Southern Pacific 4449

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Southern Pacific 4449
Night session june 23 2011 033xRP - Flickr - drewj1946.jpg
SP No. 4449 under steam in Tacoma, Washington in June, 2011
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderLima Locomotive Works
Serial number7817
Build dateMay 20, 1941
 • Whyte4-8-4
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia.80 in (2,032 mm)[1]
Length110 ft (34 m)[1]
Width10 ft (3 m)
Height16 ft (5 m)
Adhesive weight275,700 lb (125,100 kg)
Loco weight475,000 lb (215,000 kg)[2]
Total weight788,730 lb (357,760 kg)
Fuel typeBunker oil
Fuel capacity6,275
Water cap23,300 gal
Cylinder size25.5 in × 32 in (648 mm × 813 mm)
dia × stroke
Performance figures
Maximum speed110 mph (180 km/h)
Power output5,500 hp (4,100 kW)
Tractive effort64,800 lbf (288,000 N)
78,650 lbf (349,900 N) with booster
Factor of adh.4.26
4.286 with booster
OperatorsSouthern Pacific
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
Number in class28
  • "The Daylight"
  • "The Queen of Steam"
First runMay 30, 1941
Last runSeptember 24, 1956
RetiredOctober 2, 1957
RestoredApril 21, 1975
Current ownerThe City of Portland, Oregon
DispositionPreserved; based in Portland, Oregon at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center

Southern Pacific 4449, also known as the "Daylight", is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad's "GS-4" class of 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotives and one of only two GS-class locomotives surviving, the other being GS-6 4460 at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri. The locomotive is a streamlined 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotive built by the Lima Locomotive Works in May 1941. 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 the 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, the SP donated the locomotive to the City of Portland, Oregon. The City then put the locomotive on static display in Oaks Amusement Park, where it remained until 1974.

The locomotive was then restored to operation for use in the American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States as part of the nation's 1976 Bicentennial celebration. The engine has operated in excursion service throughout that area since 1984.

The locomotive's operations are based at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon where it is maintained by a group of volunteers named the Friends of SP 4449. In 1983, a poll of Trains magazine readers selected 4449 as being the most popular locomotive in the nation.[3]

Revenue service[edit]

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 occurred 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 late 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.[4] 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[edit]

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,[3][5] where it was placed on outdoor public display in Oaks Park.[6] Since the equipment was considered obsolete, 4449 was not actively chosen for static display. It was picked only because it was the first in the dead line and could be removed with the fewest switching moves.[citation needed]

During its time on display, 4449 was repeatedly vandalized and had many of its external parts stolen,[7] including its builder's plates and whistle. As a result, the locomotive quickly deteriorated. However, 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 sadly never got to see 4449 return to operation.[8]

In 1974, 4449 was evaluated for restoration after becoming a candidate to pull the American Freedom Train, as its size, power and streamlining made it a good fit for that Bicentennial train. After the evaluators determined that 4449's bearings and rods remained in good condition, they selected the locomotive for that task.

The 1975–1976 American Freedom Train[edit]

4449 was removed from display on December 13, 1974, and restored at the Burlington Northern Railroad's Hoyt Street roundhouse in Portland. The locomotive returned to operation on April 21, 1975, wearing a special paint scheme of red, white, and blue.[9] Because the original whistle was stolen, two replacement whistles were fitted to the locomotive: a Hancock 3 chime from a Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway Challenger which was taken off the Spokane, Portland and Seattle 700, and a Southern Pacific Railroad 6 Chime whistle.

As part of the American Freedom Train, the locomotive pulled a display train through most of the contiguous United States.[9][10] Afterwards, 4449 pulled an Amtrak special, the Amtrak Transcontinental Steam Excursion during 1977. 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.[11]


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 with UP 8444 and UP 3985.[11] Prior to this trip, an SP 6 chime was mounted on the fireman's side, and would remain on the locomotive throughout most trips in the 1980s. In 1984, 4449 pulled an all-Daylight-painted train from Portland to New Orleans, Louisiana and back, to publicize the World's Fair with UP 8444 there too. The 7,477-mile (12,033 km) round trip was the longest steam train excursion in the history of the United States.[12]

In 1986, 4449 went to Hollywood to appear in Tough Guys, and pulled business trains for the Southern Pacific.[13] 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.[14] The two locomotives then ran side by side on Santa Fe's and Southern Pacific's parallel main lines through Cajon Pass,[14] although 4449 eventually had to stop due to a hot axle box.

No. 4449 would later go on to pull several Southern Pacific - Rio Grande joint excursions, including "The Spirit of the West." In late 1989 or 1990, the 4449's SP&S whistle was set aside for the SP&S 700, and a Northern Pacific Hancock 3 chime was fitted. This whistle would remain on the locomotive for the next 21 years. Later that same year, 4449 would later appear in the 1990 drama film Come See the Paradise. In late 1990 or early 1991, the SP 6 Chime on the fireman's side was stolen off the engine while sitting in the Brooklyn Roundhouse.

On April 26, 1991, No. 4449 returned to Railfair '91 in Sacramento, again with UP 844 and UP 3985 and the newly restored Southern Pacific 2472. She attended the next year's NRHS Convention in San Jose with No. 2472 and Union Pacific 3985.[15] On this trip, 4449 carried a member's Star Brass 5 Chime whistle off a CB&Q M-4 class Locomotive on the fireman's side. She would return to Railfair once again in 1999, co-starring with Santa Fe 3751, and Union Pacific's 844 and 3985. In 2000, 4449 was repainted black and silver for a Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee appreciation special. It was traditional for Southern Pacific to paint freight locomotives in black, and 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.

SP 4449 leads an excursion train through the Deschutes River canyon at Trout Creek, Oregon, on March 23, 2002, while bearing the colors of the American Freedom Train.

No. 4449 was repainted into the American Freedom Train paint scheme again in early 2002 after the events of the September 11th terrorist attacks.[16] In the fall of 2004, 4449 returned to the classic Daylight paint scheme, this time in its "as delivered" appearance.[17] It appeared in the summer of 2005 with the then-extant Montana Rockies Rail Tours company pulling (with a diesel helper behind it) two summer excursion trips between Sandpoint, Idaho, and Billings, Montana, including stops at the Livingston Depot.

SP 4449 with UP 844 on the Puget Sound Steam Special in 2007

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.

Along the Kootenai River west of Troy, Montana, in 2009

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 loaned some of their first-class passenger cars, including the former Milwaukee Road Super Dome #53 and the 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. In December 2010, 4449's whistle, greatly worn from years of use with only one Chime working properly, was replaced with an authentic Hancock 3-chime that had been used on a long-lost sister locomotive.

Following a two-year hiatus needed to accommodate the locomotive's mandatory 15-year inspection and overhaul, SP 4449 returned to service on November 25, 2015.[18] From 2016 to 2019, SP 4449 pulled several excursion trains during each year.[19] In late 2019, the locomotive was scheduled to haul the annual 40 minute round trip "Holiday Express" fundraisers through Portland's Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge along the Willamette River during November and December of that year.[20]

As of 2020, the locomotive is most commonly pulled out for the Holiday Express in late November and December, as well as the occasional mainline excursion. The reason 4449's mainline runs are limited is due to Amtrak's policy against special excursions.

Disposition and maintenance[edit]

4449 is maintained by Doyle McCormack, a retired Union Pacific engineer and collector, along with many volunteers.[21] 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.[22] 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 SP&S 700 and OR&N 197 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.[23][24]

Other surviving locomotives[edit]

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.[25] 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.

In Popular Culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b "SP 4449 - About Us". Friends of SP 4449 (Non-profit organization website). Portland, Oregon. 2017. p. About Us. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  2. ^ Bailey, Douglas C. (2019). "Southern Pacific Co. No. 4449, Portland, OR, United States". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Painter, John (January 23, 1984). "Restored bicentennial train gears up for Portland-to-World's Fair haul". The Oregonian.
  4. ^ Huxtable (1987), pp. 37, 43.
  5. ^ Diebert & Strapac (1987), p. 238.
  6. ^ "Third Locomotive in Oaks Collection". (April 25, 1958). The Oregonian, section 3, p. 14.
  7. ^ Huxtable (1987), p. 59.
  8. ^ Johnsen, Kenneth G. (2006). Southern Pacific Daylight Steam Locomotives. Specialty Press Publishers and Wholesalers, North Branch, MN. ISBN 978-1-58007-098-0.
  9. ^ a b "Excursions :: American Freedom Train". SP4449. Friends of 4449 Inc. Archived from the original on July 3, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  10. ^ (1) Wines, Larry (2019). "The Story of the 1975 - 1976 American Freedom Train". Accuen Media LLC. Archived from the original on April 10, 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
    (2) Barris, Wes. "The American Freedom Train". Archived from the original on July 12, 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
    (3) "The Second Coming Of The Freedom Train". The American Freedom Trains Come To Pittsburgh: September 15–17, 1948 and July 7–10, 1976. The Brookline Connection. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
    (4) Kelly, John (May 25, 2019). "In 1975 and '76, an artifact-filled choo-choo chugged around the U.S." Local. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 27, 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Huxtable (1987), p. 65.
  12. ^ Huxtable (1987), p. 75.
  13. ^ Huxtable (1987), p. 95.
  14. ^ a b Lawrence, Elrond G. (August 1989). "Happy Birthday, LAUPT: The 50th Anniversary of Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal prompts California's biggest steam show in years" Archived 2017-02-14 at the Wayback Machine. Pacific RailNews, pp. 20–29. Glendale (CA): Interurban Press.
  15. ^ Pentrex. (1992), San Jose steam celebration., Pentrex, OCLC 29295667, retrieved April 20, 2020
  16. ^ "Excursions :: Bend, March 23-24, 2002". Friends of SP 4449. Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  17. ^ Foyston, John (October 20, 2004). "Old No. 4449, spruced up, chugs on tour". The Oregonian, p. C1.
  18. ^ Franz, Justin (June 8, 2015). "SP 4449 poised to steam in 2015". Trains Magazine News Wire. Archived from the original on June 12, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  19. ^ "SP 4449 News and Recent Events". SP 4449. Portland, Oregon: Friends of SP 4449 Inc. 2019. Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  20. ^ "Holiday Express 2019". Holiday Express Train. TicketsWest. 2019. Archived from the original on November 3, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  21. ^ Larabee, Mark (November 1, 2009). "Portland's locomotives will get new $3.5 million home". The Sunday Oregonian. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  22. ^ Redden, Jim (December 27, 2007). "Running out of steam? Railroad". Pamplin Media Group. Archived from the original on March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  23. ^ Tims, Dana (September 20, 2012) [print edition September 21]. "Oregon Rail Heritage Center ready for grand opening Saturday, Sunday". The Oregonian. p. B1. Archived from the original on September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  24. ^ "Oregon Rail Heritage Center opens its doors". Official blog of Portland city commissioner Nick Fish. September 24, 2012. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  25. ^ Huxtable (1987), p. 19.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brueckman, Henry; Moreau, Jeffrey (1984). 4449: The Queen of Steam (1st ed.). Carbarn Press. ISBN 0-934406-01-4.
  • Church, Robert J. (2004). Southern Pacific Daylight Locomotives (1st ed.). Signature Press. ISBN 1-930013-11-6.
  • Diebert, Timothy S.; Strapac, Joseph A. (1987). Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Conpendium (1st ed.). Shade Tree Books. ISBN 0-930742-12-5.
  • Huxtable, Nils (2002). Daylight Reflections, Vol. 1: From Daylight to Starlight (1st ed.). Steamscenes. ISBN 978-0969140924.
  • Wright, Richard K. (1975). America's Bicentennial Queen Engine 4449 "The Lone Survivor" (1st ed.). Wright Enterprises.

External links[edit]