Residents gather as Union Pacific 4014 “Big Boy” passes through Lake Charles

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 6:51 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - We all know the saying all aboard.

Well, Thursday morning, that is exactly what I did as I hopped on the Union Pacific 4014, or better known as the “Big Boy” as it made its way to Lake Charles.

“We’re traveling around to celebrate the heritage of the Union Pacific, a steam locomotive, part of that iron horse American Industrial Revolution that everybody knows so well,” said Manager for the Heritage Operations for the Union Pacific Ed Dickens.

And a celebration it was as it made a complete stop in Lake Charles.

“I’m so glad I got an opportunity to see this big humongous train, and the crowd has been spectacular,” said Norma Randel.

A crowd in which came to see history.

“It’s a great honor to see something like this as a veteran,” said Kyle Todd. “I appreciate people doing stuff like this and keeping the United States history alive.”

All part of a 10-state tour, Dickens says, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people.

“There’s very few steam locomotives that you can see operating,” he said. “This is the only one in 2021 that is operating on the mainline of the Union Pacific or any mainline for that reason.”

Taking a step off the train, I got a chance to meet Russell Mixon, who says he had to come out to see this machine.

“Yeah, I love it,” Mixon added. “It’s the past, you know, and we don’t get to see this every day.”

For Norma Randel, she says it brings back memories.

“It brings up a lot of childhood days when during the summertime, we would go to Beaumont at the same spot right here on a smokestack train every summer,” she said.

Following its stop in Lake Charles, the Big Boy locomotive made its way through Kinder and Opelousas and will make a few more stops before getting to New Orleans.

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