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Thousands of people had a choice Tuesday morning where to try and catch a glimpse of the Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 steam train, one of the biggest and most powerful locomotives of its kind. An estimated crowd of 3,000 turned out at Rochelle Railroad Park to see the historic locomotive as it was parked for a brief viewing before continuing on its journey west. People lined up throughout the area – from downtown Franklin Grove to the rural gravel roads – hoping to snap photos. Further down the tracks, the train passed through Dixon, Sterling, and Morrison on the way to Clinton, Iowa. Near Sinnissippi Park in Sterling, residents were trying to catch a glimpse of Big Boy as it went along the Rock River. Railroad enthusiasts marveled at the famous steam-powered behemoth and others gruntled when a freight train was passing by and blocked the view, which happened on Track Road east of Franklin Grove. Big Boy steam locomotives were used to haul freight between Wyoming and Utah in the 1940s and '50s. Of the 25 engines built, only eight remain, and only one – the one that came through Rochelle and the Sauk Valley Tuesday – is operational. The trip was commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
– Photos by Alex T. Paschalfirstname.lastname@example.org, Michael Krabbenhoeftemail@example.com, and Earleen Hintonfirstname.lastname@example.org