Union Pacific’s #3985 Challenger Challenges Sherman Hill!
Union Pacific’s #3985 works her way up the .82% Sherman Hill grade in style!
Always a crowd pleaser, Union Pacific’s #3985 4-6-6-4 Challenger doesn’t hesitate while rounding the curve! Built specifically to take on long grades like her cousin “Big Boy”, the #3985 Challenger was designed to pull freight fast up long grades without helper engines.
Both Union Pacific’s Big Boy 4-8-8-4 and the Challenger #3985 4-6-6-4 steam locomotives were designed to by Union Pacific to handle the long, hard grades of the Wasatch Mountain Range in western Utah.
Grades on the Wyoming portion of the track towards the 8,200 foot Sherman Hill Summit were originally 1.55% on the original track that was built back in 1882. This portion of track was part of the Union Pacific Overland Route. In 1901, Union Pacific built a new line 3 miles south of the original to reduce the grade to .82% at the same time that they built the famous Hermosa Tunnel which reduced the elevation to 8,000 feet.
Currently, UP’s #4014 “Big Boy” 4-8-8-4, UP’s #844 4-8-4, as wells as UP’s #3985 4-6-6-4 are undergoing renovation as Union Pacific’s steam shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It is rumored that the UP #3985 will be back on the high rails in sometime in 2016.
All work being done on these locomotives in on a volunteer basis!
Let us know you like these massive giants of steam and would love to volunteer to help restore them in you could. We would love hear about it!