Southern Pacific 2954 and 2958 are RSD-12 locomotives built by Alco of Schenectady, New York . RSD-12's used a 12-cylinder 251B prime mover producing 1800 horsepower, powering 6 traction motors. This class of engine spent the majority of its SP career working in local freight and switching service.
SP's RSD-12 purchase was the direct result of the company's dissatisfaction with the performance and reliability of its fleet of Alco RSD-5 locomotives and their 244 series engines. With Alco unable to offer any real solutions to improve the 244 engine, and despite the fact that SP's oldest RSD-5's were only about seven years old, SP and Alco struck an agreement to trade in 21 RSD-5 locomotives for credit towards the purchase of 21 RSD-12s. While powered with the newer and much more reliable 251series engine, SP's RSD-12's contained some components from the traded-in RSD 5's such as the six wheel "tri-mount" trucks.
2954 and 2958 were built as SP 7004 and 7008, respectively, in February 1961 (Alco construction numbers 83644 and 83838). In 1965 the 7004 was renumbered to 2954 and the 7008 was renumbered 2958. In January 1975 both units were sold to the Oregon , California & Eastern Railroad located near Klamath Falls , Oregon . Due to their poor mechanical condition, OC&E returned both locomotives to SP in November of 1975. In 1976, SP rebuilt both locomotives at its Taylor Shops in Los Angeles. Wearing a fresh coat of SP's gray and red paint, the two locomotives spent a brief time operating in and around SP's major yards in the Southern California area.
A downturn in business soon sent both locomotives into storage, and in August of 1978, they were sold to used locomotive dealer Chrome Crankshaft. By 1982 the two units had been sold to Metropolitan Stevedore for use at their bulk commodities terminal in the Los Angeles Harbor. M-S painted the units in a yellow, dark blue and white paint scheme and renumbered the 2954 and 2958 as its No. 2 and No. 1, respectively.
In July 1996, Metropolitan Stevedore purchased two replacement locomotives and donated the former 2954 and 2958 to the Museum. Following extensive preparations, the two locomotives where shipped to the Museum on their own wheels, returning first to Taylor Shops one last time for wheel work.