#4449 is perhaps the only locomotive to be more famous than #844. A member of the fourth type of Southern Pacific's "General Service" or "Golden State" 4-8-4 locomotives (the GS-4 Class), it was built in 1941 for glamorous service pulling Southern Pacific's premier Daylight streamlined passenger trains in Southern California, it too found itself replaced by diesels and was retired on October 2, 1957 and donated to the City of Portland, Oregon on April 24, 1958 and placed on display at Oaks Park with SP&S #700 and Union Pacific #3203. It would be the only Daylight steam locomotive to survive (though similar Southern Pacific non-streamlined GS-6 Class 4-8-4 #4460 also survives and is on display at the National Museum of Transport in Kirkwood, Missouri, it never wore Daylight colors). While in the park, a railroad employee named Jack Holst voluntarily kept the moving parts of the three locomotives oiled until his death in 1972. This would set the stage for #4449's resurrection.
In the early 1970s, as America's Bicentennial approached, Ross Rowland, Jr., with help from actor John Wayne, began planning a steam-powered museum train of American artifacts called the American Freedom Train that would travel the United States in celebration of the Bicentennial in 1976. By 1973, the project was underway, but a locomotive still had to be chosen. A number of locomotives were considered, including Union Pacific #8444, but in the end, Southern Pacific #4449 was selected to be the American Freedom Train's primary locomotive. On December 14, 1974, #4449 was removed from Oaks Park and moved to Burlington Northern's Hoyt Street Roundhouse near Union Station for restoration.
Though #4449 would actually be one of three steam locomotives that pulled the Freedom Train, it would become the most famous, at it pulled the train throughout the American Midwest and West. Former Reading Railroad #2101 (as AFT #1) was used in the east and former Texas & Pacific #610 was used in Texas. The Freedom Train opened in Wilmington, Delaware on April 1, 1975. As it was in the east, it began its tour with the AFT #1. Meanwhile, newly restored #4449's boiler is put to steam on April 18 for the first time since 1957. She moves under her own power on April 21, and was christened on May 16. She left Portland on June 20 to take over the Freedom Train in Chicago on August 4, after display stops in Sacramento and Ogden (and an unfortunate encounter with a dump truck in Nebraska). #4449 will pull the Freedom Train for the rest of its tour until it ends in Miami on December 31, 1976, except for a brief period in the fall of 1975 when the Freedom Train was pulled by diesels while #4449 was undergoing repairs, about a month in February-March 1976 when Texas & Pacific #610 pulls the Freedom Train in Texas, and four months in the summer when it is pulled on the East Coast again by AFT #1. After the Freedom Train tour, #4449 returned to Portland by pulling a series of Amtrak excursions across the South and West in April, 1977, still in its Freedom Train paint but with the "Amtrak" name added to the tender. This was known as the "Amtrak Transcontinental Steam Excursion." #4449 arrived in Portland on May 1, having visited at least 30 states (many more than once) during its Freedom Train and Amtrak Excursion travels, and was placed in storage, although this time it would be stored indoors, protected from the elements.
For more information about the American Freedom Train, visit The Museum of America's Freedom Trains.
In 1981, #4449 emerged, restored to the post-WWII version of its Daylight paint (with "SOUTHERN PACIFIC " in large lettering in the orange band) to travel to Railfair at the newly-opened California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. It would retain this paint scheme for nearly 20 years (far longer than it had worn it while in regular service & even longer than the locomotive had even been IN regular service), as its travels included a trip to New Orleans to promote the 1984 World's Fair, a trip to Hollywood to be featured in the 1986 motion picture Tough Guys, a trip to Los Angeles to be a guest at the 50th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal in 1989, additional trips to Sacramento for the 1991 and 1999 Railfairs, and numerous excursions in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2000, #4449 had the opportunity to pull Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Employee Appreciation Special. As BNSF didn't want to have a locomotive painted for one of the predecessors of its competition, #4449 had to be painted black with white pinstripes and BNSF heralds for the trip. After the BNSF trip, the black scheme was modified to recall the all-black paint applied during World War II as a cost saving measure and to make locomotives less visible in the event of an aerial attack by the enemy.
In 2002, rather than retuning to Daylight paint, #4449 returned to its American Freedom Train paint in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In 2004, #4449 was repainted back into Daylight colors, this time the original, as-delivered version, with "SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES " spelled out in smaller letters in the upper red band. This is the paint scheme she wears today.
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