Locomotive 4014 galloped across the Marfa Plateau. 6 pm, it reached Paisano Pass and the town of Alpine, Texas, a steam engine on a class I railroad, a locomotive living up to the name Big Boy. It brought a glimpse of another era. It crossed a western landscape with a plume of billowing steam, and when the rolling stock went out of view, it became a gray cloud moving across the horizon. Video footage failed to convey its decibels: the whistle, the thud of pistons, and the hiss of steam. Nothing matched seeing it first hand.
On Nov. 2nd, Union Pacific’s ‘Big Boy’ 4014 departed from Alpine, headed east toward Marathon and Sanderson. A crowd gathered to see the locomotive, wave and take pictures at the depot. Steam billowed.