Wednesday, May 14, 2014

4449-844 Doubleheader: The Plan Comes Together

#4449 went to the Portland & Western Railroad's locomotive shop in Albany, Oregon on April 7 to have the right-side bearing of the #2 axle inspected and repaired if necessary. The axle had been getting warm, but inspecting it required removing the axle & drive wheels on a drop table, and the nearest drop table large enough to do the job was in Albany. The cause of the overheating was found to be a worn babbitt, which was replaced and #4449 left Albany fully operational on April 14. The Albany Democrat-Herald newspaper did a series of articles about #4449's visit, and it was in the first of these articles that it was revealed that #4449 was schedule to be doubleheading with "a Union Pacific steam locomotive coming from Cheyenne, Wyo." It was mid-April before Union Pacific's website reflected that the trip would be a doubleheader, and Union Pacific did not issue a press release about the event until April 24. Perhaps they were waiting to make sure that #4449's repairs didn't become anything serious. At any rate, #844 was scheduled to arrive in Portland on Saturday, May 12, and meet up with #4449 at Peninsula Junction at 10:00 AM and the two locomotives would travel together to Fife, Washington, where they would spend a week on public display before the public excursion between Tacoma and Everett the following weekend.


These two locomotives do have a history together. In the fall of 1975, while #4449 was pulling the American Freedom Train, it had to have the contour of its driving wheels corrected at a Union Pacific shop. The Freedom Train itself continued on its tour, pulled by two of Burlington Northern's Bicentennial diesels until #4449 could rejoin the train. While away from the Freedom Train, Union Pacific #8444 accompanied #4449 on Union Pacific rails. This is the only other time the two locomotives have doubleheaded, and it was not a public excursion.

Historical Photo:
8444 & 4449 doubleheading, 1975 (Fallen Flag Railroad Photos)

The two locomotives have both been guests at various events, including the 1981, 1991, & 1999 Railfairs, and the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal's 50th Anniversary in 1989. At the 1989 event, the two locomotives arrived at LAUPT side-by-side on parallel tracks, and when they left, they raced along the parallel main lines in Cajon Pass.

Despite their different appearances, the two locomotives are actually quite similar. Here is a comparison of their specifications.

  Southern Pacific #4449 Union Pacific #844
Builder Lima Locomotive Works American Locomotive Co.
Builder Number 7817 72791
Class & Wheel Arrangement GS-4 Class 4-8-4 FEF-3 Class 4-8-4
Delivered May 1941 December 1944
Tractive Effort 64,760 lbs. 63,000 lbs.
Steam Pressure 300 psi 300 psi
Cylinder Diameter 25-1/2 in. 25 in.
Cylinder Stroke 32 in. 32 in.
Driving Wheel Diameter 80 in. 80 in.
Length of Engine & Tender 110 ft., 2-1/4 in. 114 ft., 2-5/8 in.
Weight of Engine & Tender 869,800 lbs. 907,980 lbs.
Weight of Engine 475,000 lbs. 486,340 lbs.
Weight on Drivers 275,700 lbs. 266,490 lbs.
Weight of Tender (Loaded) 394,800 lbs. 421,640 lbs.
Water Capacity of Tender 23,300 lbs. 23,500 lbs.
Fuel Oil Capacity of Tender 5,880 gallons 6,200 gallons

Continue to May 12, 2007 Peninsula Jct. Oregon

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