Tag Archives: Train

Big Boy No. 4014 Steam Locomotive in 2021

Martin City, Missouri, features its train traffic as part of its charm. In the upper right is a photograph of a modern Union Pacific freight train engine which roared through Martin City on Aug. 11, 2021. Soon after, Big Boy No. 4014 (center photo) followed. In the lower right photograph, Big Boy is shown when it paused for a few minutes after it passed the Martin City intersection.

Big Boy No. 4014 Locomotive steamed into Martin City, Missouri, on its 2021 summer tour of the Union Pacific Railroad network. Martin City is part of Kansas City.

I felt an exciting big rush as this huge engine roared past me on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. I saw this same engine in November 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad, the first of which was delivered in 1941. The locomotives were 132 feet long and weighed 1.2 million pounds. Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were “hinged,” or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves. They had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of “pilot” wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive. The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Big Boy No. 4014 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 Rail Giants 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 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion.

Big Boy No. 4014 departed Cheyenne, Wyoming on Aug. 5, 2021, traveling through Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. Along the way, the Big Boy will be on display in the following cities during the tour:

Saturday, Aug. 14: Fort Worth, Texas
Tuesday, Aug. 17: Houston, Texas
Saturday, Aug. 21: New Orleans, Louisiana
Sunday, Aug. 29: St. Louis, Missouri
Monday, Sept. 6: Denver, Colorado
It is scheduled to return to its home base in Cheyenne on September 7, 2021.

My blog post about Big Boy No. 4014’s visit to Lawrence, Kansas, in November 2019:

Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 Steam Locomotive Engine

Big Boy No. 4014 Steam Locomotive

Big Boy No. 4014 Steam Locomotive as it nears Martin City, Missouri.

Big Boy No. 4014 Steam Locomotive

Big Boy No. 4014 Steam Locomotive rounding the bend, heading toward Martin City, Missouri.


Filed under History, Photography, Transportation, Travel

“There’s Tourists in Them Thar Hills”

A stage coach in Silverton, Colorado, waits for riders.

A stage coach in Silverton, Colorado, waits for riders.

If you want to get high, the place to go is Silverton, Colorado, and I’m not talking about anything you smoke.  I visited this gorgeous very high-altitude Rocky Mountain town in June 2015. John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” song would be an appropriate soundtrack to this post.

Silverton  is a former silver mining town that now mines tourists, who visit the charming historic town with its Wild West and Victorian ambiance in a spectacular mountain setting.

With a mean elevation of 11,240 feet (3426 meters), Silverton is in San Juan County, which is the highest county in the United States. It’s also the county with the smallest population in Colorado. Most or all of Silverton is now included in a federally designated National Historic Landmark District, the Silverton Historic District. Silverton is linked to Durango by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a National Historic Landmark. Tourism provides the gold and silver in Silverton, not mining. Also supporting the population is maintenance of US 550 (which links Montrose with Durango via Silverton), mine pollution remediation, and retirees. In 2002 an extreme ski mountain, Silverton Mountain, opened near the town.

The Durango Silverton train arrives in Silverton, Colorado.

The Durango Silverton train arrives in Silverton, Colorado.

Tourists arrive by car, motorcycle, bus and train.  I drove, trying to keep my car on the road while peeking at the scenery as we climbed the steep narrow highway from Durango.  It also rained from time to time, adding to the thrill of mountain adventure.  This trip I skipped traveling the section of the highway north of Silverton, called the Million Dollar Highway, which I like to call the Million HOLLER highway, because it truly is scary.  I’m sure I screamed a lot on that trip, something I almost never do, not very helpful to the nerves of the driver, my husband. Even though it was years ago, when we traveled on the Million Holler Highway  in the dark, in the rain, my heart still hammers thinking about it.

I first heard the quote “There’s gold in them thar hills” years ago, and never knew where it came from.  Now, I’ve learned that the saying is associated with the  first major gold rush, which was in the United States was in Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1828.

Wikipedia entry about Silverton, Colorado.

San Juan County Courthouse, Silverton, Colorado Postcard

The San Juan County Courthouse is in Silverton, Colorado. San Juan County has the highest average elevation of any county in the United States and the smallest population in Colorado.

Shady Lady Restaurant

This house built in 1888 was the last brothel in Silverton, Colorado. Madam Jew Fanny closed shop in 1947. This restaurant is right by the railroad stop, so it’s periodically very crowded. People in period costumes urge tourists to come inside. We didn’t eat there. The reviews for the most part weren’t favorable, and it doesn’t take credit cards.

Animas River in Silverton, Colorado

In this photograph from June 2015, snowmelt and heavy rain combine to produce the rushing waters of the Animas River which flows through the Silverton area, shown here, to the city of Durango in Colorado. The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad travels 45.4 miles each way along the Animas River from Durango to Silverton during our summer season May through October.

Getting Around in Silverton, Colorado

Many tourists get around in Silverton, Colorado, after arriving on the train, but you can also take a stagecoach ride or rent a bike.

Silverton, Colorado, Train Depot Postcard

Silverton, Colorado, Train Depot.

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Filed under History, Photography, Travel

Arlo Guthrie and Friends

Arlo Guthrie came to my town in March 2013 on a concert tour labeled “Here Comes the Kid.”  It might seem funny for a sixty-something man to call himself a kid, but Arlo of “Alice’s Restaurant” will always seem like a kid to me, despite the gray hair.  And Arlo is the son (kid) of iconic folk musician Woody Guthrie, whose music Arlo is celebrating on his tour, including Woody’s iconic song “This Land is Your Land.”  The centennial of Woody’s birth was in 2012.  Woody’s autobiography Bound for Glory received several Academy Award wins and nominations in 1977.

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo said that just like every historical location takes on more history the more it’s visited, every song takes on more layers whenever it’s played.  This is particularly true of Woody’s and Arlo’s music. Folk music of old, poetry and even news clippings inspired Woody’s music, which others also performed and made their own. Arlo is continuing this tradition. He  performed solo in Kansas City, but he brought with him the influences of friends, family and fellow musicians.

When I told my friend Jan that I was going to see Arlo in concert, she emailed me:  “Oh, how I’d love to hear Arlo Guthrie sing ‘City of New Orleans.’ A tonic for my soul.”

The song was a tonic for Arlo, too.  Before he sang “City of New Orleans” in the concert that night, Arlo told the audience that he first heard the song after a night of performing at a club in Chicago.  Weary, he was in no mood to listen to any song, but reluctantly he agreed to listen to Steve Goodman sing his song for the price of a beer. Arlo promised grumpily that he’d listen as long as the beer lasted.  Soon, however, Arlo forgot his fatigue as he marveled at this hymn to a train called “City of New Orleans” that traveled between Chicago and New Orleans. Arlo recorded Goodman’s “City of New Orleans” song in 1972, and it became a hit for Arlo.  Goodman won a posthumous Grammy in 1985 for the song in Best Country song, performed by Willie Nelson. The song has been performed by many others, as well. (Be sure to listen to Goodman’s funny country song at the bottom of this post.)

Arlo rode the “City of New Orleans” train in 2009 from Chicago to New Orleans raising money along the route in concerts to help musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Read about  Arlo’s Train Tour.


This October 9, 1969, photograph shows Arlo Guthrie singing "Amazing Grace" to his new bride Jackie Hyde, at their wedding ceremony on Guthrie's farm in Washington, Massachusetts. The couple shared a chocolate wedding cake made by Alice Brock, for whom Arlo Guthrie's iconic film "Alice's Restaurant" (released in November that year) and song is named. Jackie Guthrie died on October 14, 2012, at the couple's winter home in Florida. They had recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. (AP Photo/Steve Starr, file)

This October 9, 1969, photograph shows Arlo Guthrie singing “Amazing Grace” to his new bride Jackie Hyde, at their wedding ceremony on Guthrie’s farm in Washington, Massachusetts. The couple shared a chocolate wedding cake made by Alice Brock, for whom Arlo Guthrie’s iconic film “Alice’s Restaurant” (released in November that year) and song is named. Jackie Guthrie died on October 14, 2012, at the couple’s winter home in Florida. They had recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. (AP Photo/Steve Starr, file)

Arlo dedicated his song “Coming into Los Angeles” to his wife of 43 years, Jackie. He described how he first saw fell in love with Jackie not long after he arrived in California at age eighteen.

“I saw a woman ride by on a horse at the head of a rodeo parade.  I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, but she didn’t even look at me,” he said.  Three years later they met and later married.  Sadly, Jackie died in October 2012, not long after Arlo, Jackie, their children and spouses and grandchildren — a group of almost 20 — had traveled across the United States and Canada on a tour celebrating Woody’s centennial birthday.  Jackie recorded every Guthrie Family show during the years and posted more than 250 clips on her “Mrs. G’s Videos” YouTube channel, which can also be viewed on the family’s company website Rising Son Records as Mrs. G’s Homegrown Videos.

Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land is Your Land,” featuring Arlo, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Little Richard, John Mellancamp and many others.

About the song City of New Orleans.

Jackie and Arlo Guthrie's weddingThe Official Arlo Guthrie Website.
Jackie Guthrie Obit.
Jackie Guthrie.
Steve Goodman.

About Arlo Guthrie and Family Tour to Celebrate Woody Guthrie’s Centennial.

What Jackie Guthrie wrote about Mrs. G’s Family Archives in 2011. (Jackie’s user name is JGuth3)

“Mother and grandmother of a bunch of folk singers! I married that wandering folk singer, Arlo Guthrie, 42 years ago.

I love shooting and editing videos. Especially when The Guthrie Family Rides Again tours, when most all of our kids and grand kids play together.”

From the concert program in March 2013: Throughout his own career, Arlo Guthrie has honored his father in song as well as in life. With the centennial of Woody’s birthday in 1912, Arlo embarked on a new solo tour, ‘Here Comes the Kid,’ continuing the celebration of Woody Guthrie’s immeasurable contributions to the landscape of American folk music.

Since childhood, Arlo was amazed by the creative genius of his father and his friends who would drop  y: Leadbelly, Brownee McGee and Cisco Houston, to name a few. Not surprising, Arlo drew from those experiences and he in turn became a delineative figure for a new generation. Arlo has long paid homage to his dad with his own renditions of Woody’s songs, but of equal importance – Woody’s legacy is well defined in Arlo’s own works: in his humor, his political and social activism, and his undeniable gift for storytelling…”

In a video below, Goodman sings a comical “country” song, “You Never Even Call Me By My Name,” he wrote with John Prine, which includes all of the essential elements. 

You Never Even Call Me By My Name


Filed under Entertainment