Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive

Southern Pacific 2479 is being restored to running condition by the nonprofit California Trolley and Railroad Corp.

She needs volunteers, donations and a lot of love :)

Operating as usual

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 11/26/2023

A parallel initiative with leaving the county fairgrounds is the relocation of the historic Coyote Depot to History Park. To accommodate the depot accessing that location, the railroad display of SP1215, OSH boxcar and the bay window caboose will have to be moved backward one rail length. We elected to use one of 2479’s former rail panels for this purpose.

Saturday, we prepped the panel for lift by strapping each tie to the rails and moved the set off to one side - the panel will be moved to History Park at a future date. Removal of the panel allows access to the ballast which will be reused at History Park.

The History Park Coyote Depot site work begins Tuesday.


A little throwback since it has been over a year since the massive effort to have Southern Pacific steam locomotive #2479 join our Niles Canyon Railway in August 2022. Here we see the boiler, which had to be separated from the frame and running gear, being lifted from its trailer in preparation to be reunited with the rest of the engine seen in the distance. The 2479 continues to see some level of work although SP #1744 is getting the bulk of the attention. The #2479 crew is also still hard at work completing the packing and moving of the rest of 2479's parts and materials from its previous home in Santa Clara. Interested in getting involved in our Steam Department and getting a chance to work on our locomotives, please visit our website here to learn more on how to come volunteer with us.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 11/19/2023

Using the forklift, we were able to load the 40 superheater elements onto their rack inside the container. The forklift greatly assisted in this process. We had a concern over the capacity of new casters installed last week.

After finishing lunch, we heard a loud “pop” and discovered the rack was leaning to one side On one side, ALL four of the 2x4s used to attach the casters had snapped in half causing the failure.

Time to rethink the methodology of attaching the casters to the rack’s eight legs. At least the casters did not fail.


Today we added casters to each of the eight legs of our super heater element rack. This has been the home for all 40 elements for 2479 since their removal in the early 90s. The casters were installed to facilitate loading of the rack at the front of the container with the forklift - saving a few aged backs! With a 40 elements loaded onto the rack, the idea is to push the whole system to the rear of the container…at least that is the plan.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 10/22/2023

Today, we removed the remaining 21 superheater elements from the passenger car and disassembled the rack. We now get to reverse the process in the container.

Yesterday, Roaring Camp took another truckload of rail.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 10/08/2023

A couple hours today was spent clearing out the two passenger cars, which will be moved to the Santa Margarita Ranch. Since arriving in the early 90s, we have used the gutted cars for storage resulting in 30 years of accumulation. After MANY dumpster trips, progress is finally visible.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 09/25/2023

First load of rails (34 total) leaving the fairgrounds site…nearly 600 more to go! ALL the stored rails have future homes.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 09/03/2023

We are slowly migrating 2479 parts from the fairgrounds to Niles Canyon. For years, we have conveniently used the two gutted passenger cars as storage containers. With near term plans to move the cars to Santa Margarita, emptying the space has become a priority. The largest, and heaviest, are the 40 superheater elements. Each is 20 feet long. Today, 20 were removed out of the coach.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 07/22/2023

We were asked by the Fairgrounds Heritage Foundation to create a small display of 2479’s history at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Featured in the display is her original September 1958 display plaque - which has never been repainted in 65 years! The display will be open for the two weekend county fair starting next week. Check it out.


Although posting has slowed down on our page, our commitment to getting 2479 in operating condition has not waived. We are charging ahead with work at our new home.

It has been a while since we have published anything on SP #2479, but the locomotive is currently seeing some work by Robert Franzen and his crew from Steam Services of America. Robert aided in the shipment and disassembly of the 2479 and is now working to make it whole one more time. Since the boiler had to be removed from the frame, it now needs to be re-secured, and it is not as simple as just using the same bolts. All of the holes have to be reamed to accept new tapered bolts that his team is also machining in the NCRy Steam Shop. Here we see Robert (left) and NCRy Steam Department volunteer, Dylan, inside the 2479's smokebox with the pneumatic reamer which makes quick work of the holes, but is more than a handful to hold and operate. Ultimately the branch pipes that feed the cylinders will occupy these hole, but they now make for a great look inside the smokebox of the work going on. Stay tuned for more updates soon and if you would like, please consider a donation to the 2479 via our website: Thanks!

El Dorado Western 65 Ton GE 05/19/2023

Video of the 65 ton locomotive's arrival at its new home on the El Dorado Western Railroad in Placerville.

El Dorado Western 65 Ton GE The El Dorado Western Railroad receives a 65 Tom GE Locomotive May 18, 2023 from Santa Clara.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 05/18/2023

The 65 ton GE switcher was loaded today for its road trip tomorrow to El Dorado Western RR in Placerville. The county fairgrounds site is looking bare.


Have you ever wanted to have your very own 2479 hat and support our new caretaking organization? Now you can by purchasing your very own embroidered 2479 hat available from the Niles Canyon Railroad store.

Here is a picture of these hats being modeled by Ken and Henry. (Note, hats may vary slightly from pre-production samples shown)


Sacramento July 28, 1937. Otto Perry photographer. Denver Public Library.

This image was taken shortly after she was rebuilt due to a fatal accident on February 12, 1937 at a grade crossing in Selma. While pulling the eastbound Owl at speed, she hit an automobile that was stuck on the tracks - the drunken driver had driven on the tracks until its tires became wedged in a switch frog. Upon contact, the locomotive pushed the automobile until the next crossing when the car became stuck underneath the pilot which by this time had folded underneath the cylinder saddle. The car caught something in the crossing and the locomotive literally flipped over itself killing both crew members. The automobile driver was acquitted of manslaughter because his lawyer successfully argued that the cause of the accident was due to faulty maintenance - if the “cow catcher” properly worked, the automobile would have been pushed clear of the tracks.


San Luis Obispo, 1927. This is the earliest known image of 2479.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 01/08/2023

Next up to leave the fairgrounds will be the 65 ton GE diesel locomotive. Taking advantage of today’s “dry” conditions, our small crew pulled the locomotive back and forth over panel tracks to slowly rotate its orientation. A couple additional moves will be needed to get her parallel to our double wide trailer. From that position, the locomotive will be rolled onto a trailer for transport to her future home in Placerville.

Southern Pacific 2479 Moves to Niles Canyon Railway 10/20/2022

This 25 minute video captures the exciting day when 2479 left its fairgrounds location for a new opportunity in Niles Canyon.

Southern Pacific 2479 Moves to Niles Canyon Railway 's something you don't see every day...Southern Pacific 2479 has sat idle at the Santa C...

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 10/02/2022

We continue to return parts that had been removed to facilitate the relocation to Niles Canyon. Today, the pilot and a running board was reinstalled. The 2479 crew is quickly learning where tools are kept in the Brightside facility and, most importantly, to enjoy the Saturday lunch provided by PLA’s commissary department.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 09/18/2022

The crew is slowly reassembling both locomotive and tender. Yesterday, the focus was returning the tender’s brake cylinder and reattaching the associated linkage. Also important with the forecasted rain was weatherizing the locomotive with such tasks as reinstalling the stack cover.

Photos from Pictures of Niles Railway an unoffical page's post 09/17/2022

ALL those years spent refurbishing the journals, axles, spring and brake rigging, lead and trailing trucks etc are paying off as 2479 is easily moved by her new owner, the Pacific Locomotive Association.

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 09/15/2022

Yesterday, a Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society convention tour was held in Niles Canyon. 2479 was featured along with her fellow SP equipment in Bightside. The SPH&TS guests were given a ride in an all SP consist lead by mu’d Geep and SD9 diesels. We anticipate a future opportunity when 2479 will doublehead with SP 2-6-0 #1744 heading a similar consist.

Significant assets transfer complete... | Niles Canyon Railway 08/30/2022

See more details about our recent move on the Niles Canyon website, and consider donating to the Pacific Locomotive Association to help fund the continuing restoration of our locomotive.

Significant assets transfer complete... | Niles Canyon Railway In February of 2022, the transfer of ownership of several significant assets from Santa Clara County (SCC) to the Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA) was completed. These historic assets were donated to the PLA by Santa Clara County thanks to our proven track record of restoring and operating signi...


With the locomotive, her tender, and turntable successfully relocated to Niles Canyon Railway President Henry Baum and CTRC President Ken Middlebrook congratulate each other. It has been four days of teamwork staying on schedule.

The locomotive and roundhouse will have a long future in their new home

None of this would have occurred without the financial support of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, and we appreciate all of the support they have provided.


Another surreal moment…the tender rolls freely as it is pushed into the yard by a historic Southern Pacific diesel.


How many backs are needed to move a six wheel tender truck?

Photos from Southern Pacific 2479 Steam Locomotive's post 08/26/2022

Because of its 80’ length, the turntable could not be directly trucked into Niles. A creative solution was used. The turntable was lifted off the trailer and placed on a flatcar, hauled to Niles for unloading by the same crane

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Restoring Engine 2479

The Santa Clara Valley Railroad Association (SCVRRA) was founded in 1981 to reconstruct a massive Southern Pacific Transportation Corporation Baldwin locomotive given to the County in 1957 and stored as a static display at the County Fairgrounds. Since 1986, in collaboration with the County of Santa Clara, we have been reconstructing SP 2479, a unique “ high-speed Pacific model" locomotive.

In 1994, SCVRRA merged with the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC). The many dedicated volunteers and supporters of CTRC have restored or are working to restore locomotives, trolleys, and many more historical vehicles. See more at

Videos (show all)

Another surreal moment…the tender rolls freely as it is pushed into the yard by a historic Southern Pacific diesel.
Locomotives?  We need no stinkin’ locomotives.
For the first time in 64 years, 2479 is coupled to another locomotive.  Fittingly, it was a similar SP diesel switch loc...
2479 passes the Sunol Depot on her way to Niles Canyon Railway’s yard at Brightside
“THAT will do!”
This week, we did our quarterly forward and backwards roll of the locomotive and tender.    Our fairgrounds track provid...
(Loud Noise Warning) This past Saturday, we removed the last 17 saddle bolts that were holding the smokebox to the cylin...
For those of you that wanted to see more of the process that we're slowly improving, here is a video of our crew at work...
Push me pull you.
Ear protection required!
Noise Warning! Part 2 of the Nut removal process on the Forward Mud Ring Flex Plate Support bolts is using an Impact Dri...
2479’s running gear in motion!



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