The 844 steam locomotive rolls into Arizona, with mighty billows of steam.
(Photo by Narca)
We chased it for a few miles, as far as San Simon. Drivers along I-10 were mightily impressed, judging by the swerving cars and people pulling over for a better look. We leap-frogged the train at various exits, and recorded the event in this video.
This venerable train is here in celebration of New Mexico's and Arizona's statehood centennials. Today it is headed for Tucson. You can check out its full route at this website. The 844 was the Union Pacific's last steam locomotive. It was designed for pulling passenger trains and today is considered the UP's goodwill ambassador, its 67-year-old "Living Legend."
And, just for Milo (whose interest in trains spurred us to get up before dawn for something without feathers): the UP 844 weighs 907,980 pounds and its engine and tender are 114 feet long. That's a grand old train!
My favorite attribute of a train has always been its whistle... heard at night, under a sky ablaze with stars, in a lonely, desolate sweep of land.