My son's first time to see a Big Boy 4017!!!

by Chris Kanofsky

  • My son's first time to see a Big Boy 4017!!!

    His visit view when the doors opened.

  • My son's first time to see a Big Boy 4017!!!

    First time of many in the cab that day.

  • My son's first time to see a Big Boy 4017!!!

    A memory to last forever!

It was May 2008 and we decided to take trip into Wisconsin the end of June. As a surprise for my 7-year-old son, my wife and I decided to add a stop in Green Bay at the National Railway Museum to see 4017! This was a memorable moment because not only would it be his first time seeing this magnificent piece of machinery, but mine also. We would be going to Green Bay first, then across the state to Menomonee, and finally stopping at the Dells, and then the weather hit. The Dells was hit badly, along with the Mid-continent Railway Museum.

We still decided to go. We told my son on the way there where our first stop was -- big mistake! Every 15-20 minutes we were asked how far now? After a nice long road trip, we finally arrived. He jumped out of my truck and was looking all over for the Big Boy. "Where is it he asked?" When I explained it was inside, my wife and I could barely keep up.

Once inside and after calming him down, we slowly made our way into the barn where she was at. Once we got to the doors, a volunteer from the museum and I opened both doors. He stood there jumping up and down screaming how awesome it was!!!! We spent the next 2-plus hours going over the whole train, looking at everything possible. There were lots of questions, some unfortunately I could not answer. After seeing 4017 in all her glory, he was hooked. He made me promise we would try to see some of the other big boys still around, a promise I plan to keep.

When he heard my wife and I talking about going back to Wisconsin this year, guess what were the first words out of his mouth? When I tell that story, most people think he wants to see Lambeau field. It’s a shock that a now-10-year-old wants to go see an incredible piece of American history. Definitely something we have to consider now.

That was an extremely memorable moment for both my wife and me, even more memorable for me, knowing that my love for steam will continue with him! Now that is truly an awesome experience. Thanks UP for making that possible -- for thinking outside the box and doing the impossible!!!!

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Steam Trains, Historical Events, Family
Green Bay, WI
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  • I can truly understand your son's excitement at seeing a Big Boy for the first time!!!I saw the 844 (at that time called the 8444) for the first time at age 14, after hearing about it all my life from my dad prior to our family trip to Yellowstone to see all of "Mother Nature's Steamer's", then seeing Union Pacific's "Cheyenne Wonder' parked right out in front of the HEAD QUARTERS Building--"self titled":"Building America", & again at age 54 last May29th, steaming in to Kansas City's Union Station to be on display there enroute during their Little Rock Express"/facebook you route the tour stop, & I still can't contain my enthusiasm for it!!! Thank's Chris Kanofsky, & Union Pacific for your memories, too!!!

    - Susan Lary a few years ago