Southern Pacific 745

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Southern Pacific (T&NO) 745
SP 745 receiving visitors at "The Butterfly", Audubon Park, New Orleans, 2007
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Algiers Shops of Southern Pacific Company
Build date 1921
Configuration 2-8-2
UIC classification 1′D1′ h2
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel
33 in (838 mm)
Driver diameter 63 in (1,600 mm)
Trailing wheel
42 in (1,067 mm)
Axle load 54,200 lb (24.6 t)
Weight on drivers 213,380 lb (96.8 t)
Locomotive weight 285,980 lb (129.7 t)
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
442,080 lb (200.5 t)
Fuel type Fuel oil
Fuel capacity 3,800 US gal (14,000 l; 3,200 imp gal)
Water capacity 10,000 US gal (38,000 l; 8,300 imp gal)
Boiler pressure 200 psi (1.38 MPa)
Firegrate area 70.4 sq ft (6.54 m2)
Heating surface:
– Total
3,974 sq ft (369.2 m2)
Superheater area 865 sq ft (80.4 m2)
Cylinder size 26 in × 28 in (660 mm × 711 mm)
Valve gear Walschaerts
Performance figures
Tractive effort 51,076 lbf (227.20 kN)
Operator(s) Southern Pacific Lines
Class Mk-5
Retired 1956
Restored 2004
Current owner Louisiana Railway Heritage Trust


Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive #745
Southern Pacific 745 is located in Louisiana
Southern Pacific 745
Location Jefferson, LA
Coordinates 29°57′48.03″N 90°8′42.08″W / 29.9633417°N 90.1450222°W / 29.9633417; -90.1450222Coordinates: 29°57′48.03″N 90°8′42.08″W / 29.9633417°N 90.1450222°W / 29.9633417; -90.1450222
Built 1921
Architect Southern Pacific Railroad
Architectural style Other
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 98001077 [1]
Added to NRHP September 4, 1998

Southern Pacific 745 is a Mikado-type or 2-8-2 steam locomotive that has been restored to operating condition. It has also been known as Texas & New Orleans 745 and Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio 745, reflecting two Southern Pacific Railroad subsidiaries that operated it at times.

Historic significance[edit]

SP 745 is properly regarded as a classic among steam locomotives, and for its significance, it has been placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places since September 4, 1998. SP 745 is a classic for several reasons.

First and most basically, the Mikado-type locomotive is considered by many to be the classic American freight locomotive from the golden age of steam locomotives, before Diesel-electric locomotives became widely used.

Second, despite well over 10,000 Mikados being built for American use, according to one database, only 12 remain capable of operating on standard railroad tracks (others are smaller, narrow-gauge locomotives, not capable of running on ordinary railroad tracks; and a few are tank locomotive types designed only for short-range operation).

Third, SP 745 is a "Harriman standard Mikado". Railroad tycoon E. H. Harriman obtained control of the Southern Pacific and several other major railroads, and then insisted that all of them have their new locomotives built to more-or-less standard designs for each type, based on the best features known at the time. The Harriman standard Mikados, including SP 745 and the other members of Southern Pacific's Mk-5 class designed in 1913, were the first great attempt at standardizing the main freight locomotive. (The other great standardized version was the USRA Light Mikado design produced by a government committee during World War I.)

Finally, SP 745 is the last surviving steam locomotive built in Louisiana. It was one of a small batch of steam locomotives that the Southern Pacific built essentially from spare parts after World War I. The railroad built 745 and her sisters mostly at its Algiers shops in New Orleans. Number 745 was built in 1921, based on the 1913 Mk-5 class design.

Operational history[edit]

SP 745 hauled mostly freight, but occasionally passengers, from 1921 through 1956. Although it was always painted "Southern Pacific" or "Southern Pacific Lines", it actually worked for SP subsidiaries. The state of Texas had a law that required railroads operating in the state to be based there. SP owned the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio, and sent 745 to work for it. Later 745 worked for another Texas-based, SP-owned line, the Texas & New Orleans. In these roles 745 operated mostly between east Texas and the east end of the SP system in New Orleans.

Current status[edit]

After Southern Pacific retired 745 in 1956, SP donated 745 for display in Audubon Park in New Orleans. It remained there until 1984, when it was removed to make room for possible expansion of the Audubon Zoo. Ownership was transferred to the Old Kenner Railroad Association, and then the Louisiana Railway Heritage Trust. Its lease to the Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA) obtained the labor (volunteer and professional) and funds to restore it, and the Trust made 745 available to LASTA. In December 2004, SP 745 conducted its first main-line operations in forty-eight years, running to Reserve, LA and back over the Kansas City Southern Railway with William H. Johnson, engineer and David Bartee, fireman, as engine crew. Since then SP 745 has toured Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, and visited Kansas City, Missouri and several nearby towns. It is usually present at LASTA's yard in Jefferson (near New Orleans), Louisiana, across from Ochsner Medical Center.

SP 745 was used in two films. One was the Brad Pitt / Cate Blanchett movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which it was painted to look like a Southern Railway locomotive. The second was Jonah Hex.

See more[edit]

Many additional pictures of SP 745 are available by its road number on


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  • Drury, George H. (1993). Guide to North American Steam Locomotives. 
  • "(untitled)". Louisiana Steam Train Association. [dead link]