Southern Pacific #2472 was built by Baldwin
Locomotive Works in 1921. It is a 4-6-2 Pacific type, having 4
leading wheels, 6 drivers, and 2 trailing wheels. Pacifics such as
the #2472 where designed primarily for high-speed 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
engines 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 engines of its
class. Overland Route runs used the same engine without change for
When larger and more powerful Mountain type engines
(4-8-2) 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 #2472 performing
its daily chores.
The #2472 served for almost 36 years on the Southern
Pacific. The end came in 1957 when diesels had replaced almost all
steam engines on the SP. Fortunately, the #2472 was saved from the
scrapper's torch and was put on display in San Mateo's County
Fairgrounds. It sat there until 1976 when the a group of determined
volunteers decided to restore it.