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Steam & Excursion > The Big Boy Tour (photos)

Date: 10/24/19 00:25
The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: mfmalk

A few weeks ago I traveled with good friends Ad, Michael, and Thomas to rejoin the Union Pacific 4014 Big Boy Tour. Our focus was Wyoming/Utah/Nevada - we picked up the trail in Green River WY and parted ways in downtown Las Vegas. In the linked gallery are my images from the adventure; not only of the train but other scenes which grabbed my attention along the way. Like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, photographs cannot harness the spectacle and grandeur of it all. It is the world’s largest steam locomotive, yet has such grace. And mystique. Plus the scenery is beyond belief.

My fascination with the former telegraph code lines obviously continues, a major element in a few of the compositions. I key in on them as much as possible; like the rest of the vintage railroad landscape they are disappearing.

A passage of the observations from our post-trip report:

“I hadn’t planned on going out west to see the Big Boy, but after my wife drove to Wisconsin to see it while I was visiting my brother in New York, I wavered. When Thomas and Matthew invited me to come along for the next leg of the Big Boy tour, I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

Now that I’m back, I’ve been thinking about the Big Boy trip and how it changed my expectations as we went along. I started out with the feeling that with the extra water tenders and the diesel in the consist, it just wouldn't be the real deal. As I saw how amazing the locomotive was and how the crowds of regular people turned out to see it, my perspective changed 180 degrees.

From the families that came down the dirt road to watch the train at Mona to the Peruvian sheep herder on the Altamont grade to the 84 year old back country Jeep explorer and the crowd at Las Vegas, it just goes to show how wide the appeal is of that locomotive.” - Michael

Over time the entire Big Boy experience has set in for me also. I was originally not crazy about going to see it, but now two trips in I am wanting and needing more. Way beyond the photos captured, it’s the entire ball of wax from just being there. Union Pacific has hit a major homerun in the community public relations department – I hope they realize that.

Link to Photos


Date: 10/24/19 02:35
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: LoggerHogger

All quite stunning Matthew, as always.  You look to hav had quite an adventure out West once again.


Date: 10/24/19 06:22
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: Bob3985

I love your photo series and especially the eye you have for the out of ordinary scenes.
Great night time lapse photos too. I learned years ago from a great photographer (Henry Griffith) to look for a great scene and get a photo as the train rolls thru it.
Your accentuation with the code lines on the telegraph poles is awesome too.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY

Date: 10/24/19 06:51
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: mfmalk

Thank you Martin!
It seems every time I venture westward the adventures are so memorable and productive.
Gee, maybe I should listen to that little voice inside my head and travel out there more?

Date: 10/24/19 06:52
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: mfmalk

Thank you Bob!
With my photo essays I try to tell a story without words, organizing and sequencing the images so they both flow from one to the next and telling a little of my travel’s story.
On a few of the days we were only playing for one photo of 4014 due to the fact we were so far off the beaten path – no chance to run it down. This gave us a lot of time to explore and photograph other things besides just the Big Boy.

Date: 10/24/19 11:35
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: dougd

A wonderful photo essay---great scenes and sequencing, accentuated by the music.    thanks!

Date: 10/24/19 14:27
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)

An excellent showcase of your journey and the end results. Now you're hooked, like so many of us. 


Date: 10/24/19 16:16
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: mfmalk

Thank you Doug!
The music is haunting, but at the same time is a piece that fits the images perfectly.

Date: 10/24/19 16:17
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: mfmalk

I am hooked. And real proud I am!

Date: 10/25/19 23:40
Re: The Big Boy Tour (photos)
Author: Heymon

Matthew, I just spent perhaps the most productive time I have ever spent on Trainorders going through your photos.  You really go the extra mile and man does it pay off!  I can't believe I have not found you before, but I am definitely a fan now! 

About that little voice in your head...yeah, listen to it...please...


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