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Puget Sound Steam Special - Tacoma to Everett Round Trip ~ May 19th, 2007

by Elizabeth Guenzler

After seeing Southern Pacific 4449 and Union Pacific 844 yesterday (Puget Sound Steam Special - Friday Shipper's Special Chase), I was completely ready and excited to ride behind them today. A drive to Freighthouse Square in Tacoma started the day and I picked up my boarding pass.

My ticket which was the lower level of Union Pacific dome car "Missouri River Eagle". The Puget Sound Steam Special was being operated by the Union Pacific Railroad, Burlington Northern Santa Fe on behalf of the Barriger Library of the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.

The limited edition lapel pin that was distributed to every rider.

The train reversed into the station with the track inspection/theatre car "Idaho" leading.

The train departed at 10:15 and made its way north. My friend David Cantlin shared with me his photograph of it at Meeker in less than ideal weather. For most of the day, it was sunny north of Seattle and showery south to Tacoma.

I spent some of the time in the "Council Bluffs" baggage car and photographed the car in one of the reflective glass office buildings of Seattle.

Going under Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. I walked through the train marvelling at each of Union Pacific's heritage fleet that was on this train.

The interior of one of the dome cars - either "City of Portland" or "Missouri River Eagle".

The decorative motifs and glass etchings on the dining room portion of "Missouri River Eagle".

The upholstery on the coach seats in "City of Salina".

Interior of "City of Salina", built 1954 as Union Pacific 44-seat coach 5486.

Interior of "Sunshine Special", built 1954 as Union Pacific 44-seat coach 5480.

Interior view of dome-diner 8008 "City of Portland" (ex. Kansas City Southern 19, exx. A.J. Daniels, nee Auto Train 807). Built 1955.

Opposite end view of dome-diner 8008 "City of Portland"

The cabinets at the rear of Union Pacific track inspection/theatre car "Idaho".

View of the theatre seats of Union Pacific track inspection/theatre car "Idaho."

The view from Union Pacific "Idaho" (ex. UP 11-bedroom sleeper "Sun Lane" 1965, exx. 12-roomette/4 double bedroom "Western Mountain" 1950).

Clock and gauge on the wall of Union Pacific "Idaho". I returned to the baggage car as the train travelled along Puget Sound.

Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 and Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449 lead the Puget Sound Steam Special en route to Everett on a lovely spring day.

Bob was chasing the excursion and caught the train along Marine Drive in Everett.

Back aboard, I caught Southern Pacific 4449 rounding a curve as it neared Everett.

The train arrived at Everett where the Sounder commuter train was at rest. Many railfans and the general public were there to greet us. While the steam engines were serviced and switched, everyone stayed on board and was given a boxed lunch.

On the southbound trip, a vestibule view of the steam from Southern Pacific 4449 and Union Pacific 844.

Bob photographed the excursion as it went through Mukilteo.

View from the Council Bluffs baggage car as we wind through south Seattle.

Southern Pacific 4449 leads the excursion through Auburn.

The rear of the train at Auburn station, which is served by Sounder commuter trains.

The two steam engines lead the train into a rainy Tacoma station.

Southern Pacific 4449 proudly on the point of the Puget Sound Steam Special.

A very happy train rider stepping off the Missouri River Eagle.

Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 at Tacoma. The day was not quite over yet, however. The two steam engines had been on public display in Fife for five days prior to these trips. My friend David Cantlin was working for the City of Fife Parks Department at the time and he relayed the following to me: "I am not boasting but the "public" event would not have happened without me. The UP was sponsoring two excursions with the steamers but besides that, nothing. I found out about the engines coming to Fife to lay over between runs. Our City was celebrating it's 50th anniversary that year so the City was trying to have a special event for each month of the year to reflect Fife's 50th. I went to the City Manager and proposed we make an event of the Steamers. I was given the go-ahead so I contacted UP and they liked the idea of opening up the trains as a static display for the public. I was given contact info to the Yard Manager in Fife. I arranged for Public Works to build a temporary parking lot by the yard office. I also made up signs and put them all over including hobby shops. I was put in touch with the Excursion Conductor as he was kind of the on-site supervisor for the event. I arranged for Fife Schools to bring students also. Our support/event ran through before the excursions and ended the Monday following when the train packed up and headed South. One real regret I had was not taking a ride on the train to East Lacey that they offered me when leaving.....I couldn't find somebody to take me home from East Olympia. Looking back I would have walked today. I also had Tacoma Rail attend. I was very busy as I was the City Contact, there was Public Works support and we also had some traffic control for cars to get on and off the site."

This history plaque was displayed alongside Southern Pacific 4449.

Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449 on display in Fife, sporting "844" in the number board.

Union Pacific 4-8-4 844 on display in Fife. We then drove to Fife and joined other railfans for a rare sight.

The two steam engines switching some of the passenger cars. It had stopped raining and the sun came out which was beneficial for taking pictures of the consist.

Union Pacific auxiliary tender 814 "Joe Jordan".

Union Pacific baggage car 6334 "Art Lockman".

Union Pacific generator car 209 "Howard Fogg" (ex. UP 304, nee UP baggage-dorm 6006).

Union Pacific crew car 5714 "Golden State Limited". A couple of raindrops got on the camera lens.

Union Pacific concessions car "Sherman Hill" (ex. UP kitchen car, nee UP railway post office car 5818). This car would be renamed "Reed Jackson" in 2009 to honour the long-time volunteer and member of the Steam Team who passed away.

Union Pacific coach 5486 "City of Salina".

Union Pacific dome coach 7015 "Challenger" (ex. Northern Rail Car, exx. Kansas City Southern 22, exxx. A.J. Daniels, nee Auto Train 709).

Union Pacific coach 5483 "Texas Eagle".

Union Pacific baggage car 5697 "Council Bluffs" (nee Union Pacific maintenance of way 904286).

Union Pacific dome-diner 8008 "City of Portland" (ex. Kansas City Southern 19, exx. A.J. Daniels, nee Auto Train 807).

Union Pacific dining car 4808 "City of Los Angeles.

Union Pacific dome-diner 7011 "Missouri River Eagle" (nee Union Pacific dome coach 7011).

A cab view inside Southern Pacific 4449.

Also at Fife was Union Pacific SD70 1996 in a stylized Southern Pacific heritage livery. The was the first (and still, only) 'heritage' unit that Union Pacific created that I have seen. 1996 was the year of the Union Pacific merger with Southern Pacific.

What a day this had been! Riding behind a double-headed steam excursion on the BNSF mainline so close to home was fantastic and this day remains very special and memorable for me. But wait, the weeknd was not over yet! Another special steam trip was going to occur tomorrow, but that is the subject of another travelogue.