ST. GEORGE — A six-vehicle crash in Beryl may have had something to do with the world’s largest steam locomotive, Union Pacific’s “Big Boy,” which rolled through the small town Saturday afternoon.
A battery of emergency personnel were dispatched to a six-vehicle pileup on a frontage road that runs parallel to train tracks in Beryl. Emergency crews found the tangled vehicles scattered across the roadway, including a Ford pickup truck, three SUVs, a vintage car and a passenger car.
One occupant was flown to a nearby hospital by Mercy Air Transport, primarily due to possible back/neck injuries while at least one more individual was transported to the hospital by ground ambulance for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Iron County Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Bettridge told St. George News Saturday.
Traffic on the frontage road was heavier than normal with a large number of spectators there to see the “special train,” Bettridge said.
Multiple vehicles were towed from the scene, and it took several hours to clear the roadway and remove debris.
The investigation into the cause of the crash is still ongoing, Bettridge said, and police are working to “figure out what happened and exactly how it happened.”
Union Pacific’s Big Boy No. 4014
Union Pacific’s Big Boy No. 4014, the world’s largest steam locomotive, embarked on its third and final tour across the southwest in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion.
The newly-restored locomotive was returning from a stop in Ogden, where a ceremony was held commemorating the anniversary. It was continuing its historic journey to Las Vegas, Nevada when it passed through Beryl Saturday.
The 123-foot Big Boy is huge, weighing in at more than 1.2 million pounds with massive engines. The train typically operated between Ogden and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
With the onset of World War II, twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific, the first of which was delivered in 1941 to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden. The locomotive was retired in December 1961 after 20 years of service and more than 1 million miles. Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy.
In 2013, Union Pacific re-acquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, before it was relocated to Cheyenne, Wyoming to begin a multi-year restoration process. It was then returned to service in May 2019 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion.
The portion of the video of Big Boy 4014 rolling into Beryl shown at the top of this report was provided by Hollie Reina.
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