On May 17, 1953, the first official steam excursion on the Union Pacific Railroad was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. The trip ran from Denver, Colorado to Laramie, Wyoming and returned via Sherman Hill. Locomotive No. 3967, a coal burning Challenger equipped with “elephant ear” smoke deflectors, powered this pioneering excursion.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of this historic event, the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club sponsored a re-creation of the event on May 15, 1993. Wearing new number plates and sporting elephant ears, Challenger 3985 became locomotive 3967 for a day. This sold-out excursion train, with almost 500 people aboard, retraced the original route of the 1953 journey.
You’ll see the ferry moves between Cheyenne and Denver, and you’ll watch as photo run-bys are provided for passengers while the train climbs Sherman Hill. Aboard the train, we’ll talk with several passengers who rode that first UP excursion in 1953. For the high point of our trip, we take a cab ride between Laramie and Speer as the train battles the grades of the original line over Sherman Hill.