Apr 30, 2014

The many faces of 4449

The 4449 was a Southern Pacific passenger train locomotive that had 8 driving wheels to move a dozen or so passenger cars over the toughest grades at speed on the railroad. It was decommissioned and became a park engine.  The first time I saw it in 1970 was in Portland, Oregon in weathered black paint and in very poor shape.
I put this shot in first as it shows the glory that a steam engine can have on a beautifully restored locomotive. This was shot in 1981 at Old Sacramento celebrating the railroad where the Central Pacific started building the line over Donner Pass in California around 1866.
The photo is taken on the Irvin bridge in the Spokane Valley as 4449 heads east to some event in the Midwest. I stepped out on a rock in the Spokane River (with slippers on as my foot had a problem) when she appeared out of the trees with 10 seconds to spare for the shot! Riblet mansion in background.
We ventured out on a railroad bridge just north of Old Sacramento in 1990 to witness a re-enactment of the Golden Spike ceremony with 4449 and 8444 doing the honors. The original locos in 1869 were tiny 4-4-0s. Look at the crowd, how did they know I was going to be there?
Probably the most amazing paint job ever is the 4449 in black and silver....with a BNSF herald on the side! The loco is a Southern Pacific model that belongs to the Union Pacific and not bitter business rival BNSF - but I still loved it. The year was 2000.
The original reason why 4449 was brought back to life was the 200th Anniversary of the United States and lots of stuff on railroads got the red, white and blue treatment. This is 1976 and the location is Santa Susana Pass along the California coast.
Looking more like a painting rather than a photograph was 4449's crossing the Columbia River at Pasco, Washington and the sun setting in the west gave it this warm glow.  The city of Portland, Oregon owns it and boy was it a treat!

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