OGDEN -- Fans waited on either side of the tracks for steam locomotive No. 844 to make its appearance Friday afternoon at Ogden's Union Station.
No. 844 was supposed to arrive at 3 p.m., some murmured as they peered down the empty tracks. No, the train was supposed to arrive at 3:30, others answered.
The crowd grew, and stories started to flow about No. 844, the 1944 engine that was the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad.
"I've come down to see it in the past," said Gary Williams, 66, of Pleasant View.
"I'm an engineer, and it's pretty amazing to see what they were able to do in the old days. It's pretty complex. They did an amazing job with the technology they had, and they built it to last.
"I don't think we'll see a FrontRunner engine in a museum in a hundred years."
Roy resident Valene Burrell, 77, said she didn't grow up a history buff, but she came to love learning about the past as she taught her fourth- and fifth-graders at North Park Elementary School in Roy.
"It's nostalgic for me, even though I never rode on a train like this," she said.
"I think history made the children realize the advances we have made and how things are so much better than they used to be, even if we don't always think so."
Lesa Ekstrom, of Ogden, was letting sons Bradley, 5, and Daniel, 3, enjoy the other trains on display at Union Station when she heard that No. 844 was coming as part of Ogden's Harvest Moon Celebration.
Daughter Molly, 10 months, seemed far less interested than her brothers.
"We just got lucky," Ekstrom said. "The boys were playing on the old trains, then we heard a real, running train was coming."
Her boys are serious fans of Thomas the Tank Engine and have toy trains at home.
"I like trains because they are real," Bradley said. "I like the smoke and the moving. Sometimes I am afraid of them, or not. That is all."
Meantime, No. 844 appeared about 3:45 p.m., south of the station, but stopped to uncouple some cars. The massive black steam train tooted its deep, breathy horn, teasing the waiting crowd.
The 114-foot, 18-wheeled engine, able to hold 23,500 gallons of water and 6,200 gallons of fuel, finally eased forward and stopped in front of the crowd of about 200.
Its shiny black engine shot streams of steam upward, blew its whistle, rang its bell and made a rhythmic clanging that mimicked a percussive concert of near-deafening volume.
Children clapped their hands over their ears. Old men turned their back to the engine so their wives could shoot cellphone photos. Strangers in the crowd acted like old friends, sharing their impressions and their old train stories.
Derrick Klarr, of Salt Lake City, said No. 844 was an impressive sight, but then it always is.
"I see it every time it comes to town," he said. "My kids probably don't remember it from last time, but this time, I think they are hooked."
Devin and Alexis Klarr, 4 and 2 respectively, looked at No. 844 intently.
"We chased it from Rock Springs," Klarr said. "We've spent the day watching it. It's just awesome."
The train will remain at Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave., until 8 a.m. Sunday.