If you visited the Los Angeles County Fair at any point over the last half century, you likely saw, ran over to, and were rightly wowed by Big Boy.
Big Boy, after all, has been rather hard to miss. It's the steam engine that's called the Pomona destination home for some 51 years, a hulking mass of move-ahead metal -- and mettle -- that once pulled transcontinental freight during World War II.
But Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 is headed for restoration in Colton and then on to a new home in Wyoming.
Moving 605 tons of steam-engine power isn't simply as easy as thumbing through the phone book or calling a pal with a pick-up, however. A railroad is being built for Big Boy in order to deliver the engine from Fairplex to a Metrolink station located on Arrow Highway.
If you're suddenly having memories of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's short but effort-filled 2012 journey through the streets of LA, this is definitely different. There's no pushing a massive steam engine down the 10 Freeway to the nearest tracks, as visual as that might be.
The railroad won't need to be all that long, however. A mile'll take Big Boy to Metrolink. Still, though, constructing a mile of new track for a single move is quite the undertaking, even if it isn't the shortest length of track in California. (That honor goes to Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles.)
While there's more to come regarding Big Boy's northerly trip to its new Wyoming digs, longtime fans can take heart: The fair says it'll be back for the LA County Fair's centennial in less than a decade.
Which means that those brand new tracks'll be awaiting the steam engine's return visit to its longtime Pomona pad.