"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least." ~Goethe~

23 September 2010

Chugga Chugga!!!

To continue where we last left off...

We arrived at the Depot around 5pm because the 'piece of American history' we came to see was to arrive around 6pm.  About 5:30 or so everyone who was waiting was informed that it was going to be late and wouldn't arrive until about 7:30pm.  We were not leaving.  No way.  So we took a walk through the neighborhood around the Depot admiring some of the pretty old homes in the area.  After a bit it was back to the Depot to make sure we had a good viewing point so as to not miss a thing.  Brendon finally showed up at the Depot.  I'm so glad he wasn't going to miss out.

There was some 'I Spy' books to be looked at. 
And of course some rock hunting for a little one.  You honestly think with all the 'great specimens' laying all over the place, she would pass up looking for a 'perfect' one.  No way.  And of course I ended carrying a few good ones in my bag because they were too special to leave behind.
We had to wait a little longer than 7:30.  But so worth the wait I tell you.
There was a guy at the Depot also waiting patiently, watching the GPS tracking site for our 'prize' on his Ipad.  It was nice getting the updates at this point because there were a few people I was with that were getting a wee bit antsy.

About 8:15ish we could hear the whistle 2 miles out.  Then about 1 mile out we could feel the rumbling while standing on the platform at the Depot.  Then Ole' 844 turned the corner of the tracks to head into the Depot and it took our breath away!  The light in the sky wasn't totally gone yet and you could see the steam and smoke bellowing out into the evening sky.  
As it got up to the Depot, the whistle blew and it shook you right down to your bones!
It was something that I just can't rightfully describe to you so you can understand what we felt.

We got rained on by the steam shooting up into the sky, then condensing and falling down.
The steam shooting out everywhere, the rattling of the whistle...
Something we will never forget.
Here's a link to see what we experienced in the dark.  The only difference was that we were only 5' away from the engine!
We listened to it hiss and groan for the longest time.  It was so cool listening to it 'live and breathe' in it's own little way.
We stood and watched the flames coming out of the bottom of the firebox.  We were so excited by all that was going on, it was hard not to do a little jig every now and then.  :)
It was a bit overwhelming to be standing by this beauty.

We stayed and watched everything that was going on, little ones were asking questions and we were taking in all the sights and smells for about an hour.  We headed home finally for late night snacks.  No one was ready to go to bed with all the excitement that was running through us.  We finally had to say enough and go to bed so that we could get up in the morning and go back for some more 'exploring' with 844.

This engine is massive to say the least.
Nearly 100' long.
It weighs 460 tons, without water and fuel.
Do you see those pistons on the front there?  They are HUGE!!!
#844 was delivered in 1944 as a high speed passenger engine.  In the mid 50's it was placed into freight service.  Soon after in 1960 she was saved from the scrap yard and has been used for special service ever since.  Can you imagine something this magnificent being destroyed for scrap!!!  I about fell over when I heard this.  I'm so glad the Union Pacific decided to save her.  That would have been an absolute tragedy to destroy this piece of American history.
It's nearly 20' tall.
Some of it's 30 wheels are 80" in diameter!
One of the guys told me that one wheel weighs as much as a small car!
It's all controlled by valves and levers.
Can you imagine.  No digital anything.
Here's a link for a better view of the inside of the cab.
I laughed so hard when the guys told me about the speedometer and then watched the link on the cab tour.  Too funny!  The engineer talking in the video passed away May 2010 and you can really tell he is so very missed by the entire crew.  Quite a man from what I was told.
You can not imagine the shear beauty of this engineering marvel unless you are right up on it.
It is something I will never forget I tell you.  
I brought back feelings from when I was in the AF, being around all the jets every day.
Goosebumps I tell you.
I miss those feelings.
I'm so glad that we were able to see this unforgettable masterpiece of engineering.  Just think about where this country would be if we didn't have the ingenious people that came up with this fine piece of machinery.  I'm so proud to know that our great country had people with this type of ingenuity that made our country what it is today.  God Bless them.
Union Pacific has named 844 the "Living Legend".  Let me tell you that the name is well fitted to this wonderful marvel of engineering.  
I wish we still had them running all over.
What a sight that would be.
After all of the excitement of 844, there was a few quiet moments spent at the Koi pond in front of the Depot.  No trip here is ever complete until the fishes are visited.


  1. That is beyond cool. My boys would probably faint. Literally. Greyson has been talking about seeing or riding a train since he opened his mouth five years ago. You guys have the coolest stuff down in Boise!

  2. Wow Kar, what a neat thing to see. It looks so big next to your family.

  3. What a fun trip. Amazing. I could almost feel the rumble beneath my feet.

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience. I love those old trains, they are magnificent.

  5. It never fails, Kar. You guys take the best trips! :-)

  6. So awesome, Kar! We have a steam engine that we can ride in Mt. Dora...just haven't done it yet! They are so cool! This one you saw is in way better shape than the one down here!

    So glad you had a great time! I enlarged that last picture cause it kind of looks fake! It is really neat with the backdrop and stuff!

    Love ya gal! Have a great Friday and Weekend!!

  7. What a wonderful experience. I love old trains and miss them terribly. I agree with you that it would be wonderful to have them all working again! Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Holy Cow!
    You and Glenn must be the coolest parents ever to take the fam to see that!
    What a neat event!
    I always had a fasination with trains,not sure why,I have never really ridden one....But they just always seemed so neat.
    Great Pics!

  9. That looks like an amazing experience! You have very lucky children!