Train Simulator

Realism Extraordinaire!

Written by Gary Dolzall
Union Pacific’s legendary Big Boy – re-created in extraordinary and exacting detail by renowned developer Smokebox – is now available for Train Simulator!
The magnificent Union Pacific Big Boy and renowned developer Smokebox: It is a combination that brings the extraordinary grandeur of big steam and unmatched realism to Train Simulator. And now Union Pacific’s behemoth 4-8-8-4 as created by Smokebox is ready to go to work!
Union Pacific’s legendary 4-8-8-4s were designed with a specific task at hand – being able to lift 4,000-ton trains, without helpers, up the long and unrelenting 1.14 percent grades of the west slope of the Wasatch Mountains between Ogden and Evanston, Utah. Led by UP’s talented Otto Jabelmann, Union Pacific’s Mechanical Department designers, together with those of the American Locomotive Works (Alco), went to work. The Union Pacific, of course, was no stranger to big steam power – the railroad rostered 88 of its unique Alco-built, three-cylinder 4-12-2s, the earliest of which dated to 1926, and in 1936 UP acquired its first 4-6-6-4 Challengers (a powerful and fast fleet that would eventually grow to 105 strong).
The new locomotive that resulted from the UP and Alco designers’ talents and blueprints was simply monumental: A 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement with 68” drivers, 23-3/4" diameter by 32" stroke cylinders, a grate area of 150-square feet, 300 PSI boiler pressure, 135,375 pounds of tractive effort, and an estimated output of 6,290 horsepower (which is to say, greater than an A-B-B-A set of Electro-Motive F-units). Together with its massive pedestal-bed tender, the 4-8-8-4 would weigh in at nearly 1.3 million pounds.
Union Pacific initially ordered 20 of the 4-8-8-4 locomotives, to be numbered UP 4000-4019, which took form at Alco’s Schenectady (New York) works in 1940. During construction of the first locomotive – Union Pacific 4000 – an Alco worker scrawled “Big Boy” in chalk on the locomotive’s smokebox door and the name, like the locomotive, became forever iconic.
In service, the 4-8-8-4s proven to be every bit as good, and better, than expected. And the Big Boys were both handsome and “good riders” for the crews as well. During World War II, Union Pacific acquired five more Big Boys (4020-4024) and in addition to working the Wasatch crossing, the railroad’s fleet of 25 Big Boys became regulars on UP’s Sherman Hill in Wyoming. The Union Pacific last employed its 4-8-8-4s in regular revenue freight service in June 1959 and formally retired the locomotives in 1961-62. Befitting the 4-8-8-4s fame and stature, no less than eight were preserved. In 2019, as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the American transcontinental railroad, Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 was returned with much fanfare to service as a premier member of UP’s Heritage Fleet.
Developer Smokebox is highly respected for its authentic re-creations of steam locomotives – including its AT&N 2-8-0 Consolidation, its superb Union Pacific FEF-3 4-8-4, and its captivating collection of 1860s Union Pacific and Central Pacific locomotives. And now, the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 has taken Smokebox’s artistry and realism to even greater levels! In addition to an exacting replication of the Big Boy’s operating controls, characteristics, sounds, and visual details, the Smokebox 4-8-8-4 delivers a wide range of features including advanced air brake simulation, numerous animations, an auto-fireman, and innovative auto-engineer. For those wishing the ultimate realistic challenge, operating the Big Boy manually delivers that maximum immersive experience, and yet use of the optional the auto fireman and auto engineer makes the locomotive accessible and enjoyable to all users.
The Smokebox Big Boy also features a range of customizable locomotive details, multiple livery variations (clean, weathered, and with silver trim) and a fine selection of six types of era-authentic freight rolling stock (with multiple loads and a variety of liveries) including UP’s CA-4 caboose in two schemes. Fittingly, the Big Boy DLC provides four realistic scenarios on the Train Simulator Union Pacific Wasatch Grade: Ogden - Evanston Route (route available separately) and the 4-8-8-4 is also authentically suited to work on the popular Train Simulator Sherman Hill route.
The ultimate experience of taking the throttle of American big steam can be yours with the magnificent and extraordinary Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy as created by Smokebox, now available at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores! – Gary Dolzall
The magnificent Union Pacific Big Boy and renowned developer Smokebox: It is a combination that brings the extraordinary grandeur of big steam and unmatched realism to Train Simulator. And now, Union Pacific’s behemoth 4-8-8-4 as created by Smokebox is ready to go to work! Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
From any angle, the Big Boy was a behemoth (above and below), The Big Boy’s statistics were extraordinary: 68” drivers, 23-3/4" diameter by 32" stroke cylinders, a grate area of 150-square feet, 300 PSI boiler pressure, total weight of nearly 1.3 million pounds, 135,375 pounds of tractive effort, and an estimated output of 6,290 horsepower! Note screenshots depict content while in development.
The Smokebox Big Boy features customizable locomotive details, multiple livery variations (clean, weathered, and with silver trim, above) and a wide range of features including advanced air brake simulation, numerous animations, an auto-fireman, and innovative auto-engineer. For those wishing the ultimate immersive and realistic challenge, operating the Big Boy manually from the authentic cab (below) deliver that experience, and yet the optional auto fireman and auto engineer also make the locomotive accessible to all users.
The Ogden (Utah) roundhouse is alive with big steam as Big Boy 4001 is squeezed onto the terminal’s 135-foot-long turntable (above) while sisters 4000 and 4009 await duty at the roundhouse (below). The new Smokebox Big Boy DLC provides realistic scenarios on the Train Simulator Union Pacific Wasatch Grade: Ogden - Evanston Route (route available separately).
Union Pacific’s Big Boys were designed to lift heavy tonnage up the west slope of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. On the Train Simulator Union Pacific Wasatch Grade: Ogden - Evanston Route, Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 4014 is handling the task it was designed for as it works upgrade through Weber Canyon near remote and rugged Devil’s Slide, Utah.
At Echo, Utah, Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 4004 (above) has been serviced and begins the climb up Echo Canyon, while further east, UP 4000 (below) pounds through Curvo. The Big Boy DLC from Smokebox includes a superb selection of six types of era-authentic freight rolling stock (with multiple loads and a variety of liveries) including UP’s CA-4 caboose in two schemes.
During construction of Union Pacific’s first 4-8-8-4 – Union Pacific 4000 – an Alco worker scrawled “Big Boy” in chalk on the locomotive’s smokebox door and the name, like the locomotive, became forever iconic. The ultimate experience of taking the throttle of American big steam can be yours with the magnificent and extraordinary Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy as created by Smokebox, now available at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores!
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Train Simulator
27 May
Realism Extraordinaire!
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