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Portola in Plumas County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Union Pacific Railroad 6946

Dual Engine Road Freight Locomotive

 
 
Union Pacific Railroad 6946 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
1. Union Pacific Railroad 6946 Marker
Inscription.  The Union Pacific, which formed one half of the first transcontinental railroad, was long famous for its large, powerful steam locomotives, culminating with the grandest of them all: the fabled "Big Boy". In the diesel era, that tradition continued as UP tried to find the most powerful locomotives available. In 1969, the railroad began operating the largest and highest horsepower diesels ever built: the DDA40Xs.

A custom model for UP, these 270 ton, 98 foot 5 inch long monsters produced 6600 HP from two 16 cylinder diesel engines. They were capable of 90 MPH and averaged over 200,000 miles per year before 1980. Their builder, the Electro-Motive Division of GM, also used them as prototypes for redesigned electrical systems and other advances which would surface in their new locomotives in 1972.

The DDA40Xs were called "Centennials" in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Golden Spike Ceremony, May 10, 1869, that completed the transcontinental railroad. In all, 47 units, numbered 6900-6946, were built from May, 1969 to September, 1971. The engines worked UP's mainlines through the American Midwest reaching to Portland, Oregon and
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Los Angeles, California. For brief time after the Western Pacific merger, a few of these unique machines operated over the former WP mainline from Salt Lake City to Oakland. Those who operated the locomotives also called them "Big Jacks".

By 1986, new model diesels and an economic downturn led to the retirement of the Centennials. The UP retained one unit, 6936, for its historic fleet and donated 12 others for preservation. Our 6946 was the last Centennial ever built and the first donated. The unique history and awesome size and power of a Centennial has garnered it iconic status in the railroad world. Even as new locomotives boast 6000 HP from one engine, the Centennials reside in a class all their own.

builder • Electro-Motive Division of General Motors
built • September, 1971
type • DDA40X
horsepower • 6600 from two prime movers
serial number • 35520
original cost • $551,168.00
top speed • 90 MPH
operating weight • 545,432 lbs
acquisition • donated by Union Pacific
 
Erected by Western Pacific Railroad Museum.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1971.
 
Location. 39° 48.22′ N, 120° 28.567′ W. Marker is in Portola
Union Pacific Railroad 6946 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
2. Union Pacific Railroad 6946 Marker
, California, in Plumas County. Marker can be reached from Western Pacific Way, ¼ mile west of Main Street. Marker is mounted directly on the subject locomotive, on exhibit in the Western Pacific Railroad Museum yard. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 700 Western Pacific Way, Portola CA 96122, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Western Pacific Railroad 6424 (a few steps from this marker); Western Pacific 106 "Charles O. Sweetwood" (a few steps from this marker); Southern Pacific Railroad MW208 (within shouting distance of this marker); Railroad Rail (within shouting distance of this marker); Western Pacific Railroad History (within shouting distance of this marker); Western Pacific Railroad 501 (within shouting distance of this marker); Pullman Company 8300 (within shouting distance of this marker); Western Pacific Railroad 484 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portola.
 
Also see . . .
1. Union Pacific 6946. (Submitted on December 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Centennial • Union Pacific Railroad's 6900's. By mid-1980 the Centennials had been so successful they had run up an average of nearly two million miles apiece. No. 6946 was selected for donation to the City of Portola, California for display by the Feather River Rail Society. (Submitted on December 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Union Pacific DDA40X Locomotive #6946 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
3. Union Pacific DDA40X Locomotive #6946
 

3. Pictures of Union Pacific DDA40X Locomotive #6946. (Submitted on December 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
 
Union Pacific DDA40X Locomotive #6946 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
4. Union Pacific DDA40X Locomotive #6946
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 25, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 211 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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May. 18, 2024