Green River Star -

By David Martin

Commemorative UP locomotive visits GR


October 3, 2018

While Green River celebrated its 150th anniversary Saturday, residents were able to check out one of the Union Pacific’s commemorative locomotives.

Locomotive 1943, The Spirit, was brought to Green River Saturday to help celebrate the city’s founding. The city was originally founded in anticipation of the Transcontinental Railroad passing through the area in 1868. While Union Pacific initially decided to make Bryan the location for its switching house, as the land in Green River wasn’t owned by U.P. A subsequent drought which dried up the Blacks Fork River forced the company to change its plans. Much of the city’s early prosperity is attributed to the railroad.

According to information on U.P.’s website, the locomotive honors the armed forces and veterans. The name comes from a Boeing B-17 bomber originally christened in 1943, recognizing U.P. employees funding it through war bond contributions. The locomotive is the 16th commemorative locomotive introduced during the company’s 156-year history and was unveiled Oct. 19, 2017.

The locomotive features a unique paint scheme honoring the different branches of the armed forces and includes the Air Force Silver, a blue stripe representing the former Strategic Air Command’s “nose sash,” the Navy’s Battleship Grey and Coast Guard’s racing stripe. Military camouflage represents the U.S. Army and the Marines.

According to engineer Doug Vanderpool, the locomotive is used for special events and has hauled small passenger trains. Despite that, Vanderpool said its 4,300 horsepower engine puts it on par with other locomotives in the company’s fleet.

“It’s good for full service,” he said.

The locomotive made the stop in Green River during a trip to an event in Nebraska.


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