Union Pacific Steam Excursion Schedules, 2003-2013

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on April 14, 2023.

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The following listings show Union Pacific steam locomotive excursions and special movements, from 2003 to 2013, and are meant to supplement the 1953-2003 coverage in the book "Fifty Years of Union Pacific Steam Excursions" by Lloyd E. Stagner and James J. Reisdorff.

(There will be no updates for 2014 and following years)


UP 3985 received a limited overhaul beginning in late 2002; completed in mid May 2003 with a break-in run over Sherman Hill on May 15, 2003.

Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club (UP 3985)

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 3985)

Rocky Mountain Railroad Club (UP 3985)

UP 3985 was disguised as UP 3967 (with wind wings) for the 50th anniversary of the first trip for the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. UP 3967 had pulled that first trip on May 17, 1953.

River City Roundup Special (UP 3985)

This is the first time Union Pacific has operated a special River City Roundup train since 1991. The train ran 10 consecutive times, from 1982 to 1991, pulled by steam locomotives or special diesel locomotives. This is only the second time No. 3985 has pulled a River City Roundup special; UP's other steam locomotive, No. 844, pulled the train seven times.


Super Bowl XXXVIII Tour Special (UP 3985)

Nine states; 3,500 miles

The track that No. 3985 sat on while in Houston during the Super Bowl activities is one of the oldest in Houston, built in 1860 by the Houston Tap & Brazoria Railway, a predecessor of Union Pacific.

In addition to UP 3985, the train included the following cars:

No. 3985 "Points of Light" Charity Special (UP 3985)

Noted in press releases as the "In-Case-You-Missed-It" Tour, because it was a rerun of the Super Bowl Tour in January and February 2004.

This was the first trip that used GPS technology to allow fans to track 3985's progress via satellite, via an interactive map on UP's web site.

Pulled special trains for invited guests from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Pediatric Unit and the Bush 41 at 80 Endowment. The endowment benefits the George Bush Presidential Library, Points of Light Foundation and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. (The George Bush 41 commemorative locomotive, UP 4141, was unveiled at College Station on October 18, 2005)

Ten states; 4,380 miles; 23 days

Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club (UP 3985)

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 3985)

On November 10, 2004, UP 844 was under steam for the first time since 1999. UP 844 had been removed from service in June 1999, following following a flue failure on June 24, 1999, while on layover with UP 3985 in Sacramento, California, for Railfair 1999. UP 844 and UP 3985 were towed back to Cheyenne, and no other steam trips were operated that year.


UP 844 was returned to service in late April 2005, following extensive repairs in the Cheyenne steam shop.

(See Trains magazine, November 2005, "A Legend Reborn" for a review of what was completed during the overhaul)

On May 5, 2005, UP 844 powered a special "break-in" trip between Cheyenne and Denver, returning to Cheyenne on May 6.

On June 9 and 10, UP 844 participated in a "Union Pacific Appreciation Day" celebration at Cheyenne marking the return to service of UP 844. UP donated $10,000 to the Cheyenne Depot Foundation at the same time. UP's miniature parade train also participated in the celebration.

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 844 and UP 3985)

UP 3985 ran a hot bearing on Saturday and was stopped at Fort Lupton.

Union Pacific Historical Society (UP 844)

UP 844 ran with the Centennial diesel UP 6936.

No. 844 Heritage Celebration (UP 844)

Pacific Northwest Tour (UP 3985)

Six-states; 2,800 miles


South Central States Heritage Express Tour (UP 844)

Cheyenne Depot Days (UP 844)

Jun 9 Friday, Jun 10 Saturday - UP 844 was on display during Cheyenne Depot days, in celebration of the depot receiving designation as a National Historic Landmark.

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 844)

Lionel Collectors Club of America (UP 844)

Union Pacific Employee Club Express (UP 844)

Kansas City Union Station Heritage Express (UP 844)


Pacific Northwest Tour (UP 844)

Four states; 3,000 miles; 29 days

Corn Belt Rocket (UP 844)

Six states, 16 days

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 844)

Cheyenne Depot Museum Special (UP 844)

Colorado State Fair Mountaineer Special (UP 844)

Oklahoma Sooner Centennial Rocket (UP 844)

No train rides available to the public.

Along with the No. 844 engine, the Oklahoma Centennial Sooner Rocket, had the following consist:


Feb 21 - UP 3985 was test steamed at Cheyenne

May 7 - UP 3985 was test steamed at Cheyenne

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 844)

100th anniversary of the first Frontier Days; 17th annual operation of this special train in as many years. Special trains have carried passengers to Frontier Days' activities as far back as 1908. The trains operated each year for invited guests only until 1970, with a time out for WWII. In 1992, the Frontier Days special train was resumed, though as a public event. The 20-car passenger train is sold out for this year's trip.

Cheyenne Depot Museum Fund Raising Special (UP 844)

Democratic National Convention (UP 844)

North Platte Rail Fest (UP 3985)

Republican National Convention, St. Paul, Minnesota (UP 3985)

Five states; 1,750 miles; 23 days


Western Heritage Tour (UP 844)

Four states; 32 days

Omaha/Council Bluffs for Railroad Days Celebration (UP 844)

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 844)

Cheyenne Depot Museum Special (UP 844)

North Platte Rail Fest (UP 844)

International Association of Chiefs of Police Convention (UP 844)


Valley Eagle Heritage Tour (UP 844)

Eight states; 3,500 miles; 28 days

This was the first time No. 844 has operated south of Houston; the tour was named after a Missouri Pacific Railroad passenger train that operated between Houston and Brownsville. The Valley Eagle began running in late-1948 until the train was discontinued in June 1962.

City of Milliken Centennial Special (UP 844)

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 844)

Lionel Collectors Club of America (UP 844)

Portland Rose Heritage Tour (UP 844)

Three states; 2,300 miles; 15 days

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train Special (UP 3985)

History was made on September 28, 2010 when No. 3985 pulled a 65-car train that was more than 6,000 tons and nearly 6,100 feet long, the most for a steam locomotive in the 21st century. No. 3985 pulled a mile-long train, stocked full of international performers, animals and all of the gear needed for "The Greatest Show On Earth."

Missouri River Eagle Tour (UP 3985)

Six states; 2,200 miles

Consist of train:

(UP 3985 was removed from service after this trip in 2010, and remained out of service until 2022.)

(UP 3985 was donated to the non-profit Railroading Heritage of Midwest America organization in Silvis, Illinois, in April 2022, and moved to Silvis in November 2022.)

50th Anniversary Special (UP 844)

Fund raising special for Union Pacific Museum in Council Bluffs; 50th anniversary of UP 844 being placed in special train service in 1960


Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure/Little Rock Express (UP 844)

In November 2010, Union Pacific announced a contest for fans of the steam locomotives to decide the route of the next excursion special. The winning routes were announced in January 2011, with the public being invited to decide on which route was selected. The wining route, called the "Little Rock Express," was announced on January 18, 2011.

The routes selected for voting were:

Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure (UP 844)

The Little Rock Express (UP 844)

Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure (UP 844) (continued)

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (UP 844)

Rocky Mountain Railroad Club (UP 844)

North Platte Rail Fest (UP 844)

New Mexico/Arizona Centennial Tour (UP 844)

Nine states; 2,900 miles; 32 days


Shiloh Limited (Mar 22 to Apr 1) (UP 844)

Also known as the Shiloh Troop Train, in cooperation with the Blue Gray Alliance, a group of Civil War reenactors; a total of 180 reenactors rode the train.

The Cannon Car (UPP 3008) was used to transport the cannons owned by the various reenactor groups.

Consist (Cheyenne to Council Bluffs):

Added at Council Bluffs:

UP 150 Express (May 3 to May 15) (UP 844)

Baggage car "Promontory" has been equipped as a traveling exhibit for Union Pacific's 150th anniversary

Apr 14 - May 2 - UP E9 diesels replaced UP 844 on UP 150 events in Texas and Louisiana until May 2 (Fort Worth) pending UP 844 repairs

UP 844 joined UP's E9 diesels on the "UP 150" events on May 3

UP 150 Express (Jun 8 to Jun 30) (UP 844)

(To mark UP's 150th anniversary, UP pesident and CEO Jack Koraleski and 11 other employees rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on July 2, 2012)

(UP E9 passenger units were used on the UP 150 Express for a tour of the Pacific Northwest, July 4 to July 16)

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (Jul 19 to Jul 21) (UP 844)

UP 150 Express (Aug 5 to Aug 18) (UP 844)

UP 150 Express (Aug 30 to Sep 17) (UP 844)

UP 150 Express (Sep 20 to Oct 10) (UP 844)

UP 150 Express (Oct 11 to Nov 8) (UP 844)


College Baseball Championships (Jun 10 to Jun 29) (UP 844)

Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Special (Jul 18 to Jul 20) (UP 844)

Cheyenne Depot Museum Excursion (Jul 21) (UP 844)

(UP 844 was removed from service after this trip in 2013, pending a complete overhaul; returned to service in July 2016.)

(UP 4014 returned to UP rails in 2014, and after a complete overhaul, returned to service in May 2019)

(There will be no steam schedule updates for 2014 and following years)


"Fifty Years of Union Pacific Steam Excursions" by Lloyd E. Stagner and James J. Reisdorff (South Platte Press, 2003, ISBN 0-942035-63-1)