Union Pacific Challenger 3985 looks fantastic pulling its sleek passenger train over the formidable slopes of southern California’s Cajon Pass. The sight of the nation’s largest steam locomotive (at the time) thrilled thousands of trackside viewers, and the talented Pentrex camera crews were on hand at all the great photo locations to bring you this incredible steam event!
The huge 4-6-6-4 locomotive traveled to Southern California in May, 1994, to celebrate the Union Pacific Railroad Historical Society’s Los Angeles Chapter’s annual convention. We begin our coverage of the UP 3985 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and follow it over the Pass to Ontario. The Challenger put on quite a show during the two days of its excursion trips. You’ll see it steaming past the depot in San Bernardino, up through Devore, around Sullivan’s Curve and over Summit. Then it was a high speed run through Victorville and into Barstow where it was readied for its return trips.
The highlight of our coverage is an exciting ride in the cab of the Challenger as it conquers Cajon Pass! You’ll see what it’s like to sit behind the throttle and the firebox of this massive locomotive as it thunders up the long, strenuous climb. This is something likely never to be repeated as Union Pacific has now retired 3985. Join Pentrex and experience the thrill of UP steam power over Cajon Pass. This is steam railroading at its best!