Disney, you don’t normally associate a movie about hijacking a train, High-Powered automatic weapons, or gangsters, but this movie has them all. Two former train robbers are released from prison after spending 30 years for robbing the “Gold Coast” passenger train. After trying to make it as law-abiding citizens, the robbers are at it again, and decide to rob the “Gold Coast” on final run. The movie is pretty much slow in the until the final 20 minutes, when the goons actually hijack the train.
After shoot out, the train is chased by helicopter in order to try to stop the train, but the goons are determined to get to Mexico. I won’t go into detail about the movie, as I will let you try to find it and watch it. Its a great movie, and it is really out of touch of what Disney is all about. The train scenes for Tough Guys was filmed on the closed Kaiser Steel ore line that ran almost into Mexico. The line was closed after the ore deposits ran out, and the plants shuttered in the early 1980’s. Lets get to the train in question. The locomotive in question is no doubt, the worlds most famous Steam Locomotive, not to mention the most beautiful train in the world as well. The Locomotive is Southern Pacific GS-4 4-8-4 #4449. The 4449 is the only surviving example of 26 GS-4 class locomotives built for The Southern Pacific Railroad, and is one of only two surviving GS- Class steam locomotives. The other is Southern Pacific GS-6 #4460 at the National Museum o f Transportation in Kirkwood Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. The 4449 was built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1941 with a Builders Number of 7871. 4449 was the last engine manufactured in Southern Pacific’s first order of GS-4 (Golden State/General Service) locomotives. The locomotive was placed into service on May 30, 1941, and spent its early career assigned to the premier Coast Daylight passenger train between San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. She was not exclusive to the Coast Daylight as she also pulled many other of the SP’s named passenger trains, like the Lark and the San Joaquin. After the arrival of newer GS-6 class, the 4449 was assigned to Golden State and Sunset passenger trains. The Biggest highlights of the 4449’s first career highlights happened on October 17, 1954, when 4449 and sister 4447 pulled a special 10-car train for the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society from Los Angeles to Owenyo, California, and return. In 1955, after being one of the last few Daylight steam engines in Daylight livery, 4449 was painted black and silver and its side skirting was removed due to dieselization of the Coast Daylight in January of that year, and then she was assigned to Southern Pacific’s San Joaquin Valley line, occasionally pulling passenger trains such as the San Joaquin Dayling between Oakland and Bakersfield as well as fast freight and helper service to assist heavy trains up steep grades. The 4449 was semi-retired from service on September 24, 1956, and was kept as an emergency back-up locomotive until it was officially retired on October 2, 1957, and was placed in storage along with several other GS-class engines near Southern Pacific’s Bakersfield Shops in Bakersfield, California.
In 1958, after most of the other GS class engines had already been scrapped, a then black-and-silver painted 4449 was removed from storage and donated to the city of Portland, Oregon, on April 24, 1958, where it was placed on outdoor public display in Oaks Park. Since the equipment was considered obsolete, 4449 was not actively chosen for static display. It was picked simply because it was the first in the dead line and could be removed with the least number of switching moves. During its time on display, 4449 was repeatedly vandalized and had many of its parts stolen, including its builder’s plates, cab guages and whistle. The locomotive quickly deteriorated due to neglect. However, things looked up big time when she was evaluated for restoration in 1974 after becoming a candidate to pull the American Freedom Train during America’s Bicentennial Celebration. Its size, power, and graceful lines made it a good fit for the Bicentennial train. After finding that 4449’s bearings and rods were in good shape, it was chosen.
In 1981, SP 4449 was returned to its original “Daylight” colors for the first Railfair at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California, and 3 years later in 1984, 4449 pulled an all Daylight-painted train from Portland to New Orleans, Louisana and back, to publicize the 1984 Worlds Fair that was held in New Orleans. The 7,477-mile round trip was the longest steam train excursion in US history. The 4449’s next big outing was in 1986, when the 4449 went to Hollywood to appear in the film that were discussing earlier, Tough Guys and to pull a couple of business trains for the Southern Pacific. 4449 returned to Los Angeles again in 1989, to attend a celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. To mark the opening of the event, 4449 had another famous moment in 1989 when 4449 and Union Pacific 8444 (another famous 4-8-4 steam engine, and the only Steam Locomotive to have never been retired) made a side-by-side entrance into LAUPT. The biggest moment came after the celebration, when both the 4449 and the UP 8444 raced each other on Santa Fe’s and Southern Pacific’s parallel main lines through Cajon Pass,with 4449 eventually taking the lead. No. 4449 returned to Railfair in Sacramento in 1991 and again in 1999. In 2000, 4449 was repainted black and silver for a Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee appreciation special, then was repainted into the American Freedom Train colors again in early 2002 after the events of 9-11. In 2004, the locomotive was returned to Daylight colors again, this time in its “as delivered” appearance.
On May 18, and May 19, 2007, the 4449 made another rare appearance with the Union Pacific 8444, by this time, renumbered to Union Pacific 844 in the Pacific Northwest for the “Puget Sound Excursion”, on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks from Tacoma to Everett, round-trip. This excursion was a tandem run with both steam locomotives pulling a Union Pacific passenger train consisting of three to four dome cars and several coaches. No. 4449 resides at Union Pacific’s Brooklyn Roundhouse in Portland along with several other historic steam and diesel locomotives. The Brooklyn roundhouse is inaccessible to the public, and the Union Pacific plans to close it in January 2012. The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, a partnership of non-profit organizations that own or maintain historic rolling stock at the roundhouse, is constructing a new restoration facility and public interpretive center adjacent to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in southeast Portland. The new facility will house the 4449 and the other rolling stock, and will include the old turntable from the Brooklyn roundhouse. No. 4449 is maintained by Doyle McCormack, a retired Union Pacific engineer and locomotive collector, along with many volunteers. When the engine was on display at Oaks Park, Jack Holst, a Southern Pacific employee, looked after 4449 along with two other steam locomotives, Spokane, Portland and Southern 4-8-4 #700 (Also Operational) and OR&N 197. Holst kept the engines’ bearings and rods oiled in case they were ever to move again. Holst died in 1972 and never got to see 4449 return to operation
The 4449 is currently operating on a limited basis, but when she does run, she draws a crowd. The Friends of 4449 are always looking for volunteers to work on the locomotive and do other things for the group. If you are interested in joining the Friends of the 4449, visit their website at http://www.4449.com/ As always, I hope you enjoyed this history lesson on another Movie Train. If you have anything you would like me to investigate, shoot me a message and I will get to the bottom of it! Happy Railfanning!