| July/August 1973

  • Union Pacific # 8444 locomotive
    Union Pacific # 8444 - the railroad's last operating steam locomotive at Denver, Colorado on January 17, 1970. Courtesy of Stanley M. Beug, 6040 Crestview Way, Littleton, Colorado 80120
    Stanley M. Beug

  • Union Pacific # 8444 locomotive

Littleton, Colorado 80120

Many of America's railroads today still own steam locomotives, many of them operating. The Union Pacific railroad, one of America's largest, still owns # 8444, its last operating steam locomotive.

Locomotive # 844, built in 1944 during World War II and placed in service in December 1944, was the last steam locomotive purchased by Union Pacific. It was renumbered # 8444 in 1962 to make room for new diesels numbered in the 800's.

It was the last of a group of 45 steam locomotives of the 4-8-4 (Northern type) wheel arrangement built for the Union Pacific by the American Locomotive Co. at Schenectady, New York. The original numbers were 800 to 844.

The 800 series steam locomotives were assigned to passenger train service and high - speed freight service. They could easily obtain a speed of 90 mph.

The # 8444 has a maximum cylinder horse powering rating of 4,600 hp. The cylinders have a bore or 25 inches and a stroke of 32 inches. The eight driving wheels are 80 inches in diameter and develop a starting tractive force of 63,800 lbs.