For those who aren't familiar with the Daylights, they were a passenger train operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad (officially) from Aug 28, 1922 through and beyond January 1970.  The Daylight passenger service began operation with the 'new' GS-2 steam locomotives on March 21, 1937.  This new Daylight service represented a major advance in passenger train service, style, comfort and speed.  Remarkably, plans for this new passenger service started in 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression.  Southern Pacific's President, Angus D. McDonald, ordered its development with the belief that it was the responsibility of American corporations and not the government to lift the county out of the depression by providing new jobs.  (Very different from the approach corporations take today.)  Plans for the new train called for a newly styled, larger engine, air conditioned passenger cars, top-notch level of service, a new look as well as many many other enhancements.  The final design for the new GS-2 steam locomotive added skirting down the side of the engine as well as skirting along the top of the engine's boiler (called skyline casting).  This hid much of the tubing and mechanical devices that a steam locomotive has and gave the engine a streamlined and uncluttered appearance.  At the same time, the skirting didn't hide the engine's drivers and driving rods which add to the mystique and powerful appearance of a steam locomotive.  Southern Pacific also selected a beautiful bright orange, red and black color scheme along with a stylish insignia.  This color scheme/pattern was carried down the entire length of the train, from the engine to the observation car.  A radio commentator was noted as calling the Daylight "the most beautiful train in the world" which I believe to be a most fitting title.

March 21, 1937 - First Crew: (from left to right) Road Foreman of Engines: Frank LaFond- Fireman: M.J. Crowley- Engineer: W.W. Judy- Conductor: A Meredith- Brakemen: F.E. Burns and E. Atkinson

March 21, 1937 - Engineer W.W. Judy talking with Franciscan Father Joachim de Prade

March 21, 1937 - Olivia de Havilland (star of Warner Brothers Studio) has the honor of christening the new Daylight.

March 21, 1937 - Five seconds after 8:15am, Engine #4411 (GS-2 Class) pulls out of Los Angeles Central Station for the first scheduled run of the 'new' Daylight passenger service.



If you would like to learn more about the Daylight and it's history, there is no better book than this one:


Trains 98 & 99, The Daylight by Richard K. Wright.   

This book has 656 pages & over 1,000 black and white company photos.  It is available through  (Direct link:

Every aspect of the Daylight is covered and is well worth the $125 price.  It is THE book on the Daylight passenger trains!


I've been asked many times, where I got my affinity for the 4449...  It's a long story but it started when I first got to see the engine when I was 5 year old.  Some pics from that night are below waiting for the 4449 in 1977 (pulling the Freedom train) in my hometown of Beaumont, Texas.  By the time the engine arrived it was pouring down rain.  A couple of the photos below are of me on a diesel locomotive that was on a siding waiting for the Daylight to arrive.  

Here is an interesting photo, it's of the Texas and Pacific #610 (2-10-4), pulling out of Houston, Texas with the Freedom train in what the caption said was Feb 1976. (Maybe the date of 1977 above is wrong?)  At any rate, this was taken probably within 24 hours of the Daylight's leaving Beaumont.



There are undoubtedly many people to thank for keeping this piece of living history running.  Those of us who have an appreciation for seeing this engine running owe a great deal to those who dedicate the time keeping this magnificent machine running.

The 4449's Official website is  The site has a large number of photos and provides up-to-date information on the engine and upcoming excursions.


Silent film from the original restoration in 1975:



The first set of pictures below are of the Daylight in it's original color scheme.


What fun!

Here is a gallery of just the 4449 number and Heralds.

Neon sign from back of Observation car.



This set of pictures is of particular interest as it is of the other not so well known surviving 'Daylight' engine, #4460 a GS-6.  The GS-6 was the last variant built of the GS class.  As I understand it, these engines differed from our 4449 (GS-4) in that they didn't have side skirting (as delivered from the factory, Lima Locomotive Works), had 73" drivers as opposed to 80" and had roller bearings on the main axles as opposed to the waste-packed journal bearings.  (My notes on the GS-6 having roller bearing is curious as the stars painted on the center of the drivers in the pictures below indicates this one has journal bearings.)  The 4460 is currently on display at the St. Louis Transportation Museum.  These resemble the original GS-2 engine.   


**Still under construction**

This next set of pictures are historical pictures of various Daylight engines and trains.  Some are even of the 4449 itself.


This next set of photos were taken during various stages of the Daylight's time in service.  Ed Gibson (see link to his website below) has granted me permission to post these pictures from his site.  Thank you Ed!

Photos by George Solimine and Fred Cribbins:   (First photo is of Fred Cribbins himself.)



Craig Walker contributed these two photos of  MJ (Deb) Crowley. (The fireman pictured from the first inaugural run of the Daylight. - See the first photo on this page)   He's seen here climbing out of the cab for the last time (before retirement), after bringing Amtrak's #1 "Sunset Limited" into Los Angeles (he picked it up in Yuma, AZ) on 3/31/74.  The photo was taken in Taylor Yard, where the power was taken after being cut off the train.  Deb was popular with local railfans, as he was almost always willing to give cab rides.  (Thanks to Craig for the very special pictures and write-up.)


Other Daylight and photo contributor websites:



How about some other engines numbered 4449?  In the first two pictures, BNSF Dash - 9 #4449 was selected to provide backup assistance on one of the Daylight's runs over BNSF's line.  As I understand it, the Dash 9 was sporting a fresh new paint job for the run.



Additional Daylight Photo Galleries:


Daylight in Freedom Train color scheme photo page:

Daylight in 'War Baby' color scheme photo page:



Return to Rayman4449's home page.


Free Counters
Web Counter