Mike Condren Photos
Union Pacific
800-class 4-8-4s


August 1972

In 1972 my parents and I drove to Denver so that I could ride a UP 8444 excursion to Laramie, WY. Here we see the train stopped at Greeley, CO on the way to Laramie.
Here are the first 2 runbys of the day on Sherman Hill, WY.
The next day we went to Denver Union Station to shoot the Amtrak San Francisco train. Little did we expect that the UP 8444 would be leading the Amtrak diesels. In those days the train pulled into Union Station and the power was run around and the train pulled backwards to Cheyenne where it was reversed again.


May 26, 2006

UP 4-8-4 #844 is seen on the east leg of the North Little Rock wye.

Here the train is speeding along side US64 west/north of Mayflower.

Our train took the siding as it entered Conway for its planned 2 hour, turned into 3 hour stay.

Once in the siding, it was decided to pull out of the siding to downtown near the caboose display. So out she comes for the display time. After the display, she will back into the siding for a meet with two east/south bound freight that we saw in Morrilton while we waited.

While waiting for 844, we ate our lunch and I toured this little museum in the nicely retored former Missouri Pacific station.

When 844 finally arrived, the least popular citizen decided he needed to be in everyones pictures and walked right into the scence with everyone "SCREEMING" at him. Earlier he was less than politically correct with his smoking.

Finally we see the passenger leaving the pass on its last leg into Russellville. A this point Matt and I broke off the chase. The remaining images were taken by Professor Emeritus Peter Limper later that day and early on the next.

April 23, 2010

Our chase of UP 844 began at the wye leading to the Van Buren Sub in North Little Rock, AR.

Our next lineside photos were along side of State 265 in eastern Conway, AR.

Next lineside photos were at the station in Morrilton, AR.

These pacing photos were taken near the town Blackwell, AR (Blackville on the railroad), taken by holding the camera out the window.

These pacing photos were taken near the town of Atkins, AR.

Next lineside photos were at the Worthen sidng near Pottsville, AR where the sky opened up with a downpour, blurring the photos.

Next lineside photos were at the bridge over Piney Creek near London, AR.

Next lineside photos were taken near Ozark, AR at Lock & Dam 12.

Next lineside photos were taken at Van Buren, AR.

April 24, 2010

We started off the day trackside at Greenwood Jct., OK where 844 blasted through with a "clear" signal ahead.

Next lineside photos were taken north of Sallisaw, OK along US 64 in the pouring down rain. The signal behind the train is for the KCS crossing. The lighting was bad but the KCS blocking the crossing meant that the acceleration sound was the best of the entire trip.

This photos were taken in Braggs, OK. We had heard on the scanner that the commander of Fort Gruber had asked for the train to stop so an honor guard could salute the train, The train stopped but an honor guard never appeared to our knowledge. Had it not been for that stop we would have never seen the train again as it was traveling at track speed.

Little Rock Express
June 7, 2011

The Little Rock Express was on display in Bald Knob all day on June 7. It was parked on a siding to the east of the mainlines, between the legs of the wye. The line to the right is the line to Memphis. There was shuttle bus service from the station to the east side of the tracks where stairs allowed visitors to tour the cab. June 8 it will head to North Little Rock where it will be on display the next day, June 9.

Announcement by UP on June 8

"To all our Fans: We deeply regret having to change the Little Rock Express schedule at the last minute. Due to flooding concerns along the Missouri River, No. 844 had to depart from North Little Rock at 8 a.m. today. The train is scheduled to make brief stops in Russellville and Van Buren, Arkansas, before continuing on to Wagoner and Claremore, Oklahoma. Our current plan is to overnight in Coffeyville, Kansas. We will do our best to continue to post schedule updates here."

"Engineering projections show that rail lines between Kansas City and Omaha will be impacted by the flooding, which is why we had to adjust our schedule. We cannot operate No. 844 through high water and Union Pacific is trying to be proactive to keep the steam crew out of harm's way."

"We appreciate the community’s patience as we try to get the steam team home safely. We sincerely thank everyone for your interest and hope we have a chance see you soon."

June 9, 2011

I OSed Memphis at 5:05am.  I got to North Little Rock around 7:30.  I headed to the office complex and took a drive-by, see below.  Since the engine was headed southbound, I could tell that they would not be using the same leg of the wye as last year so I looked for an alternate spot further out on the Van Buren Sub. 

I found a spot on Percy Machin Drive near Pershing Blvd. Soon a crowd gathered from the nearby offices.

After getting on I40 and driving to the Mayflower Exit, I got the train again near Paintball Arkansas.

There was some nice pacing on the parallel highway east of downtown in Conway, AR.

After Conwy, I got on I40 and headed for Plumberville, AR where I got on US 64 into Morrilton, AR where I got him coming out of the sun.

Again back on I40 to the Blackville, AR exit where he was met by a crowd at the south switch and I barely beat him.

I then paced the train along US 64 thru Atkins, AR.

I finally got ahead of the chasers and pulled into Worthen siding where we shot last year in the pouring rain. No rain, but the lighting left a lot to desire.

I again got on I40 and headed to the PDQ in Russellville for gas for the car and Subway across the street for my lunch to go. I then headed to the causeway across Cherokee Crossing of Illinois Bayou of Lake Dardanelle on the Arkansas River. That name means that I should have lots of pictures at this location and I do. First we see the train as it gets on the causeway. I am standing on the US 64 causeway across the same body of water.
We see Arkansas Nuclear One cooling tower and silo of reactor 2 in the back ground. The silo of reactor 1 is behind the tree to the left of silo 2.

Clarksville Jct. was my next stop. It is just off US 64, about a 1/2 mile east of Exit 64 of I40. It is where the new line of the Missouri Pacific departs the original line of the Little Rock & Ft. Smith. This new main was created in the 1930s. The passenger train continued to use the line through Clarksville which connected to the new line at Spadra. The construction of I40 in the late 1960s cut the west end of the line. Service to Clarksville and the track was removed in the 1980s. When I first pulled up to the crossing, there was a deer across the tracks standing in the road. When I opened the door of my car she ran!
Note the 2 compromise joints to get the rail to match the rail in the new crossing.
Our train caught up with me soon after the above shot was made.

The Corp of Engineers was working at the Lock and Dam at Ozark, my next stop. In the distance, you can see the State 23 bridge across the Arkansas River. Note the bluffs along the river with the tracks at their foot.

A couple of UP MOW crews were waiting to watch the steam train pass. Shortly the train could be heard and then it appeared.

The train was scheduled to stop at the location of the former MP station in Van Buren. As the train approaches that location, another ALCo can be seen to the extreme right of the image, one of the A&M's C24s which is assigned to Van Buren as a switch engine. A crowd has gathered at the former station as well as along the tracks to Main Street. I am standing on the former US 64/71 highway viaduct over the former MP tracks. The current US 64/71 bridge is built over the site of the former station. The train arrived at 1:15, about 1 hour late.

Van Buren was scheduled as a service stop. Originally it was planned as an overnight stop but the flooding canceled that.

Here we see the crowd which had collected along the tracks all the way from the former station site to Main Street.

West of Van Buren, the UP 1982 MP heritage unit did most of the work of pulling the train.
They refilled the water car with the aid of a hydrant under the old viaduct.

Finally about 3:15pm our special comes charging past the former MP passenger station.

The next town was Vian. We could hear the roar of the 710 engine in the SD70ACe long before we could see the train. About the only sound from 844 was the whistle as the diesel was doing all of the work.

I then raced to get ahead of the special before it got to Gore.

In an attempt to reach Wagoner ahead of the special, I took US 64 west to the Muskogee Turnpike to Muskogee, US 62 into Muskogee, and then State 16 north to Okay, OK where it showed up about the same time as I did.

Needless to say that the special beat me to Wagoner. My chase ended with the service stop at Wagoner, OK. I was able to park on the sunny side of the engine, just across the connecting track from where they were greasing the main rods.

I was able to get close shots of the engine without anyone in my photos except for the working crew members servicing the engine.

The Little Rock Express was running 2 hours late by its 5:15pm departure.

At 1:30pm, right on time on March 28, 2012, we heard the whistle of the "Shiloh Limited" with UP 844 on the point. Here we see the train arriving in Paragould, AR.

The Union Pacific Railroad ran a steam powered train with reenactors with this sign on the sides of the cannon car.

Here we see a Confederate reenactor on the rear platform of the business car just in front of the cannon car.

Here is the rear business car UP #119, "Kenefick".

The rest of the train during the servicing of the engine in Paragould.

Here we see the crowd of town people watching the servicing of the engine on the crossing at Paragould.

Here we see the Shiloh Express leaving Paragould and passing the freight car factory and a train on the lead track to that factory.

After the train left Paragould, we headed south for Harrisburg, the next service stop. The highway and tracks are not close except for a short distance until south of Jonesboro. We got very far ahead of the train as the track south of Jonesboro is 40 mph with slow orders so we arrived in Harrisburg well ahead of the train and visited with friends who were also chasing.
Note the left most person in the photo below, that is my partner in this chase, Peter Limper.
The diesel locomotive for this train was the BSA Heritage loco 2010 decorated for the Centennial of the Boy Scouts of America.

Between Harrisburg and Whitehall, AR State 1 parallels the tracks which allowed us to catch the train and for me to hold my camera out the driver's window and get some pictures.
Why not a shot of the train in the mirror's reflection? Why not!

We got more pictures of the train as it came around the curve to the Memphis Sub in Wynne.

By the time we arrived at the crossing at the west end of the intermodal yard, the crossing flashers had just started flashing.
Our last pictures were through the fence on the south side of the intermodal facility where the train finally stopped and unloaded.

Oct. 15, 2012

UP 844 finally arrived a little after 4pm at Wagoner, OK on the former MKT.

I caught up with the train where it parallels OK16 south of Wagoner at a place known locally as Gibson.

I next caught the train just north of Okay, OK on a road to a local ranch.

The next series of shots was just north of the Arkansas River bridge where the former KO&G tracks parallel the former MKT tracks. The UP 844 is on the former KO&G tracks.

We then headed to the north end of the yard just south of the Shawnee Street overpass in Muskogee where there the UP Steam Crew showed up to attempt to service the engine before giving up and heading into the yard.
The steam train then appears under the overpass on its way into the yard on the former KO&G tracks.
In the foreground of this shot is the former location where the former KO&G crossed the former MKT before heading into the KO&G yard where the coaling tower still stands alongside the bike path on its former right-of-way.

This page was designed and is maintained by Mike Condren.
Earlier issues of Recent Trains are available through the indexes.
If you would like to receive the next issue of Recent Trains,
request that your email address be put on the distribution list
by emailing me at mcondren@cbu.edu.