.
JB - Omaha 


Date: 09/10/19 18:13
Re: Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55
Author: tomstp

BOB, JB you guys are missing several UP passenger trains of 844 and 3985 in Ft Worth.  Due to my failing memory I can not give you the exact years.  But I know 8444 or 844 was here at least twice and 3985  was 3 or four times.  One of 3985 was really memorable.  It was a very LONG passenger train, in excess of 20 cars that stopped at the T&P station for a special run for classic automobile collector people.  They arrived in period clothes to match the age of their classic vehicles.  The long special ran from Ft Worth to dallas and return to Ft Worth.

In my car I stayed even with 3985 until it cleared Handley, Tx where it promptly accelerated from 40 to 75 mph and lost me.  What a thrilling sight.

PS:  One trip of 844 was after JB retired.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/19 18:17 by tomstp.

Date: 09/10/19 19:52
Re: Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55
Author: Dreamer

I believe the 3985 did two round trips betwwn Dallas Union Station and Tower 55 Father's Day Weekend of 1995. The Age of Steam group played coach attendent and sponsored it if I recall correctly. The 3985 has a flue issue just before the run and the E units were on Standby. The 819 crew was along that trip.

Posted from Android

Date: 09/11/19 12:48
Re: Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55
Author: Bob3985

John asked about 8444 thru tower 55. I found the one record on the return trip from the World's fair where it was in the T&P Depot. As I receall, and not in this book, I seem to recall staying at Peach Yard once on one of our trips. And, yes there were the 3985 and E-9 trips thru Fort Worth as well. I do recall all the grease consumed on our trips as we turned  on the Tower 55 wye once and almost didn't get around. Thank God for bags of sand.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY

Date: 09/11/19 13:00
Re: Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55
Author: Copy19

On the Houston - Fort Worth leg of the Headin’  Home trip we made a stop at College Station.  The curve there had been heavily greased and there was doubt we could get underway.  Steve Lee was not a happy engineer.

JB - Omaha

Date: 09/12/19 16:15
Re: Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55
Author: MP4093

I also rode this trip between Ft Worth and Muskogee, OK. I don't recall any particular issues and we seemed to make good time and had MP business car #8 on the tail. The part I most recall was our routing, at the time UP owned the MP but not the Katy. Leaving Ft Worth was ex T&P to Whitesboro, TX where we gained MKT trackage rights to Durant, OK and then ex Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf to Muskogee. Shortly after merger with the Katy the KO&G was pulled up in favor of the shorter MKT route. People still find it hard to believe I rode steam on the KO&G, me too.

Date: 09/12/19 20:37
Re: Shedding some light on UP steam at Tower 55
Author: Trainsmith

She was late coming through Keller headed towards Ft Worth. Making up time....

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