Visitors to the Utah State Railroad Museum at Union Station are treated to a variety of interactive and pictoral displays and artifacts illustrating the construction of the transcontinental railroad. As visitors enter the Railroad Museum they pass under timbers used to construct the historic Lucin Cutoff across the Great Salt Lake. In the museum theater enjoy a movie about the Big Boy Locomotives that ran from Ogden to Cheyenne. In March 2011 the museum unveiled it’s newest exhibit of the original Golden Spike Safe and Utah’s Cenntenial Gold Spike. Weight your group on the Station’s original baggage scale.
Operation Lifesaver Exhibit
Children learn railroad crossing safety in this exhibit which encourages them to answer safety questions to activate the safety lights on the railroad crossing. The exhibit was recently renovated and is beautiful.
Maintenance of Way Exhibit
The Maintenance of Way exhibit includes a variety of small equipment used to maintain the tracks. A rail handcar used to transport maintenance crews. A locomotive cab where children of all ages can experience the thrill of play driving a locomotive. Practice morse code skills with your fellow visitors with the two telegraph keys.
A favorite with visitors is the model railroad. Scale model scenes of local topography have been painstakingly created to depict the local terrain. A model of the 1060′s era Union Station and historic 25th street are a highlight. Look closely at each of the landscapes for many have amusing tiny additions, such as a man floating in a barrel int he great salt lake, fisherman, a bat, birds, elk, a bald eagle. There are four operating model trains which start their runs as you enter the exhibit with a motion activated sensor.
Experience the sheer immensity of the big locomotives up close outside in the Eccles Rail Center. On display are a large variety of locomotives, switch engines, boxcars, cabooses and a staff favorite, the steam powered rotary snow plow.
The laundry building located south of the Eccles Rail Center played an important role in the operations of the railroad for the United States. READ MORE
Guest Article by Bradley Taylor
Union Pacific Steam Turbine Locomotive (833)
Since its creation, the transcontinental railroad and its locomotives have instilled wonder and amazement in the American and international public. As such, local museums have strived to preserve and present these marvellous locomotives for future generations. One example of these exceptional engines is the Union Pacific Steam Turbine Locomotive 833, an FEF-2 class steam locomotive which was constructed by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in 1939. The 833 weighs in at a substantial 454 tonnes, engine and tender, and measures an impressive 113 foot, 10 1/8 inches long, with 80 inch diameter drivers.
The 833 is balanced for a speed of 90 miles per hour. She officially ran as fast as 110 miles per hour, but unofficially she allegedly ran up to speeds of 120 miles per hour. The steam turbine locomotive functions at a boiler pressure of 300lbs and has a computed 4100hp at a speed of 67 miles per hour. Her tender is that of a centipede wheel arrangement and the 833 has the capacity to hold up to 23,500 gallons of water and a hefty 6,000 gallons of fuel oil.
The day to day function of the 833 was to pull passenger and express trains, although at the end of the steam era she was also operated in order to pull fast freight trains. The era of the 833 came to a conclusion when she retired in 1957 and was set on the scrapper track at Cheyenne, Wyoming. However, fortunately the 833 was salvaged and donated to the City of Salt Lake in 1972.
Thankfully, there are currently four 800s preserved across the nation. One is held in Council Bluffs in Nebraska, two in Cheyenne, Wyoming and one in Ogden in Utah. One of the 800s in Cheyenne is the famous U.P 844. The U.P 844 goes down in history as the railroad’s only steam engine that has never been officially retired. As such it is still used on excursions and other special runs, thus continuing to perpetuate the legacy of these majestic locomotives. The fourth 800 series, preserved in Ogden in Utah, is the 833 which was originally donated to the City of Salt Lake in 1972. However, on February 21st 1999, this 833 was moved from Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City to the Utah State Railroad Museum, where it is described as the ‘crown jewel’ of their collection. This transportation was also a landmark occasion. Its transportation made history because it was the largest steam locomotive ever to be moved by trailer. Since its transportation, the 833 continues to garner attention from railroad enthusiasts and tourists alike. This interest was heightened in recent years when the local Job Corps injected a new lease of life into the locomotive by repainting it. This exterior repaint was extended to include the cab interior and also the application of new numbers and lettering. The 833 is a great source of pride for the Utah State Railroad Museum because the 833 was originally built in Ogden in October 1939 and operated within the town.
Locomotives, such as the 833, offer a precious insight into a bygone era. With the dawn of new, technologically advanced automobiles, steam locomotives are becoming a distant memory for today’s generation of modern travellers. Fortunately, museums such as the Utah State Railroad Museum offer these extraordinary locomotives a place of historical sanctuary, preserving them so that future generations can discover the immense historical and social impact they had throughout the nation.
This article was produced by Bradley Taylor, a freelance writer from England#. Bradley is motoring enthusiast who loves writing about cars and everything automotive but he is versatile and he also writes across a variety of other topics. You can stay connected with Bradley on Google+ and follow him on Twitter.