They were giants. Big Mike is almost 82 feet long, counting its tender. It’s 15 feet 10 3/8 inches from the ground to the top of the stack, and the whole thing weighs 463,000 pounds before it takes on up to 17 tons of coal and 10,000 gallons of water.
They built the 14,000 Mikados from 1911 through 1944. Big Mike is a Mikado 282, which means it has eight big wheels underneath the locomotive with two smaller wheels in front and two in back.
Big Mike, or Engine No. 2295, was retired by Union Pacific and donated to the city of Boise in 1956. The locomotive was subsequently moved to the 3rd Street entrance to Julia Davis Park.
On Dec. 9, 2007, Big Mike—minus its tender—was moved to a new home on a siding east of the Boise Depot. Hundreds of people watched the move, which occurred at midnight on a cold winter's night. The tender, which carried water and fuel for the engine, was separated from the engine and had been moved on Dec. 6, 2007.
It’s well worth visiting the Boise Depot and Big Mike if you haven’t already done so.