For years the 4449 was just one of dozens of Southern Pacific steam
engines that moved thousands of passenger trains around the west.
Now it is an historic active steam engine owned by the City of Portland, Oregon.
Over the last 41 years it has been reactivated for historical and promotional uses mostly around the northwest but it has traveled to places like New Orleans and other
midwest locations. It has been a rock star in the railfan world. I caught it in this basalt rock cut along the Columbia River on the Washington State side in 1989.
It got its reprieve from the static park when it was rebuilt to run as the power for the 1976 Bi-Centennial train for our nation's 200th birthday and got this red, white
and blue paint scheme. It still was stunning looking to me to have an live steam engine visiting Spokane back then.
Even the BNSF borrowed it in the year 2000 for its own use as an attention getter in gloss black and silver trim.
The first time I ever saw the 4449 was in a Portland park in 1970 but I had no idea that someday I would see it in action. Who knew that this ugly maid would someday
be a queen of the rails? I sure didn't!
Saturday, July 4th at 8 am the 4449 crosses Irvin Bridge in the Spokane Valley as it heads east on a bright
sunny morning. With a bad foot with a slipper on I hobbled on to the rocks along the Spokane River
to catch this shot with 10 seconds to spare. It was worth it! That was the last time I saw it run.