CHASING the SP 4449 !!! July 2011

Photo by Steven M. Welch at Rail pictures.net

On July 2 -3, 2011, the Southern Pacific 4449 pulled trains from Portland, Oregon to Wishram, Washington.

This is a great video of “Chasing” the locomotive on its trip.  The Photographer rides to shoot the video, while the famous steam chasing driver “Rich” shows his skills at providing ample and exciting distance and speed in order to capture the beauty and power of steam and the environs.

Video is posted by gregudolph.

The SP 4449 was called “The Most Beautiful Locomotive in the World” at the Height of Steam train popularity in the 1940s and 50s.  It is now housed, along with one of my all-time favorite steam locomotives of the US, the SP&S (Spokane, Portland & Seattle) 700.

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Southern Pacific 4449 “Daylight” – beautiful streamliner

Photo courtesy of Chicago Super Chief at Railpictures.net

The streamlined steam locomotive was a short fad for steam engine designs in the World War II and postwar period in most western and northern European countries, the United States and Australia/New Zealand.  It quickly came into disfavor, succumbing to both fans of steam who thought that steamlining ruined the basic aesthetic of steam locomotives, as well as mechanics who complained of more difficulty in reaching certain areas of the body to fix and maintain these engines.  However, certain streamlined locomotives were ‘eternal’ in the steam history of nations.  In the UK, Germany and France, certain streamliners were revered and kept in museums, while a few are running today in excursion runs.

In the United States, there are two streamlined steam engines and preserved: the Norfolk and Western Class J #611 and the Southern Pacific ‘Daylight’ #4449.  Sadly, the NW 611 was built in 1950 and ran excursions through the 1990s.  It  is no longer running but preserved in fine condition at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

Arguably, considered the ‘most beautiful steam locomotive in the world’ is the famous “Daylight” locomotive of the GS-4 class: the Southern Pacific #4449.  It was built in May 1941 and is still running today in special and excursion services. They are maintained by the Friends of 4449 .

The video is courtesy of ‘YardGoat‘ on Youtube.