Union Pacific Big Boy locomotive No. 4014 drew locals and people from out of town during its arrival on Sunday afternoon. The train and its route is a part of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Del Rio is one of the stops the locomotive made along its route to its final destination at Cheyenne, Wyoming. People arrived early for prime seating and waited for the locomotive to make its way to the Del Rio Amtrak Station.
While locals showed enthusiasm for the train’s arrival, people from surrounding cities and other states also took the time to visit Del Rio and photograph the train.
Ray Richards, a mechanical engineer from Anderson, S.C., said he doesn’t consider himself a train enthusiast but enjoys trains and anything big “that makes noise.”
Prior to his arrival, Richards scoped the terrain online and realized the locomotive’s route between Del Rio to Hondo provided the best photo opportunities.
Richards didn’t come alone, he said he came with a group of buddies, one of which came down from San Antonio.
“The people in town should be proud the train came,” Richards said.
Gloria Reyes wanted her son, Brody Calvetti, to see a piece of live history. “My mom told me about it and I’m glad I saw the train,” Calvetti said.
Similar to Reyes and Calvetti were other families exposing their children to the train, while also taking the time to photograph the moment.
Reyes said she was glad to have brought her son on Sunday and wanted to insure he got the chance to see the train leave on Monday morning.
People lined up on Monday morning, with phones ready, and waited for the train to leave.
Whitehead Memorial Museum Director Michael Diaz said the railroad was very important to the city of Del Rio. According to Diaz, prior to the railroad, the city’s population was at approximately 200 people and after the railroad’s completion the population grew to almost 2,000.
“This visit to Del Rio was a historic one. This was the first time for me to see a locomotive like this and I am sure it was the first time for many others,” Diaz said.
Diaz said the locomotive’s visit to Del Rio was a big deal and it showed in the amount of people that attended the arrival, viewing and departure of the train.
The railroad in Del Rio was a part of the Southern Pacific’s Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railway, the oldest operating railway in Texas, according to Diaz. Construction on the railway started in 1853.