Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

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NP317
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Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by NP317 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:33 am

OK Southern Pacific RR fans. Related to Grant Carson's Ten Wheeler build,
I hope someone here can help me identify a specific Southern Pacific steam locomotive I encountered in -I think- the late 1950s.

When the S.P. RR ended steam locomotive operations, they ran a special Last Steam Locomotive tour throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and maybe beyond. They steamed a passenger train down the now-gone branch line from Palo Alto, through Los Altos, to San Jose. I was about 8 years old watching this locomotive stop at Loyola Corners (I lived several block from this RR stop), and was terrified by it! And it seemed to be a rather dressed-up smaller locomotive, like Ten Wheeler. Fancy for the occasion.
It left a huge impression on me and may be the reason my first Live Steamer build was a Ten Wheeler!

I've been searching to identify this locomotive, without success. Yet. Does anyone have information on this?
I won't be surprised to learn that Grant Carson has this info!
Thanks.
RussN

Pat Fahey
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by Pat Fahey » Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:45 am

Hi NP 317
According to the book A Century of Southern Pacific Steam locomotives, by Guy L. Dunscomb, the last of Steam on the SP were as follows, The last Steam to run on a commuter train was SP 3 4430 from San Francisco to San Jose in 1957.
The last run of Southern Pacific proper was engine SP # 4460, Reno to Oakland, hauling a special train, in October of 1958.
Note engine SP #4460 is still with us, and is now in the Museum of Transportation, in St. Louis.

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NP317
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by NP317 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:29 pm

Pat:
Thank you for that information. I'll research SP # 4430. Being a 4400 series locomotive, it is not the loco in question that I saw as a kid in 1958.

I just did some research in my copy of "Southern Pacific's Golden Empire 1954 - 1958."
This book is filled with color photos taken by John Hungerford and Harold F. Stewart.
John Hungerford is my wife's great uncle, and I was given portions of his railroad materials. That's another story.

Anyway, on pages 168-169 are photos of SP T-1 4-6-0 No. 2248, restored to a colorful finish and used for a 1958 Farewell to Steam tour
though parts of California. More research to do now. It looks like my faded memories.
RussN

gcarsen
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by gcarsen » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:11 pm

this is an interesting subject and one that need some special research. they had gotten most steam of the line by 55/56 still some pockets here and there. as pat says standard history says
last Steam to run on a commuter train was SP 3 4430 from San Francisco to San Jose in 1957.
The last run of Southern Pacific proper was engine SP # 4460, Reno to Oakland, hauling a special train, in October of 1958. and the 4460 was greated by s scout troop band playing a farwell song for the final closing of steam, but, and theres always buts to a story!!
i have heard 2nd person (supposedly from the son of the train crew) rumors that in the late winter 1958 , early spring of 1959 . there was some severe flooding in the sacremento area and that there where some freight cars that needed to be moved but the water was too high and would get into the diesel traction motors. supposedly a crew pulled a 2-8-0 of the end of the dead scrap line , fired it up, ran over did the car recovery in the deep water as the steamer could handle it, then was promptly returned back to the dead scrap line. no pictures . would make an interesting research though!
second , a lesser known steam use on the SP at a very late time, i seen a write up on the event and need to find it. but i believe it was in the late 80's from my memory. and this one is a classic! as i read it and understand. and having talked with many of the people! the 4449 needed some bearing maintanance and Doyle talked to the Sp about using the Albany locomotive shop hoist and drop pit. but at that time the Locol SP management hated hearing anything about the 4449 coming out onto there rails! everytime the loco moved on there track it was nothing but problems for them too many foamers invading the operating space! and the SP police where overwhelmed dealing with the problems. funny one was there big complaints of foamers climbing signal towers to get ther pictures!
so ,, in a covert move to handle the situation, a select few crew in a clandestine operation , fired the locomotive up with out anyone knowing, and at midnight or so coupled onto the front of a SOUTHERN PACIFIC freight train in portland, with no back up diesels , and hauled the standard numbered freight train down to albany at night! using the trains number and darkness to cover the 4449 movement , and into the shop for the work! well next day the President of one of the groups brought a group of people down to the engine house to show the locomotive, all he could do was show them the empty inspection pit! this created a huge scene that escaleted into another whole big story that has taken years to get the full story on!! another time , maybe!
so in some ways one can argue that the SOUTHERN PACIFIC Railroad's final last use of steam in REVENUE service came at a way later and hardly known instance in the late 1980's!!
Grant

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NP317
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by NP317 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 12:17 am

For Grant Carson:
The T-1 locomotive No. 2248 I was wondering about was indeed one of the final two fire service locomotives that survived into the 1950s.
No. 2252 ended up on display near the Roseville, CA, yards. I cannot find additional information on No. 2248.
She was probably scrapped. Anyone know for sure?

Also of parallel interest is that my uncle John Ward was the last boiler maker for the SP at Roseville!
In the 1960s he told me that his last job there was to re-brick the boiler firebox of one of SP's big oil-fired wrecking cranes! He said they would fire up re-bricked boilers to "season the new bricks" by throwing in handfuls of rock salt, which would melt over the bricks to protect them from erosion! I've never heard of that before or again. True? I don't know.
Small world, and interesting stuff.
RussN

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NP317
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by NP317 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 12:24 am

Found No. 2248:
No. 2248 of the Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Preserved and operating in Texas!
Whew!!
RussN

wa6mdi
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by wa6mdi » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:54 am

Yes Sir. City of Grapevine TX owns and operates 2248 or as they refer to it as "Puffy". I have ridden on that rig and live near Grapevine if anyone needs any pictures etc.

Dick Melcher
Trophy Club TX

Pat Fahey
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by Pat Fahey » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:55 am

Hi NP 317
I would suggest that you try this, enter in your search engine, Southern Pacific # 1744, and let winhipia come up, on the locomotive, as you scroll down, you will find the Last of Steam on the Southern Pacific. Pat.

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NP317
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by NP317 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:48 am

Thank you Pat.
I followed through and see that this engine No. 1744 "is not the locomotive I am looking for." (credit a famous Jedi Master...)
I did identify my mystery locomotive No. 2248.
Interestingly, I found a John Hungerford photo of No.2248 "on tour", double heading with No.1794, also a 2-6-0.

Fun to read about those last SP steamers used on their multiple "Farewell Tours" and to know some of them survived to steam again.
RussN

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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by Kimball McGinley » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:44 pm

Interestingly enough, 2248 was mentioned on the TO site today. The subject was winds damaging steam locos, but somebody offered that the Northridge Quake (CA) in the 1970's tipped 2248 on its side. I saw it there as a kid, as I recall it was on temporary rails on an asphalt parking lot.

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NP317
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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by NP317 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:31 am

Kimball:
Northridge earthquake.
Wow! Wife and I remember that event, and where we were then. That happened two years after I left the San Francisco Bay Area for Seattle.
I had no idea the quake tipped over a full-sized steam locomotive. But I believe it. And S.P. No. 2248, no less!
Thanks for adding that interesting tidbit.

I feel that my locomotive/memory search has definitely provided the answers I was seeking, and more.
Now I am fairly sure I understand why -from my early childhood- I always liked 4-6-0s!
Makes me wonder who else was similarly programmed...
RussN

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Re: Searching for SP's last ceremonial steam locomotive

Post by Doug_Edwards » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:29 am

Is this what you remember?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Orig-1955-Nega ... Sw1QdgXO90

It also has the hand rail around the sand pipe!

Regards,

Doug
http://www.precisionlocomotivecastings.com/
Building a 70 ton Willamette in 1.6"
Building a 80 ton Climax in 1.6"

"Aim to improve!"
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