Among the big mainline steam locomotives still operable in the 21st Century, Southern Pacific Daylight
4449 is certainly the most colorful. Its unique streamlined appearance
also makes it one of the most recognizable examples of mid-20th Century
locomotion. The 4-8-4 was built by Lima Locomotive in 1941. Its 80-inch
drivers can reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour. It was one of the
steam locomotive fleet assigned to pull the Daylight passenger trains linking Los Angeles to Portland, OR, until 1955.
After languishing in a Portland city park, it was restored to pull the American Freedom Train
during the US Bicentennial. Owned by the city of Portland, it’s
operated by the all-volunteer Friends of SP 4449. Typically 4449 may
travel along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon, with an
occasional journey to California. In 2009, however, a much longer
expedition took it all the way through the Rockies to the Midwest. An
event called “Train Festival 2009” was set for the Steam Railroading
Institute in Owosso, MI, and 4449 was invited to attend. While it was a
daunting task to work with all the host railroads, Amtrak, and the
Friends of the 261 to make it all come together, it did. And it was
Our Midwest coverage begins
west of Minot, ND, traveling through the Twin Cites and Chicago to
Owosso. There are scenes from the Festival and 4449’s all-day trips,
plus the journey back to Minneapolis via Chicago and Milwaukee. After
spending the summer with Milwaukee Road 261, 4449 pulls two Fall Color
trips along the Mississippi, then we accompany the special for the first
two days back to Portland as far as Minot.
Our documentary of this historic odyssey featuring North America’s beloved Daylight locomotive is now all on one DVD, and a compelling addition to your collection!