If you’re looking to explore a little local history this week, you might be interested in visiting Kenefick Park. The park is home to two of Union Pacific’s greatest locomotives — Centennial No. 6900 and Big Boy No. 4023. Read on to learn why these powerful engines are so important to the city of Omaha.
Omaha and Union Pacific Railroad
The railroad system is a very big part of why Omaha, Nebraska, became the bustling metropolis that it is today. But it almost didn’t happen. Originally, Abraham Lincoln planned for Union Pacific to start on the opposite side of the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Union Pacific vice president, Thomas C. “Doc” Durant argued for the railroad to start in Omaha instead. His reasoning? By starting in Omaha the company would avoid the huge initial cost of building a bridge across the Missouri River. Furthermore, they would avoid the time suck the project would cause. So, it’s “Doc” Durant that we have to thank for the success our city has had.
Big Boy No. 4023
When the United States joined the allies in World War II, our armed forces needed the support of a strong, fast, and efficient supply line. Big Boy 4023 was part of the solution. 4023 was one of 25 Big Boy locomotives that could haul a whopping 1.25 million pounds at 70 miles per hour. Mechanical Officer Otto Jabelmann designed the Big Boys right here in Omaha. But the American Locomotive Company built these amazing locomotives in Schenectady, New York. When the Big Boys took on their first run, they were heralded as the heaviest, longest, and most powerful steam-powered trains ever built. But by 1959, trains powered by diesel engines had surpassed steam engines, and the Big Boys were retired.
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The Centennial No. 6900
100 years after its inception, Union Pacific celebrated its anniversary by having 47 Centennial locomotives built. Because of an increase in freight train usage, Union Pacific needed more efficient trains. So, the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors constructed these locomotives with a monstrous amount of power. Each one had a 6600-horsepower engine. They’re also the largest single-unit diesel locomotives in the world.
Here at O’Daniel Honda Omaha, we appreciate the impressive power of Union Pacific’s heritage locomotives. Although we can’t get you a freight-hauling, 6600-horsepower train, we can help you get behind the wheel of an automobile that’s a heavy hauler in its own right. Check out our inventory or come speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives today. We’ll help you find your next vehicle.
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