Southern Pacific 4449
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SP 4449 under steam in Tacoma, WA in June, 2011.
Southern Pacific 4449 is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad's (SP) (today Union Pacific). GS-4 class of steam locomotives. There is one other GS-class locomotive surviving, but it is a GS-6. The locomotive is a streamlined 4-8-4 (Northern) type steam locomotive. GS is abbreviated from "Golden State", a nickname for California (where the locomotive was operated in regular service), or "General Service". The locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio, for SP in May 1941; it received the red-and-orange "Daylight" paint scheme for the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career. No. 4449 was retired from revenue service in 1956 and put into storage. In 1958 it was donated, by the railroad, to the City of Portland, who then put it on static display in Oaks Amusement Park, where it remained until 1974. It was restored to operation for use in the American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States for the American Bicentennial celebrations. Since then, 4449 has been operated in excursion service throughout the continental US; its operations are based at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland, where it is maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers called Friends of SP 4449. In 1983, a poll of Trains magazine readers chose the 4449 as the most popular locomotive in the nation.
4449 was the last engine manufactured in Southern Pacific's first order of GS-4 (Golden State/General Service) locomotives. 4449 was placed into service on May 30, 1941, and spent its early career assigned to the Coast Daylight, SP's premier passenger train between San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, but it also pulled many other of the SP's named passenger trains. After the arrival of newer GS-4s and GS-5s, 4449 was assigned to Golden State Route and Sunset Route passenger trains. 4449 was reassigned to the Coast Division in the early 1950s. One of 4449's career highlights happened on October 17, 1954, when 4449 and sister 4447 pulled a special 10-car train for the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society from Los Angeles to Owenyo, California, and return. In 1955, after being one of the last few Daylight steam engines in Daylight livery, 4449 was painted black and silver and its side skirting (a streamlining feature of the Daylight steam engines) was removed due to dieselization of the Coast Daylight in January of that year. 4449 was then assigned to Southern Pacific's San Joaquin Valley line, occasionally pulling passenger trains such as the San Joaquin Daylight between Oakland and Bakersfield as well as fast freight and helper service. 4449 was semi-retired from service on September 24, 1956, and was kept as an emergency back-up locomotive until it was officially retired on October 2, 1957, and was placed in storage along with several other GS-class engines near Southern Pacific's Bakersfield roundhouse.
Display at Oaks Park
In 1958, when most of the GS class engines had already been scrapped, a then black-and-silver painted 4449 was removed from storage and donated on April 24, 1958, to the city of Portland, Oregon, where it was placed on outdoor public display in Oaks Park. Since the equipment was considered obsolete, 4449 was not actively chosen for static display. It was picked simply because it was the first in the dead line and could be removed with the least number of switching moves. During its time on display, 4449 was repeatedly vandalized and had many of its parts stolen, including its builder's plates and whistle. The locomotive quickly deteriorated due to neglect. It was evaluated for restoration in 1974 after becoming a candidate to pull the American Freedom Train. Its size, power, and graceful lines made it a good fit for the Bicentennial train. After finding that 4449's bearings and rods were in good shape, it was chosen.
The 1975–1976 American Freedom Train
4449 was removed from display on December 14, 1974, and restored at Burlington Northern's Hoyt Street roundhouse in Portland and returned to operation April 21, 1975, wearing a special paint scheme of red, white, and blue. As part of the American Freedom Train, the engine pulled a display train around the most of the United States. Afterwards, 4449 pulled an Amtrak special, the Amtrak Transcontinental Steam Excursion. After nearly two years on the road, 4449 was returned to storage in Portland, this time under protective cover and not exposed to the elements.
4449 hauling the American Freedom Train
In 1981, SP 4449 was returned to its original "Daylight" colors for Railfair '81 and the opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California. In 1984, 4449 pulled an all-Daylight-painted train from Portland to New Orleans, Louisiana and back, to publicize the World's Fair. The 7,477-mile (12,033 km) round trip was the longest steam train excursion in US history. In 1986, 4449 went to Hollywood to appear in Tough Guys, and pulled business trains for the Southern Pacific. 4449 had a notable moment in 1989 when it and another famed 4-8-4 Union Pacific 844 made a side-by-side entrance into Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal in 1989 for the station's 50th anniversary celebrations. 4449's 3 chime whistle was replaced with a Southern Pacific 6 chime whistle for the special event. The two locomotives then raced each other on Santa Fe's and Southern Pacific's parallel main lines through Cajon Pass, with 4449 eventually taking the lead. On April 28, 1991, 4449's Southern Pacific 6-chime whistle was replaced with a Northern Pacific 3-chime Hancock whistle. No. 4449 returned to Railfair in Sacramento in 1991 and again in 1999. In 2000, 4449 was repainted black and silver for a Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee appreciation special; Black was chosen for this reason. It was traditional for Southern Pacific to paint freight locomotives in black. 4449 and other GS locomotives received this treatment when the diesels took over their passenger assignments. In the case of BNSF, which is a freight railroad, 4449 was given old historical treatment. Then it was repainted into the American Freedom Train paint scheme again in early 2002 after the events of the September 11th terrorist attacks. In the fall of 2004, 4449 returned to the classic Daylight paint scheme, this time in its "as delivered" appearance.
On May 18 and May 19, 2007, the engine made another appearance with UP 844 in the Pacific Northwest for the "Puget Sound Excursion", on BNSF Railway tracks from Tacoma to Everett, Washington, round-trip.
On March 24, 2009, it was announced that 4449 would attend Trainfestival 2009 in Owosso, Michigan from July 23–26 with an all-day excursion planned on the 23rd and 24th and a photo run-by planned for each trip. The engine was then placed on display for the rest of the event. The historic 2,500-mile move from Portland to Owosso was arranged by the Friends of the 4449, Amtrak, Steam Railroading Institute of Owosso, and the Friends of the 261. The Milwaukee Road 261 organization lent some of their first-class passenger cars, including former Milwaukee Road Super Dome #53 and Cedar Rapids Skytop Lounge for the 4449 and for the other excursion trains at the festival. The train left its home at Brooklyn Roundhouse on July 2 and left the city of Portland the following day on July 3. It returned to the city Portland and Brooklyn Roundhouse on October 20. Future excursions are being planned to follow the locomotive's mandatory 15-year inspection and overhaul, expected to be complete by the fall of 2015. On November 25, 2015, SP 4449 was fired up for the first time in 2 years and returned to service.
Disposition and maintenance
From 1981 to 2012, No. 4449 resided at Union Pacific's (formerly Southern Pacific) Brooklyn roundhouse in Portland along with several other historic steam and diesel locomotives. The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, a partnership of non-profit organizations that owned or maintained historic rolling stock at the roundhouse, began a campaign in late 2009 to construct a permanent, publicly accessible engine house for the City of Portland's steam locomotives. Upon the closing of the Brooklyn Roundhouse in June 2012 in order to make the yard larger, the 4449 was moved with its stablemates to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC), a new restoration facility and public interpretive center adjacent to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in southeast Portland. The ORHC opened to the public on September 22, 2012.
4449 is maintained by Doyle McCormack, a retired Union Pacific engineer and collector, along with many volunteers. When the engine was on display at Oaks Park, Jack Holst, a Southern Pacific employee, looked after 4449 along with two other steam locomotives, SP&S #700 and OR&N 197. Holst kept the engines' bearings and rods oiled in case they were ever to move again. Holst died in 1972 and never got to see 4449 return to operation. Only one other true Southern Pacific GS-class steam engine survives, Southern Pacific 4460, a GS-6, which is on static display at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri. It was built during World War II, but was never painted the famous Daylight paint scheme. Instead, it was painted black and silver, thus giving it the nicknames "War Baby", "Black Daylight". #4460 has the third nickname of "Forgotten Daylight" as it has not been restored and partnered with the #4449.
References in popular culture
The NimbleBit game Pocket Trains contains a train set named the Daylight, which is painted in the colors of The Daylight.
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- Painter, John (January 23, 1984). "Restored bicentennial train gears up for Portland-to-World's Fair haul". The Oregonian.
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- Franz, Justin (8 June 2015). "SP 4449 poised to steam in 2015". Trains Magazine News Wire. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Redden, Jim (December 28, 2007). "Running out of steam? Three locomotives chug toward homelessness, unless new site is OK’d". Portland Tribune. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
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- Diebert, Timothy S. & Strapac, Joseph A. (1987). Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Conpendium. Shade Tree Books. ISBN 0-930742-12-5.
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