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WITNESSING HISTORY

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    Union Pacific celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion by restoring Big Boy 4014, which made a stop in Navasota Friday, Nov. 8. For more photos commemorating this historic event see pages 10 and 11.

People of all ages may not agree on much in an everchanging world. There are disputes over political views, religious beliefs, race, gun control, how children are raised etc. A commonality that is enjoyed by most and united those with different viewpoints, is the magnitude and love of steam engine trains.

A year ago, a historic event was witnessed on historic Railroad Street in Navasota with the funeral procession of George H.W. Bush passing through town. Those in attendance never imagined another train of that magnitude would be the focal point in Navasota again.

Union Pacific restored Big Boy No. 4014, a train that was retired in 1959 and believed to never travel the tracks again. Union Pacific finished the restoration and sent the historic steam engine chugging down the tracks in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion.

In tow was 4141 hitching a ride to its final resting place, the George Bush Library in College Station. The historic trains made a stop in front of The Examiner for approximately 30 minutes as spectators took photos by the millions to capture history.

The excitement of watching Big Boy No. 4014 slowly make its way into town led by a cloud of smoke could only be matched by its glorious exit. After mechanics serviced the train, it started, and clouds of smoke began to form, eventually engulfing spectators into an experience like no other.

Illustrious sounds of the horn blowing and the bell on front of the engine seemed to shout thanks to those commemorating the event and eventually bidding an awestruck crowd farewell.

The wheels of Big Boy No. 4014 slowly began to turn and make its way north along the tracks crossing the Washington Avenue railroad crossing, the same crossing that George W. Bush took an infamous photo and posted to his Instagram, while riding in his father’s precession.

Eyes of onlookers followed the train of smoke left behind by Big Boy No. 4014 until the smoke evaporated into the air and could no longer be seen.

Memories shared by

those in attendance

“Seeing the Big Boy No. 4014 filled me with nostalgia and wonderment. It is a memory that I will pass on to my grandchildren, witnessing the last of the great steam engines in all its glory.” – Kenny Graves;

“It was cool to be a part of history. Being able to see the train come through a beautiful historic city like Navasota was just awesome. The feeling I got when I saw the smoke come down the train tracks and how big and loud it was made me feel like a little kid again being obsessed with trains.” – Zack Nichols;

“Seeing the Big Boy No. 4014 come through our little town was quite an experience. It was impressive, not just in its sheer size but in its sounds as well. We were able to see a big piece of history, and we were made a small part of creating history all at once. Watching it pull away with No. 4141 in tow took me back to a year ago when we stood in the same place on Railroad Street and said our goodbyes to our 41st President, George H. W. Bush. All I could think was how awesome an experience we all just had. It’s not one we are likely to forget.” – Kathleen Dimmel.