Friday, July 8, 2011
Ready for fun last Sunday! The ride on the train pulled by the steam engine!
Here I stand, Deuter backpack over my arm, in front of the SP 4449, one gigantic steam engine. A few minutes later I boarded dome car G and found my seat for the ride from Portland's Union Station to Wishram, Washington, out east in the Columbia River Gorge. Despite having an allergy-riddled Saturday, I managed to thoroughly enjoy the entire day-long event. The reason I'm actually in a photo on my blog is that a nice stranger offered to take a photo for me! I'm frantically pulling at my sweater, trying to look neat, and he's clicking away. He did a great job!
Here's some great information from the Friends of SP 4449's Web site:
SP 4449 was built in 1941 as a GS-4 "Northern" type locomotive. A 4-8-4 wheel arrangement, she is 110' long, 10' wide and 16' tall. The locomotive and tender weighs 433 tons, and it operates with a boiler pressure of 300 psi. Her eight 80" diameter drivers and unique booster truck can apply 5,500 horsepower to the rails and exceed 100 mph. The only remaining operable "streamlined" steam locomotive of the Art Deco era, this grand Lady of the High Iron pulled Southern Pacific "Daylight" coaches from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the scenic Coast Route and then on to Portland until 1955. Retired to static display at Oaks Park in 1958, most thought SP 4449 would never run again.
In 1974, she was selected to pull the American Freedom Train throughout the United States, and was subsequently rebuilt. SP 4449 ran for three years to the delight of over 30 million people. She is arguably one of the most beautiful locomotives ever built -- and kept that way by the all-volunteer Friends of SP 4449!
Here are a few more photos of the SP 4449 and some of the cars that I took before we pulled out of Union Station.
I walked through this car on the way to the baggage car as the train headed east. I wanted to take photos from the open doors and/or look at and/or buy souvenirs. I had a great time in that baggage car, let me tell you! I found online that the Goombay Sunrise is a diner/sleeper car.
The name of the baggage car and the Daylight logo. I read online that the red and orange paint job is on the Southern Pacific 4449 so that it matched the passenger train also known as the Daylight which it pulled for most of its career.
I wish you could have heard the engine like I could when I stood at the open door in the baggage car! What a sound it made as it steamed along at a fast clip. And then there's the whistle, one of the greatest sounds around, ever!