"Living Legend" to Visit Region

Thursday, October 6, 2016
No. 844

A piece of locomotive history will stop in Piggott later this month. The Union Pacific "Living Legend" No. 844 has been renovated in time to celebrate the Oct. 22, opening of Big River Crossing in Memphis.

En route, No. 844 - the last steam locomotive built by UP - will stop in Piggott on Thursday, Oct. 20. The locomotive is slated to be at the Main Street Crossing from 9:15 to 9:30 a.m. before departing for stops in Paragould and Harrisburg the same day.

The trek is the first multi-state venture since the locomotive's three-year restoration.

No. 844 will traverse Union Pacific's main line through Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee beginning Oct. 13. Brief stops are scheduled throughout the 19-day roundtrip journey.

Housed in Union Pacific's Steam Shop in Wyoming, No. 844 underwent a major overhaul and made its return to the rails for Cheyenne Frontier Days in late July.

It was delivered in 1944. A high-speed passenger engine, it pulled such widely known trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.

When diesels took over all of the passenger train duties, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service.

The engine has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific's ambassador of goodwill. It has made appearances at Expo '74 in Spokane, the 1981 opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Los Angeles Union Station in 1989.

Hailed as Union Pacific's "Living Legend," the engine is widely known among railroad enthusiasts for its excursion runs, especially over Union Pacific's fabled crossing of Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming.

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