Southern Pacific 2472 Excursion Canceled

Southern Pacific 4-6-2 2472 was expected to make a final run over Labor Day Weekend before being taken out of service for an overhaul, but that plan was derailed by structurally deficient bridges. Photo by Steve Barry. 

Southern Pacific 2472 Excursion Canceled

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

SCHELLVILLE, Calif. — The Golden Gate Railroad Museum announced this week that Southern Pacific 4-6-2 2472 would not be leading a series of excursions over Labor Day Weekend after the host, Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit, informed the non-profit that a recent inspection found that multiple bridges on the line were structurally deficient. 

The Golden Gate Railroad Museum said it was the second time in the last year that SMART had sidelined a potential run for 2472, which is about to be taken out of service for a 15-year overhaul. 

SP 2472 was built by Baldwin in 1921 and was used in passenger service until the 1950s. It was first restored to service in the 1990s and ran on excursions in the Bay Area. In the 2000s, it called the Niles Canyon Railway home before being moved to the Northwestern Pacific (which was later acquired by SMART) in early 2020. 

After some work on the locomotive, Golden Gate Railroad Museum had hoped to test run it in late 2021 or early 2022. The non-profit approached SMART about it and the agency said that if they inspected bridges they wanted to run that they could. Golden Gate hired bridge inspections and found that multiple spans were structurally deficient. Golden Gate then inquired about running in the other direction, but SMART denied that request because it was in the middle of taking over NWP. 

After that takeover was complete, SMART told Golden Gate that they could run excursions and the museum began preparing to run trips over Labor Day Weekend, the first major outing for 2472 since 2015. But then, SMART conducted another series of bridge inspections and found more issues. The agency told Golden Gate they would not be able to run any excursions on the NWP, despite the non-profit already having sold tickets for the trips. Full refunds are being given to those who purchased tickets. 

Golden Gate officials expressed frustration at the situation. 

“The Golden Gate Railroad Museum deeply regrets that these excursions cannot operate. Our volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that the train was ready to put on an excellent show for the many people who were coming from near and far to ride and experience this exciting piece of history,” the group wrote on Facebook. “As many of you know, Southern Pacific 2472 is nearing the end of its Federally mandated 15-year operating cycle. This was the last opportunity to show her off before the boiler expired. It is hard to say when 2472 will run again.”

The group does plan on firing up 2472 on September 4 and 5 for an open house. 

“It will not be as exciting as an actual excursion, but we hope that you will join us,” the group wrote. 

This article was posted on: August 24, 2022