Southern Pacific 4294

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Southern Pacific 4294
SP4294 Neil916.JPG
Power type Steam
Builder Baldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number 70101
Build date March 1944
Configuration 4-8-8-2
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter 63 in (1,600 mm)
Weight on drivers 531,700 lb (241.2 t)
Locomotive weight 657,900 lb (298.4 t)[1]
Boiler pressure 250 psi (1.7 MPa)
Cylinder size 24 in × 32 in (610 mm × 810 mm) (bore × stroke)
Tractive effort 124,300 lbf (553 kN)
Railroad(s) Southern Pacific Railroad
Class AC-12
Number in class 20
Number 4294
First run March 19, 1944
Retired March 5, 1956
Current owner the city of Sacramento, California
Disposition indoor static display at the California State Railroad Museum

Southern Pacific 4294 was the last steam locomotive ordered new by Southern Pacific Railroad (SP). It was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in March 1944, and was used hauling SP's trains over the Sierra Nevada, often working on Donner Pass in California.

Construction and use[edit]

4294 was the last in a group of 20 locomotives that comprised SP's AC-12 class of 4-8-8-2 cab forward locomotives. Its most distinguishing feature was that the cab and firebox were at the front of the locomotive instead of the traditional rear. This specific SP design was a necessity in the long tunnels and snow sheds of Donner Pass and other mountainous regions where it kept smoke and soot away from the operating crew. It entered service on March 19, 1944, and was retired from active service on March 5, 1956.


SP was convinced to preserve one of the class and donated 4294 to the city of Sacramento, California, where it was put on outdoor display October 19, 1958, at the SP station next to the C. P. Huntington, the railroad's first locomotive. Construction for Interstate 5 necessitated a move for the locomotive, and it was stored in the SP shops until May 1981. At that time it was moved again, this time to its current location, the California State Railroad Museum, where it remains on static display.

Had it not been for the negotiating efforts of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society in the 1950s, 4294 likely would have been scrapped along with all of the other SP cab forward locomotives. As a result, 4294 is the only SP cab forward that has been preserved.

At one time, it was hoped that 4294 could be restored to operating condition. According to CSRM personnel, the biggest impediments toward such a project are the estimated costs and the current policies of both Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway in regards to operations. The cost of such a restoration is estimated between $1 million and $1.5 million, an amount that the museum feels would be prohibitive given the current prospects for its eventual operation.[2]


  • Diebert, Timothy S. and Strapac, Joseph A. (1987). Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Conpendium. Shade Tree Books. ISBN 0-930742-12-5. 
  1. ^
  2. ^ Wyatt, Kyle K., Curator of History and Technology, CSRM, 2007-08-21