‘No. 2479’ is Leaving San Jose for the East Bay

After attempts to find a permanent location in Santa Clara County,  former Southern Pacific locomotive No. 2479 and other rail artifacts will be relocated to Fremont, Niles Canyon Railway officials announced Monday.

For 20 years, the Pacific Locomotive Association, operators of the Niles Canyon Railway, supported the ideals of the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation. The corporation has been working to preserve legendary locomotive No. 2479, along with a round house, water tower and turntable once located on Lenzen Avenue in San Jose.

The boards of both organizations and Santa Clara County have agreed to move the historic locomotive and other artifacts to Niles Station at 37029 Mission Blvd. in Fremont. The steam locomotive it to run again through Niles Canyon.

The announcement came on the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Pacific Locomotive Association.

In 2019, No. 2479, which was owned by Santa Clara County, was on view at the Santa Clara County Fair, after volunteers cosmetically reassembled the locomotive, reinstalling the cab, piping and connecting the tender.  The drivers and boxes were reconditioned by Steam Services of America and appliances rebuilt by Shop Services.

In 1923, Southern Pacific received nine heavy 4-6-2 type steam locomotives rom the Baldwin Locomotive Works. These locomotives, including No. 2479, were designated the P-10 model.

They were designed to pull such trains as the "Overland Limited" between Sparks, Nevada and Ogden, Utah, at average speeds of 35 mph including stops, with road speeds of about 60 mph.

No. 2479 and its sister locomotives in the 4-6-2 class were reassigned to local passenger runs between Sacramento and Oakland and the San Francisco to San Jose commuter service. No. 2479 ended its service on these routes.



  1. For many years after its retirement, this locomotive became a fixture parked on a siding along Monterey Road outside of the fairgrounds. Imagine if how little of it would remain if it were still located there today.

    Unlike so many pieces of history that have been neglected to the point of oblivion, this one has survived. This valley is woefully in need of many more historic preservation success stories like this.

  2. For those who have not been there, Niles Canyon Railway is the best place for these items could end up. Good news all around.

  3. Does this mean, de facto, that they are giving up on the round house and the turntable? I haven’t heard anything about them in years.

  4. It sounds to me like those are both going to Niles as well. It’s the best place for them where they can actually be put back into use.

    I’m just glad the roundhouse, complete with turntable, was saved at all. I remember how badly cracked the brickwork was before the roundhouse was disassembled. One good shake and it would have been a pile of rubble, I’m pretty sure.

  5. I’m glad the locomotive has a good home. The Niles Canyon Railway is a nice thing, yes. Originally when it was abandoned I said it would be a great rec trail, paved an ideal bicycle time trial course for all ages or classes (with interesting curves and wind effect in the canyon, not some ordinary straighter course in the open). At least it’s used as the railroad it is, as the alternative. I only hope that Pleasanton isn’t 100% snooty sometime in the future (though not succumbing to decline as we start to see now in eastern Contra Costa County) and the rail line could be connected to Pleasanton and even run to Livermore if possible.

    And nobody made snide remarks with the steam locomotive about the state high speed rail project. That’s also remarkable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *