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Southern Pacific P-8 No.2472

Thomas R. Schultz 

Southern Pacific No.2472 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1921. It is a 4-6-2 Pacific type steam locomotive, having 4 leading wheels, 6 driving wheels, and 2 trailing wheels. Pacifics such as SP-2472 where designed primarily for passenger train service where sustained high-speeds were just as important as pulling capability. Pacifics were used on railroads around the world and could be seen in the rosters of a great many American railroads. Southern Pacific classed the 2472 as a P-8, along with 14 sister locomotives built from the same Baldwin order.

The 2472's first assignments were passenger trains on the Overland Route between Ogden, Utah and Oakland, California. Crews appreciated the smooth ride afforded by the locomotives of this class. Overland Route runs used the same eequipment, without change, for 500 miles.

When larger and more powerful 4-8-2 Mountain type locomotives replaced Pacifics on long runs, the Pacifics were relegated to locals and commute service, particularly the San Francisco - San Jose run. This is where many remember seeing the SP-2472 performing its daily chores.

The SP-2472 served for almost 36 years on the Southern Pacific system. The end came in 1957 when diesels had replaced almost all steam locomotives on the SP. Fortunately, the No.2472 was saved from the scrapper's torch and was put on display at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds. It sat there until 1976, where a group of determined volunteers had begun restoring it. Thus was born the Golden Gate Railroad Museum.

Builder Baldwin Locomotive Works
Date 1921
Type 4-6-2 Pacific
SP Class P-8
Cylinders 25 x 30 inches
Drivers 73 inches
Tractive Effort 45,850 pounds