The Union Pacific FEF (4-8-4) Series

The 45 engines of the FEF Series were built for Union Pacific from 1937 to 1944, and were operated by the railroad until 1959.  They pulled passenger trains until the diesels took over, after which the engines were relegated to freight work.  The last steam locomotives built for Union Pacific, these engines represent the pinnacle of steam technology.  They were built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) specifically to address the power limitations of the 4-8-2’s common throughout the U.P. steam passenger fleet.

The engines were divided into three classes, FEF-1, FEF-2, and FEF-3, each represented by an engineering card below.  The only obvious difference between the classes from an outsider’s view is the 12-wheeled tender used by class FEF-1, while the later class tenders had 14 wheels.  Strikes following WWII affected coal supplies, prompting these engines to be converted from coal to fuel oil in 1945-46.

Four of these engines survive today.  #814 (FEF-1) and #833 (FEF-2) are preserved as static displays in Iowa and Utah respectively.  #844 (FEF-3) is operational, running excursion service in Wyoming, with #838 (also FEF-3) serving as “spare parts” for #844. The three engineering cards below are from The James N. Lhotak Digital Exhibition, recently donated to us at the Pueblo Railway Foundation.  We are in the process of posting photos of this collection on our Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as here on our blog.  We invite you to follow us on this journey through railroad history.

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Paul’s Blog – January 7, 2023

On Saturday, January 7, we had a small group of volunteers tackle the task at hand. Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin and Paul Brown installed new batteries in our hi-rail maintenance truck, and solved the no-start problem. Colin was able to do some testing earlier in the week to determine that the old batteries were done. Since we didn’t spend as much time troubleshooting this issue, we were able to do some other clean-up work on the truck. There were some items under the dash in the cab that needed to be secured, and we did a fast clean-up in there as well. We operated the small crane, and lowered and raised the rail wheels to make sure everything worked. We did find some hydraulic system leaks that we will have to repair in the future, but now we have a maintenance truck that moves and we can use when we do track repairs. I have included a few pictures to show the truck if you are not familiar with this type of vehicle.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – December 31, 2022

On Saturday, December 31, we had a small group of volunteers work to remove Christmas lights from our train set, and do a bit of clean up work. Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Tony Gherna, Roberta Elliott and Paul Brown got the lights removed, worked to clean the windows in our cabooses, and cleaned up and organized some track material. A great way to wind up a busy 2022, and get ready for the New Year 2023, where we will be very busy again doing projects and running the occasional trains for our guests.

I didn’t take many pictures today, but have included a few for you to enjoy.

– Paul

December 24 Christmas Event

On Saturday, December 24, the Museum ran its final event for our Christmas Trains for 2022. It was a great evening for a train ride, as the cold snap from the previous two days had moved out of town, and the temperatures were nice. We had a good turn out of visitors with 149 people enjoying a short train ride and the Christmas atmosphere among our train collection. We also had nearly 200 folks check out our Christmas-themed model train layout inside our boxcars!

Many thanks to volunteers Jerry Dandurand, Dee Applegate, Ron Roach, Dave Dandurand, Cynthia Jaramillo, Donna Jaramillo, Colin Mellin, Kendall Crouch, Dwight Maxey, John McDowell and Paul Brown, for their time on Christmas Eve to make a wonderful event for our guests to enjoy.

I have included a few pictures for your enjoyment.

This is the last train ride event for awhile but we are always busy at the Museum doing all the work needed to keep our equipment and grounds ready to roll.

– Paul

Denver’s “Burnham Yards”

“The Burnham Yards” operated as one of Denver’s most significant railyards before Colorado was even a state. The Burnham facility played a central role in the operations of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad for nearly a century and a half, from the railroad’s origins in 1871, to its eventual merger with Southern Pacific in 1988. Burnham continued to serve as a Southern Pacific maintenance facility until its closure in 2016. This railroad complex was the employer of career railroad machinist James N. Lhotak, from 1963 to 1998. The Pueblo Railway Foundation was recently the beneficiary of a large donation of railroad artifacts from Mr. Lhotak’s estate. Among the many artifacts are a handful of 35mm slides of the interior of the Burnham yards, where Mr. Lhotak worked. As part of his lifelong passion for photography, Mr. Lhotak took the slides shown below in 1991.

Since the closure of the Burnham yards, Historic Denver has been working to preserve elements of the site. Historic Denver hopes to see the creation of an industrial historic district, where selected buildings of Burnham are preserved. After the site closed, Historic Denver commissioned the Burnham Yard Report to document the history of Burnham Yards. You can find this report here.

If you enjoy these slides, follow our Instagram page where we will be posting more photos from The James N. Lhotak Digital Exhibition. For more background on the Exhibition itself, you can find our feature article on our Home Page by clicking here. Starting in January, we will begin posting photos from this Exhibition in a special photo album on our Facebook page. These posts are just getting started, so follow our social media and join us on this journey through railroad history!

December 16-17 Christmas Event

This past Friday and Saturday evening, December 16 and 17, we held our Christmas Train Ride event at the Pueblo Railway Museum. We had very good visitor turn out, with nearly 150 on Friday evening, and well over 200 on Saturday evening! This makes for a very busy evening for the volunteers, but it is also very fun. Despite very cold temperatures, people were having fun, and we kept all warm in our toasty cabooses and locomotive cab.

On Friday, our volunteers were Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Reid Adams, Ron Roach, Nick Valdez, John McDowell, Justin Cesar, Tony Gherna, Roberta Elliott, Maureen King, Romey Mars, and Paul Brown.

On Saturday, we had Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Virginia Mick, Cynthia Jaramillo, Donna Jaramillo, Ron Roach, John McDowell, Ken Valdez, Nick Valdez, Reid Adams, Chris Fox, Justin Cesar, Tony Gherna, Roberta Elliott, Kendall Crouch, Lynette Crouch, and Paul Brown, a great outpouring of volunteer help!

I have included a few pictures from the event that I hope you enjoy.

Watch for our next event on Dec 24th, Christmas Eve that has become a tradition with some Pueblo families. Hope you can join us!

– Paul

Announcing the James N. Lhotak Digital Exhibition

Today, December 13, 2022, the Pueblo Railway Museum announces the launch of “The James N. Lhotak Digital Exhibition”. This collection of railroad artifacts comes to us from a generous donation from one of our railfans. Photos of the artifacts in this collection will be posted several times a week on our Instagram page at

Click here to read the feature story of this Exhibition on our Home Page. There, you will learn about the fascinating journey of how this collection was created over the course of several decades, and how it came to be donated to the Pueblo Railway Museum.

– Dave Dandurand, Webmaster

December 10 Christmas Event

On Saturday, December 10, the Pueblo Railway Museum ran the first Christmas train event for 2022. We had a very good turnout with just over 100 visitors enjoying the train ride and visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus. The following volunteers worked hard to make sure everyone had an enjoyable time. Thanks to Virginia Mick, Cynthia Jaramillo, Donna Jaramillo, Amy Hetrick, Ron Roach, John McDowell, Lynette Crouch, Kendall Crouch, Dwight Maxey, Justin Cesar, Reid Adams, Chris Fox, Nick Valdez, Ken Valdez and Paul Brown. We will be running three more Christmas train events on the next two weekends, so plenty of chances to come out and enjoy. Watch for the announcements on our website and on Facebook.

– Paul

All Aboard the Pueblo Express!

Our Pueblo Express Christmas trains will run on the following dates:

  • Saturday, December 10
  • Friday, December 16
  • Saturday, December 17
  • Saturday, December 24

Train rides will be available from 4PM to 8PM behind the Pueblo Union Depot. Train ride tickets are $15 for a ride in the engine, and $10 for a ride in one of the cabooses. Children under 3 ride the train free! Cash or check only, please. Each train ride is approximately 20 minutes, so there will be multiple opportunities during the event to ride the train.

Our Christmas-themed model trains will once again be open for viewing, free of charge.

Follow our blog to be among the first to be notified of next year’s events! Enter your email address on the bottom of this webpage, and click the “follow” button.