Southern Pacific 2472

Southern Pacific 2472 is a 4-6-2 heavy "Pacific" type steam locomotive built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) in 1921. SP No. 2472 is one of three surviving Southern Pacific 4-6-2 Pacific locomotives, the other two bring Nos. 2467 and 2479. The 4-6-2 designation means it has four leading wheels, six driving wheels, and two trailing wheels.

SP 2472
Southern Pacific Railroad 4-6-2 -2472 at Sunol California May 2009.jpg
SP No. 2472 at the Niles Canyon Railway
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number54477
Build dateJanuary 1921
 • Whyte4-6-2
 • UIC2'C1'
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia.73 in (1,854 mm)
Wheelbase75.80 ft (23.10 m)
 • Engine35.50 ft (10.82 m)
 • Drivers13 ft (4.0 m)
Axle load60,700 lb (27,500 kg)
Adhesive weight180,000 lb (82,000 kg)
Loco weight297,800 lb (135,100 kg)[1]
Tender weight160,800 lb (72,900 kg)
Total weight457,800 lb (207,700 kg)
Fuel typeOil
Fuel capacity4,000 US gal (15,000 l; 3,300 imp gal)
Water cap12,000 US gal (45,000 l; 10,000 imp gal)
 • Firegrate area
70.40 sq ft (6.540 m2)
Boiler pressure210 psi (1.4 MPa)
Heating surface:
 • Firebox
283 sq ft (26.3 m2)
Cylinder size25 in × 30 in (635 mm × 762 mm)
Valve gearWalschaerts
Performance figures
Tractive effort46,800 lbf (208.18 kN)
Factor of adh.4.15
OperatorsSouthern Pacific
Number in class15
  • SP 2472
DeliveredApril 15, 1921
RetiredFebruary 7, 1957 (revenue service)
RestoredMay 1991 (1st restoration)
Current ownerGolden Gate Railroad Museum
DispositionOperational, Awaiting FRA Waiver to run until June 2022–2023 at the Northwestern Pacific Railroad

SP 2472 and the other "Pacific" locomotives served the Overland Route from Ogden, Utah, to Oakland, California. On November 30, 1929, SP's Ogden shops added a feedwater heater to the locomotive, which increased its overall weight to 300,000 lb (140,000 kg). SP 2472 again underwent a rebuild at SP's Bayshore shops in Brisbane, California (San Mateo County), completed on November 26, 1940, which increased its boiler pressure to 210 psi (1,400 kPa) and its tractive effort to 45,850 pounds-force (204.0 kN).

After being replaced by the 4-8-2 "Mountain" type locomotives, 2472 and all other Pacific locomotives were sent to work Sacramento-Oakland passenger trains and San Francisco-San Jose commute trains, along with occasional freight service. This locomotive was retired from regular revenue service on February 7, 1957, during Southern Pacific's dieselization, and on April 10, 1959, 2472 was donated to San Mateo County, which put the unit on static display at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds.[2][3] It remained there until 1976 when a group of volunteers decided to restore the locomotive.

Restoration work was completed in May 1991 just in time to participate in Railfair 91, which took place in Sacramento, and featured other famous steam locomotives, such as Southern Pacific GS-4 4-8-4 "Northern" 4449, Union Pacific FEF-3 4-8-4 844, Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 "Challenger" 3985, Union Pacific 0-6-0 4466, and British Great Northern Railway J13 0-6-0 tank locomotive 1247. In the 1990s and early 2000s, 2472 pulled several excursions and Caltrain specials such as the "Toys for Tots", and double-headed on an excursion in 1992 (during the NRHS Convention) with the 4449.

SP 2472 received Federal Railroad Administration-mandated boiler work at Hunters Point Naval Base in San Francisco, during 2005–06 when the Golden Gate Railroad Museum (GGRM) was located there. The GGRM and all other tenants at Hunter's Point had to leave the former navy base in 2006 due to redevelopment.[4] The initial equipment move took place in February 2006, although an extended lease on the shop building allowed work to continue on 2472 for ten more months. On December 31, 2006, SP 2472 and the remaining pieces of GGRM rolling stock completed relocation to the Niles Canyon Railway, located in Sunol, California, on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

The locomotive became serviceable in February 2008,[5] and was stored in Niles Canyon at the Brightside Yard between operations. SP 2472 has operated in Niles Canyon, usually on Memorial Day weekends and Labor Day weekends, and on other dates as announced.

In Spring 2015, the Golden Gate Railroad Museum announced that they will be leaving Niles Canyon and SP 2472 would pull the last excursions in Niles Canyon on the 2015 Labor Day weekend. The relocation move of SP 2472 to the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in Schellville, California started on March 1, 2020 when the P-8 Pacific-type steam locomotive, along with two former Southern Pacific Railroad diesel locomotives (both in operating condition) that belong to GGRM, were towed by two Union Pacific locomotives towards Schellville. In October 2021, 2472 was fired up for the first time since 2015 to test the locomotive for a FRA Waiver to grant her a boiler ticket until June 2022–2023.


  1. ^ Bailey, Douglas C. "Southern Pacific RR No. 2472".
  2. ^ Diebert, Timothy S. & Strapac, Joseph A. (1987). Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Compendium. Shade Tree Books. p. 178. ISBN 0-930742-12-5.
  3. ^ Johnsen, Kenneth G. (1990). Pacific: 2472's Family Album. Glendale, California: Interurban Press. p. 111. ISBN 0-87046-092-7.
  4. ^ "Renaissance of the Hunters Point Shipyard". Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Redevelopment Agency. Archived from the original on February 26, 2008.
  5. ^ "Southern Pacific No. 2472 steams again after six years". Trains News Wire. Kalmbach Publishing. February 22, 2008. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2008. (subscription required)

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