The locomotive was used for passenger service on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.
Following WWII, the C&O was determined to revive falling passenger numbers and the four locomotives were designed to handle connecting services to the Chessie, a proposed new luxury service between Washington, DC, and Cincinnati, OH, to replace the George Washington.
Four (#490-#493) were fitted with the yellow streamlining, which earned the rebuilt locomotives the somewhat unendearing nickname of "Yellowbellies"; but these were major rebuilds and only the outer boiler shell was retained from the older locomotives. 490 was one of five rebuilt as L1 class Hudson (4-6-4) types at the C&O's Huntington, WV, workshops in 1946.
The first two L1s were retired in 1953, and the second two followed in 1955. Three of the four streamlined locomotives were then scrapped, leaving #490 the sole survivor and the only surviving streamlined Hudson type. It was one of the last two of the class to retire.
It can still be seen today on static display at the B&O Railroad Museum. The locomotive has been on display since 1971 after it was given to the museum by the C&O, who found a new home for its Historical Collection.
- This is the only surviving streamlined Hudson and a beautiful example of a yellow steam locomotive.