Southern Pacific Lines

Coast Line Division 

“The Route of the Octopus”



  1. This goes back to the basic S.P. adage, when modeling a specific locomotive it is always safer to model from a photograph. Even into the diesel age, the S.P. had this wonderful habit of switching details and paint jobs around. It's generally safer to pick a fairly narrow time band and then start finding photos from that period for reference.

  2. Pat LaTorres

Espee Diesel Locomotive Nicknames

    Also see:                                              

Diesel Locomotive Classifications

  1. From the SP timetable #5 for the LA and San Joaquin Divisions, dated Sunday, April 29, 1984.

  2. James Harness

  3. "EF"  = Electromotive Freight Locomotive

  4. "GF" = General Electric Freight Locomotive

  5.     Loco# / Classification

  6.     8800-9156 EF636    SD45 including the tunnel motors    EF locomotive with 6 powered axles and 3600 horsepower.

  7.     9157-9404 EF636                                                            

  8.     7300-7399 EF630    SD40 including the tunnel motors  

  9.     4300-4451 EF618    SD9                                                 

  10.     7600-7677 EF430    GP40                                                EF locomotive with 4 powered axles and 3000 horsepower.

  11.     3301-3886 EF418    GP9                                                 

  12.     2450-2759 ES415    SW1500                                          

                         GF425                                                             GE locomotive with 4 powered axles and 2500 horsepower.


  1. This link provides everything you need to know about SP diesel locomotive classifications. 1980s or otherwise. 


  3. Elizabeth Allen

Diesel Replacement

  1. The first SW1500's were delivered in 1967. They replaced SW1200s at Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor, which had in their turn replaced Baldwin S-12 units.

  2. Joe Strapac

Sacramento Locomotive Rebuild Programs   (by Don Strack)

Locomotive Classification

  1. Southern Pacific had always used a classification system to describe its locomotives in internal documents (that's what those small characters stenciled on cab sides below the locomotive number represent).


  1. Up until 1965, the class designation itself told little about the locomotive; a class DF-113 was a T&NO Baldwin and a DF-114 was a Pacific Lines SD7, for example.


  1. Beginning in 1965, however, SP implemented a highly descriptive classification system that provided accurate descriptions of each locomotive. That classification system from 1965 served the railroad right through to its last days in 1996. The following table breaks the system down into its basic elements (using an SSW SD45 as an example).

  2. Joe Strapac


  1. In 1970, SP pulled a surprise and began upgrading diesels, beginning with older GP9 and SD9 units. They emerged from the shop virtually unchanged in primary features and were given new numbers in the order of their release dates. SP assigned new class designations (in internal publications and stenciled inside the cab) with the “E” suffix. This was accounting shorthand for the fact that the locomotives had been sold to subsidiary Southern Pacific Equipment Company and leased back. All SP rosters of the time showed these classes as locomotives emerged. Your humble servant, at that time not that well in touch with the nationwide diesel fan movement (there were about five of us...) applied the label “GP9E” and “SD9E” in the old Southern Pacific Motive Power Annuals.

  2. Joe Strapac

  1. Fast forward a few years. SP decided to merge the SP Equipment Company into the parent SP and eliminate the leaseback accounting, but continue the physical upgrading. A new internal label was coined: “General Repair and Improvement Program,” or GRIP. Memos were issued and new class designations for subsequently released units carried the suffix “R.” The old “E” suffix continued to be used on older upgraded units.

  2. At the same time, the general consensus among the growing body of diesel locomotive historians was that a generic “R” should be applied to everyone’s rebuilt/upgraded locomotives. That suffix has become prevalent and I adopted it (those guys ganged up on me...) I may point out that the “E” was still in use on 1970s-era upgrade class designations for years after the “R” came into use.

  3. So both are good (as far as I understand it), depending upon the era and the particular locomotive in question.

  4. Joe Strapac


  1. The December 6, 1976 letter that introduced the GRIP rebuild program also included information about how the locomotive classification would be changed. Quoting the letter:

  2. Previous locomotive rehabilitation programs at Sacramento and Houston are being discontinued as such. Beginning next year selected unit will be shopped for a General Rehabilitation and Improvement Program.

  3. Classification of units under the future General Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (GRIP) will be as follows:

  4. •GP9 SP EF418 R1, 2, 3, 4 or 5

  5. •GP9 SSW EF418 CR1, 2, 3, 4 or 5

  6. •SD9 SP EF618 R1

  7. •GP20 SP EF420 R2

  8. •GP20 SSW EF420 CR2

  9. •SD35 SP EF620 R1

  10. •GP35 SP EF425 R1

  11. •GP35 SP EF425 CR1

  12. The units will be renumbered in accordance with instructions covering previous programs in order to maintain uniformity.

  13. The 'R' designation indicates that unit received the GRIP and future issues of the Locomotive Data Book will also reflect a new year built for such units, same as was done for units under our previous programs.


The change from 'E' to 'R' took place in January 1977, after 473 units had been completed.

SP Sacramento Rebuilds

  1. SP assigned serial numbers (and builder plates) to the locomotive rebuilds completed at Sacramento in 1970-1989. An example is SD7 1507 which reportedly had serial number 032, completed in September 1979.

  2. Don Strack

  1. Roster #1 thru #100 as below:

  2.     1            SP7400                          SD45R Plates

  3.     2-19       SP1512-1529                 SD7R Plates

  4.     20-22     SP4439-4441                 SD9E Plates

  5.     23-35     SP1530-1542                 SD7R Plates

  6.     36-40     SP7300-7304                 SD40R Plates

  7.     41-99     SP7305-SP7305-7363   SD40R NO Plates

  8.     100        SP7364                          SP40R Plate  Display SAC RR fair

  9. David A. Dallner 



                                                                                SP Trainline, Issue 91, Spring 2007


Diesel Horns

  1. In some cases, you'd need to know what horn a locomotive had in the time frame you're modeling it in order to get it right.

  1. Depending on your locomotives, SP airhorns range anywhere from Leslie A-200 Tyfons commonly found on EMD F-units, to Nathan M3 and P3 horns found on SD9s, GP9s, GP20s etc. Many passenger units were equipped with Nathan M5R24 five-chime airhorns. Diesel switchers with single horns often had a Leslie or Wabco single-chime horn.

Airhorns Prior to 1959

  1. Prior to 1959 SP locomotives came with Wabco E-2, Leslie A-200 single note horns and a variety of Nathan M3, M5, and P5 horns. About the only type of horn that SP did not have was the Leslie S5 horn although one did end up on SDP45#3205 for for a while.

  1. Nathan M5s and M3s dominated for awhile, but Nathan P5s were not uncommon on SP passenger power, particularly on the Coast Division. The M5 was a notorious user of air volume and pressure; the P5 used less volume.

  1. Leslie A-200 Tyfon single chime airhorn. Used on Espee's EMD F-units. 

  2. Rob Sarberenyi  

Airhorns After 1959

  1. Nathan P3R24 was the commonly ordered SP horn after 1959 until the last years when some locomotives came with Leslie S3 and Airchime K3 and K5 horns. The castings on the later P3's were different and produced a less pleasant sound.

  2. Karl Ragoza, a trainmen assigned to West Colton while the 5300 class SD39's were based there, managed to place a variety of different pleasant sounding horns on this class of locomotive.

  3. Leslie S-3s, S-5s, and Nathan M3, M5, P3, and P5 horns were used in addition to Airchime K horns.

  4. Jim Evans

  5. Five Chime Consultants

Nathan M5 air horn

  1. The 5892, 3422, 3010, 3191 had what was probably the most distinctive and best sounding Nathan M5 horn in the West. It is possible that unique M5 still survives somewhere because when #3191 was removed from commute service, the SP extra lights and horn were removed and the locomotive continued in freight service for with a Nathan P3 horn.

  2. Jim Evans

Nathan P3 air horn

  1. Most SP diesels from the 70s/80s/90s had Nathan P3 air horn. (SW1500, MP-15AC, ...)

  2. Their model numbers didn't have hyphens.

  3. Tony Thompson

  1. The standard SP P3 was the P3R24 which is a Nathan P3 with the #2 and #4 bells reversed. Over the years, they were installed in various orientations with the two bells facing forward or reversed. Nathan horns are commonly referred to now as old or new casting horns. (SP MP 15 AC's received new casting P3s.). Somewhere in the late 1970s the Nathan castings got changed. Although this was not apparent from seeing the horn, the sound quality suffered. Nathan horns are commonly referred to now as old or new casting horns.

  2. Jim Evans


  1. Get your hands on a copy of Issue No. 40 of the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society's (SPH&TS) excellent quarterly magazine Trainline. There's an excellent article by Carl Ragoza on airhorns the SP used.

  1. This website will be helpful to identify airhorns you see in photos when modeling.


  3. Rob Sarberenyi


Emergency Lights

  1. When there is an emergency brake application, the locomotive’s red signal light is activated. This is a given. EVERY UNIT IN THE LOCOMOTIVE CONSIST will NOT display a red emergency light after an emergency brake application. For a multiple lash up in an emergency, the red light only came on in the lead unit, but on both ends. The trailing units did not light up.

  2. William T. (Todd) Parr

  1. The changeable red "emergency air brake application" aspect were found on the PA's, E's and F's and the Train Masters too. That device on the diesels is a set of winglike vanes fitted with ruby glass panels mounted with spring catches to a center post in front of the oscillating mirror reflector dish. If the emergency brakes were applied, the vanes were auto-tripped and went from "invisible" (closed) position to flat across the reflector's face, thus making a red flashing beam. When the reset button was applied and the "big hole" application released, the red wings folded back automatically to invisible. Normally you wouldn't see the red flash except in very rare, short uses...unless one of the hoggers was running an F3 or early F7 in mountain duty/rear end pusher and nose out and using the automatic override on the red flash aspect as a hyper visible "marker lamp." Many SD9s and SD45s seen heading east across the Hill for miles on end from Roseville had the GyraLite red aspect flashing as a helper units "marker."

  2. Kevin Bunker

Oscillating Lights

  1. The Mars projected a figure 8, with the long axis horizontal. The Pyle Gyralite projected a circular pattern, partly to avoid patent infringement on the Mars product, which was created first. The earliest designs had the moving reflector, but later designs, notably the twin beam designs, had moving lamps. The rotating reflector required a stationary support for the lamp in front of the reflector, so a vertical bar was visible in front of the circular reflector. The mechanism for the Mars light was more complicated than the mechanism for the Gyralite. The SP lights on road switchers, were the moving lamp style with the twin beams.

  2. Les Brandt

Ashcan / trashcan / barrel lights

  1. Quite a few SP Switchers and Geep passenger units in the Bay Area came with these type lights, specifically:

  2.     Baldwin S-12

  3.     H12-44's         (#1486-1491) & (#1529-1538)

  4.     GP9's              (#5894-5895) & (#5600-5603)

  5. Steve Robinson

Modeling Ashcan / trashcan / barrel lights

Details West

  1. Details West offered barrel headlights in both bolted and hinged versions, p/n 235-108 and 235-109.


  1. There is a useful website devoted to both the Mars and Pyle-National Gyra lights, explaining the background and differences of both.                                                        

  2.                                                                           Mainline Modeler



  1. Removal began in 1961 for diesel units delivered with diaphragms.

  2. Tony Thompson

Train Indicators

  1. Before July 1967, they were NOT number boards, they were TRAIN INDICATORS. They became number boards when the rules requiring the display of train numbers in the indicators were annulled.

  1. Until 1967, the train number was to be displayed, including designated sections of a single, scheduled train. If an extra train, the train number was the number of the assigned lead locomotive prefixed by "X" so most often the number displayed would be the engine number with an "X" in front.

  2. If another engine had to be added ahead enroute, it would display the original X--- train number which then would NOT

  3. match the engine's number, as dispatch authority was based upon the original number.

  4. If the train were operating on trackage rights on another railroad, that railroad's rules applied.

  5. SP locomotives displayed train numbers in their indicator boxes until June 1967. Otherwise a pre-1967 scheduled train would display in its indicators the schedule number or, if an extra movement, the number of (usually) the lead locomotive, preceded by an X. The pre-1967 rules applied to both passenger and freight operations. Blank indicators (pre-1967) show a locomotive not assigned to any train. Indicators were put up as the train went to its assignment.

  1. Engines in yard service generally had no indicators, but it they had indicator boards, they were usually left blank, IIRC.



  1. After July 1967, they were NO longer TRAIN INDICATORS, but  number boards. They became number boards when the rules requiring the display of train numbers in the indicators were annulled. After 1967, number boards would permanently display the engine number except on the San Francisco-San Jose Commutes, which would still show train numbers, for the sake of passengers. When engines assigned to the Commutes were operated in freight service as a lead unit, they would display the engine number. (Commute trains continued this practice until Caltrain locomotives took over.)

  2. GP

  3. According to the rulebook, a locomotive actually moving as a train or light engine movement was supposed to display its authority in the indicator box, either as a scheduled train (1, 2, or 3 digit train number) or as an extra, where it displayed an “X” preceding the locomotive number as “extra such-and-such west or east.” They HAD to display one or the other to display their authority to operate outside of yard limits; conversely, just the locomotive number wouldn’t be good enough in days when this rule was in effect. A four-digit locomotive number displayed on a black widow FP7; wouldn’t be correct for the paint scheme’s time period.

  4. Joe Strapac

  5. And the rulebook and/or special instructions also provided that numbers were to be taken down from indicators upon arrival at destination and in any case no later than arrival at the roundhouse or service facility (usually specifics given in sub-rules of Rule 21 in SP rulebooks and special instructions).

  6. Tony Thompson

Modeling Numberboards

Details West

  1. Details West #136 will work on Espee style numberboards for NW2s, SW8s, SW900s, SW1200s, TR6s and other units so equipped.

  2. Rob Sarberenyi

Ice Breakers

  1. Some passenger F units got ice breakers. Most if not all of the Alco PA’s were applied for operation where ice cycles could damage passenger equipment like Donner and the Cascades. The SDP45s had them. Some snow fighting SD9s and later GP38s had them as well. The following engines had them too:

  2.         LA Passenger Pool F units.

  3.         F7s 6441, 6442, 6444,6445.

  4.         FP7s 6446 - 6461

  5.         T&NO F7s 351,352,354,355,356,357, 376 (Black Widow)

  6. Jim Evans


  1. The "Trainphone," provided radio communication between the yard tower and locomotives. That communication was one-way, that the engine crew could not talk back. Radio antenna was normally used by SP on hump locos. SP had them on many SD7s and Alco DL-701/RS-11 units, as well as the DL-600Bs when they were assigned to the Eugene hump. A few that were mounted on the roof of C 628 s.

Cal Scale

  1. Cal-Scale offers it as an HO scale brass part #190-391.


Window Snow/Ice Remover


  1. Plano has come out with the round snow/ice remover part that goes on the front windows. These were made for the GP 38 snow fighters. Plano Model Products #14639.




Tiger Stripe Scheme

  1. Switchers with orange stripes on the ends are in the earlier Tiger Stripe scheme. Tiger Strip side sill striping.  EMD switchers have the stripes angleing down toward the front.  All other builders angle up toward the front.  I've found about seven units that are exceptions to the rule, plus the SD7s since the short hood is the front:

  2. HH-660 1001-1003

  3. S-2 1350, 1354

  4. Several 44-toners

  5. All SD7s

  6. They're noted with photo sources about halfway down my spreadsheet:


  1. Robert Simpson

  2. I have in front of me photos of Baldwin and Alco switchers with side striping angling downward toward the back.

  3. Tony Thompson        

Paint Reference

  1.                                                                            SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg.

Black Widow Scheme

  1. The years the SouthernPacific used the Black Widow paint scheme.was from the late 1940's on 'F" Units to 1958 on all freight road power.

  2. The first units to be painted in Black Widow were the DEF-1 F3 sets received beginning June 1947.

  1. No low-nose units, no second-generation diesels came in black widow or were ever repainted thus during their SP years.

  2. Joe Strapac

  1. The following diesels had the Black Widow paint scheme:

  2. 10            17        30        42        58        69        75

  3. 101        179      183

  4. 611        613      630      631      632      633      634

  5. 724

  6. 1000    1002    1003    1015    1021    1022    1027    1028    1033    1044    1048    1068    1069    1075

  7. 1150

  8. 1312    1322    1323    1329    1373    1375

  9. 1400    1402    1415    1453    1454    1455    1457    1467    1488    1490    1492

  10. 1508    1511    1534    1562    1563

  11. 1730    1743

  12. 1902    1905

  13. 4611

  14. 4811

  15. 5213    5264    5272    5277    5295

  16. 5326    5327    5333

  17. 5495

  18. 5600    5601    5602    5603    5665

  19. 5738

  20. 5922

  21. 6001    6024    6039    6051

  22. 6152   

  23. 6263    6257

  24. 6342    6348    6351    6362    6371

  25. 8147 or 8247?    8240

Black Widow Scheme Reference

  1.                                                                           SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg. 50-55

Modeling Black Widow Scheme

  1. The trick was to paint the stripes slightly smaller than the Microscale decals and then decal over the painted stripes after shooting the final black coat of paint. Second choice was to apply a second set of decals over the first set. I would xerox the decals in order to get the correct ends for masking the stripes. Of course, either way, you still had to paint the "silver" nose. I think I used aluminum for the actual color.

  2. Lou Adler

  3. Tony Thompson’s article in the Winter 2001 SP Bulletin recommends Floquil R-144 Platinum Mist for the nose.

  4. Steve Haas

  5. After doing some reworking on Genesis Black Widow Fs, I touched up with Testors Metalizer aluminum non-buffing. It blended in very well. If you are going to give the locos some character by weathering the exact color of the fresh paint isn’t going to matter too much. The fineness of the finish will. I’ve found the smoothness and fine grain of a lacquer, like Metalizer aluminum, to be superior to what I see with enamels and much superior to metallic acrylics.

  6. J. Bright

Daylight Scheme

  1.                                                                           SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg. 47-48

Shasta Daylight Scheme

  1.                                                                           SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg. 44-46

Halloween Scheme

  1. Times were tough, and SP management decided that two colors were all they could afford--thus the infamous "Halloween" black-and-orange applied to a few dozen locomotives. There were well over 100 Halloween painted locos.

  1. At least 133 units were painted in the black and orange Halloween scheme between March 1957 and mid-1958. After that time the gray and red scheme became standard for both freight and passenger power. The black and orange schemes applied was an interim scheme.

  2. Rob Simpson

  1. The Halloween paint scheme as applied to diesel locomotives was black with solid orange ends, usually with solid orange side sills. Locomotives may or may not have a thin orange pin stripe on the upper side. Halloween was an interim scheme applied to switchers, road switchers, and cab units before grey & scarlet was adopted for use on all locomotives.

  2. Rob Simpson

  3. There were quite a few of the Tiger Stripe units with solid frame stripes. Conversely, the only unit with solid orange ends and a striped frame is TNO S-2 64.

  4. At least 150 Halloween painted units have been confirmed with photos. At least 15 more are likely.

  5. Robert Simpson

  6. The following units in Halloween paint verified by photos:

  7.     Train Master #4811

  8.     PA-2             #6024     with orange in the same shape as the later scarlet wings

  9.     PA-2             #6039     with the orange in a "bow wave" shape

  1. The following units in Halloween paint are not verified by photos:

  2. SW1             1015

  3. S-4               1562

  4. S-6               1048

  5. S-12             2126, 2140 (these are post-1965 numbers **)

  6. VO-1000     1323, 1375

  7. RSD-5         5295

  8. GP9             5600, 5601, 5603

  9. F7A              6257, 6263

  10. F9Am TNO   611, 613, 630, 632-634

  11. F9Bm TNO   724

  12. E7A              6000

  13. PA-2             6024

        No PA-1s or PB-1s are known to have been painted Halloween.

  1. The following were a bunch of switchers in solid orange trim.

  2. SW1            1015

  3. S-4               1562

  4. S-6               1033, 1034, 1045

  5. S-12             1506, 1511, 1547, 1550, 2124, 2125, 2133, 2142 (2126 was 1492; 2140 was 1508—I don’t have images of them)

  6. VO-1000     1323, 1324, 1329, 1374, 1375, 1380, 1382

  7. Joe Strapac

  1. These numbers got the solid frame stripe; most did NOT get solid orange hood ends.

  2.                          5103, 5106, 5108-5110, 5114, 5116-5117, 5119-5120.

  3. Joe Strapac

  1. A photo from Jim "Termite" Hasbrouck of SP 70-Ton 5109 in full Halloween, not solid stripe. This confirms that at least one 70-Ton engine was painted in Halloween.

  2. Scott Inman

  1. The following pre-1959 models with no known Halloween painted units:

  2. SW7                                                    FTA

  3. SW9                                                    FTB

  4. TR6A                                                  F3B

  5. TR6B                                                  FP7

  6. S-10 (608-NA version, SSW only)      E7B

  7. RS-3                                                    E8A

  8. RS-11                                                  PA-1

  9. DRS-6-4-1500                                    PB-1

  10. DRS-6-6-1500B

  11. AS-616B

  12. DT-6-6-2000

  13. GP7

  14. "Torpedo" passenger GP9s 5622-5625

  15. E7A 6000 and PA-2 6024. Supposedly both were painted black with orange in the same shape as the later scarlet wings like F3A 6152.

  16. Rob Simpson

  17. SP S4 1788 (nee-TNO 101) Houston, TX 12-26-71 - solid orange ends striped frame.


  19. Ralph Back

Interim Halloween Scheme

  1. The orange wings were applied in the interim Halloween scheme before they were adopted as part of the standard scarlet and gray scheme. After the orange no feathered scheme was tried on some F and E units, the adopted bloody nose feathered scheme was then chosen as the new standard. Photographic evidence shows that several freight F7As were painted with orange wings and some with the slanted orange taper off the nose.

  2. Scott Inman


  1. Sources include Richard Percy's site       http://espee., your books, and other sources.

Halloween Paint Reference

  1.                                                               SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg. 56, 57


Bloody Nose Scheme

  1. The years the Southern Pacific used the Bloody Nose paint scheme was after 1958.

  2. Scarlet is a shade of red with quite a bit of orange tint to it. It's definitely not a "fire truck red."

  3. On locomotives that are exposed a lot to the sun, the paint "chalks" (literally - it develops a white powder on it's surface due to oxidation of the pigment), giving a brighter appearance. This is appropriate for most switchers, and other units not operated in tunnels very much.                                       

  4. Units frequenting tunnels accumulate a lot of soot. This of course darkens the color, but the oils in the soot also protect the red pigment from oxidizing, forming the white chalk.

Bloody Nose Scheme Reference

  1.                                                                           SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg. 58-68

Modeling Bloody Nose Scheme

  1. For paint brand preference, let color drift panels be your guide. Start with a paint that matches the color drift panel, and then lighten it to account for both the size (a phenomenon called "scale lighting" by the finescale modeling community, concerning the aging of the paint.

  2. Star Brands paint have been matched to the color drift panels. The paints are available directly from either Hi-Tech Details or P-B-L. Tru-Color uses the same supplier, and thus should have the same paint matches, but are pre-thinned to airbrush ready consistency. These are the same formula as the old SMP Accu-paint line, which are noteworthy for being extremely thin and not hiding any detail (or mistakes!).

Golden State Paint Scheme

  1.                                                                           SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg. 42, 43

City of San Francisco Paint Scheme

  1.                                                                           SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg. 41

Kodachrome Paint Scheme

  1.                                                                           SP arinting & Lettering Guide, pg. 75, 76

Nose Wings

  1. Learn to mask and paint the wings. Start with putting down Scotch Magic Tape over the scarlet paint, and burnish it well. Use a pencil to lay out the stenciling. Trace around with an X-acto #10 blade to get the basic curve. Lay out the straight lines for the feathers, and then an angled line for the ends of gray "fingers" that form the feathers. Then a tight radius freehanded to match the top horizontal separation line with the part that goes across the hood. When satisfied with the lines, carefully trace over with a fresh razor or #11 blade. Burnish the tape again, and your ready to paint the gray. "Old school," but you’ll never have to worry about matching the red decal to the red paint.

  2. Arved Grass

Paint Reference

  1.                                                                            SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg.


  1. Richard Percy's Espee Modelers Archive has pages dedicated to the different SP paint schemes, although the Bloody Nose page seems to be in the works:                           

  2. Rob Simpson

  1. There’s an Excel spreadsheet of SP's uncommon diesel paint schemes in the Espee Files section:




  5. Espee diesel locomotive painting and lettering information appears in Joe Strapac's book:

  6. "Southern Pacific Diesel Locomotive Compendium, Volume 1, Pre-1965 SP Numbers, T&NO & Cotton Belt Subsidiary Roads",    

  7.        by Joseph A. Strapac

  8. Shade Tree Books, 2004

  9. ISBN # 0-930742-26-5

  1. Recommend searching paint color information found on this website, which lists most of the DuPont colors EMC/EMD used to paint locomotives                                     

Paint Reference

  1.                                                                            SP Painting & Lettering Guide, pg.


Stindt SP Diesel Photo Collection Prints

  1. The Pacific Coast Chapter of R&LHS holds an extensive black & white collection attributed to the late Fred Stindt. 5x8 and 8x10 high quality inkjet prints are available. The diesel collection covers 50 years, 1939 to 1991.

  2. The complete catalog of the Fred A. Stindt Collection of SOUTHERN PACIFIC and TEXAS & NEW ORLEANS diesel locomotive photos from the archives of the PACIFIC COAST CHAPTER / RAILWAY & LOOMOTIVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY is now available in “pdf” format on a compact disk. It is 129 pages in length. Over 95% are in black & white, a few in color. Quality of the images is quite high. Each listing shows the locomotive road number, SP class, builder type, right or left side view, location and date and a file number from which to order prints.

  3. The cost is $5.00. To order your copy, send Check or Money Order made payable to:


  5.     Stan Kistler

  6.     P O Box 977

  7.     Grass Valley CA 95945-0977

  8. Parties wishing to obtain prints should email me at >< for further information.

  9. Stan Kistler

Modeling Diesels

Screen Mesh

  1. Superfine mesh screen from an outfit here in L.A. that may be useful on a Train Master is called McMaster-Carr, they're a big industrial supplier. One of the products they carry is mesh screen - in MANY different grades, styles, and materials. Use on the FM or Tunnel Motors. Another application is for the screens on the engine compartments of PFE/SPFE mechanical reefers. Modeler Steve Orth showed how to use their wire screen for modeling T-2 intake grills in a recent series in RMJ. 


  3. Their site is                                                   

  4. Use the search function to look for woven wire cloth (their term for screen), then from there you can select the material (stainless steel), then from there you can browse through different grades, mesh, opening sizes, and wire diameters. Stainless steel wire, 40 openings per inch, 0.0065 diameter wire. A 12" x 12" sheet is only $7.30.  It is their Bolting Grade, part no. 9230T545.

  5. The mesh in H0 scale wants to be 37 strands per inch for the radiator fan grilles.

  6. The nearest standard brass mesh is 40 spi and 60 spi. This works out to a 2.175 inch mesh on the prototype. Chances are they may have used a 2.0 inch mesh, or 43 spi at HO scale. 40 spi would certainly be close enough at HO scale. Precision Scale has brass screen, but the coarsest is 60 mesh.

  7. 40 spi mesh is available here and is probably a re-pack. (email if you are stuck. They list it at NZ $4.50 for a sheet 100mm x 150mm (say 4 x 6 "). The wire is .010" and it needs reducing to .003 to .005" to look credible.

Casting to modify the nose headlight "cluster"

  1. When the SP started to remove the warning lights off their road units, "cosmetic surgery" was done to them so that the area above the headlight was filled in, talking about the plate over after that light is removed.

  2. Greg Markey

  3. The part was made by Sunrise Enterprises, and is no longer available. It's pretty easy to make yourself.

  4. Elizabeth Allen

  5. Train Shop or Roseville Hobbies or Bruces even the Whistle Stop all stocked the line.

  6. Jon Cure


  1. For accurate HO scale dimension of grabirons, cables, hoses, vents, stanchions, etc... see:

  2.                                                                                 Diesel Locomotive Data


  4. The information is gleaned from the Diesel Modelers' Mail List and the Freight Car Mail List and email contributors.

Southern Pacific Lines
S.P. Diesel Locomotives
General Info
Diesel Horns
Modeling Diesels

Photo courtesy of Brian Moore