Showing posts with label Deschutes Steam Special. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deschutes Steam Special. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SP 4449 Steam Locomotive, No. 6


Here she comes! Seconds later, steam surrounded me, and I giggled like a kid in a toy store who'd been told, "Take your pick!"

Good-bye to all those lucky, lucky folks aboard the Deschutes Steam Special.

 If you love steam locomotives, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the story and the video at this link.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

SP 4449 Steam Locomotive, No. 5


Imagine with me for a few minutes. Forget that you know that the Willamette River is to the left of Union Station, in this photo. Look at the multi-story parking garage to the right of Union Station. See the metal flag flying atop it, at the corner. Imagine the parking garage to be a multi-deck river steamboat, waiting to begin its voyage, much like the train to be pulled by the SP 4449, once they're linked together, waits to begin its journey.


Here's a view of the steamboat American Queen which gives a bit of perspective to my imagination--from the left of that left-most smokestack, that is. I looked and looked at Google Images for a photo with a similar perspective as the parking garage in my photo--this one is the best I found. The steamboat is docked in Memphis due to low water level on the Mississippi River in August, 2012.

My brother Howard as he appears sans steam. Notice the rain on his hood and the bill of his cap. Wet we were, as Yoda would report.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

SP 4449 Steam Locomotive, No. 4


Steam's heading our way as the SP 4449 continues to back up toward the line of vintage rail cars.

Steam enveloped my brother who stood closer to the tracks than I. Through the steam you can barely see the silver and orange stripes at the bottom of the front of the locomotive. Is that a cow-catcher?

Later on when the train pulled out, I myself stood even closer to the track than my brother in this photo.
Surrounded by steam in seconds, I soon realized that moisture covered my glasses and the camera lens. No photos of that--the camera couldn't find anything to focus on, and I was somewhat disoriented.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SP 4449 Steam Locomotive, No. 3


She's just about to stop and then begin to back up towards the line of vintage rail cars. Check out the man at the right edge of the photo--he's got her on his camera. Can't tell if he's shooting stills or video.

Steaming up for backing up.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SP 4449 Steam Locomotive, No. 2

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
Built: 1941
Manufacturer: Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, OH
Length: 110’
Weight: 433 tons
Drive Wheel: 80”
Horsepower: 6,500
Boiler Pressure: 300 psi
Fuel: Oil
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.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

SP 4449 Steam Locomotive, No. 1

What can be more American that a vintage steam locomotive on the move? You, on the move to vote, that's what. Get out and vote!

On Friday, October 19, my brother Howard had flown into town from Mississippi for a visit. He's a game guy, so it didn't faze him one bit when I suggested that we get up very early on Saturday morning and catch mass transit in order to be at Union Station to watch the SP 4449 pull out with her train of vintage cars. Didn't faze him one bit!


The last car in the line of vintage rail cars. I took this photo at 7:28 a.m. We had arrived well before the scheduled departure time of the Deschutes Steam Special, took a quick and most-likely-not-allowed trek across the rail yard at its south end so that we could get on the other side the train, away from the station, and walk northward.

I zoomed in and quickly took this photo at 7:31 a.m. and began to concentrate on successfully following my brother's advice--look like you belong here and keep walking--until we could get away from where we really shouldn't have been, crossing the tracks in an operating railroad station. We looked and listened, then thankfully ended up on a regular sidewalk beside a building and even found somewhere to wait out of the rain.

In a few minutes, we saw people gathering to the north at an intersection between a street and the tracks. Then we decided that the SP 4449 must be on the other side of the line of cars from our vantage point, completely out of sight from our vantage point! By 8:07 a.m., we had hurried north to NW 9th and crossed the tracks heading west, just in time to see the locomotive steaming towards us so that it could make the change from the track it was on to the track it needed to be on in order to be connected with the line of vintage rail cars.

The sold out special excursion left Union Station in Portland, Oregon, went to Vancouver, Washington to pick up more passengers, and then headed east in Washington alongside the Columbia River until time to turn south at Wishram where it crossed the Columbia River so that it could go to Bend, Oregon, along the Deschutes River. Folks were transported from the station in Bend to various lodging sites, then returned to the train on Sunday for the return trip.

Here's the back story: I had contemplated buying myself a ticket, but by the time I made up my mind, the ticket selection I could splurge on had sold out. Still and all, getting to stand beside the tracks and see, hear and feel this locomotive that I love made up for not being aboard. Plus, I would have missed my brother's perfect visit--we had a blast, my sons, my brother and I.

Link to a post from someone on the excursion, with a fantastic photo of the train going over a trestle!