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UP844 at the 2008 DNC

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This video was just shared on FB (03/15/19) and got this backstory.



Ed Dickens Friends,

Enough time has passed that I can tell this story. This was a great evening, behind the scenes there was some coordination to simply to blow the whistle within a certain time period. Several individuals were aboard the train watching various 
political shows and enjoying the overall atmosphere of this fun evening. I was an engineer on the crew and was manning the locomotive display. We had the 844 sitting there under steam, capped stack, silent, standing by yet ready. One of the special agents, part of the security detail for our senior executives, approached me with a question about our ability to blow the whistle, I indicated yeah we can blow the whistle, he smiled at me and said I’ll call you and let you know. So I cracked a smile and turned to one of the other guys and said “let’s go light her off”. So I got up into the cab made a few preparations and within minutes had the fire lit. As the evening went on the crowds got larger and larger. Imagine sitting inside the cab of a steam locomotive with the 32 volt lightbulbs illuminating the steam wafting from the injector and the overall magical atmosphere of a 450 ton steam locomotive in the dark of night. The youthful crowds were growing by the hour as people were milling about the engine. I was leaning out of the cab speaking to people when suddenly my phone went off, I looked down and noticed a number from Texas....it was our friendly special agent telling me “now would be a good time“. One of the former foreman was sitting in the engineers seat and I called over to him and said “blow the whistle”. You have to realize that blowing the whistle on our steam locomotives is something that we don’t take lightly and unless you have established discipline, the whistle can be blown for all kinds of reasons, often times becoming a general nuisance and/or potentially startling the many unsuspecting bystanders, especially young children. So generally speaking with rare exceptions only engineers sound the whistle, it’s just the way it is on our crew. The moment I told him to blow the whistle he looked at me with a terrified look on his face and replied “I’m not going to blow the whistle“ and immediately got out of the seat as if it were spring loaded, I said “I’ll blow the whistle” so I went over to that side of the cab sat down, and the rest is history as you can see from the video. We blew it a few more times than what is shown on the video and then stopped… It wasn’t long before an official from MSNBC came over and very politely asked me if we could refrain from making so much noise as it was interfering with their live broadcast. I politely shook his hand and indicated that we would likely stop blowing it eventually. We said our goodbyes and he walked off into the night....a few minutes later I gave them a few more just to make sure they knew we were still there. Almost immediately someone from of the business cars sent a runner to our location and he quickly climbed into the cab and said in a breathless and stern voice “who told you to blow the whistle!!!” There was a silence in the cab, and I spoke up and I said “Jim Young did” with a smile on my face, his demeanor quickly changed and his posture softened and he quietly said “oh.....OK”. He quickly left and that’s the last we heard of anything about blowing the whistle....until the next morning. 

Several special agents came up, shook my hand and gave me more UP Police challenge coins. They witnessed firsthand others in the business cars enjoying with great delight on live TV, the loud voice of the 844 speaking that night during the 2008 DNC.




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