Historic Train Visits Cache Valley
The train pulled into Cache Junction Tuesday morning and was greeted by a crowd of adoring schoolchildren, retired railroad workers, and locomotive history enthusiasts. This marked the first time the No. 844 steam engine, the last one purchased for Union Pacific, has stopped in Cache Valley in 20 years.
Justin Jacobs, a spokesman with Union Pacific, said that Cache Junction is just one stop that the engine will make during its journey through Utah and surrounding states.
“We have No. 844 out here making what at the end of it will be an 11-day trek from Cheyanne, Wyoming, up to Boise, Idaho, for Depot Day and then back down through all these communities on its way back to Cheyanne, with a stop first in Ogden later tonight,” Jacobs explained. “It’s just really exciting to get it back out there on the rails and to be able to enjoy it with these communities all through Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah.”
No. 844 was built in 1944 and has a 23-500-gallon boiler water capacity. Engines like No. 844 were quickly replaced with the introduction of diesel locomotives.
Locomotive engineer Ed Dickens pointed out that, for many, no other type of train captures the imagination quite like the steam engine.
“The younger generation today that doesn’t know a real steam locomotive, they’ve seen animated versions, and they’ve seen various TV productions. To see and actually hear one and see it operate is something that’s really special for the kids,” Dickens said. “Those that remember steam locomotives, that generation is up in their seventies, eighties, and older. The whistle is something that you don’t really hear every day. You look around, there’s a tear in the eye here and there. That’s the emotion, the memories.”
After Cache Junction, No. 844 made stops in Brigham City and Ogden several hours later.