I originally posted the Brooklyn Roundhouse page on my old website as a PORTLAND PLACES page on May 21, 2008, and last updated it on May 16, 2010.
(NOTE: This website is NOT affiliated with the ORHF or its member groups; visit orhf.org for current info)
Union Pacific's former Southern Pacific Brooklyn Yard was one of the last places on the west coast to feature a roundhouse and turntable. A much larger brick roundhouse built in 1912 once stood in Brooklyn Yard. The 100-foot turntable replaced an 80-footer in 1925. Today's roundhouse was built next to the brick roundhouse in 1941 with four 125-foot stalls (the old roundhouse had 90-foot stalls) for the newer, longer engines. With an immediate need and many wartime material limitations, the building was built with a wood frame and covered with corrugated metal. The brick roundhouse was demolished in 1959.
Brooklyn Roundhouse in 1951 (ORHF)
SP Diesel at Brooklyn Roundhouse, 7/7/75 (rrpicturearchives.net)
SP Diesel at Brooklyn Roundhouse, c1980 (rrpicturearchives.net)
View of Brooklyn Roundhouse, 9/12/85 (rrpicturearchives.net)
View of Brooklyn Roundhouse, 6/21/86 (rrpicturearchives.net)
In 1981, the Brooklyn Roundhouse became the home of the City of Portland’s former Southern Pacific Daylight steam locomotive #4449. #4449 was joined at the roundhouse by SP&S #700 in 1986 and OR&N #197 in 1996.
The Brooklyn Roundhouse was demolished in September 2012, after the historic steam locomotives housed there were moved to the new Oregon Rail Heritage Center that summer.
The interior pictures and close-up pictures of the equipment on this page were taken during an invited visit on August 25, 2002. The pictures taken from a distance were taken from the Holgate Avenue overpass on September 6, 2007.
The Brooklyn Roundhouse was visible from the nearby Holgate overpass, but the Brooklyn Yard was, and is, still an active freight yard, patrolled by Union Pacific police; attempting to approach the roundhouse without permission could result in arrest.
As an active rail yard, Union Pacific trains regularly pass through. Pictured here with a special train on September 6, 2007 is Union Pacific SD70ACe #1996, the Southern Pacific Heritage Unit. It was unveiled on August 19, 2006.
Some of the equipment around the roundhouse included Great Northern F7A #274, former Amtrak F40PH #231, 22-seat Parlor-Observation #2955 James J. Gilmore built by Pullman-Standard in 1941 for Southern Pacific's Daylight and the tender of the roundhouse's most famous resident: Daylight streamlined steam locomotive #4449, which has been maintained here since 1981.
#4449 is a GS-4 class locomotive, built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1941 to pull Southern Pacific's Daylight passenger trains in California. It was replaced by diesels and retired on October 2, 1957.
On December 14, 1974, #4449 was removed from Oaks Park restored to pull the American Freedom Train. #4449 took over the Freedom Train in Chicago on August 4, 1975 and pulled it until the tour ended in Miami on December 31, 1976.
#4449 returned to Portland by pulling a series of "Amtrak Transcontinental Steam Excursions" in April, 1977 with the "Amtrak" name added to the tender, arriving in Portland on May 1 and going into indoor storage, having visited at least 30 states, many more than once.
In 1981, #4449 emerged in the post-WWII version of its Daylight paint, with "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" in large lettering in the orange band. It would retain this paint scheme for nearly 20 years, longer than it had been in regular service.
In 2000, #4449 was painted black with white pinstripes and BNSF heralds to pull Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Employee Appreciation Special, and was later modified to recall the all-black scheme applied during World War II.
In 2002, #4449 returned to its American Freedom Train paint in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In 2004, #4449 was repainted into the current Daylight colors; the original, as-delivered version, with "SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES" in small letters in the upper red band.
During my August 2002 visit, #4449 was visiting the Oregon State Fair and wasn't in the roundhouse (the photos above were taken at other events), but 4449's tool car #5811, Yes Dear, was there. Formerly Union Pacific RPO/Postal Storage Car #5811 it was one of three built by American Car & Foundry in 1949. Union Pacific transferred it to maintenance of way service as #903672 in 1973. It was sold to Doyle McCormack for use by #4449 in 1985. In 2011, this car was sold to the Canadian Pacific for use with its steam program.
Spokane, Portland & Seattle Baldwin E-1 Class 4-8-4 #700 is one of three 4-8-4s built for the SP&S in 1938 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
These locomotives were identical to A-3 class locomotives then being delivered to SP&S's parent, the Northern Pacific Railway, except that the SP&S locomotives burned oil instead of coal.
By 1955, the SP&S had completed dieselization and was ready to retire the last of its steam locomotives.
After pulling 1,400 passengers on a 21-car Farewell to Steam Excursion between Portland and Wishram, Washington on May 20, 1956, #700 joined the rest of SP&S's steam locomotives in a scrap line.
SP&S donated #700 to the City of Portland on January 13, 1958, and it was put on static display at Oaks Amusement Park. It is the only SP&S or NP Northern and one of only two SP&S steam locomotives to survive.
15-year-old Chris McLarney founded the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association in 1977 to restore #700, which came to Brooklyn in 1986 & returned to operation in 1990.
Oregon Railway & Navigation Company P-77 Class 4-6-2 #197, later known as Union Pacific #3203, was one of a group of four built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in May, 1905. It was rebuilt at Union Pacific's Albina Shops in Portland in 1923. It was retired in the 1950s, donated to the City of Portland and put on static display in Oaks Amusement Park in 1958.
The locomotive was removed from Oaks Park on February 10, 1996 and moved to the Brooklyn Roundhouse for restoration as OR&N 197. Only one other Union Pacific 4-6-2 still exists: #3206 on display in Spokane, Washington.
In the foreground, the tender to #197 is outside the roundhouse. The larger of the two tenders is #700's auxiliary water tender. It originally came from Great Northern 4-8-4 #2575 and was later used for firefighting around Klamath Falls. Burlington Northern donated it to the PRPA in 1985. It has a water capacity of almost 18,000 gallons.
After being in Mexico since 1978 and being returned to America in 2000, Doyle McCormack's former Delaware & Hudson PA-1 #18, originally built in December, 1948 as Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe #62L, is being restored as Nickel Plate Road #190.
Doyle McCormack's father was a Nickel Plate engineer, and the real Nickel Plate #190 (long since scrapped) was the first locomotive Doyle ever rode in.
Sister locomotive D&H #16 came back with #18 and was to be restored to its original appearance as Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe #59L for the Smithsonian. It ending up being stored until 2011 and is now being restored by the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas.
Doyle McCormack's Great Northern F7A #274 was built in October 1950 as #274B. It later became Burlington Northern #610. It was sold to the Seattle & North Coast in December 1980, becoming #101.
The Seattle & North Coast was liquidated in 1985 and #101 was sold to a private owner and stored a the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in Mineral, Washington. Doyle McCormack purchased it in 1996 or 1997 and restored it to its original colors. It has since been donated to the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.
This Alco RSD5 was built in November 1955 as Utah Railway #306. It was retired in May, 1982. It was sold to Industrial Salvage & Metals of Salt Lake City in November 1983 and was traded to the Promontory Chapter of the NRHS in January 1984. Doyle McCormack purchased it in October 1993 and painted it as Nickel Plate Road #324, though it actually carries the DLMX reporting mark. Nickel Plate didn't actually have any RSD5s, but they did have the similar 4-axle RS3s. The number 324 was an unused number on the Nickel Plate roster, between the road's Baldwin AS16s and Alco RSD12s.
Spokane, Portland & Seattle #866, built in December, 1950, was the last FA-1 built. It later became Burlington Northern #4120. It went to the Long Island Railroad and was rebuilt as cab car #613. It came back to Portland in 2001 to be cosmetically restored to SP&S colors.
#4449's crew sleeper #9201, the Clackamas River, was built in 1941 for the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Chicago & North Western's City of San Francisco as 10 roomette-5 bedroom sleeper Rincon Hill. It was transferred to SP in 1947 as #9201 & was retired in 1966. The Friends of SP 4449 acquired it in 1990 from a private individual in North Dakota. Though an SP car, the Daylight paint isn't correct as it was only used on day trains, not sleeping cars.
SP&S #700's tool car, PRPX #475, the Kenny Prager, was built around 1912 as a sleeping car and was later converted to a rider-baggage car by the Great Northern in 1948. Kenny Prager was a former SP&S employee and a volunteer engineer for the 700. The PRPA acquired a new crew car in 2003, and subsequently sold this car in 2004.
44-seat coach #1124 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1946 as Great Northern #1124. It became Burlington Northern #4804 in 1970. In 1973 it was sold to New Jersey Transit and converted to a 108-seat commuter coach. It was retired in September 1987 and was donated to the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey in 1991. It was sold to the PRPA painted back in Empire Builder colors, and named John G. Melonas, after a former SP&S employee and PRPA volunteer. Though a GN car, it carries SP&S reporting marks in honor of its namesake's employer. SP&S did own similar cars for Empire Builder service. Pictured here in 2002, it is looking a little worse for wear.
Heater Car #8645, Little Boy, was built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company as Great Northern #1. It was sold to the Western Pacific in 1968, becoming #591.
The boiler car is used to supply steam to the boiler of #4449 the night before it is fired up, which is easier and less expensive than using the fire in the locomotive’s firebox to build up the steam pressure. The car is painted in Southern Pacific's Daylight colors to match #4449.
This GP30 was built in October 1962 as Baltimore & Ohio #6918. It went on to become CSX #4239 and Ohio Central #4239. It was sold to Arizona & California in 1996, becoming #3005 and was transferred to sister road Puget Sound & Pacific in 1997.
Acquired by a private individual, it came to the Brooklyn Roundhouse in 2006 for storage. It is now stored in White City, Oregon, with the collection of the Southern Oregon Railway Historical Society.
Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation
The Friends of SP 4449
Pacific Railroad Preservation Association
Friends of OR&N 197
Nickel Plate Road #190
Brooklyn Roundhouse at Waymarking.com
Brooklyn Roundhouse by Brian McCamish
Portland's Roundhouse Relics at Rose City & North Western