(Click on the photos to enlarge)
At a small railyard for overseas shipping containers
located just south of Rittiman Rd off the IH35 southbound
access road sits Union Pacific No.844.
The railroad's "Goodwill Ambassador" was the very last steam
engine built for UP, delivered in 1944.
This "Northern"-type oil burner
has a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement and was made for high speed
passenger trains. With it's fuel/water tender (not shown)
it is 114 feet long and weighs nearly 900,000 lbs.
While touring Texas No.844 and it's
string of cars will visit most major cities and pass through
countless small towns, to the shock and awe of unprepared
witnesses. San Antonio is a rare exception because we host
this historical machine for an entire week, possibly because
of the need for goodwill UP has in this city after all of
the fatal accidents here in 2004-5.
Reactions among other visitors were interesting.
The middle-aged mostly took pictures while the kids were
But those old enough to remember the steam era seemed to
be fully removed from the 21st century, reliving their
memories of a time before highways and jets.
While I doubt I will be able to catch this
powerful beast when it pulls it's gleaming yellow and grey train
out of town, I'm glad I got to see it up close.
The steam engine made America.