Southern Pacific #4449 "Daylight": Schedule, Whistle, Train (2024)

Last revised: June 2, 2022

By: Adam Burns

The Southern Pacific 4449 is quite a celebrity among the railfan community today and even with the general public. However, when Southern Pacific (SP) originally ordered the locomotive it was just one of nearly six-dozen the railroad would come to own.

These Northern-type steam locomotives with a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement were used in all types of service on the SP but the class in which the 4449 was built was meant to be used primarily in passenger services, thus allowing it and its companions to be adorned in the railroad's famed "Daylight" livery.

After retirement in 1957 the 4449 was donated a year later to Portland, Oregon where it remained on static display for nearly 20 years.

Ironically, its saving grace was entirely by happenstance. When donated to the city it was chosen only because the locomotive was easy to remove from the deadline by being at the head of the line.

Otherwise, this fabulous example of streamlining and steam technology would likely have been scrapped. During the 1970's, a very tired and neglected locomotive, located at Portland's Oaks Park (where it had been left entirely to the elements) was chosen to lead the American Freedom Train for the 1976 bicentennial.


Its success during this trips, which saw the train visit every corner of the country (led by different locomotives), enabled #4449 to remain operational beyond this event. Today, she sees limited excursions each year and is housed in a state-of-the-art facility in Portland.

The "Northern"-type steam locomotive gets its name from the railroad which first developed it, the Northern Pacific in the mid-1920s. However, in the case of the SP 4449 and the other 4-8-4s used by the railroad, Southern Pacific designed its own 4-8-4 wheel arrangement from a 4-8-2 Mountain-type and named it the Golden State or "GS" for short.

One particular feature that made the 4-8-4 wheel arrangement so successful was its versatility where it was just as capable of pulling a time-sensitive passenger train clipping along at 70+ mph as it was at lugging a heavy freight train over stiff grades.

This versatility, along with the locomotive being equipped with some of the latest technology, made the Northern Type one of the most successful designs of all time with over 1,000 built for 36 different railroads.

Perhaps the most well known Northerns to ever operate including the Norfolk & Western’s handsome J Class, Southern Pacific’s Golden States, and New York Central’s Niagaras just to name a few (there were many others).

The SP 4449 was built as one of the railroad's later orders ofGolden States, not built until 1941 as part of the railroad's GS-4 Class manufactured by the Lima Locomotive Works as an order of twenty locomotives.

The first ten the railroad received arrived in 1930 from Baldwin Locomotive Works as Class GS-1 and generally worked in freight service with 73.5" drivers producing between 62,000 and 76,000 pounds of tractive effort.

Southern Pacific #4449 "Daylight": Schedule, Whistle, Train (2)Southern Pacific 4-8-4 #4449 poses for a photo on the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad during its visit to New Orleans for the "World's Fair" on June 2, 1984. Perched above the locomotive is Monorail train #5. Author's collection.

However, beginning with Class GS-2 (built by Lima), Southern Pacific requested 80" drivers, streamlining, and the locomotive's adorned in the railroad's "Daylight" scheme. This setup would last until SP's final order of 4-8-4s, Class GS-6.

Interesting, Southern Pacific did not take another order for 4-8-4s between 1930 and 1937, when their Class GS-2 designs were put into service. There was little differences amongst all the models save for differing driver sizes along with the fact that each new class was a little heavier than the previous, thus allowing for an improvement in tractive effort.

Schedule (2022)

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Southern Pacific #4449 currently has no excursions scheduled and none planned for the 2021 season.

As noted and earlier above SP 4449 was delivered in 1941 as part of Class GS-4, the largest single class of 4-8-4s on the railroad's roster. Upon arriving on the railroad, SP 4449 quickly went to work on May 30, 1941 hauling the popularCoast Daylightbetween San Francisco and Los Angeles.

A year later in 1942, SP 4449 began service on theSunset LimitedandGolden Statepassenger trains. Through the mid-1950s SP 4449 remained on the point of these trains until it lost its Daylight livery and was reassigned to theSan Joaquin Daylightand used in freight service.

An interesting side note is the "GS" classification used by Southern Pacific. Until World War II it had always stood for Golden State but since the War Department was limiting the use of steel, it would not allow SP to build more 4-8-4s simply for passenger service.


Over the years #4449 has carried a number of different whistles, in part due to the manufacturer's original (a Hanco*ck 3-chime) being stolen while the locomotive sat on display in Oaks Park.

The builder's plate was also removed during this time (it's interesting to wonder whose collection these items belong to today). When first returned to service, #4449 sported (both aHanco*ck 3-chime from a Spokane, Portland & Seattle 4-6-6-4) as well as s Southern Pacific 6-chime.

Later, around 1990, the locomotive was equipped with a Northern Pacific Hanco*ck 3-chime. It continued to this whistle until 2010 when its age (whereupon only 1 chime was still working) led its retirement. In its place, the locomotive was equipped with a Hanco*ck 3-chime like it had received from the manufacturer. It still boasts this whistle today.

So, the railroad re-classified the designation as "General Service" allowing it to have more 4-8-4s constructed, and were built with specifications for use in freight or passenger service.

The locomotive was finally retired in early October, 1957 after finally being bumped entirely for diesel locomotives. A year later in April, 1958 it was donated to the city of Portland, Oregon and ironically was only saved because of its place in Southern Pacific's dead line allowing it to be easily switched out.

The locomotive remained exposed to vandals and the elements in Portland's Oaks Park for fifteen years before being considered to pull the American Freedom Train in 1974. Luckily, since the 4-8-4 was still in good condition mechanically it was ultimately chosen to pull the train and restoration began later that year, and was completed by April, 1975.

Southern Pacific #4449 and Other "Golden State" Class 4-8-4s

ClassRoad NumbersDate BuiltBuilderQuantity

Southern Pacific #4449 "Daylight": Schedule, Whistle, Train (3)Southern Pacific SD44R #7399 and 4-8-4 #4449 with the "World's Fair Daylight" bound for New Orleans in the spring of 1984. Mike Bledsoe photo. collection.

Hauling the Freedom Train gave SP 4449 an entirely new life and with a new red, white, and blue livery the locomotive became an instant celebrity throughout the 1970s.

Following the completion of the Freedom Train the 4-8-4 it returned to Portland but this time was kept in a secure location and out of the weather, remaining in operating condition.

Since that time SP 4449 has become one of the most famous steam locomotives in the country and returned with its fabled Daylight livery in 1981 for the California State Railroad Museum's inaugural Railfair that year.

Over the years the locomotive has starred in numerous shows and events and today is maintained by the Friends of the 4449 and Doyle McCormack who oversees its well-being in Portland. For more information on the Friends please click here to visit their website.

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Southern Pacific #4449 "Daylight": Schedule, Whistle, Train (2024)


Is the Daylight 4449 still running? ›

No. 4449 was retired from revenue service in 1956 and put into storage. In 1958, the Southern Pacific donated the locomotive to the City of Portland, Oregon. The City then put the locomotive on static display in Oaks Amusem*nt Park, where it remained until 1974.

Where is Southern Pacific 4449 now? ›


Beginning with the 4449 in 1974, each locomotive was eventually moved to the Brooklyn Roundouse in SE Portland. Since moving from Oaks Park, volunteers have spent thousands of hours restoring and caring for these beautiful locomotives. Two are now operational and one is continuing to be restored.

How fast is the daylight train? ›

They were designed by Southern Pacific and built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1936 for the new 12 car Daylight passenger train. They had 73.5 inch drivers and could develop 4500 horsepower at 55 mph with a maximum speed of 90 mph.

Where is the Norfolk and Western 611? ›


What happened to the freedom train? ›

The Freedom Train's tour officially ended at the end of Inauguration Week. On January 24, 1949, the National Archives removed the precious documents. The 80 steel display cases from the Freedom Train were presented to the National Archives and used to show many historical treasures.

Does Southern Pacific Railroad still exist? ›

Thus, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company became, and is still operating as, the current incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Is Flying Scotsman still running? ›

Flying Scotsman is running occasional trips for the 2022 tour schedule and can't be seen at museums.

Where was the Lima Locomotive Works located? ›

Lima Locomotive Works was an American firm that manufactured railroad locomotives from the 1870s through the 1950s. The company took the most distinctive part of its name from its main shop's location in Lima, Ohio.

How does a cab forward steam locomotive work? ›

In steam locomotive design, a cab forward design will typically have the driver's compartment or cab placed forward of the boiler at the very front of the engine. On a coal-fired locomotive, the fireman's station remains on the footplate behind the firebox so as to be next to the tender.

Where is 611 locomotive now? ›

The locomotive rolled out of Roanoke's East End Shops in 1950. Its mission was to pull the Powhatan Arrow, a 15-car passenger train, from Norfolk, Virginia, to Cincinnati, Ohio. Since November 2021, N&W 611 has been idle as she has undergone extensive boiler work in the Strasburg Rail Road shops.

Where is the 611 class J? ›

Only one class J locomotive survives. No. 611 was retired in 1959 from revenue passenger service and moved to the Virginia Museum of Transportation (VMT) in 1962.

Where is Engine 611? ›


The Virginia Museum of Transportation's famed 611 steam locomotive has most recently been parked at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Where is the 1976 Freedom Train now? ›


What was on the bicentennial train? ›

Included in these diverse artifacts were George Washington's copy of the Constitution, the original Louisiana Purchase, Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of OZ, Joe Frazier's boxing trunks, Martin Luther King's pulpit and robes, and even a rock from the moon.

What was on the 1976 Freedom Train? ›

An ALCO PA diesel-electric locomotive pulled the train, which carried the original versions of the United States Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Truman Doctrine, and the Bill of Rights on its tour of more than 300 cities in all 48 states.

What railroad Does Bill Gates Own? ›

Bill Gates Gives $5 Billion of Canadian National Stock to Foundation >CNI. Bill Gates has given more than $5 billion worth of Canadian National Railway Co. stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Microsoft Corp.

Why did Southern Pacific fail? ›

In a series of interviews, veteran Southern Pacific employees, industry analysts and transportation consultants agreed that the derailment was merely the latest wound suffered by a railroad beset in recent years by financial losses, a tainted maintenance record and a sagging spirit among workers.

Was there a train from Texas to Oregon in 1883? ›

The year is 1883 as a wagon train sets out from Fort Worth, Texas headed to the Oregon coast and the Pacific Ocean in Taylor Sheridan's prequel to Yellowstone.

Where can I see The Flying Scotsman in 2022? ›

Steam locomotive 60103 Flying Scotsman set for 2022 visit to the Swanage Railway. World famous locomotive, 60103 Flying Scotsman, is set to visit the Swanage Railway this October. Owned by the National Railway Museum, the LNER A3 is set to visit for 19 days from Wednesday 19th October until Sunday 6th November 2022.

Where can I see The Flying Scotsman this weekend? ›

For those wanting to see The Flying Scotsman pass through Gloucestershire in broad daylight, Moreton-in-Marsh could be the place to go. Timings are only approximate but, according to the train is expected to pass through at around about 10.36am.

How much are Flying Scotsman tickets? ›

Royal Scotsman prices start from £3,300/$4,590/€3,850 per person. There is a choice of a Twin Cabin or Double Cabin onboard, however the ticket price remains the same no matter which one you choose. Prices do fluctuate based on demand and as journeys are closer to becoming fully-booked.

Is Lima Locomotive Works still in business? ›

The business ceased production of train engines in 1949, having manufactured 7,769 locomotives. This made the Lima Locomotive Works the third largest producer of train engines in the United States. Before ending train production, the company had merged with the General Machinery Company of Hamilton, Ohio in 1947.

What happened Lima trains? ›

Lima S.p.A. (Lima Models) is an Italian brand and former manufacturing company of model railways.
Lima (models)
Defunct2004 (company)
FateCompany defunct; rights to brand acquired by Hornby
HeadquartersVicenza, Italy
4 more rows

What happened to American Locomotive Company? ›

The company changed its name to Alco Products, Incorporated in 1955. In 1964, the Worthington Corporation acquired the company. The company went out of business in 1969. The ALCO name is currently being used by Fairbanks Morse Engine for their FM|ALCO line.

What is cab rearward? ›

“Cab Rearward” is directly related to the “Dash To Axle” expression I've mentioned in this article. It refers to a car whose long nose brings the cabin closer to the rear end, seemingly “sitting” on the rear axle.

How many cab forwards did SP have? ›

After the MC-2s had proven themselves, 32 more, classified MC-4 and MC-6 (MC-3 and MC-5 were skipped) were ordered. Before it was all over, Southern Pacific ended up with a total of 256 Cab Forwards (all classes). these Cab Forwards came in several wheel arrangements including 2-8-8-2, 4-6-6-2, and 4-8-8-2.

What is a low cab forward truck? ›

A Low Cab Forward (LCF) truck is a type of truck that has engine underneath the cab, usually between the driver and passenger seats.

Who owns Norfolk and Western Railroad? ›

Becoming part of the Norfolk Southern Corporation

Today, former N&W trackage remains a vital portion of the Norfolk Southern Railway, a Fortune 500 company. The headquarters of the Norfolk Southern Railway and the parent Norfolk Southern Corporation are near the coal piers at Lambert's Point.

When was the 611 built? ›

The locomotive was built in 1950 and is the last running locomotive of the 14 ever made. From 1950 to 1959, the 611 pulled a 15-car passenger train from Norfolk, Virginia, to Cincinnati, Ohio. Controls to run the Northern & Western Class J 611 are seen, Thursday, July 15, 2021.

How long is the Strasburg Rail Road? ›

As America's oldest short line, Strasburg Rail Road trains have traveled the same 4.5-mile track since 1832.

What is AJ class locomotive? ›

Norfolk and Western Railway class J was a class of 4-8-4 streamlined steam locomotives built by the railway's own Roanoke Shops between 1941-1950 for the Norfolk and Western railroad. The first batch, numbered 600 to 604, were built and delivered between October 1941 and January 1942.

When did the Strasburg Rail Road Open? ›

Chartered in June 1832, the Strasburg Rail Road began serving the community of Strasburg with both freight and passenger service in antebellum America when covered wagons and canals were still commonplace.

When was the 611 built? ›

The locomotive was built in 1950 and is the last running locomotive of the 14 ever made. From 1950 to 1959, the 611 pulled a 15-car passenger train from Norfolk, Virginia, to Cincinnati, Ohio. Controls to run the Northern & Western Class J 611 are seen, Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Who owns Norfolk and Western Railroad? ›

Becoming part of the Norfolk Southern Corporation

Today, former N&W trackage remains a vital portion of the Norfolk Southern Railway, a Fortune 500 company. The headquarters of the Norfolk Southern Railway and the parent Norfolk Southern Corporation are near the coal piers at Lambert's Point.

How long is the Strasburg Railroad? ›

As America's oldest short line, Strasburg Rail Road trains have traveled the same 4.5-mile track since 1832.

When was Norfolk Western founded? ›

Is CSX bigger than Norfolk Southern? ›

CSX will become the nation's third-largest railroad, behind UP and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, with 23,100 miles of track. Norfolk Southern will be fourth-largest, with 21,400 miles.

Is Norfolk Southern in financial trouble? ›

Based on the latest financial disclosure, Norfolk Southern Corp has a Probability Of Bankruptcy of 39.0%.

How many locomotives does Norfolk Southern own? ›

According to NS's 2018 Annual Report to Investors, at the end of 2018, NS had more than 26,000 employees, 4,100 locomotives, and 54,400 freight cars.

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