SP 2472 was designed to haul passenger trains on the SP, and worked on the Overland Route from Ogden, Utah, to Oakland, California until 1940 when the 4-8-2 "Mountain" type locomotives took over.
After being replaced by the Mountains, No. 2472 and all the other Pacific locomotives were sent to work on Sacramento-Oakland passenger trains and San Francisco-San Jose commuter trains, along with occasional freight service.
The engine was withdrawn on February 7, 1957 when steam was giving way to diesel, and on April 10, 1959, 2472 was donated to San Mateo County, whose officials put the engine on static display at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds. The engine remained on static display until 1976 when a group of volunteers decided to restore the locomotive.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, 2472 pulled several excursions and Caltrain specials such as the "Toys for Tots", and double-headed on an excursion in 1992 during the NRHS Convention Special with Southern Pacific No. 4449. In September, 1992 the engine hauled the Pacific Limited excursion special, and "The Earth Train". On December 31, 2006, SP 2472 and the remaining pieces of GGRM rolling stock completed relocation to the Niles Canyon Railway located in Sunol, California, on the east side of San Francisco Bay.
From 2007 to 2015, the locomotive ran on the Niles Canyon Railway, before the GGRM left after finding a new home near Santa Cruz. Many railfans have hopes that the locomotive can operate on the Santa Cruz, Big Trees, and Pacific Railway to Felton, depending on whether the Mission Hill Tunnel (AKA Tunnel #6) has enough clearance.