Union Pacific 844 was one of 10 locomotives that were ordered by Union Pacific in 1944 and were designated as class FEF-3. The FEF-3 class was similar to the earlier FEF-1 and FEF-2 class steam locomotives built by ALCO, as both were designed for passenger service and pulled such trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.
UP 844 was eventually reassigned to freight service when diesel locomotives took over passenger service and operated from 1957 to 1959 in Nebraska as a heavy duty mixed traffic unit, and was eventually retired from primary service and used as a snowplow along the routes between Nebraska and Wyoming; but primarily was situated or stationed at the UP's Bailey Yard terminals in North Platte, Nebraska. It was saved from scrapping in 1960, to whom many employees deemed it would be too expensive to preserve or have it operate in normal service. It was thankfully chosen for restoration, and as of 1962, it is now part of Union Pacific's heritage fleet and is used on company and public excursion trains along with special revenue freight (like with EMD DDA40X unit #6936, another heritage fleet member).
The FEF-3 (Four Eight Four; 4-8-4) class locomotives were some of the last steam locomotives built by ALCO, and were capable of dual service steam locomotive development, as funds and research were being concentrated into the development of diesel locomotives; hence the FEF Series 4-8-4 steam locomotives were once used to compete with early diesel locomotives.
Like the rest of Union Pacific's FEF Series steam locomotives, UP 844 was originally designed to burn coal, but was later converted to run on No. 5 fuel oil. Some enthusiasts think it could handle 26 passenger cars at over 100 mph (161 km/h) on straight and level track; they would often say it was designed to safely operate up to 120 mph (193 km/h) with its one-piece cast-steel bed frame, 80-inch (2,032 mm) drivers, massive boiler/firebox and lightweight reciprocating parts, which were common on late-era steam locomotives (though, UP's timetables showed a speed limit for steam locomotives of up to 80 mph). Despite these predictions, the FEF-3 truly is (and was) only capable of traveling at up to just over 90 mph.
The FEF-3 also introduced smoke deflectors, and were also eventually equipped with some of the other FEF units owned by the UP (such as the FEF-1 and FEF-2).
|Weight:||907,980 lbs. or 454 tons Engine & Tender|
|Length:||114 ft. 2-5/8 in. Engine & Tender|
|Water Capacity:||23,500 gallons|
No. 5 oil
|Gauge of Track:||4 ft. 8-1/2 in.|
|Cylinder:||Diameter: 25 in.|
Stroke: 32 in.
|Driving Wheel Diameter:||80 in.|
|Boiler:||Inside Diameter: 86-3/16 in.|
Pressure: 300 lbs.
|Fire Box:||Length: 150-1/32 in.|
Width: 96-3/16 in.
|Tubes:||2-1/4 in. Diameter: 198 x 19 ft. 0 in.|
5-1/2 in. Diameter: 58
|Wheel Base:||Driving: 22 ft. 0 in.|
Engine: 50 ft. 11 in.
Engine & Tender: 98 ft. 5 in.
|Weight in Working Order,|
Fire Box: 442
Circulator & Arch Tubes: Removed, 1945
|Grate Area:||Removed, 1945|
|Maximum Tractive Power:||63,800 lbs.|
- UP 844 had its original number disposed (or renumbered) to 8444 from 1962 to 1989 when it was first began operating excursions due to an E.M.D. GP-30 diesel locomotive with the same ironic number (the lesser-known GP-30 counter-part is preserved as of today at the Nevada State Railroad Museum). Upon the retirement of the GP-30, the steam locomotive regained its respective number. As of today there's a UP EMD SD70ACe with the number 8444.
- UP 844 also briefly wore an exclusive passenger scheme that FEF-2 and FEF-1 units once wore.
- Ironically, UP 844 derailed during the final excursion for the 150th anniversary celebration of the Union Pacific.
- In 2011, 844 operated several excursions throughout New Mexico and Arizona (aside from parts of Nevada and Texas) to celebrate New Mexico and Arizona's "Centennial" celebration events.
- During 2007, UP 844 double-headed several excursions with SP 4449.
- UP 838 (another member of the FEF-3 Class) is another 4-8-4 preserved at the UP's Cheyenne, Wyoming roundhouse (UP 844's main home) and is primarily used as a basis for spare parts to use with 844. The smokebox, headlights, bell, whistle, and boiler plates have been used or swapped with 844.
- In 2010 The 844 hauled the LCCA Steam Train Special while its tender was reletter "Lionel Lines" to celebrate Lionel's 110 anniversary.
- In 1984 The engine traveled to New Orleans to become the Union Pacific's display at the World's Fair.
- In June 2013, the red Mars Headlight was removed from the engine and stored because the bolts that held it in place beginning to fail.
- As of 2015 844 would be receiving an early 15-year inspection and is expected to return to service either by late 2015 or 2016.
- From 1987 to 1996 the locomotive was repainted Two Tone Grey with Yellow Strips.
- As of 2016, No. 844 has returned to operation after an early 15-year inspection.
- 844 is famous for her film history she has been on Trains Unlimited, Ghost Trains of the West, Shining Time Station, Extreme Trains, Grandpa Worked On The Railroad, Train Adventures for Kids, Running a Steam Locomotive Vol. 2, Steam Giants Across America, Railfair 91, Steam in St. Louis 1990, The 100 Engine Tape, St. Louis 1990 NRHS Convention, Eighty Four Forty Four, and most recently in the music video for Last Train Home.
- The locomotive was another choice to pull the American Freedom Train but she didn't pull the train. However she double-headed with the 4449 while wearing the American Freedom train paint scheme in 1975 to Cheyenne. 8444's overhaul had been rushed to completion for possible use on the AFT in case #4449 could not be repaired quickly.