My husband, John, had a Lionel train set growing up and talked so much about it when we were first married, that we agreed he ought to have his own model layout again.  That said, he has researched trains, built and rebuilt layouts, and suffered when one of our cats insisted on sleeping on the tracks.

When we travel to our condo at Huntington Lake or to Dixon to see our family, we travel along two of the main lines in Central California and spot every train, whether it’s loaded or empty, and the various train signal lights.

When our son was nine, John and a buddy, a Southern Pacific engineer, took him to see the Southern Pacific Daylight engine #4449 on its refurbished run through California.

Last summer,  John began talking about the Big Boy….the largest steam engine ever made.   One was intact and Union Pacific had decided to have it renovated so it could run again.   Hearing it was going to be in the Victorville – Barstow, California area, John and another friend, Mike,  headed out to see it go by.    (Meanwhile a third friend rode the train.)

As a former history and English teacher, I really appreciate what Union Pacific has done.  They are bringing history alive, something close to my heart.     The picture below is one John got as the Big Boy thundered by.   Both John and Mike talk about their adventure every time they get together (which is frequently.)


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3 Responses to Blog: Chasing the Big Boy by Nancy Balance

  1. Ola Otto says:

    Fabulous! My husband is a model railroader too. Primarily N scale. He’s working on building a small, small layout for our motorhome. Ola

    • Nancy Ballance says:

      Had we a motor home (we used to use our folks’) I’m sure John would love this idea. He is helping a cousin and his friend with an N scale model.

  2. Ann Marie says:

    What a wonderful story and beautiful page!

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