In 1961, the NHRA Winternationals arrived at Pomona’s Fairplex to begin its long and continuing run as the historic traditional NHRA season opener. A year later, more history began a long tenure at the home of the LA County Fair when Big Boy 4014, the last of the giant freight locomotives, arrived in Southern California and became part of the year-round Rail Giants Train Museum.
And though the Winternationals again will launch the season in Pomona in 2014, Big Boy 4014 won’t be there because the historic train is being moved to Cheyenne, Wyo., where the Union Pacific Heritage Fleet Operations Team will try to get the historic iron running again.
The locomotive and its tender weigh more than 1.2 million pounds, making movement quite a task, but crews have been inching their way at 300 feet per day across the fairgrounds and ultimately through what is the pit area for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, continually leapfrogging a small section of track ahead of the towed behemoth, a trip that will end at the railroad tracks that line the northern part of the facility.
Built in 1941, Big Boy No. 4014 logged 1,031,205 miles hauling freight until its retirement July 21, 1959. It arrived in Pomona in January 1962.