Brace yourself, the Big Boy is coming.

I suddenly find myself giddy with excitement as the "world’s largest operating steam locomotive" is set to tour the Midwest this fall. Here's where to catch it in Illinois:

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I feel like TikTok famous Francis Bourgeois the European train enthusiast who gets overly emotion about locomotives.

Seriously, the genuine joy that Francis gets from seeing these rare and ordinary trains just brings a smile to my face. This fall the infamous Big Boy No. 4014 will head out on another "Heartland of America Tour" but what's the big deal anyway?

Well, the "big boy" is about 132 feet long and 1.2 million pounds. That's the big deal!

About Big Boy No. 4014

Historic Union Pacific "Big Boy" Locomotive
Big Boy No. 4014 - Getty Images

In fact, there were actually 25 Big Boys originally built for the Union Pacific Railroad; the first of which was built in 1941.

According to Union Pacific these Big Boys were primarily operated between Ogden, Utah and Cheyenne, Wyoming as a means to haul freight. Big Boy No. 4014 in particular,

...was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service.  Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process. It returned to service in May 2019

Getty Images
Big Boy No. 4014 - Getty Images

Big Boy No. 4014 will head west starting June 30, 2024 before circling back on its Heartland of America Tour.

In all, Big Boy No. 4014 will visit 14 states in 2024, including five states during this summer's "Westward Bound" tour from Wyoming to California.

Plant to catch this Big Boy when it stops in the Chicago metro area near Rochelle, Illinois on Sunday, September 8! Find a more detailed schedule here.

Tour Warner Vineyards' New Train Car Airbnb in Paw Paw

The historic 1912 train car sits just outside the winery's front doors!

Gallery Credit: Lauren Gordon


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