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Big Boy locomotive draws a crowd as it rolls into Mason City

The vintage steam locomotive is touring the Midwest in honor of the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

Posted: Jul 16, 2019 10:31 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2019 6:58 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - A large crowd gathered to watch the Big Boy locomotive come down the tracks.

The Big Boy and 24 others like it were built in 1941 for the Union Pacific railroad to haul freight through the mountainous country between Utah and Colorado.  The massive steam locomotive weighs over a million pounds. 

At around 2 p.m. Tuesday, the train finally arrived in Mason City, announcing its arrival with a few blasts of its loud steam whistle and the clanging of its bell.

Big Boy stayed overnight in Mason City before heading up to Albert Lea, Owatonna, Northfield, and finally St. Paul.

It took Union Pacific nearly 6 years to fully restore the locomotive, which had been kept in storage in a museum in California.  It is the only one of its type that is still able to ride the rails.

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