Little Rock Express steam engine to depart Kansas City on May 31

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This photo submitted by Union Pacific Railroad shows the Union Pacific Challenger No. 3985, which was designed by Union Pacific and built in 1943 by the American Locomotive Company.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to a source error, the date the train leaves Kansas City was incorrect. It has now been changed to May 31.

A steam engine will begin its journey on the winning route in Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure: You Route the Steam contest, the Little Rock Express, May 31 in Kansas City.

The engine will travel through Cape Girardeau as it makes its way to Little Rock, Ark.

It is not yet known if a stop will be made in Cape Girardeau, or on what date that might occur.

UP's Steam Team is in the process of traveling the Little Rock Express Route in person to work out logistics and examine locations for potential stops, said Mark Davis, UP spokesman.

Union Pacific's steam locomotive No. 3985 will travel the winning route, ending its journey June 9 in Little Rock.

Other Southeast Missouri towns along the route are Dexter and Poplar Bluff.

A specific itinerary for the Little Rock Express route will be announced April 27, Davis said.

He said the company is not coordinating its stops with local city officials along the route but instead is looking for the most feasible options based on the logistics of operating the steam engine.

Union Pacific's steam locomotive No. 3985 was built in 1943 by the American Locomotive Co. It is one of 105 Challengers built for Union Pacific between 1936 and 1943 and is the only operating engine of its class in the world today. It is considered to be the largest and most powerful operating steam locomotive.

As part of Union Pacific's contest, which ended in January, more than 175,000 Internet votes were cast for four different routes, with the Little Rock Express defeating the Tuscola Turn, Baton Rouge Rambler and Boise Express.

The Little Rock Express route received the most votes, 76,217, on

More information about the Great Excursion Adventure is available on Facebook at or on Twitter at


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