Friday, September 8, 2017

SP Pullman (Part1) HW 12-1 Sleepers

Those of you regularly following this blog, I've been rather busy during August 2017, so haven't had much time to work on any noticeable modeling progress.  In this n this post I'll cover a bit of work I decided to do reworking three of the Walthers 12-1 sleepers.  I'm working these cars for use in my models of various secondary SP passenger trains, primarily the Owl (Nos 57/58) in this case.   Warning - There is going to be a LOT of green painted cars in this post!


Pullman 'Coronado' 12-1 sleeper, circa 1948-1949 before repainting. - Walthers model

SP's 'Los Angeles' after repainting in 1949 for SP with Dark Olive Green paint. Walthers model

The Southern Pacific acquired a large number of Pullman sleepers on January 1, 1949, when the term had come due from the Supreme Court ruling on the anti-trust suit against Pullman Standard.  In the arrangement the Pullman Standard Company sold off all of their sleepers to the various railroads in a ratio as of the assignments in 1945.  Some shuffling and negotiating took place, some cars had special railroad fittings such as air conditioning units that made the cars more suitable for use on those railroads.  Santa Fe's use of steam-injector A/C systems for example.  Remaining unassigned cars from 1945 went to the new Pullman "Pool" (operating) Company, which was owned by the railroads contributing cars to the pool. - This is were many of the Pullman Company (PC reporting marks) pool cars for the Korean troop trains came from in addition to the RR's cars which were painted for them, but were leased into the Pullman Pool after 1949 as newer streamlined cars were bought by the RR's.

Acquiring Models

Available Model Choices


Many years ago I started my more serious passenger train modeling with a growing flock of Rivarossi 12-1 sleepers.

One of my original Rivarossi 12-1s, repainted in 2016-17, but still needs some detail upgrades and interior work.

Even though they had some issues with prototype proportions on the lower carsides, during the mid-1990s there wasn't much else out there in plastic.  New England Rail Service (NERS) was making conversion kits to turn a Rivarossi 12-1 into almost any other version of a Pullman HW sleeper, lounge, observation, solarium, cafe, tavern, club car or practically whatever you wanted to make.


In 2000's both Branchline (now Atlas) and Walthers tooled very accurate models of several versions of Pullman HW sleepers.  I picked up a couple of Pullman pool cars, but my main SP assigned and painted core cars were still Rivarossi until about 2011-2012.

Walthers out-of-box SP TTG Pullman sleeper.

Walthers has sold a RTR model in TTG, however for most SP Pullman sleepers were not painted in this color until the 1954 change to the General Service TTG paint scheme.  Even after 1954, many of the SP's HW sleepers stayed in the 1949 Dark Olive Green scheme until they're retired, even into the early 1960s in government storage.   Unfortunately Walthers has the idea that they should do all the HW SP cars in TTG, and all their LW cars in 1958 General Service silver and red so that trainsets will all match and look pretty.  Real life is much messier than that of course, so accurately modeling that takes some repainting of the models.


Recently in mid-2017 a friend handed me several Branchline SP and Pullman owned models to work on and use.  Here's a few photos them. - These cars have yet to be assigned a 'Shopping Schedule' as yet.

SP 'McVean' - Branchline decorated model, with some flaws in the paint that I need to fix.

SP 'Calafia' - Branchline decorated model, I'll probably be changing the car name as I know this name's taken already.

While the following car's wandering a bit off topic, it's a model of the Pullman 14-Section sleeper 'Overcot', which I cover briefly in the Modeling the Owl (Part1), as it was in the Owl's consist when the train derailed at Lerdo in 1947.  So not a bad car to have a model of if you're modeling the Owl!

Branchline decorated model of the Pullman 'Overcot'

Upgrading Models - (Round 1) - Circa 2011-2012

A few years ago, sometime around 2012 or so when I started rebuilding and refinishing my passenger car fleet, mostly to get rid of the Floquil Pullman Green and incorrect lettering font from the MicroScale SP HW decal sets.  I decided during that time to totally upgrade my SP fleet of Pullmans using StarBrand (1-STR-29) SP Dark Olive Green and Thinfilm HO-160 SP Passenger Deluxe Gold (Yellow) lettering decals.  I generally use the MicroScale 87- UP Assigned Tourist Sleepers for doing my Rivarossi conversions to Tourist cars, which I'll cover another time.  For modelers wanting to know more about my search for the right color for SP passenger cars, you can see it on my What Color is SP Dark Olive? blog page.

My fleet upgrades came about in 2011-2012 came about with the acquisition of a number of Walthers R-T-R (but mechanically upgraded) models at about 50% off from certain LHS's succumbing to the ravages of the 2008 depression.  I was able to get about a dozen 12-1s, 14-section, and various other cars at a good price.  I knew I needed only about three 12-1s painted for Southern Pacific.  I also knew that most of the SP's 12-1s didn't get TTG until after my modeling era of 1949-1953, which I wanted to finish these cars for, so the actual paint scheme didn't matter much.

Reassigning the Older Models

My six or so older Rivarossi models, which were a mix of TTG and a couple more in various incorrect shades of green were all going to be repainted and decalled for Pullman 13-section Tourist sleepers.

Pullman Tourist Car 1148 (PC TC1148) ex-12-1 sleeper repainted from a Rivarossi model

Many older 12-1s were reassigned as Tourist cars during WWII and into Korea.  As my modeling era would cover most of Korea, I certainly would be able to find a use for a bunch of 12-1s converted to 13-section cars and some 14 and 16-section cars made from the new Walthers models.  I will cover the rebuilding and upgrading of the Rivarossi 12-1s, and Walthers 14-Section sleepers in another post.

Upgrading the Walthers cars

Pullman 'Coronado' in Pool Scheme colors and lettering.

The new Walthers 12-1s received a new coat of StarBrand (1-STR-29) SP Dark Olive Green paint.  The Pullman lettered cars were relettered as the SP had time and painted in the standard Dark Olive Green, which is slightly 'warmer' and more brownish than the Pullman Green, which is darker and 'cooler' in color. First to be repainted obviously were cars for premier trains like the Lark, Golden State, and Overland/CoSF pool cars.  Regularly used heavyweight cars, like the 12-1s seem to have been repainted over about a year, so by 1950-51 the SP owned cars would have been repainted.  In recent years I've picked up a spare Walthers 12-1 with Pullman lettering for Pool service, so that one will be one of the 'floating' cars that hasn't been repainted.

'Los Angeles' before 2017 upgrades.

'Juana' before 2017 upgrades.

'Serra' before 2017 upgrades.

The three car names I chose for the SP 12-1s are 'Los Angeles', 'Serra', and 'Juana'.  I liked these names because they're not offered by Branchline and are not already modeled at any of the model railroad clubs I operate at.  Photos of the 'Los Angeles' in April 1956 show it still painted in Dark Olive Green (page 191, SPH&TS Passenger Cars Vol.2), along with the 'Juana' (page 193) in November 1961 and 'Serra' (page 192) in February 1956.  This was another reason to redecal all my old Rivarossi models.  Most of their names were already used in the circles I run in.  The Pullman lettered car is the 'Coronado'.

Upgrading Models -  (Round 2) - Circa 2017 

In the first round of decalling after painting in 2012, I didn't have enough of the 'good' decal sets to do these sleepers.  Now finally in 2017 I have a couple of sets I can use to redecal the models again.  This comes back around to my post last year on correcting mistakes, or generally upgrading the quality of our models when we know we can do better and are annoyed enough looking at the problems with the first, or second tries.

Here's SP 'Juana' with the incorrect MicroScale font decals before the 2017 upgrades.

Here we see SP 'Serra' without the letterboard decals.

Here's SP 'Los Angeles' looking MUCH better with the new Thinfilm letterboard decals applied.

New decals are applied.  I once heard a trick for getting the light colored decals to show better on dark car bodies, using doubled up the decals for the lettering.  I noticed that the original name decals seemed too dark and didn't really 'pop' enough to my eye.  I have many extra names and reporting mark numbers from doing many customer's cars, so these three cars have double decals for their names.  It was surprisingly easy to align the decals over the top of the older ones.  Although. careful application of MicroSol was needed not to bump and misalign the second layer of decals!

The next step in decalling is to add the small 'PULLMAN' lettering next to each door on the letterboard.  All three of these cars have that lettering in the reference photos.

Interior Upgrades

Here's the SP 2337 Chair car with the new safety handrails upgrade installed.

The interiors of these cars receive my standard modifications of brass safety handrail inside the isle windows and window shades will improve the look of these cars.  About 3 months ago a friend mentioned that I was using the incorrect color window shades... so I'll be again upgrading the fleet with more correct color (darker gray-green) window shades.


Here's SP 'Serra' on the rear of an eastbound train at Bakersfield with the OwlMtModels Marker installed.

The 12-1s often were used on the rear of the Owl, so at least two of these cars have OwlMtModels 10002 Pyle Gyralite Markers and Tailgates installed with the provided red LEDs for rear end service.  These markers were installed in the cars when I put them into service originally in 2012.  During the 2017 upgrades I'll be checking over the pickups, possibly upgrading them with OwlMtModels' new pickup system for Walthers trucked cars (soon to be released) and making sure the marker lights are still working properly.

Another Project... 

SP 'Prior Lake' (10-1-1) sleeper as it sits in early Sept, 2017.  SP only had two of this type, both assigned to the Owl.

The same upgrades are also being done at this time on SP 'Prior Lake', which is a Walthers kitbash of a 10-1-1 HW Pullman sleeper, which I'll probably cover some in its own post separately. - Of course, like all things, I'm just finishing this car and Atlas announces they're planning to release the Branchline 10-1-1 models.  I'll still finish this model as it's already 90% done.

or Two...

Walthers 'stand-in' model for SP's 'Mission Dolores' 8-BDR-Lounge (Solarium) used on the Owl.

One other car that will get some similar upgrades at some point soon is this stand-in model for the SP 'Mission Dolores'.  The SP owned two of these 'Mission'-series cars (the other being the 'Mission Santa Ynez', which were assigned to the Owl for many years.  The model right now is a stock Walthers Solarium-Observation (with Microscale decals and an extra ThinFilm decal name applied) which is the correct car type, but the details of the sleeping rooms isn't right some of the isle windows are wrong, the lounge is a bit too long, and also the vestibule doors were modified and one was closed over by the era I model, so all of that should be addressed as well.  The car needs the upgraded decals as well, which I am not willing to do until the 'surgery' for the car side modifications is out of the way.

Edit: BTW, yes, Kevin Bunler's correct.  I know 'Delores' is the wrong way to spell the car name... The ThinFilm decal set had it that way on the sheet! and I didn't catch it before decalling the car.  (oops!)  Yet another thing to fix when I rebuilt the car and repaint it.... Again.  --- Although, who knows... maybe the Walthers model is correct for "SP's Mission Delores" - a proto-freelance car! <grin>

This car will be it's own build-upgrade blog at some point in the future.

In Closing

This pretty well sums where these cars are at in early September 2017, I'll take more pictures as progress continues.  Hopefully this will again encourage those of you out there that have cars that you want to upgrade because you know aren't right and your newer skills or access to better modeling supplies.  I hope this will show that it's not too hard to take an older model and rework it again.

Jason Hill

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

UP 3067 from Walthers 70ft Baggage

I was asked to finish a Walthers UP 70ft arch-roof baggage as a stand-in model, as the UP didn't have 70ft arch-roof baggage cars as far as I know.  Walthers is also offering these models painted for SP in gray, however SP's 70ft baggages with arch-roofs had two 7ft doors per side and don't really look like the Walthers model from 3-5ft away.

Right side of finished UP 3067 - Walthers Arch-Roof 70ft Baggage

UP Prototype History

The UP did have 69ft arch-roof baggage cars which had their doors extend into the letterboard.  Some of which had larger doors fitted to increase the left-side doors to about 9ft opening with double 4'10" doors, with the right-side door still about 4'10".

The UP's passenger cars transitioned from a Dark Green/Olive to 'Western' Two-Tone Gray 'Overland' scheme (SP did not repaint their general baggage car fleet to TTG until 1954), and then standardizing to the Yellow and Harbor Mist Gray scheme.  These baggage cars went through these transitions too.  At some point during this time the cars had their side windows in the body plated over.

These cars are discussed briefly in SPH&TS Passenger Cars Vol.3 - Head End Cars on pgs. 292-294.


This car's pretty easy to modify, most of my adjustments are made to the trucks (as I do with all the Walthers trucks on my fleet).  The couplers are modified by simply drilling and tapping a 2-56 hole through the couplers which will hold them centered in the pivoting box for operations on large 40+" radius curves.

Modifications to couplers & removal of bolster pickups.

As with other Walthers passenger cars I work on, I removed the stamped steel pick-up plates from the bolsters.  This car will be serving in a storage-mail capacity and will not need lighting of any kind.

Bottom view of the finished car with touch-up gray paint on the screw heads.

One remaining optional modification can be adding strip lead down the centersill to help operation near the headend of a long train with brass cars.

The UP 69ft baggages were built with 'wooden' doors with many small panes of glass, the Walthers model is the 'modernized' version with ply-metal doors and thermo-pane windows.  I'm not sure when the UP cars were fitted with such windows.  They are shown with that type of window by 1965, and SP started fitting their baggage and RPO cars with thermo-pane windows about 1953-54 and after.


The only decaling to do is adding the car number.  I decided to make this car UP 3067, which I don't have a photo for.  At some point I would like to kitbash one of these cars, but for now this car will suit my customer's desire.

Windows masked off and trimmed with No.11 Xacto blade.

I masked off the six baggage car windows with Tamiya masking tape.  Then shot clear gloss (Testors Wet Clear) to prep the carsides for the decaling.

Walthers offers a large selection of numbers for these cars including 3067, which I used.

The decals are water-slide type and apply easily.  MicroScale 'Micro-Sol' is used to settle the decals down onto the car side.

Decal overcoated with clear gloss.

A quick shot of gloss seals the decals in.


UP 3067 gloss coated and waiting for weathering.

Generally I don't weather passenger cars too much, but there should be some 'running weathering' on head-end cars.  As this car was probably repainted sometime between 1950-1953 into the yellow and gray scheme it will not be very dirty.

I give the car a light dusting of Tamiya flat clear to knock down the gloss shine on the lower car body, trucks, and underframe.  The roof is also given a shot of flat.

Left side of finished UP 3067

Several parts of the underframe, namely the swinging draftgear and screw that I added, and wheel faces were not gray, so a quick pass with StarBrand UP/SP Harbor Mist Gray solved these issues.  The paint mix I was using had a small amount of D&RGW MOW Gray in it I think, so the mix came out slightly lighter in color.  I also used this mix to make a few light passes down the center of the roof.  This gives the look of some fading of the gray paint from the desert sun.  The black plastic sides and top of the diaphragms were also given a quick shot of gray to match the body.

In Closing

3/4 view of the UP 3067 ready for service.

While this is not a super accurate model, it will work well as a stand-in model for UP Portland & Seattle Storage-Mail operations connecting to the West Coast (No.59) and "Passenger" mail train (No.56) - (ex-Tehachapi) during the early 1950s.

Jason Hill

Related Links:
Modeling SP 2424 - (Part 1) - Truck Upgrades - begining series of modeling a CoSF/Overland 77-C-3

Friday, July 14, 2017

SP 2424 (Part 3) - Radio Antenna Stanchions

In SP 2424 (Part 1) I covered installing new trucks and in (Part 2) I covered installing the late model roof A/C hatch.  With the hatch in place I can now drill and add the five radio antenna stanchions and string the antenna wire.

SP 2424 with OwlMtModels 4046 Antenna Stanchions installed.

The OwlMtModels 4046 Antenna Stanchions (22 pkg) I'm using are 3d printed at Shapeways and then cast into bronze.  The set has 22 stanchions in it, which is enough to do 4 standard SP cars and two spares, in case the carpet monster decides it's hungry!  The bronze castings can be soldered to very easily with rosin core solder.  There's a small notch in the top of the casting for the antenna wire 0.010-0.012" to rest before the soldering iron touches it, mounting it in place to the stanchion.

Installation on the SP 2424

The SP 2424 was fitted with the SP train radio system, it had 5 streamlined stanchions spaced down the roof of the car.  I started by laying out the center marks for the stanchion holes.  Each hole location is then marked with my carbide scribe tool as a center mark to drill.

Drilling the Holes in the Roof

The roof of SP 2424 with two small center marks for the stanchions pressed in with a Carbide Scribe.

The stanchions are designed to fit MTH Daylight Passenger Cars, but just about any SP passenger car roof can be modifed with the proper drills for mounting of these stanchions.  A clear hole needs to be drilled that is about 0.040" in diameter, followed by a very shallow counter-bore of about 0.06" or 0.0625" about 0.012" deep for the base of the antenna to rest in.

Here's a comparison photo with SP 2424 in the back with SP 2432 in the foreground with the holes for the stanchions.

Shortly after the SP 2424 Antenna was installed I also did the installation on the SP 2432 for a customer.  The SP 2432 is an old Soho car with a brass shell roof.  I installed a strip of styrene inside the roof for the lighting, which had the 0.04" through holes drilled for the Antenna Stanchions.  The roof shell drilled with 0.062" drill to fit the Stanchion base.

Installing the Stanchions

The sprue of 22 stanchions ready for de-spruing and installation.

Side-cutting pliers were used to cut the stanchions from the sprue.  Then standard pliers are used to grip the streamlined flat areas of the sides of the stanchions while pressing the stanchion into the holes and aligning the stanchion to the direction of travel.

Here's a photo of the Stanchions installed without the antenna wire on an MTH Articulated Chair Car.

On the newer installations on plastic cars I've found that it's best NOT to glue the first end stanchion into the roof.  It's tricky to get the first one started and square.  It's easier to pre-solder it while holding it in a vise.  Then transplant it to the car, gluing it to the roof with ACC-type glue.

Soldering the Antenna Wire

Installation of the wire is actually very fast.  There are two ways to install the wire.  One is to pre-flux on the top of the stanchion with liquid flux.  (I sometimes will lightly pre-tin the antenna wire before this.)  Place the antenna wire onto the top of the stanchion, feeling it rest into the small notch in the top of the stanchion.  

Here's a photo after soldering, the notch in the top of the Stanchion is rounded out by the solder.

Then quickly touch the soldering iron to the top of the stanchion and remove it.  About 1/3 of a second is plenty of time with my 15w soldering pencil iron.  You'll hear a quick "Tsst" as the flux burns off and pull the iron away.  I usually have about 1 cubic milimeter of solder on the end of your soldering iron which is plenty for making a good solid joint.

Antenna wire installed with extra hanging over the ends.

I try not to have so much solder that it leaves a 'spike' hanging off the top of the stanchion where I pulled the iron away.  Often I will use some 600-grit sanding stick to lightly dress the top of the antenna wire over the stanchions to remove any excess solder or flux residue.

Wire installed on Stanchion and cleaned up with some very light sanding.

On the first couple of cars that I installed the antenna wire on, I used Tichy Phosphor-Bronze 0.012" wire.  Unfortunately this is only long enough to do about 80% of a 77-C-3 car antenna.  So I had to make a splice.  There are two options for splicing.  Either make them at one of the stanchions or make it in the middle of one of the spans.

Splicing the Antenna Wire

In the above photo, I made a lap-splice in the vestibule end span.  While I found ways to make this work, the simple answer is to use DTA wire which can be bought and is about 11" long.  I did several other cars with 0.010" brass wire with good results.

Other Tricks

Tensioned wire installed on the SP 2424 and painted to match the roof.

During the soldering of the antenna wire to the remaining stanchions I found that it works well to hold the wire beyond the stanchion to be soldered under tension so that the train antenna wire doesn't sag.  The prototype had small insulators at the top of the stanchions and looked much like telephone pole insulators, so the antenna tended to be very straight in the photos I've seen.

Installations on MTH Daylight Cars

One of the MTH Daylight 79-CB-1s was damaged a year or two ago in service at the La Mesa Club.  I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but someone probably grabbed the top of the car not realizing that there was an antenna there.  The result was the rear most stanchion head broke and the steel wire can't really be glued back in place...  These Antenna Stachion parts are the solution to this car's problem too.

In this view we see damage to the plastic stanchions on MTH SP 3302.

I'm very happy with how the new train Antenna Wires came out using the new Stanchions on both the SP 2424 and the SP 3302.  These are much better than the plastic ones that came with the MTH cars.  I'll be using these parts to re-equip all of the MTH cars coming through the shop from now on.

Here's the same car with the new bronze stanchions and wire antenna installed.

Hopefully this will be useful information for everyone that has damaged their passenger car roof antennas despite their best efforts not to break them.

The next time we see the SP 2424 (Part 4), I'll probably be doing more work on the underbody equipment, reconnect the lighting to the new trucks and possibly install a lit marker on the rear of the car.

Happy Modeling!
Jason Hill

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Modeling the Starlight (Nos. 94&95) - A Pike Size Train (Part 5)

This is the fifth passenger train consist I would like to talk about.  Previous blog posts include: Modeling the Shasta - a PikeSize Train, Modeling the Owl (Part 1), Modeling SP-SD&AE Passenger Trains (Part1) and Modeling the Tehacahapi Mail (Nos. 55 & 56).

The Starlight is a true accommodation train, and one of the last as well, serving the needs of its passengers along the route.  I feel this train would be an interesting 6-12 car train, which could be made to fit on most model railroads that can handle full-length passenger cars or slightly abbreviated ones.

Journey to Starlight

In July 1937, the new $2 million Daylight train-sets received very high riderships and second sections of Nos. 98 and 99 were being run regularly with whatever extra equipment the SP could dig up.  Almost immediately SP ordered two more Coffee Shop dining cars and they were delivered in 1938, this caused the Coffee Shop-Tavern cars to become available for the food service cars in the second sections.  New chair cars arrived in late 1938 and were quickly put into service upgrading the Daylight.

In March 1940 the original 1937 and 1938 Daylight cars were refurbished and returned to service as the new Noon Daylight (Nos. 96 & 97) to absorb the overflow from the overfilled 1937 Daylight (Nos.98 & 99).  The original Daylight was rechristened the Morning Daylight and received the newest cars.

This lasted until the breakout of war, when in 1942 the Noon Daylight was discontinued "for the duration" to free up the extra passenger equipment for the war effort.  The Noon Daylight was reinstated in April 1946.

However, this only lasted until 1949 when the Noon Daylight was discontinued in favor of the new Starlight, replacing the heavyweight coach and Pullman Coaster (Nos.71 & 72), as an all-chair night running complement to the premier all-Pullman Lark (Nos. 75 & 76).  While the Starlights were shown on the public timetables as an all-chair train.  However it usually had several sleepers reserved for use by military personnel moving along the Coast Line between Los Angeles and San Fransisco.  When the 12-5 sleeper were in the consist, overflow Lark passengers could be shifted to space on that car.


Here we see No.96, the Noon Daylight with a Daylight GS and streamlined 70-B behind the tender. Eddie Sims Collection.

There aren't many photos of the Starlight except in the first few or last few miles of her run, so I'm using this photo from the Eddie Sims Collection to show what the head-end of the Starlight looked like.  Also many of these same chair cars were reassigned to the Starlight after the Noon Daylight was discontinued.

NOTE: This data mostly came from a few internet sources, which are somewhat scrambled.  Thanks to Jim Lancaster, I have some corrected data which I will use to correct the consist info below.  As of August 1, I have fixed the consist info for Oct'49 thru June'51.  I will make corrections to the 1952-1953 consists when I can. 

Oct 1949-June 1950 Consist

As you can probably already see above, the Starlight's consist was made up of some interesting cars as I'll show below.  Loading numbers (Ld#) were used to identify a car in that position in the consist.  The cars were also 'carded' in small loading indicators in windows near the doors to help porters and passengers outside the train find their car.

Usually a GS-series engine, a Mt-series could be used
SP 70ft "LW" Baggage Express **
SP 70ft HW Baggage -Storage Mail *Note 1*
SP 70ft Baggage-Express - (various cars from the pool)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (various, see notes) Ld# 940 & 941*Note 2A & 4*
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily) Ld# 942 & 943
SP Coffee-Shop - (SP 10400 & 10401 Regularly Assigned)
SP Tavern-Lounge - (SP 10312 & 10313 Regularly Assigned)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily) Ld# 944 & 945
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily) Ld# 946 & 947
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (various, see notes) Ld# 948 & 949 *Note 2B & 3*
SP 77-PR (PRO) - Ld# SL-1 *Note 2C* (SP 3000 Parlor or 2951 Parlor-Obs were assigned)

Note 1: Daily except Sunday
Note 2 Effective Oct 31, 1949: A. Discontinue reserving car 940 for women and children.  B. Cars 948 & 949 added to consist to operate Fri-Sat-Sun only. C. Car SL-1 permanently discont'd.
Note 3 Effective Feb 27, 1950: Cars 948 & 949 dropped from consist until summer season.
Note 4 Effective March 31, 1950: Cars 940 & 941 revised to only operate Fri-Sat-Sun only, until summer season.

** SP 6083 or SP 6085 70-B-8 Stream-styled Harriman Baggage painted in Daylight colors regularly assigned.

10/2/49 - 10/31/49: 14 cars Mon-Sat; 13 cars Sunday.
10/31/49 - 2/27/50: 13 cars Mon-Thurs; 15 cars Fri & Sat, 14 cars Sunday.
2/27/50 - 3/31/50: 13 cars Mon-Sat; 12 cars Sunday.
3/31/50 - 6/8/50: 11 cars Mon-Thurs; 13 cars Fri & Sat; 12 cars Sunday.

Various HW Pullmans may have been routed on the Starlight as the Coaster was discontinued.

June 1950-June 1951 Consist

Usually a GS-series engine, a Mt-series could be used
SP 70ft "LW" Baggage Express **
SP 70ft HW Baggage -Storage Mail *Note 1*
SP 70ft Baggage-Express - (various cars from the pool)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (June 15-Sep 16 - Seasonal)  Ld# 940 & 941
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily) Ld# 942 & 943
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily) Ld# 944 & 945
SP Coffee-Shop - (SP 10400 & 10401 Regularly Assigned)
SP Tavern-Lounge - (SP 10312 & 10313 Regularly Assigned)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily) Ld# 946 & 947
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily) Ld# 948 & 949
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 Ld# 950 & 951 *Note 2*
HW 12 Section-1 DR Ld# 101/201 *Note 4A*
HW 8 Section-5 DBR Ld# 101/201 *Note 4B & 5D*

Note 1: Daily except Sunday
Note 2. Effective July 17, 1950: Cars 950 & 951 discontinued. Restore only when traffic warrants.
Note 3: Effective Sept 18, 1950: A. car 940 discont'd for winter season. Car 941 now operates as single unit.  B. Cars 948 & 949 discont'd for winter.
Note 4. A. Operated 6/9/50 - 9/23/50 only. B. Eff 9/23/50: replaced the 12-1 car. Pullman line number 3475.
Note 5. Effective Oct 10, 1950: A. Car 941 revised to operate Fri-Sat-Sun only, as traffic warrants, for winter season, as single unit car.  B. Car 942 revised to operate Fri-Sat-Sun only for winter as single unit, or as artic pair with car 943.  C. Car 943 revised to operate as single unit Mon-Thurs. May operate Fri-Sat as single unit or as artic pair with car 942.  D. Car 101/201 revised to operate daily except Saturday.

6/9/50 - 7/17/50: 18 cars Mon-Sat, 17 cars Sunday.
7/17/50 - 9/18/50: 16 cars Mon-Sat, 15 cars Sunday.
9/18/50 - 10/10/50: 13 cars Mon-Sat, 12 cars Sunday.
10/10/50 - 6/14/51: 11 cars Mon-Thurs, 12-13 cars Fri, 11-12 Sat & Sun.

  1. However during the Korea war and for some years after, a lot military moved to/from Ft. Ord and Camp San Luis Obispo. So the 12-5 would operate daily except Saturday, along with a heavyweight 8 section 5 Bedroom car. If all the space was not needed for Military, the 12-5 would be opened up for public sale. 
  2. Jim Pattison                                            ,496260

These comments are interesting in that they suggest that some MAIN (railroad code for US military movements) cars might have been combined with the Starlight before Sept 1950.  Most likely these would have been Pullman 'Tourist' or Pool 12-1, 13-section (ex-12-1s), 14-section, or 16-section sleepers.

June 1952 Consist

For now this is mostly right, but the June'52 & March'53 dates and exact sleeper and baggage cars are still taken from various internet sources and are not 100% correct.  I will be changing this part of the page as I have time.

Usually a GS-series engine, a Mt-series could be used

SP 70ft Baggage-Express - (various cars from the pool)
SP 70-B-8 Baggage Express - (SP 6083 or SP 6085 70-B-8 Stream-styled Harriman Baggage painted in Daylight colors regularly assigned)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (June 15-Sep 16 - Seasonal)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Fri-Sun)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily)
SP Coffee-Shop - (SP 10400 & 10401 Regularly Assigned)
SP Tavern-Lounge - (SP 10312 & 10313 Regularly Assigned)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (June 15-Sep 16 - Seasonal)
SP STD LW 12-5 (for Military Personnel - ex-Sat)
SP STD HW 12-1 (for Military Personnel - ex-Sat - various types assigned)

The Pullman space was never publicly listed for the Starlight.  However, if the sleeping space was not fully used by military personnel, space in the STD 12-5 would be sold to the chair passengers on the train as an upgrade or sold out of the terminals for overflow Lark passengers.

Between 1951 and 1952 the Starlight sometimes showed up to 3 HW Pullmans and the LW 12-5 Pullman.  Some of these heavy days two STD 8-5s might be used.

March 1953 Consist

Usually a GS-series engine, a Mt-series could be used

SP 70ft Baggage-Express - (various cars from the pool)
SP 70-B-8 Baggage Express - (SP 6083 or SP 6085 70-B-8 Stream-styled Harriman Baggage painted in Daylight colors regularly assigned)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (June 15-Sep 16 - Seasonal)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Fri-Sun)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily)
SP Coffee-Shop - (SP 10400 & 10401 Regularly Assigned)
SP Tavern-Lounge - (SP 10312 & 10313 Regularly Assigned)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (Daily)
SP 64-ACM/ACW-1/3 (June 15-Sep 16 - Seasonal)
SP STD LW 12-5 (ex-Sat - SP 9250 & 9251, for Military Personnel)
SP STD HW 12-1 (ex-Sat - for Military Personnel)

In the April 1953 premier train assignment roster the Pacific Lines had ten pairs of the 1937 cars: seven pairs were painted in Daylight colors, one pair in Two-Tone Gray, and two pairs in Dark Olive Green.  The SP 2489 & SP 2490 were also assigned to the Starlight during this time painted in TTG, note that these 79-C-2s didn't have baggage elevators.

From Equipment Circular 14, issued June 14, 1954.

The Feb 1954 the STD 12-5s were transferred to the West Coast, and came back in August '54 and stayed into August 1955.  In January 1955 the Starlight was officially dieselized.  Also in 1955 the 1938-built Taverns (SP 10312 & 10313) were removed and replaced with 1939-built Taverns (SP 10314 & 10315).

In 1957 the Starlight was discontinued when the Lark dropped its all-Pullman status by adding chair cars to the consist.  The Taverns were then assigned to the West Coast (Nos. 59 & 60).

Details of Cars Assigned to the Starlight

Baggage & Headend Cars

Semi-Streamlined Noon Daylight Baggage Cars (SP 6083 & 6085)

This is a model that I started on about 20 years ago.  It's a kitbashed Rivarossi LW (1930s) Baggage car.

The Starlight usually had two or three head end cars, both baggage cars.  One was usually either the SP 6083 or the SP 6085 which were 70ft baggages streamlined for the Noon Daylights in 1940 and followed the rest of the Noon Daylight's consist moving over to the Starlights.

The Starlight's streamlined baggage cars started as SP's 70-B-8s with skirts, full-width diaphragms, & modified roof ends.

Today, I would consider using one of the Southern Car & Foundry 70ft Harriman Baggages as a starting point and streamlining the car the same way the SP did.

Streamlined 70ft Baggage car with Full-Width Diaphragms

The Old Option for Streamlined 70-B Model

The photo above shows the majority of the kitbash I am doing to make the semi-streamlined Harriman RPO cars SP 5069.  The same method could easily be used on a suitable Harriman 70ft Baggage car.

My old kitbash stand-in attempt.

My existing stand-in kitbash that I started about 1999 using a classic Rivarossi 1930's LW baggage car stalled mid-way through the kitbash.  I pulled it out to take some photos.  Looking at it today there are a number of issues I would have restarting it.

First is that the roof profile is still that of the LW Rivarossi roof, while this was good practice for my future (current) models of SP 5069 using SC&F kit above, I really should replace the whole roof section that should be full height 'Harriman' profile with some section of MDC roofing, with new slope sheets blending to the FWD ends.

Next is that the sides are slightly too long.  The model's 72ft over the square corners of the sides, where as the modified 70-B-series prototype car should be about 71ft after the ends were squared off for streamlining.  Tied in with this is that the baggage doors, while being the right size are too far apart by about 2-3ft... so that sort of messes up the whole side proportions.

The final detailing issue is mainly that the model has no rivets on the sides at all.  The prototype car is a standard SP 70ft HW riveted baggage car, so it will take a LOT of Archer Rivets today to fix this.  One final note is that the cars as-streamlined were fitted with skirts at the ends and the center, while later the center sections were removed, they retained the end skirting out-board of the trucks.  This would have to be fabricated in styrene.  This car is one of the few I still own with American Limited FWDs... which are two pieces of rigid plastic that telescope.  I'm not as favorable to this design anymore as they tend to catch and bind up causing derailments.

Ex-EPSW 70ft Baggage (SP 6510-6519)

For the second baggage car I might suggest using a Walthers AC&F 70ft clerestory baggage car.

SP 6515, ex-EPSW baggage car

In the SPH&TS Passenger Cars Vol.3 Head End Cars book there is a photo showing the Starlight with one of the Ex-EPSW baggage cars in addition to the streamlined baggage.

SP 70ft Harriman Baggage

SP 70ft Harriman Baggage Car

The second baggage car could also be one of the 70ft baggage Harriman car.  The SP had about 120 of these cars and they were by far the most common 70ft baggage on the SP.

The new plastic division of Sunset Models, Golden Gate Depot is planning to bring in an all new plastic 70ft Harriman Baggage car in 2017.  I look forward to seeing these models when they arrive.  I've posted a blog about My Thoughts About the GGD Harriman Car Announcement.

An Alternative Shorter Baggage Car 

Athearn/MDC/Roundhouse 60ft Harriman Baggage car

If shorter cars for the consist is desired, I would suggest using the Athearn R-T-R (ex-MDC/Roundhouse) 60ft Harriman Baggage cars.  The Southern Pacific had about 250 of these baggage cars,  The Roundhouse's model is correct for two of the classes, totaling 35 cars.

Chair Cars

Weekday nights the Starlight used two pair of Artic-Chair cars, over the weekends up to five pairs would be used.  Assignment of night trains on the coast, with its cooler temperatures, would not usually rate the newer 1939 and 1941 66-ACM/ACW cars, but instead usually used the 1937-built 64-ACM/ACW's or 77-C-3s.

In the April 1953 premier train assignment roster the Pacific Lines had ten pairs of the 1937 cars: seven pairs were painted in Daylight colors, one pair in Two-Tone Gray (TTG), and two pairs in Dark Olive Green.   The equipment assignment roster also shows two single unit chairs, SP 2489 and 2490, painted in TTG and assigned specifically to the Starlight.  These two cars were identical to the rest of the 79-C-2 class cars except that they lacked baggage elevators.

After 1950, SP standardized that any general service pool LW chair cars would be painted in the Daylight colors.  The rest of the Articulated 66-ACM/ACW cars were simply listed as "Daylight,"  which indicates that the rest of the cars were pooled for the Coast Daylight, the San Joaquin Daylight and protecting the Shasta Daylight.  Only four 77-C-3 cars were painted for the Daylight pool, while the rest of the 77-C-3s were painted for specific assignments as follows; four in TTG for the Cascade, four in yellow for the Overland, and two in Red & Silver for the Golden State.


"130ft Artic-Chair", plated Brass Soho model.

"130ft Artic-Chair", plated Brass Soho model.

Models of the 1937-built articulated cars is best done with brass models, Soho has produced the 64-ACM/ACW cars.  Challenger Imports and The Coach Yard have also produced these models.


1939-built, SP 2448, MTH models.

1939-built, SP 2447, MTH models.

The most easily found models in 2016 are the MTH and BLI models of the SP's last two groups of Articulated Chair cars built in 1939 and 1941.  I review the MTH Daylight cars on my blog as well.

79-C-2s SP 2489 & 2490

SP 2439, a stock MTH Daylight 79-C-1 with new letterboard decals. - A starting point for SP 2490 & 2491.

In the 1953 car roster of Passenger Cars Assigned to Premier Trains the SP 2489 & 2490 are shown painted in TTG and assigned to the Starlight.  I plan to model at least one of these cars.  Starting from an MTH 79-C-1 and kitbashing from there.  The main challenge beside the paint scheme change will be removing the baggage elevator and changing the trucks over to GSC Walthers trucks like I've done on the SP 2424 (Part 1).

Food & Lounge Service

Left side of unpainted Soho model of 77-D-11 class Coffee Shops, SP 10400 & 10401.

The 1938-built Coffee Shops (SP 10400 and 10401) were used for food service on the Starlights.  Soho makes both of these early Daylight food service cars.

Left side of  SP 10315, 79-T-1 class Tavern.  The model is an out-of-box MTH car.

The 1939-built Taverns (SP 10312-10313) were used on the Starlight, regularly assigned to it in 1949.  Models of these cars are available from both MTH and BLI.  During these cars could also be protected by the SP 10310 and 10311 if one one of the regular cars was in the shop.

Sleeping Cars

The Pullman sleepers regularly ran on the Starlight at various times for military personnel to the various Coast Line bases were HW 12-1s and HW 8-5s.  As these assignments varied with the military's needs, so did the cars used on a day to day basis.  In addition the Pullmans were not run on the Starlight on Sunday nights.

STD 8-5 Heavyweight Sleeping Car

Most people will say that the 8-section, 5-double bedroom Pullmans were a uncommon car, however they did seem to show up on a number of Southern Pacific passenger trains after they were rebuilt from other floor plan cars.  Over the years many were used on the heavyweight Cascade, Coaster, Owl, and West Coast.  It seems only natural then that the SP's purchase of 16 STD 8-5s in 1949, would lead to them continue to find assignments around the system.  When the Cascade was streamlined, the older heavyweight equipment was reassigned.  The Starlight often had one or two 8-5s during 1950 and 1951.

STD 12-5 Lightweight Sleeping Car

In late 1952 through mid 1956 the two ex-City of San Fransisco "duplex" 12-5 Pullmans (SP 9250-9251) were assigned to the Starlight.  In early 1953 the two cars were repainted from the Yellow and Gray Overland/CoSF-pool scheme into Two-Tone Gray "General Service" scheme.

This model of a 12-5 is made from the old Rivarossi model, which is actually pretty close to the two SP 12-5s that were built for the City of San Fransisco in 1937.

STD 12-1 Heavyweight Sleeping Car

Walthers HW 12-1 Pullman SP "Los Angeles" painted in SP Dark Olive Green

Walthers and Branchline (now Atlas) have made very good models of the Pullman STD 12-1.

Modeling the Starlight Consist.

While the full train consist can easily be 10-18 cars, to keep in the spirit of the "pike size" nature of this article, I would probably model a week day version of the train or one that is not using the peak loading of 5 pairs of articulated chair cars.

The resulting train would be fairly reasonable to model as follows:

SP GS-4 in Daylight colors as road engine - these engines in full Daylight colors were common on the Coast Line until about 1953-54.

1. SP Stream-styled baggage car (if available) or use a 70ft standard Harriman Baggage
2. SP 60 or 70 ft Harriman baggage or 70ft Walthers ACF baggage
3-4. SP Articulated Chair Car (preferably a 64-ACM/ACW)
5. SP 77-D-11 Coffee Shop (SP 10400 or 10401, this would be one of the tricky cars to get, as Soho's would be about the best model to use.)
6. SP 79-T-1 Tavern (SP 10312 or 10313, MTH or BLI model fits this perfectly.  Until a Soho Coffee Shop could be found, a compressed model of this train could work with only the Tavern.)
7. SP 77-C-3 chair car (Almost any color car could be used, not just Daylight)
8. SP 79-C-2 chair car (Possibly repainted MTH or BLI model as SP 2489 or 2490 in TTG)
9. SP STD 12-1 HW Sleeper (Any Walthers or Branchline 12-1 painted for SP will fit the bill.)
10. SP STD 12-5 LW "Duplex" sleeper SP 9250 or 9251 (Rivarossi LW duplex sleeper painted either in UP yellow or TTG with letterboard redecalled as SP car)

If the modeled consist needs to be shorter, a train of 7-8 cars could be easily made by dropping the Coffee Shop and additional chair cars.  A six car consist could be made by also dropping one of the two sleepers.

This is certainly one of those consists that can start small and grow as the passenger fleet collection grows and more models are finished.

I'll probably do update blogs for each car individually as I complete my models for them and update some of the picture in this blog.  I've delayed posting this long enough, hopefully you've enjoyed a look at the options to model the Starlight in 2017!

Jason Hill

Related Links:
Modeling & Mechanical SP 60ft Baggages with MDC/Athearn kit/RTR cars
Converting SP 77-C-3 for CoSF service (Part 1) - 1955
Golden Gate Depot Harriman Cars - Preview of Prototypes
Mistakes in Modeling - Part Oops!