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Brooklyn Roundhouse

Brooklyn Roundhouse
The Brooklyn Roundhouse was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad to service and maintain steam locomotives in its Brooklyn Yard, which served as the northern-most terminus of the railroad. A much larger roundhouse was originally built of brick, and to meet demand during war time, the timber-frame structure was built next to it.

Eventually, the original brick Roundhouse was torn down, but the timber-frame version still exists as our temporary home for the steam locomotives. Southern Pacific, now Union Pacific railroads have done a lot for us as far as allowing us to maintain the locomotives, keeping them sheltered, and granting access to the main line for excursions. If it weren't for the railroad's long-term support, the steam locomotives would have no place to go other than being "stuffed and mounted" in a park like they did in the 50s.

We've occupied the Roundhouse on a month-to-month lease for over 25 years, solely for the purpose of restoring and maintaining historic rail equipment -- The time has come to build a new home, largely due to the expansion of the rail yard, inaccessibility to the public, crumbling Roundhouse with broken windows, leaky roof, and insecure location makes the steam locomotives prone to damage and theft. Once the locomotives are secure in a new facility, the idea of relocating and rebuilding the Roundhouse as a display center is one option being explored.
Panorama 1
Interior 1OR&N #197
Built in 1905 by Baldwin Locomotive Works as a 4-6-2 "Pacific" type locomotive for the E. H. Harriman rail empire that later merged into the Union Pacific, she's 79' long and, with 200 psi boiler pressure and 76" diameter drivers, is capable of sustained speeds of 80 mph.

This treasure of the early 20th Century era of steam locomotives arrived in Portland just in time for the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition, just 17 months before the Wright Brothers first flew at 9.8 mph, when Teddy Roosevelt was President and 3 years before Henry Ford rolled out his first Model T. She then went on to serve Portland commerce for over 50 years before retirement in the 1950s. Residing as only a display piece in Oaks Park like her sisters since 1958, in 1996 she was moved to the Brooklyn Roundhouse where she is undergoing restoration today

Tools & Machinery

Most of the tools and machinery are privately owned by individual volunteers, or were donated to the locomotive groups. The Roundhouse houses three steam locomotives, two of in working order, one being brought up to that standard, and they require parts that are no longer on the market today. With these tools, volunteers are able to fabricate their own bearings, pipes, brass to keep the steam locomotives chugging.
Panorama 2
Interior 2SP&S #700
Built in 1938 as a 4-8-4 Northern Pacific Class A design, she is close to 111' long, 10' wide and almost 17' tall. With locomotive and tender weighing almost 440 tons and a boiler pressure of 260 psi, her 77" diameter drivers can apply 5,000 horsepower to the rails and exceed 80 mph. It's oil fired, and features design specified roller bearings throughout which was quite advanced for the era.

This beautiful example of the latter years of steam locomotive development pulled the famous Empire Builder until that train was dieselized in 1947. She continued to faithfully provide passenger service from Portland up the Columbia River Gorge to Spokane until 1954. In 1945 she was honored to pull a "special" of United Nation Delegates.
Interior 3SP #4449
Built in 1941 as a 4-8-4 GS-4 "Northern" type locomotive, she is 110' long, 10' wide and 16' tall. With locomotive and tender weighing 433 tons and a boiler pressure of 300 psi, her eight 80" diameter drivers and unique firebox truck booster can apply 5,500 horsepower to the rails and exceed 100 mph. Retired to Oaks Park in 1958 for display only, in 1974 she was completely restored specifically to pull the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train throughout the United States to the delight of over 30 million people.

The only remaining operable "streamlined" steam locomotive of the Art Deco era, this grand Lady of the High Iron pulled Southern Pacific "Daylight" coaches from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the scenic Coast Route and then on to Portland until 1955. She is arguably one of the most beautiful locomotives ever built