Weighing in at one and a quarter million pounds, measuring 132 feet long, Union Pacific Big Boys were the giants of the rails. Just 25 Big Boys were built. They remained in service for only 18 years, but are as popular today as in their own day. The Big Boy Combo series from Pentrex brings you four vintage programs on two DVDs (in one case!):
Last of the Giants (23 Minutes)
Union Pacific paid tribute to its Big Boys in a publicity film that has become a sought-out collector’s item for rail enthusiasts worldwide. You’ll see the evolution of UP steam power from 4-6-0s to the development of the articulated locomotive. Then you’ll meet the Big Boys and watch as they are serviced, rebuilt, and run. Trackside and cab shots feature these mighty 4-8-8-4s pulling long freights over Wyoming’s Sherman Hill during their last years in service. This classic film is one you’ll enjoy watching again and again.
Last of the Giants Volume 2: The Cheyenne Shops (1 Hour)
Cheyenne was a bustling hub for UP steam in the 1950s. It’s where the Big Boys were based during their last years of operation powering freights over Sherman Hill to Laramie. In Volume 2, you’ll go on a tour of the coal chute and servicing areas, take a spin on the turntable that served the 48-stall roundhouse, and visit the backshop where the Big Boys were rebuilt. You’ll hear the stories of the men who once worked on these famous locomotives and will learn about the operational layout and design of the Cheyenne yards as they were in the late 1950s. The footage used in this production was shot by UP cameramen over a 3 year period, with updated material added by Pentrex in 1993. It’s an unforgettable visit!
Last of the Giants Volume 3: Sherman Hill (70 Minutes)
Allan Krieg, writer and director of Last of the Giants, shares the challenges his camera crews faced while capturing the Big Boys on film. Scenes of the running gear in motion, shot from a camera car on a parallel track, and pacing sequences of the Big Boys on the road are thrilling to see. You’ll ride in the cabs and watch the firemen and engineers at work. Interviews with surviving crew members give you a sense of what it was like to run these giant engines over Sherman Hill. All the scenes shown in this production are compiled from 16mm color film shot between 1955 and 1958.
Big Boys on TV (70 Minutes)
Ed Begley stars in this 1950s NBC Lucky Strike Theater drama about a Big Boy engineer who is struggling with fears about his future. The live broadcast takes you right into the heart of this railroader’s life at home and in the cab of his Big Boy. Pentrex incorporated some of the original footage shot on location showing Big Boys on Sherman Hill and in the Cheyenne yards. (It’s all new material, not used in other Pentrex videos.) We also included the old commercials that aired with the broadcast. They will make you smile.