Happy Birthday to my brother, Howard!
About to pass me by and cross the street in order to get the right amount of space between her and the line of vintage rail cars waiting beside Union Station, it's the magnificent SP 4449, seen through the chain link fence.
Coming closer, blowing massive amounts of hissing steam from all sorts of places, the SP 4449. The sight and sound brought a huge lump to my throat.
About this time, the grin splitting my face wide open grew even broader. I wish that I'd had enough sense to take out my iPhone and capture the sounds to share with you, to have to listen to whenever I wanted. My mind just didn't go there, consumed as it was by awe at the power I witnessed.
From the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation's Web site:
Southern Pacific 4449
Manufacturer: Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, OH
Weight: 433 tons
Drive Wheel: 80”
Boiler Pressure: 300 psi
Donated to PDX: 1958
Volunteer Organization: Friends of the SP 4449
Built in 1941 as a 4-8-4 GS-4 locomotive, she is 110′ long, 10′ wide and 16′ tall. With locomotive and tender weighing 433 tons and a boiler pressure of 300 psi, her eight 80″ diameter drivers and unique firebox truck booster 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 Oaks Park in 1958 for display only, many thought 4449 would never run again. In 1974 she was completely restored specifically to pull the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train throughout the United States to the delight of over 30 million people. SP 4449 has also operated numerous excursions since.
She is arguably one of the most beautiful locomotives ever built and kept that way by the all-volunteer Friends of SP 4449.