Retired in 1957, 4449 was originally donated to Oaks Park in Portland, Oregon in 1958, which is where she remained for many years long before operating steam excursions. In December 1974, 4449 was eventually moved from Oaks Park to undergo restoration (overhaul) by a preservation society due to it being in poor condition, which greenlit 4449 a chance to haul steam excursions by large donations and votes from volunteers due to 4449 being in such excellent condition after being restored. From August 1975 to December 1976, 4449 began her new career by having shared duties with several other steam locomotives pulling the American Freedom Train throughout the U.S during the bicentennial anniversary celebrations.
4449 is currently preserved, and is still operational. She currently resides at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland along with many other preserved locomotives and rolling stock; aside from occasionally operating steam excursions; aside from having several doubleheader excursions with UP 844 recently in 2007 and 2008. Its top speed is 125 mph & its power output is 5,500 hp.
- 4449 was painted black with light gray lettering when it was first preserved and retired (like with most of the other members), but eventually restored to its original "Daylight" scheme after hauling the American Freedom Train during the 1970's.
- SP 4449 hasn't visited its original birthplace in over 40 years.
- Oddly, Union Pacific (UP) briefly renumbered 4449 to 845 and 844B during a "double-header" excursion with UP 844 back in 2007.
- Southern Pacific No. 4449 made an appearance in the 1986 film Tough Guys dressed as the Gold Coast Flyer with Doyle McCormack as the engineer in the film.
- A dummy of 4449 appeared in some of the scenes of the film.
- The bell and horn (seen in the upper-right front) have been repositioned many times on 4449.
- SP 4449 has been paired-up with other steam locomotives operating special steam excursions.
- SP 4449 also briefly wore a wood-burning smokestack.
- In 1977, 4449 pulled an Amtrak special, the Amtrak Transcontinental Steam Excursion. After nearly two years on the road, 4449 was returned to storage in Portland, this time under protective cover and not exposed to the elements.
- In 1995 it put on a grand performance pulling passenger and freight trains for the Portland & Western and Willamette & Pacific, two new shortline railroads When operating its tender relettered for the P&W and W&P.
- In 2000, 4449 was repainted black and silver for a Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee appreciation special; It was painted black and silver to mark that BNSF is a freight railroad and to commemorate the days of the 4449's and other GS locomotives assigned to freight, helper, or local passenger trains.
- In 2002 it hauled the Columbia-Deschutes Special while it was repainted into the American Freedom Train paint scheme again after the events of the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
- Although the American Freedom Train was pulled by 3 different steam engines the 4449 logged the most miles.
- As of early-2012, SP 4449 has been in the process of undergoing an overhaul is expected to return to service sometime during late 2014.
- On November 25, 2015, SP 4449 was fired up for the first time in 2 years and returned to service.
- SP 4449 was the first choice to pull the American Freedom Train but her restoration problems delayed her use so instead the Reading No. 2101 pull the train first before the 4449 was used to haul the train as the second choice.