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."
Starting in 1946, the Chesapeake & Ohio took five of its Class F-19 Pacific 4-6-2 locomotives and converted them into Class L-1 Hudsons. This rework was done in its Huntington Shops and was completed in 1947. All but one of the new L-1s were covered with a streamlined stainless steel cowl which was painted yellow and silver. The tenders were cased in fluted stainless steel and tapered at the top so they would blend exactly with the new Budd passenger cars. The "yellowbellies" as they were called by C&O crews were numbered 490 through 494