Riding with Union Pacific's 'Living Legend' no. 844 steam locomotive
Lovers of trains and history, rejoice.
Union Pacific’s “Living Legend” No. 844 steam locomotive will travel more than 1,600 miles to make a round-trip from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Boise and back again.
The trip will mark the 92nd anniversary of the iconic Boise Depot. It will arrive in Boise in the late afternoon on Saturday, April 22, at the Depot, 2063 W. Eastover Terrace, and be part of a community celebration on Sunday.
The steam locomotive 844 was the last of its kind built for Union Pacific Railroad in 1944. It was a high-speed passenger engine in its glory days. It pulled well-known trains like the Overland Limited, the Los Angeles Limited, the Portland Rose and Challenger.
When diesels replaced steam to power passenger trains in the late 1950s, 844 was relegated to freight service, but was never officially “retired.” The train has been making public appearances for decades. It has been to Boise a few times, said local train expert and historian Eriks Garsvo, but not since 2010.
It was an inquiry from Garsvo that helped bring the train to Boise for this special event. It’s a big deal for train enthusiasts, he said. Members of local railroad groups are already staking out their spots along the route, he said.
“It’s a piece of American history for sure,” he said.
Garsvo himself will have the honor of getting on the train and riding it into Boise to open the Depot festivities.
The locomotive underwent recent upgrades at the Union Pacific shop in Cheyenne to get ready for its three 2017 excursions. In addition to its Boise trip, the 844 will also travel to Omaha, Neb., for the 2017 College World Series in June and to Cheyenne Frontier Days in July.
Its stop in Boise will be part of a community celebration to mark the Depot’s anniversary. Festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 23. Free tours of the Boise Depot with Garsvo at noon and 2 p.m. were quickly filled, but even if you don’t have tour tickets, there will plenty of things to see, including a large selection of model trains and vintage cars. Food will also be for sale on site if you’re in the mood for a picnic.
The locomotive itself will not be open to the public but visitors can get an up close look at the historic train.
Here are the train’s scheduled stops in Idaho:
▪ Wednesday, April 19:
1:30-2 p.m.: 12th & Washington Street in Montpelier
2:45-3:15 p.m.: Main Street. Crossing in Soda Springs
4:45 p.m.: Union Pacific rail yard near N. Harrison Avenue & Omaha Street. in Pocatello
▪ Thursday, April 20
9 a.m.-5 p.m.: all-day display, N. Harrison Avenue & Omaha Street in Pocatello
▪ Friday, April 21
9:25 -9:55 a.m.: County Road. Crossing in Minidoka
11:25 a.m.: Oregon Street. Crossing in Gooding
▪ Saturday, April 22
11-11:30 a.m.: Commercial Street. Crossing in Glenns Ferry
4:20 p.m.: Boise Depot, 2063 W. Eastover Terrace, Boise
▪ Sunday, April 23
9 a.m.-5 p.m.: all-day display, Boise Depot
▪ Monday, April 24
11:15-11:45 a.m.: Commercial Street. Crossing in Glenns Ferry
1-1:30 p.m.: Apple Street. Crossing in Shoshone
3-3:30 p.m.: County Crossing near Broadway & Cherry Street. in Minidoka
▪ Tuesday, April 25
10-10:30 a.m.: Hwy 23 & W. 5600 North in Cache Junction