There are very few working steam engines left in the world. The 4449 is one of them.
For seventeen years, this steam locomotive rolled along Southern Pacific tracks before its retirement in 1958. Then in the mid-seventies, the 4449 was restored to help celebrate the nationís bi-centennial. Since then the engine has been used in movies and for numerous special events.
It was a special event that brought the 4449 to northern Idaho in the summer of 2000. The Burlington Northern & Sante Fe was sponsoring an employee appreciation excursion throughout the northwest.
According to engineer Doyle McCormack, operating one of these trains is like playing a fine musical instrument. ďThe steam engine is really a magnificent piece of machinery. Itís probably manís most perfect machine.Ē
Steam locomotives got their start in the 1830ís, and dominated the railroad landscape for more than a century. In the 1950ís, the more efficient diesel trains began operating, and eventually led to the demise of steam engines. That makes the 4449 a great link to our past.