The OTHER "Queen of Steam." East coasters frequently refer to the Norfolk & Western J-Class #611 as the "Queen of Steam", and she certainly has had more publicity than any other steam locomotive in recent years, but there is one other extant streamlined Northern that certainly has at least an equal claim to that title. Southern Pacific #4449 is a GS-4 Class Northern, built in 1941 by the Lima Locomotive Works for use on Southern Pacific's popular "Coast Daylight" passenger trains. She was just one of 28 such engines in the class. Like the 611, she was streamlined and given an attractive, flashy paint scheme. And like 611, she was powerful and fast, burning oil rather than coal. She served the SP, mostly as a fast passenger locomotive until being officially retired in 1957. After retirement, with, the other members of her class being scrapped, she was donated to the City of Portland, OR and placed on public display outdoors for nearly 20 years.
She was restored to operation in the Burlington Northern Shops in 1975 for use on the American Freedom Train....a sort of traveling exhibition, helping to mark the American Bi-centennial in 1976. Then, for many years, she was maintained in operable condition in the UP Brooklyn Roundhouse in Portland, OR, making appearances at rail-related events, and pulling occasional excursions. With the closing of the Brooklyn Facility in 2012, a newly formed Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation raised the funds to construct a new facility to house this engine, and a couple of other large steamers that had been occupying stalls in the UP Facility. Since 2012, SP #4449 has called the new Oregon Rail Heritage Center home. Today, she is maintained by the Friends of the 4449, a non-profit historical preservation group. She is still fired up for occasional excursions and special events, and she runs Christmas Trains out of Portland each year. She is seen here, running in the yard with a shortened "Daylight" consist, for a 2018 Lerro Productions photo event.