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NRHS Southern Pacific 4449 Portland to Tacoma 6/21/2011

by Chris Guenzler

I was early and after showering then checking the Internet, I went to the Days Inn Lobby for Breakfast. I watched ESPN Sports Center before checking out. I walked over to the Max Station, bought my ticket then boarded a Blue Line Train at the time of the Green Line Train and took it to Hollywood where I switched to a Green Line Train for Portland Union station. I then walked the two blocks to one of my favorite train stations in America.

Portland Union Station is undergoing tile replacement. I went inside and found some people I know who would watch my luggage while I went to shoot pictures of our Southern Pacific 4449 train for Tacoma later this morning. I walked out to the street and then down the sidewalk to a construction zone to get pictures of the SP 4449.

The Southern Pacific 4449 at rest in Portland.

The Southern Pacific 4449 and train at Portland Union Station. I then walked down to the grade crossing and came back to the station platform.

The Southern Pacific 4449 at Portland Union Station.

The rear of our train today. The train had a consist of the Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449, Auxiliary Tender DLMX 4219, Amtrak Engine 202, Baggage/Concession DLMX 5659, Amfleet Coaches 82540, 82720, 82510, Cafe/Business Class 58107, Amfleet Coaches 82560 and 82620, Full Dome Nenana SLRG 511 800124, Short Dome Santa Fe Plaza Santa Fe 503 800392, California Zephyr Silver Lariat 800190 and Dome/Observation California Zephyr CZ10 Silver Solarium 800038. I headed back inside Portland Union Station and not too long later the NRHS Convention People showed up and I was first to get my ticket. First you had to sign a release then go to the other counter to get your ticket and route guide. About 9:50 AM they allowed us to board the train. I was in Car A 82540 and took a left hand large window seat. I then went up inside the Baggage Car and bought a new Daylight Hat. I worked on the story until departure time.

Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449 A Brief History

In 1941 the Southern Pacific took delivery of engine 4449 from the Lima Locomotive Works pulling the World Famous Coast Daylight between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The 4449 pulled the final steam powered "Daylight" train on January 7, 1947. The 4449 saw commuter service during World War Two before running in freight service to end its service career on October 2, 1957 in Bakersfield, CA. The SP 4449 was donated to the City of Portland and placed in Oaks Park for the nearly two decades. On December 14, 1974 the SP 4449 was selected to pull the American Freedom Train in the western, midwest and southern parts of our nation during the American Bicentennial. On April 21, 1975 the 4449 was steamed up for the first time in 17 years and on May 8 made its first test run to Skamania, Washington with a trip to Wishram a week later on the May 14. On June 20 the 4449 left Portland to join the American Freedom Train. On December 20, 1976 the 4449 completed an 18-month, 35,000-mile trip in Florida operating over 27 different railroads in its journey. The 4449 ran a few Southern Railway Steam Fan Trips while in Birmingham waiting to return to Portland. On April 13, 1977 the 4449 left Birmingham on an Amtrak Steam Excursion home to Portland arriving there on May 1st, 1977. It was repainted into SP Daylight colors for its trip to Railfair 1981 and a side trip to Los Angeles for Bicentennial Celebration there. In 1984 it pulled a round trip Portland to New Orleans called the World Fair Daylight. This 7,171-mile excursion was the longest in United States History. I rode the two day Phoenix to Los Angeles segment. The 4449 in 1986 ran to Los Angeles and the Eagle Mountain Railroad for the making of the movie "Tough Guys". In 1989 the 4449 return to Los Angeles for their 50th Anniversary of Los Angeles Union Station that included the side by side running with the UP 8444 into LAUPT. The 4449 ran to Railfair 1991, in 1992 it ran to San Jose for the NRHS Convention there, Railfair 1999 along with the NRHS Convention in Sacramento and it ran on other excursions throughout the Pacific Northwest. The engine was painted black for the BNSF Shippers Special over their railroad. After 9/11 the 4449 was repainted into the colors it wore during its Freedom Train Days. In 2004 the SP 4449 was repainted back once more into "Daylight" colors. In 2005 at the Portland, Oregon Go by Train NRHS Convention" she double headed to Wishram with the SP&S 700. In 2009 the SP 4449 went from Portland, Oregon to Owosso, Michigan for Train Festival 2009. The Tacoma NRHS Convention will be the SP 4449 4th NRHS Convention she has been at since her return to service.

The Trip

We left Portland at 10:45 AM and started the trip to Tacoma.

The view leaving Portland Union Station. I walked back from the baggage car back to the vestibule of the 58107 for a few more open air pictures.

The Southern Pacific 4449 looked beautiful in the late morning light.

The train passed through Lake Yard.

The Southern Pacific 4449 passed Cascade Talgo Train 501 as it took the big curve to cross the Willamette River. I returned to my seat.

The crossing of the Columbia River as we crossed into Vancouver, our only other passenger stop to pick up the rest of our NRHS Passengers who took the Cascade Talgo 501 from Tacoma to get here.

The passengers waiting to board in Vancouver including in the orange shirt Bart Jennings, next year's Iowa Convention Chairman.

The Southern Pacific 4449 at rest at Vancouver.

Passengers still boarding.

The rear of the train at Vancouver. We left Vancouver at 11:27 AM and headed to Tacoma.

One of the branches of the Columbia River north of Vancouver.

A pond along our route. Being in the car behind the open door baggage car one gets great sounds of the Southern Pacific 4449 whistle.

Farming on the floodplain of the Columbia River.

The Columbia River on the way to Kelso Longview.

The Cowiltz River as we closed in on Kelso-Longview.

The old Columbia & Cowiltz Railroad bridge and wooden trestle.

The interchange track with the old Columbia & Cowiltz Railroad. The southbound Coast Starlight went south by us as we headed north.

Local color on the way to Vader. The train ran by the ash piles that were dredged out of the Toutle River after Mt. St. Helens blew its top off. The train climbed Vader Hill.

The passengers enjoying the baggage car open door and the sounds of the Southern Pacific 4449 climbing Vader Hill. At Vader we crested the hill and started down the north side of it.

Mt. St. Helens before we ran through Chehalis and Centralia. We ran through Olympia/Lacey before we reached the Puget Sound.

Scenes along the Puget Sound.

SP 4449 along the Puget Sound.

The Olympic Mountains across the Puget Sound.

SP 4449 along the Puget Sound.

The Olympic Mountains across the Puget Sound.

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge as we continued along Puget Sound.

Two views before the mile long Bennett Tunnel. The train then ran along Commencement Bay before we arrived into Tacoma.

The Temco Grain Elevator.

Temco locomotives at their grain elevator. The SP 4449 pulled the train the rest of the way to the Tacoma Amtrak Station ending a great way to get to the NRHS Convention 2011 in Tacoma at 2:17 PM.

Tacoma 6/21/2011

I checked my suitcase in with the Amtrak agent for three dollars, then boarded a school bus for the trip to the Hotel Murano. I went upstairs to the registration room for Cascade Rails 2011 Convention and Ed Graham checked me in and got me my tickets and goodie bag. I walked down to the Tacoma Light Rail and walked north to the end of the line. Once I got there, two minutes later the train arrived. I boarded for the 1.5 mile trip back to Freighthouse Square.


The former Tacoma Union Station now a Federal Courthouse.

Tacoma Light Rail at the Freighthouse Square Station. I went inside and got a hamburger for an early dinner. I headed back to the Amtrak Station but made a side trip for a few pictures of some Canadian friends.

The motive power consist.

Canadian Pacific ES44AC 8842.

Canadian Pacific ES44AC 8837. I went back to the Amtrak Station, picked up my suitcase from storage and finished up the story to this point.

That took me almost until Cascade 516 arrived and I boarded for Edmonds. I got on-line aboard the Talgo and even uploaded this story after I took one more picture.

Mt Rainier. Even with the long layover in Seattle it was a very enjoyable trip to Edmonds where I detrained meeting Bob and Elizabeth who I would be staying with during my stay here. It had been a great day of riding behind the Southern Pacific 4449. At the Edmonds Amtrak Station we visited Swamp Creek & Western Model Railroad which has a fantastic layout in the south end of the station. From there we went to their house.