Western Iowans will get a chance to see one of the legendary steam locomotives of railroad history this week. Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Mark Davis says “Number 844” arrives in Council Bluffs tomorrow (Saturday). The locomotive, which has traveled Nebraska several times in recent years, is heading back into Council Bluffs this weekend for a Heritage Tour. It’s been completely overhauled in a huge project that started clear back in 1992. Davis says the steam locomotive isn’t one of the biggest ever, but it was the last steam locomotive ever built for Union Pacific, delivered in 1944, and has never been taken out of service. It was mainly used to pull passenger trains. “It just was never retired,” Davis says. Railroad operators decided to use the old steam engine as a “rolling ambassador,” so in the 1960s it was literally saved from the scrap heap. He says it’s traveled hundreds of thousands of miles over the years. Number 844 will remain on display in Council Bluffs till Tuesday, when it’ll head westward back to Wyoming.
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