|In the spectacular
light of early dawn, a monstrous Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 thunders
its way west as it does battle with the famous Sherman Hill. Union
Pacific had built its main line towards Promontory, Utah over Wyoming’s
Sherman Hill in 1868. By the time of World War II, the railway maintained
three tracks across the summit, and it needed bigger locomotives
to meet wartime demands. Twenty-five brute-strength 4-8-8-4 Big
Boys were built by Alco, and No. 4000 was the first one to crest
the 8,014-ft. summit on September 8, 1941. By any measurement the
locomotives were massive: 132-ft. long, 16-ft. high, and with 300-lb.
boiler pressure. Capable of attaining speeds up to 70 mph, they
did their part to expedite freight and to unite friends and families
during the war.