SP/SSW The 10 essential Southern Pacific locomotive models

SteamDonkey74 Jun 23, 2009

  1. thebig0

    thebig0 TrainBoard Member

    :thumbs_up: Depending on what year you model in and service type (freight/passenger) for me they would be all Alco PA/PB's.

    :tb-biggrin: Your can choose the Daylight, Blood Nose or Black Widow scheme.
  2. TWhite

    TWhite TrainBoard Member

    I'd certainly go with the PA/PB's as far as diesels. The original "Daylight" scheme was just MEANT for the lines of those handsome Alco's.

    And include the 'Tunnel Motors'. Not a diesel fan that much, but those babies looked incredible hauling a freight over Donner Pass. Wow!

    Primarily growing up with SP steam in Northern California, I'd probably go for these:

    Any of the MT class 4-8-2's
    Definitely the GS series 4-8-4's
    The MC-2's, first cab-forward 2-8-8-2's
    The AC-6, the true 'transitional' 4-8-8-2 that led from the AC-4/5 to the later tremenduous AC-8-12 series. And yes, I'd include the AC-9 2-8-8-4, especially having watched them on the Modoc Line. Holy Cow, those were HANDSOME locos!
    The 'Decks'--those handsome, and ubiquotous 2-10-2's, they were all over the place!
    The "Valley Mallet" 2-6-0's
    Any of the 2-8-0's
    Any of the MK 2-8-2's
    And definitely, any of the classes of 4-6-2's, about the prettiest Pacifics ever built for any railroad.

    Tom :tb-biggrin:
  3. bnsf971

    bnsf971 TrainBoard Member

    Tunnel Motor
    AC series
    GS series
    MT series
    Train Master
    2400 series 4-6-2
  4. Nick Lorusso

    Nick Lorusso TrainBoard Member

    Diesles In the 50's

    10) GP9
    9) E7/8/9
    8) EMD Switchers
    7) RS11
    6) PA/B
    5) F7a/b
    4) RSD5
    3) Alco Switchers
    2) RDC1#10
    1) SD7/9
  5. wigwagfan

    wigwagfan New Member

    Top Ten Diesels in the 1990s (in no particular order):

    EMD GP9 (340 units rostered, 247 lettered for SP in freight service, 59 lettered for SP and numbered for T&NO in freight service, 8 lettered for SP in passenger service, 14 lettered for SP in T&NO numbers in passenger service. 293 units rebuilt, with 24 units never rebuilt and continued service in the '90s.)
    EMD GP60 (195 units rostered, 100 lettered for SP)
    EMD SD9 (150 units rostered, 144 rebuilt to SD9E)
    MK SD40M-2 (133 units rostered)
    EMD SD40T-2 (239 units rostered, 229 lettered for SP)
    EMD SD45 (356 units rostered, 317 lettered for SP. 167 units rebuilt to SD45R)
    EMD SD45T-2 (248 units rostered, 164 lettered for SP. 126 units rebuilt to SD45T-2R)
    EMD SW1500 (240 units rostered, 204 lettered for SP)
    GE Dash 9-44CW (101 units rostered)
    GE AC4400CW (279 units rostered, and first units to be numbered in lower than 4-digit numbers in many years)

    The EMD GP35 could make an honorable mention (The only time I saw them in Oregon is when Willamette Valley RR purchased three ex-SP units, and all three are still in service with either WVRD or AERC) and so could the GP40-2. The remaining locomotives on SP's roster numbered less than 100 units (and many models far lower than that and were more oddball units, although notable for being on the SP) and not a "top" unit. Many of those oddballs were purchased for specific services - like SP's 25 SD70Ms in dedicated I-5 corridor service, or West Colton's SD38-2s, or the Commute GP40P-2s.
  6. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    My top 10 Espee locos?
    In no particular order:
    Tunnel Motors (either model)
    Krauss-Maffei Hyrdos (so unique, period!)

    They are all so inherent to any SP era, most EP fans would want to roster all of these, as they gave SP so much of their identity. Whether Covered Wagons over Donner, Cadillacs hauling forest products in Northern Cali, Cab Forwards hauling produce block, Tunnel Motors and other second-gen EMDs slugging it out over the Siskiyous, factory-fresh ACeez muscling heavy coal loads over Tennessee Pass in its twillight, or Daylight livery PA's hauling the Shasta Daylight, they are all so stereotypical of the SP. Add a heavy dose of grime, and viola!
  7. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    Nice thread!

    I converted to N scale three years ago and sold off most of my HO scale collection and accessories (still in the process). But, with the same sentiment of this thread in mind I decided to hold on to a few locos for keepsake, which includes an Athearn BB SP SD40T-2, a SW1500 and a GP38-2.

    RAILBLAZER TrainBoard Member

    I'd say my Top Ten would have to be as follows:

    GP38-2 (4800-4844 ONLY)
    SD40M-2 (All styles)

    It's hard to chose only ten...so many cool units!
  9. Akita

    Akita New Member

    Wow, my first post on the forum, finally. (Been lurking forever...). A list of the the top ten should be split between 'top ten steam' and 'top ten diesel' to be fair. Steam has been well covered but I think Espee diesels list should reflect the iconic units that dieselized the road (F-units, SD-7/9s, PAs, those baldwin road switchers and all those yard switchers from every maker under the sun) and those that carried the flag thruout the remaining years of independance. SP only survived about 30 or so years after second-generation diesels arrived on line (GP20s, U25Bs, Alco Centuries, et...).

    To me the list looks like this:
    1. SD45T-2 (DRGW had SD40T-2s so these were not so iconic.)
    2. SD45 (Largest fleet in the land. Only SP had the balls to replace covered wagons
    with 20-cyl. growlers.)
    (The more than 600 20-cyl. road machines represented by #1 and #2 were unique
    in American railroading in commitment to this class of power and screamed "SP"
    anywhere they went.
    3. SD-7/9 (Again, the largest fleet in the land. Cadillacs were front line power in
    Oregon into the nineties.)
    4. Alco PAs in Daylight paint--no explanation needed.
    5. Black Widow Fs with ice breaker bars and that classy medallion on the nose--
    (preferably crawling upgrade on Donner in multi-unit lashups.
    6. SW1500s (more than anyone else and enough lights--front and rear--to be a
    7. Peninsula commute service Train Masters. (not, btw, "Trainmasters").
    8. Those Alligators than infested Espees south lands, (and Eugene for some reason.)
    9. The little fleet of Donner snow service Geep-38s with all the snow fighting bells
    and whistles.
    10. The Baldwin As-series road switchers that helped dieselize northern California and

    Just my opinion.
  10. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter


    Welcome to TrainBoard!
  11. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Yes, welcome!

  12. Nick Lorusso

    Nick Lorusso TrainBoard Member

    Akita, welcome to train board. Great list.
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome Akita,

    I did not see this thread before, so I'll answer now.
    It all turns on how you define essential and really how much you know. I'm going to approach it from the 10,000ft level of someone who loves trains, but isn't particularly immersed in the history of the SP.

    1: The 4-4-0 Jupiter. The locomotive that symbolically started it all with it's flared stack and name. This loco is the Central Pacific and thus the Southern Pacific

    2: AC-12 Cab forward. Sure there are other models, you could say the entire group of them. You could claim the first unit so converted, but that all misses the point. from the 10,000' level, I say Cab Forward, you say AC-12.

    3: GS-4 daylight. Again, you could make the claim that all of the GS models deserve the designation, but in reality, at the broad level, in the year 2010, it's the GS-4. Heck, you could make the case that ONLY the 4449 be included here.

    4: Black Widow painted Fs and GP9s. Sure, it's a paint scheme, not a specific model, but I think these are the 2 types of units that really are synonymous with the scheme.

    5: SD caddys. There can be no doubt that the SD9s were possibly the most associated 1st gen unit with the SP and a few are still plying SP rails.

    6: Bay Area commuter Train Masters. The Bay area commuter service is somehow quintessentially SP in it's uniqueness.

    7: SD45

    8: Tunnel motors. Sure the Rio Grande had them, but they're an afterthought compared to the SP when talking tunnel motors. For the better part of 20 years, the Quintessential SP scene is a large consist of Tunnel motors and 45s with maybe an SD40 in there for kicks. With Lark gray and bloody noses. And lets not forget the L shaped windows.

    9: AC4400s. The last breath of the SP. You can include the SD70s here too, but really its the AC4400s that really represented the new SP/Rio Grande power prior to UP merger.

    10: Donner Pass snowfighting GP38-2s. This was a hard one. I wanted to include the Hydraulic units or the Popsicles or something else to represent SP's willingness to experiement, but really, from the 10,000' level, quintessential SP is Donner and anything that ran on it. So the snowfighting units win out.

    Just one note I very intentionally did not include the PAs. For 2 reasons.
    1: I actually don't much care for the PAs in any scheme. I don't hate them, but I'm not a fan either.
    2: even if I liked PAs in general, the GS-4 is the quintessential Daylight Scheme engine. The PAs are not. the GS-4 wears the scheme better than the PA could ever dream of and lets face it, thanks in no small part to the 4449, the Daylight scheme is the GS-4 scheme first and foremost.
  14. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    Them's fightin' words, there, YoHo.

  15. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    I know I know. It makes me a bad railfan I know, but to me its like this
    PA:F/Eunit::Bizarro Superman:Superman.
    It's like they took the lines of the EMD units and made them more boxy.

    And again, its not that I think they're ugly...They don't belong on the ugly list. They just aren't all that pretty to me either.
    I'm not a fan of them in Santa Fe Warbonnet either which is one of those things that I'm supposed to like. It's on the questionnaire when you sign up to be a railfan. Do you like PAs in Warbonnet Yes or Yes? Do you like PAs in Daylight Yes or Yes?

    And again, for SP they will always play second daylight fiddle to the GS-4.
  16. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Now the DL-109 (and variants)
    There's an Alco Passenger Diesel I like.
  17. Wings & Strings

    Wings & Strings TrainBoard Member

    I'm surprised most people here mention giant behemoths like the cab-forwards, tunnel motors, SD-9's and GS-4's. How 'bout the little man? M-class moguls, C-class consolidations, and T-class tenwheelers served faithfully until 1958 or so, many outliving the GS's and AC's on branchlines and subsidiaries. It could be that I have a bias, modeling the SD&AE subsidiary of the SP, where weight restrictions and tight curves limited motive power to 2-8-0's and 4-6-0's, but still...essential workhorses nonetheless...
  18. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    I get the affinity for those units, but its hard to pick one class out and again, fromt he 10,000 level of a general railfan, those just don't scream SP the way a Cab forward or GS-4 does.
  19. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter


    Give us your list, if you would.

  20. Wings & Strings

    Wings & Strings TrainBoard Member

    Well, here's my SP essential steam list (I have no association with diesels except for two as-616's which ran on the SD&AE) In no particular order...

    C-9 2-8-0

    T-31 4-6-0

    MT-4 4-8-2

    GS-4 4-8-4

    AC-12 4-8-8-4 (GREAT. now I look hypocritical.)

    SP-class 4-10-2

    M-6 2-6-0

    CP Huntington 4-2-4 (if it was the first SP engine ever, that's gotta mean something)

    TW-class 4-8-0

    P-class 4-6-2

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