Puget Sound Steam Doubleheader

May 19, 2007

This event has to be one of the best I have ever been associated with. The Union Pacific brought their 4-8-4 844 with a nice matched consist of UP passenger cars to the northwest. When they arrived in Portland, the Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449 joined up and the two engines doubleheaded to Fife yard in Tacoma, Washington, attracting a lot of steam railfan attention along the way. The engines were displayed at Fife yard all weekand a lot of highjinks went on between the "rival" crews. The 4449 was "patched" by UP as the 845, the next number up in the Northern numbering system. A few days later the UP 844 tender read "Southern Pacific" instead of Union Pacific. Again the fans enjoyed all of this. Union Pacific brought their heritage Southern Pacific diesel to the yard to join the fun. On Friday, May 18, friends of the Barriger Library in St. Louis enjoyed a private trip behind the two steamers from Tacoma to Everett. UP 844 led on the northbound leg and SP 4449 led southbound. Speed reportedly reached 79 mph. The following day the trip was repeated for the general public and I had a ticket to ride in one of the beautiful UP dome cars, the City of Portland. The trip was wonderful with great scenery all along the tour route, active rail yards, a bascule bridge, under the rain cover for Safeco Field, through the tunnel, alongside the sound where cruise ships, sailing vessels, cargo ships, eagles, a lighthouse, the Seattle skyline, King Street station, the Space Needle and all kinds of scenery abounded. Most of the people riding were railfans and were great company. A fitting good lunch was provided to all passengers. Thanks to all of the crew volunteers who made this happen. Photos follow.

Runby at Stewart Avenue on the 18th, 844 leading.

View from the train northbound, 844 leading.

Southbound, 4449 leading.

Some views in Fife yard

Crew shots.

Just more views from the train.

We found the Reading 2100 just sitting and rusting.

On Sunday the Mt. Rainier Scenic ran a special for us, featuring Heisler 91 with new tender lettering for West Fork Lumber.

Railfans riding.


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