No. 844

Steam engine No. 844 is a Union Pacific engine that went into service in 1944.  It was the last steam engine built for Union Pacific.  It was also known as No. 8444 because an additional 4 was added to its number to distinguish it from a diesel numbered in the same 800 series.  When the diesel was retired in 1989 the steam engine got the 844 number again.

While active No. 844 was a high speed passenger engine and pulled well known trains such as the Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose, and Challenger.  When diesel engines took over all passenger train duties No. 844 was put into freight service in Nebraska from 1957 through 1959.

In 1960 No. 844 was saved from being scrapped by being put into special service.  The engine has become Union Pacific’s ambassador of goodwill making excursion runs and appearances across the U.S. and that’s how my wife and I got to see it with our grandsons over seventy years after it first went into service.

Our oldest grandson is a huge Thomas the Train fan and when his little cousin came along and was old enough to stand at the train table he was indoctrinated into the “Thomas lifestyle”.  When we heard the No. 844 was going to make a stop at the Amtrak station close to us we knew we had to take the kids.  When we got to the station I wasn’t surprised by the number of kids there.  It was a school day so they were almost all preschoolers.  What surprised me was the number of kids aged 60+ that were there.  I think they prefer to be called train enthusiasts.

Before my pictures of No. 844, here are some stats for the engine.

Weight:  907,980 lbs. or 454 tons, (64,856 st) engine and tender

Length:  114 ft. 2-5/8 in. (34.8 m) engine & tender

Water capacity:  23,500 gallons (88,957 L)

Driving wheel diameter:  80 in. or 6 ft. 8 in. (203.2 cm)

Source:  Union Pacific

This is No. 844 at the station as it pulled into the station.


No. 844 pulling away from the station.  Note the Union Pacific yellow for the cars.


Yeah, that looks like fun.



Another color shot showing the iconic Union Pacific yellow.  At least it’s icon if you lived anywhere for any length of time along a Union Pacific line.


Same as above but in black & white


Thank you for stopping by.


All photos taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm zoom lens.

15 thoughts on “No. 844

    • There was a Polar Express train in St. Louis at Christmas time and we took our grandkids and families. One boy was 18 months and his cousin was just a week shy of three. We had been reading the book to them both several weeks in advance and they had a great time.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yes they served hot chocolate and a big chocolate chip cookie. Then two young ladies dressed as chefs walked up and down the aisle in the car with a giant Polar Express book, holding it open as the story was read over the speakers. There was also a conductor in the car and Santa came in shortly after the story. Evidently the same thing was being played out simultaneously in each car on the train. It was very well done and I enjoyed it as much as the kids – on a different level of course 🙂 .


    • The B&W allows one to focus on the subject and the background tends to fade away, assuming you have composed your scene so that the viewer’s eye goes straight to the subject. I think that’s why street photography usually looks better in B&W.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I loved the train pictures and the explanations that you posted.
    However, I find it hard to read with such a black background and small grey letters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Meta. I’m glad you enjoyed this. I agree the small grey font is not ideal at all but this is a free WordPress theme and I have no control over the font colors or font size (except for titles). The color is predetermined based on the background. I tried changing the font size once and everything becomes bold and is just too large. I even tried doing a copy paste of something I had written in MS Word with a different font, size, and color. WordPress just converted it to its theme defauts.

      I chose this theme because I like the homepage, I think it makes it easier to scroll through the posts. Also because I could use a black background with it. I think the black shows off the photos better than white or other colors.


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