The On-Line Magazine of Rideable Model Railroading
  NUMBER 137


© September 5, 2009   


©Discover Live Steam. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission.

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National Train Day in Portland, Oregon

Southern Pacific "Daylight" 4449

Written by Mark Adelblue
Willow Creek Railroad


National Train Day, sponsored by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) was met by sunny skies and huge crowds both in and around the Historic Portland Union Station. National Train Day was conceived as a way to promote the history and viability of train travel and safety.
Willow Creek Railroad, based out of Brooks, Oregon, was invited by the local Amtrak representative to promote the history of trains, only in 1/8th scale along with  the Oregon division of Operation Life Saver, Pacific Railroad Preservation Association, Friends of 4449 and the Oregon Rail Historical Foundation, among others.

Willow Creek was well represented by members’ equipment including a model 2-4-2 steam engine (right), a diesel/electric Amtrak switch engine (below right) as well as a Union Pacific series 4, 4-6-6-4 challenger type wheel set (below) and a representation of model rail cars including a model SP&S boxcar (not shown).

2-4-2 Columbia Steam locomotive fired with an Oil Burner. Built in the mid 80's by Al Anderson. Recently out-shopped. SP&S Boxcar model is coupled behind engine  
(click any image to enlarge)

Union Pacific engine wheel set in 1/8th (1.5") scale
(click any image to enlarge)

Diesel/Electric (battery Powered) Amtrak switch engine. Riding Gondola is coupled behind

(click any image to enlarge)

Also on hand was the full sized, world famous Daylight steam locomotive number 4449 (right) as well as many other local rail historical groups that were located both outside and inside the historic station.

Union Station in Portland was dedicated on February 14th, 1896 in an area that was previously a 15’ deep lake. The lake was filled and pilings were driven into the fill which were used as a foundation of the station. It was built at a cost of approximately $400,000 and served several local rail companies including the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad’s.

Front Quarter #4449
(click any image to enlarge)

Southern Pacific "Daylight" 4449

(click any image to enlarge)

#4449 Cab Tours
(click any image to enlarge)


Portland’s Union Station is the west’s oldest major passenger station and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a Portland Historic Landmark with the only major remodeling done from 1927 through 1930. It includes a Seth Thomas clock that has four faces that are over 12 feet in diameter with a minute hand that is six feet long! The clock runs eight days on one winding, though it is wound every seven days. The clock was installed in 1898 and the top of the tower is 144 feet above the ground. The interior of the building is covered with marble shipped from Italy during the 1929 remodel.

In the 1920’s, the station would have around 90 trains per day move into and out of the station – one train every 11 minutes from the hours of 6:30AM and 11:30 PM. By 1940, that number had grown to over 100 trains per day, with over a million passengers. To this day the station still serves its original purpose of serving as a passenger station.

Passenger decks with display booths and #4449
 (click any image to enlarge)

The Southern Pacific Daylight 4449 was built in 1941 as a GS-4 "Northern" type locomotive. A 4-8-4 wheel arrangement, she is 110' long, 10' wide and 16' tall. The locomotive and tender weighs 433 tons, and it operates with a boiler pressure of 300 psi. Her eight 80" diameter drivers and unique booster truck can apply 5,500 horsepower to the rails and exceed 100 mph. The only remaining operable "streamlined" steam locomotive of the Art Deco era, this grand Lady of the High Iron pulled Southern Pacific "Daylight" coaches from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the scenic Coast Route and then on to Portland until 1955. Retired to static display at Oaks Park in 1958, most thought SP 4449 would never run again.

In 1974, she was selected to pull the American Freedom Train throughout the United States, and was subsequently rebuilt. SP 4449 ran for three years to the delight of over 30 million people. She is arguably one of the most beautiful locomotives ever built -- and kept that way by the all-volunteer Friends of SP 4449!

 For more information on Willow Creek Railroad, please visit


©Discover Live Steam This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission.



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