Southern Pacific No. 1 CP Huntington

This diminutive steam locomotive was built for the Central Pacific Railroad by Danforth, Cooke & Company of Paterson, New Jersey in 1863. Shipped from New York around Cape Horn, it arrived in San Francisco, March 19, 1864, on board the "Mary Robinson." The railroad wanted to purchase a larger engine but because of the Civil War, the C. P. Huntington and its sister engine, the "T. D. Judah" were the only ones available. The C. P. Huntington (No. 3 of the Central Pacific) was used in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. In February 1871 it was transferred to the newly reorganized Southern Pacific Railroad and renumbered No. 1 (replacing an earlier locomotive). It pulled local passenger trains on the Southern Pacific line between San Francisco, San Jose and Hollister, and was also used on maintenance and construction trains. The locomotive was involved in a head-on collision in 1872 that nearly destroyed it, but was rebuilt in 1875 at the Southern Pacific San Francisco Shops.  The C.P. Huntington finished its working career as a weed burner, clearing the track in the 1890s, and was officially retired in 1900. 

From 1894 on the C. P. Huntington became a symbol of Southern Pacific and was widely known from its many appearances in station openings and other railroad-related celebrations. Among its more notable appearances were those at the following events:

1892 Sacramento: part of California State Fair display by Southern Pacific
1894 San Francisco: California Mid-Winter International Exposition
1915 San Francisco: Panama-Pacific International Exposition
1922 Sacramento: Days of '49
1922 Sacramento: California State Fair
1925 Truckee, and Dodge Flat near Wadsworth, Nevada: Filming movie The Iron Horse
1926 Sacramento: Dedication of new Sacramento depot
1930 Opening of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge
1934 Chicago Railroad Fair
1936 New Orleans: Opening of the Huey P. Long Bridge
1939 Los Angeles: Opening of the Union Passenger Terminal (last time operated)
1955 Sacramento: Southern Pacific Centennial Celebration
1958 Sacramento: Salute to Steam Age
1969 Sacramento: Gold Spike Centennial Celebration


Southern Pacific donated the engine to the State of California in 1964. The C. P. Huntington was placed on display at the old state fairgrounds on Stockton Boulevard, in Sacramento, where it remained until a 1970 refurbishing at Southern Pacific's Sacramento Shops. In 1979 it was placed in the reconstructed Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station in Old Sacramento.

The locomotive entered the Museum's restoration facility in 1980. Over the years the C. P. Huntington has undergone many rebuildings. A return to its as-built state would have required replacing most of the current components, including the boiler. Therefore the Museum decided to restore the locomotive to its November 1914 appearance when it was refurbished for display at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The complex, artistic gold leaf striping on the C. P. Huntington is similar to that seen on other nineteenth-century steam locomotives.

The C.P. Huntington is significant nationally as a rare single-drivered locomotive, and the sole surviving standard-gauge 4-2-4 in the U.S. The unique engine is the second oldest locomotive owned by the California State Railroad Museum and is depicted prominently on the Museum's logo.