Union Pacific Locomotive No. 844 Heading To Oklahoma

Wednesday, September 5th 2007, 3:24 pm
By: News On 6

SPRING, Texas (AP) _ The Union Pacific railroad will celebrate Oklahoma's centennial with a special visit by a historic steam locomotive which will be on display in various communities as the Oklahoma Centennial Sooner Rocket.

UP's locomotive No. 844 was the last steam locomotive delivered to the railroad in 1944 and is unique because it's the only steam locomotive never officially retired by a major North American railroad.

A high-speed passenger engine, it once pulled such famous trains as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.

No. 844 will pull the Sooner Rocket consisting of 11 cars from Sept. 3 through Sept. 24 through communities mostly in west central Oklahoma.

The cars are the ``Art Lockman'' tool car, the ``Howard Fogg'' boiler-dorm car, the ``Golden State Limited'' and ``Council Bluffs'' baggage cars, the ``Sherman Hill'' souvenir car, the ``Sunshine Special'' coach car, the ``Columbine'' dome coach, the ``Portland Rose'' coach car, the ``City of Portland'' and ``Missouri River Eagle'' dome diner cars, and the ``Idaho'' inspection car.

``Union Pacific is honored to be a part of the Oklahoma centennial celebration and we're pleased to provide everyday heroes of our communities a fun ride on our historic steam train,'' said UP spokesman Joe Adams.

The UP is recognizing the historical significance of the state by visiting as many communities as possible along the railroad's west central Oklahoma route and other communities in the Midwest, making whistle stops to display the train for the general public.

UP is honoring the communities everyday heroes for their contributions by inviting them and family members to ride the historic train. The railroad has sent invitations to educators, members of the military, law enforcement officers, first responders and civil servants from the communities along the route.

A Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) transmitter was installed on one of the rail cars that will travel with No. 844. The GPS system has been integrated with a map on UPs Web site. Enter the word ``Steam'' in the search box on the homepage for a shortcut to the map. Web site visitors will be able to access route maps with varying amounts of detail. The GPS system will update the map every five minutes showing No. 844's location.

No. 844 arrives at Enid about 1:30 on Sunday and will remain on display until Tuesday when he departs at 9 a.m. for Hennessey.

From there, it travels to Kingfisher and El Reno. It leaves El Reno on Thursday, Sept. 13, for Chickasha, Duncan and Waurika.

On Friday, the train leaves Waurika for Chico, Texas. Later that day, the locomotive will be turned at Lone Star, Texas.

It returns to Waurika later that day and will begin its trip back north on Saturday, Sept. 15.