Jantzen Coleman covered his ears each time the Big Boy steam locomotive tooted its whistle Thursday afternoon.
"It's big," Jantzen said. "And it's really loud."
The Muskogee 9-year-old was one of several hundred who greeted Big Boy No. 4014 as it rolled into Muskogee and stopped at the Union Pacific railroad crossing at Broadway. The historic train stopped in Muskogee and in Wagoner earlier Thursday, as part of a 10-state tour.
Several glaring WHOOT! whistles, along with billows of steam, heralded the train's arrival, signaling crowds to clear the tracks.
Jantzen wasn't kidding about the size. The 132-foot-long locomotive was built before 1941 to haul equipment up mountains during world War II. It has a 25,000-gallon water capacity.
People came from as far away as Tulsa and Cleveland, Oklahoma, to see the train.
Seeing the engine was a first for Okmulgee resident Hilary Delso and her 3-year-old son, Cason. She said they planned to go to McAlester to watch Big Boy arrive for its overnight stay. She said they plan to go back to McAlester by 9 a.m. Friday when the train leaves McAlester for Atoka.
Chris Nelson Maricle of Tulsa brought her grandchildren to see the train. She said she and her husband had seen the train two years ago when it stopped in Fort Gibson.
"It's huge," Maricle said as she kept the little ones gathered under her umbrella. "And it's educational. You don't see steam trains very often, and I want them to get to see what one looks like and hopefully ride one."
Laura Judkins, also of Tulsa, said she and her husband came to Muskogee at 9:30 a.m. "so we'd be sure to have a place to park."
"We brought our own little lunch and our water," she said, adding that they had seen the train two years ago in Claremore.
"It's one of a kind," husband Phil Judkins said. "There's none other in the world like it."