Union Pacific Railroad
Baldwin Locomotive Works – 1918
Union Pacific Railroad – 1957
This little “switch engine” was the very last steam-powered locomotive in regular railroad operation in Los Angeles County… The Air Pollution Control District put the kibosh on the old 4439 in 1957, ending nearly 100 years of steam railroading in Los Angeles. She spent here last few years switching freight cars at the Harbor Belt Line yard in Wilmington where she was ‘stoked up’ once a week to haul loads of banana from the harbor to downtown Los Angeles. The locomotive was to be scrapped on November 1, 1957, but a lucky last-minute reprieve saved her for display at Travel Town!
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U.P. 4439 was a true iron workhorse. Small locomotives like this were used by railroads throughout U.S. to sort or “switch” both freight and passenger cars in classification yards, terminals and repair shops. No. 4439 worked for many years at Union Pacific’s busy Locomotive Shops in Cheyenne, Wyoming – where she labored day and night to shuttle the much larger main-line engines around the railroad’s repair and servicing facilities.
Towards the end of her working career, she was brought west to Los Angeles for switching duties on the L.A. Harbor Belt Line’s tracks around the fast-growing port. As railroads transitioned from steam to Diesel locomotive power in the 1950s, No. 4439 would sometimes get a ‘day off’ from switching to pull a special excursion passenger train for local railfans. She is pictured below on her last trip to Glendale in 1956.