John, Roger and Dick traveled to Denison from Minnesota to see Union Pacific 4014 “Big Boy” as it passed through Crawford County on Monday.
They joined a string of cars stopped near the Boyer River railroad bridge about three miles west of Denison.
Vehicles were stopped here and there on Highway 30 between Denison and Dunlap as enthusiasts and the curious staked out spots to watch the newly-restored steam engine, the biggest in the world, pass by.
John, Roger and Dick were in place by about 9:30 a.m. and secured a good spot.
The train came through about an hour later.
“It’s once in a lifetime,” John said. “Especially to see a famous one.”
“Gotta see the Big Boy,” Roger agreed.
After shooting video and taking still photos of the train as it neared Denison, the trio intended to hit the road and stay ahead of the Big Boy.
Their plan was to try to catch 4014 again at the Kate Shelley High Bridge to the west of Boone.
Roger was not too sure if that would work out.
“I’m sure there are 8 to 10 cars there already,” he said. “There’s not a lot of space. If that’s too full, we’ll go on.”
Roger, who is retired, said he chases trains in Minnesota.
“If I get a decent train, I’ll chase it 15 to 20 miles,” he said. “To chase a steam locomotive is even better.”
They recommended other photographers not get caught up in the stream of “pacer cars” that follows along near the train as it travels.
Roger said the pacer cars are a regular feature of steam train excursions.
A slow-moving convoy of cars, several miles long, kept pace with 4014 as it made its way across western Iowa.
“If you get stuck in that, you’re done for a while,” Roger said.