Last of the Steam Engines

By: Brian Mastre, Colin Crawford Email
By: Brian Mastre, Colin Crawford Email
The railroad is responsible for building up not only Omaha and Council Bluffs but the west.  It

Union Pacific Steam Locomotive No. 844, photo courtesy Union Pacific.

The railroad is responsible for building up not only Omaha and Council Bluffs but the west. It's only fitting then that on Railroad Days in the metro -- a piece of that history comes back home.

The 844. The last of the steam engines. It was built for Union Pacific in 1944 as a high-speed passenger engine but diesels took over.
Inside -- it hovers around 120-degrees.

"You have to like it to endure the conditions," says Ed Dickens Jr. with Union Pacific. "We joke about the air conditioning. What we call the 4/40. 4 windows at 40-miles-per-hour."

It's hard to ignore the history of the 5000-horsepower machine. The sheer size inspires awe and intimidates. Just ask Adam Pfeiffer who toured it outside The Durham Museum.

Reporter: "Can you believe how big it was?"
Adam: "No!"

A Father's Day treat that runs both ways. "It's a piece of history," says Adam's dad Brent Pfeiffer, "And it's been a great joy for our family to enjoy."

Ed Dickens Junior remembers the 844 as a child. Now he's sometimes the engineer. "This locomotive, it's so special to us because it's never been retired. It's been an ambassador for my entire life."

And even as the present rides by, UP's living legend helps preserve a local and national heritage by just sitting there.

The 844 moved Sunday night to the Golden Spike in Council Bluffs. It will be on display Monday and Tuesday before heading back home to Cheyenne, Wyoming.


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