The No. 490 was constructed by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) in 1926. As one of the five F-19 4-6-2 “Pacific” locomotives built for the C&O, the No. 490 was used on passenger trains on the mainline east of Charlottesville and west of Clifton Forge. In 1930, the No. 490 was assigned to the “Sportsman,” the premier C&O passenger train at the time. Later, the No. 490 was transferred to the “George Washington.” The No. 490 and other 4-6-2s operated between the Cincinnati and Washington route until 1942 when the C&O replaced the “Pacifics” with new heavy Baldwin 4-8-4. The No. 490 and other 4-6-2s continued to run as secondary passenger trains during World War II.
Shortly after the end of the war, the C&O decided to upgrade their passenger service. The C&O was primarily a coal-hauler and therefore wanted to improve steam locomotive technology. They developed a new luxury liner between Washington and Cincinnati named the “Chessie.” The new liner was to be powered by experimental steam-turbine-electric locomotives. In addition, the C&O’s Huntington shops rebuilt the No. 490 and the other 4-6-2s into 4-6-4 “Hudsons.” The new locomotives had roller bearings, front-end throttle, high-speed booster, cross counterbalance, and the Franklin system of steam distribution.
Due to the increased automobile production and the airline expansion that occurred after the war, the luxury Chessie passenger trains never ran. The rebuilt “Hudsons” instead hauled regular passenger trains until 1953. The No. 490 was stored in the Huntington Roundhouse until 1968 when it was moved to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. (from: The B&O Railroad Museum)