Sunday, March 25, 2018

Modeling SP Road Engines (Part 3) - Heavy Steam

In this post I'll be covering what I consider the SP's Heavy Road Steam Engines (2-10-2 & 4-10-2 types).

SP 3666 w 120-C-2 Tender - Eddie Sims Collection

In the last two blog posts in this topic I've covered the Modeling SP Road Switchers (Part 1) - Small Steam, and Modeling SP Road Switchers (Part 2) - Medium Steam.  After this post, I'll be covering Modeling SP Articulated Road Steam Engines in Part 4, followed by Modeling SP Passenger Steam Engines of the 1940s and 1950s in Part 5.

I will go over the mechanical upgrading and detailing process for selected models in separate future posts.

Many thanks to Eddie Sims for the use of his collection in putting together this post with the following amazing historical photographs.  Basic roster data from Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive Compendium by Diebert-Strapac, which includes engine upgrade data, weights, TE, retire and transfer dates, etc.  More historical info reading in Robert Church's book Southern Pacific Ten-Coupled Locomotives from Signature Press 2013.

2-10-2 F-class - "Decks"

The Southern Pacific in general had a strong aversion to anything Santa Fe. Thus, it is no surprise that when it came time for the SP to build the next bigger class of engine in around WWI and the Santa Fe Rwy had beat the other railroads to that wheel arrangement, the SP refused to call their engines "Santa Fe" type.  Because the SP never owned any 2-10-0s, which are normally called Decapods (ten feet), they decided to call the 2-10-2s "Decks" on the SP.  Note:, the T&NO owned three 2-10-2s, which were all scrapped during the depression.

F-5 class, SP 3758 with 120-C-7 tender prepares to depart west from Bakersfield with First-785 with a wine tank car in tow. - Eddie Sims Collection

Like many other new engines, the new 2-10-2s worked heavy freight service on many of SP's most grueling grades through the 1920s, including service as passenger engines on Donner Pass with the heavy Overland passenger trains.  Also in the 1920s the F-classes worked oil trains over the Tehachapi Pass out of Bakersfield.  In the late 1920s and through the depths of the Great Depression, they worked less demanding jobs around the SP, as the new AC-class engines dominated the heaviest grade divisions.

One place the F-class engines found long time dominance was the Syskiyou Division with the 3.3% grades and tighter than normal curves, which the SP-classes and AC-classes couldn't negotiate.  The F-classes were only displaced from the Syskiyous with the arrival of the heavier six-axle diesels.

F-1 class, SP 3615 with 120-SC-type tender is looking sun-baked and weathered leading First-785 in the San Joaquin Valley - Eddie Sims Collection

In the later years, with the arrivals of the F-units in 1948 and 1949 to the San Joaquin (Tehachapi Sub) and Salt Lake Divisions, the F-class "Decks" were transferred to the flatter San Joaquin and Western Divisions.  A number of them continued to work on the Cuesta Grade on the Coast Division and out of Portland and Los Angeles, with the final stand on the Western and San Joaquin Divisions in 1954-1956 for post of the type.

F-1 Class (2-10-2)

SP 3601-3651 Baldwin built 10-1917 through 7-1019.
SP 3600 Baldwin built 1-1918 as F-2 class and rebuilt to F-1 specs after experimental testing.
SP 3652 (2nd) Alco-Bks. built 9-1917 for the A&E as 1001 acquired by SP 1-1921.

Many of the F-1 class engines were transferred to the T&NO between 1923 and 1928 and did not return to the Pacific Lines.

F-1 class, SP 3616 with a 120-SC-tender with raised oil bunker and oddly shaped front handrails. - Eddie Sims Collection

F-1 class, SP 3629 with a 120-SC-type tender prepares to lead a double headed extra. - Eddie Sims Collection

The SP 3649 was a weird F-1 class engine with a "Sport Cab" which allowed the firebox staybolts to be replaced without removing the cab. - Eddie Sims Collection

F-1 class, SP 3634 with 120-C-2 tender rests between assignments - Eddie Sims Collection, used with permission

HO Scale - Sunset Models

Left side of Sunset Models F-1 class 2-10-2 with common 120-C-1/2 tender. (My photo from Feb, 2017)

Right side of Sunset Models F-1 class 2-10-2 with common 120-C-1/2 tender.

Sunset Models produced a nice SP 3611 with a 120-C-1 tender.  To do the other SP F-1 class engine, moving air compressors and other detail will be required.

Other Importers: PSC and Glacier Park Models have also imported brass models of the F-1 over the years.  The GPM engines are correct for specific engines and are amazing models.

F-3 & F-4 Class (2-10-2)

F-3 SP 3653-3667 Baldwin built 1-1922
Note: built without FWHs, most all refitted with FWH from retired AM and AC-1/2/3 class engines after WWII.

F-4 SP 3668-3717 Baldwin built 1-1922 to 5-1922
Note: SP 3668-3687 held at Baldwin to be "Prosperity Special" in 5-1922

In the early 1920's the SP returned to Baldwin to order a huge batch of 2-10-2s.  These new F-3 and F-4 class engines were bigger and heavier than the original F-1 class engines.  A total of 24 of the F-4 class engines were held and delivered in the "Prosperity Special", where they shipped the F-4 class engines west from Baldwin's factory in one large shipment in 1922.

F-3 class, SP 3654 crosses bridge at Manthey Rd. in Lathrop coming from Tracy. - Eddie Sims Collection

Another photo of SP 3654 at Manthey Rd. with the San Joaquin River Bridge in the backround. - Eddie Sims Collection

F-3 class, SP 3666 shows some lovely weathering in this color photo. - Eddie Sims Collection

Sunset Models F-3 SP 3661, redecalled as SP 3666 at Bakersfield. - Looks like it should have the smoke deflector stack!

Let's look closely at two engines; one clean and freshly shopped, and the other weather beaten.  These are basically the the two extremes, not all your engines should look this way.  Most will fall somewhere in between, as in the two photos of the 3666 above.

SP 3706 - All Clean and Shiny!

Left Side of SP 3706 as it appeared freshly shopped at Bakersfield in the Summer of 1954.

This model of SP 3706 is meant to represent it after it was repaired from getting the tender dropped in the turntable pit at Bakersfield after being shopped and freshly painted around June 1954.

In the reference photo, the rear of the tender is hanging over the pit wall, with the rear truck in the pit and the rear of the engine and cab lifted up by the connecting drawbar.  After jacking up the tender and rear truck, moving it back out of the pit and getting the Operating Department off their backs.  The roundhouse crews were surely going to do a good going over of the engine mechanically and probably a new set of drawbars between the engine and tender.

Right Side of SP 3706 as it appeared freshly shopped at Bakersfield during the Summer of 1954.

SP 3682 - Dirty and Uncared For...

SP 3682 with 120-C-7 tender, before being swapped to a 120-C-2 tender. (as seen below on the model) - Eddie Sims Collection

This model of SP 3682 was done off of several photos in the SP Pictorial books, which give a large number of large print photos for a given class of engines.  The particular photos of SP 3682 show it after about 1954, when the SP really started letting the exterior appearance of their steam engines go.  Normally, they would have done regular boiler washings, removing the scale and debris from the inside of the boiler, and often wash the outside too... it would seem from photos that they stopped regularly cleaning the outside of the boilers and let the scale build up. 

The other possibility is that more photographers were getting out and taking photos of weird engines weathering.  Think of today, how many GE Dash-9 and AC4400 engines are running around, but there's always seems an enordant number photos of engines that have had fires, burn marks, etc on the hoods.

Left side of Sunset Models F-4, SP 3682 with 120-C-1 (2) tender, weathered for circa 1954 San Joaquin Division

Right side of Sunset Models F-4, SP 3682 with heavy boiler scale weathering

This weathering was done by hand.  I generally don't use an airbrush for doing the boiler scale weathering as it's too fast and too easy to over do.  I prefer doing slower weathering applications that can be better controlled and even undone if needed.

Top view of boiler scale and rust on SP 3682, weathering my Jason Hill per prototype photos

Super Tenders for the Deserts!

SP 3704 with large 25200 gallon tender (252-R-1), often seen on the Salt Lake Division. - Eddie Sims Collection

These large tenders came off of the AC-9 class engines when they were converted to oil, at which time the AC-9s received even larger tenders.  The old coal tenders being converted and assigned to several F-class engines on the Salt Lake Div., where the water was scarce.  Engines without these large 25k gallon tenders with smaller 12k tenders required a 12.5k water canteen car to work the same territory.

Two Sand Dome Version

SP 3660 leands No.780 over the Kings River Bridge

Some of the SP's F-3s and F-4s were modified over the years with a second sand dome between the turret and turbo generator over about the fifth driver.

Left side of Sunset Models F-4, SP 3680 with second sand dome, fresh out of the box.

Right side of Sunset Models F-4, SP 3680 with second sand dome, fresh out of box.

F-5 Class (2-10-2)

In 1923 the SP returned to Baldwin for more 2-10-2s, with some modifications to the appliances and classified as F-5.

SP 3718-3763 Baldwin built 9-1923 to 2-1924
SP 3764-3768 Baldwin built 2-1924 to 3-1924 (built with Thermic syphon in firebox, otherwise the sames as earlier F-5 and externally the same)

SP 3738 with 120-C-5 tender at Ogden pre-1946 stained with alkali deposits on the boiler. - Eddie Sims Collection

Notice the changes in the left running boards, piping and air tanks compared to the F-4 class engines, the air pumps also shifted from the left side (F-4) to the right side on the F-5 class engines.

F-5 class, SP 3744 with 160-C-series tender on the ready tracks. - Eddie Sims Collection

SP 3758 with 120-C-7 tender prepares to depart west from Bakersfield with First-785 with a wine tank car in tow. - Eddie Sims Collection

HO - WSM-KTM F-5 class 

Left side of Westside models (WSM-KTM) F-5, SP 3769 with Sunset Models 160-C-series tender.

Westside Models (WSM) imported Katsumi-built (KTM) models of SP's F-5 class engines with the bell on the smoke box ahead of the stack.  These differ from the Sunset Models engine (shown below) with the bell between the sand and steam domes.  Depending on which model you're working on, choose appropriate prototypes to replicate and save yourself the time of fixing these details.  This model of SP 3769 has 'whiting' on the left crosshead yoke to check for cracks.  This was done as a regular check against cracks, without taking the engine out of service, disassembling it and when available magnafluxing the part checking for internal cracking.

Left side of Sunset Models F-5 waiting to be numbered.

Unpainted Balboa-KTM F-5 class engine with 120-C-3/6 tender. Photo courtesy of John Ruehle.

Balboa imported KTM-built models before Westside Models starting importing basically the same models from KTM in later years.

T&NO F-class 2-10-2s

F-5 T&NO 900-939 (Transferred from various Pacific Lines F-4 & F-5s between 1930 and 1950.  Some returned to Pacific Lines)
F-4 T&NO 940-943 (1949-1950 to T&NO, scrapped 1953 Houston, except T&NO 940 back to SP 3668 in 10-1951)
F-5 T&NO 946-949 (1950 to T&NO, all scrapped 1953 Houston)
F-1 GH&SA & T&NO Various numbers in 955-997-series (Unfortunately, I don't have room here to show all the shuffling that took place in the accounting books. - See Diebert and Strapac's book for details!)

The T&NO owned engines of F-1 and F-5 classes, with some F-4's displaced by diesels leased near the end.  The F-5 class engines were transferred from the Pacific Lines after WWII.  They were placed in the 900-series.  The about ten F-1 class engines transferred to Texas Lines long term, while it seems almost every other F-1 class Pacific Lines engine spend some time on the T&NO, and then came back to the Pacific Lines.

One interesting detail about the T&NO engines is that they kept the Aluminum-Bronze (silver) Lettering until the end of steam, while the Pacific Lines changed to Lettering (light) Gray well before the "LINES" was dropped from the tenders in June 1946.  None of the lettering was white.  Also the smoke box fronts were painted Aluminum (silver) in June 1946.

T&NO 910 prepares to take a freight west from Bakersfield in 1952 before being renumbered.

Many of the SP's F-5 class engines went to the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) with the arrival of the new F3 and F7 ABBA sets of diesels in 1948 and 1949.   The transferred F-5 class engines were placed in the 900 class and a few came back to the Pacific Lines. Most that returned were assigned their original numbers, The 910 was placed at the top of the series as 3770 when renumbered to the Pacific Lines in 1953.

HO - Sunset Models

Left side of Sunset Models F-5 class, finished as T&NO 910, as it returned to California operating out of Bakersfield in 1953.

2024 Edit: It's come to my attention that the T&NO 910 should actually have the second sand dome upon it's return to the San Joaquin Division, I don't know if I'll actually get around to putting a second dome on it now that I'm mostly working on the Jawbone Branch, and the 910 isn't really a priority engine to get back into service.

Right Side of Sunset Models F-5, T&NO 910 with 120-C-5 tender swapped from a Sunset Models Mt-3/4.

4-10-2 SP-1/2/3 Class - "Stuttering Decks"

In the early 1920s, the SP was impressed with the success of the 170+ F-class 2-10-2s, and also with the success of the 4-8-2 as passenger engines.  The SP's engineering department designed and ordered a new wheel arrangement which became known off the SP as the "Southern Pacific"-type, with a 4-10-2 wheel arrangement.  The boiler followed the general design of the 4-8-2 boilers with a 20% increase in size.  The bottom of the smokebox was flattened to provide clearance for the center cylinder, which created a very unique front view of these engines.

SP-1 Class
SP 5000-5015 Alco-Sch. built 4-1925 to 6-1925
SP-2 Class
SP 5016-5038 Alco-Sch. built 5-1926 to 6-1926
SP-3 Class
SP 5038-5048 Alco-Sch. built 7-1927 to 8-1927

SP 5042 leads a second 5000-class engine pulling No.824 and a reefer block, circa 1930s. - Eddie Sims Collection

This type also pioneered the use of a third steam cylinder between the frames, canted upward 7 degrees, which resulted in an off-timed exhaust.  This stutter-step timing of the exhaust earned these engines the nickname "Stuttering Decks", which is obviously a carry over from the SP's use of the "Deck" nickname for the 2-10-2 type.  The SP-1's were delivered with 120-C-5 tenders.  The SP-2 were built with 120-C-8 tenders.  The SP-3s were built with the 160-C-1 tenders.  All the SP-1s and -2s received bigger 160-C-type tenders in the 1930s.  The 120-C-5s migrated to other smaller engines, including the 2-10-2s.  The 120-C-8s moved around between MTs, Pacifics, and "Decks".

The 5000's early on where used in heavy passenger service over Donner.  The 5000's with superheat and feed water heaters easily beat the performance of the compound MC-class 2-8-8-2s with tonnage trains.  Unfortunately, there were drawbacks to making engines of this size. The type was the longest rigid wheelbase which caused damage to the track despite having a lateral motion devise installed on the lead driver and the 4-wheel "passenger" style lead truck.  Blue-hot curls of metal were often reported being sliced off from the lead driver as the engine negotiated curves.

SP 5035 leads an Extra train with a string of reefers, El Paso Union Depot March 8th, 1952. - R. S. Plummer Photo, Eddie Sims Collection

As the new AC-4 class (4-8-8-2) engines and the rebuilt AC-1/2/3 class (2-8-8-2) engines were again able to match and beat the SP-class engines with speed and tonnage.  Because of the curve issues and the depression, the SP-class were bumped to straighter divisions of the SP.

SP 5038 works with a second 4-10-2 as helpers over Beaumont Pass.

In the later years, they often worked out of LA on the Sunset Route into Arizona, also Portland Division, and as the diesels started arriving in 1948, the SP-class engines migrated to the San Joaquin Valley for their last stand in the mid-1950s.  They were often photographed pulling tonnage over the Western Division and Altamont Pass.

In Closing

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Modeling SP G-50-3,-6,-8 Gondolas (Part 1)

Even the railroads of the last century understood the importance of recycling expensive and hard to obtain materials. Why are we so quick to throw out old models?  When a bit of work and tinkering we can make them usable in the modern world of model railroading!

SPMW 1902 hauls a load of reclaimed metal back to SP's foundry for recycling.

A Swapmeet...

Have you ever wandered through a toy train swapmeet?  You know the ones with everything in piles that go back like the geologic record in layers to the beginning of time...

How about an old Varney Gondola?  This has got to be at least 45 years old!
Among the layers you'll probably find several layers of nothing but the generic, HO 40ft gondolas from at least a half-dozen manufacturers that are varying levels of inaccurate ripoffs over the last 50 years of the same maybe-prototype car long lost to history.

How about one of these Rivarossi 40ft Gondolas?

Talgo, truck mounted couplers... "Horn-hooks", "Dummy couplers", plastic wheels, weights Walthers Goo'd to the inside of the floor, half eating the plastic hidden below a blob of plastic claiming to be coal or gravel.  Right, those wrecks.  It's hard to be in this hobby more than a few years and not see or collect some of these 'crude' models along the way.

Bachmann 40ft gondola... look familar?

Last week, I was in Arizona.  I happened to catch the local NMRA swapmeet on the north side of Phoenix.  It was the usual swap meet, 50 tables of stuff people were selling.  Boxes and boxes of geologic layers of old toy trains stacked up like layers of coal for the daring (or possibly disturbed) prototype modeler to dive into.  There was some newer stuff there too of course, but it had been a while since I realized the shear number of these same models as I'll be talking about in this post, stacked up for sale at really cheap prices. - - - For those wondering... Yes, I avoided getting any "Deals" this time, as I knew at home I have several of these 'projects' already started, and that's what I'll be looking at here.

SP Gondolas?

Maybe we think today about Red Caboose's lovely G-50-22 class gondola models.

What do we think when we hear about SP Gondolas?  The classic "Sugar beet" gondolas (G-50-20 & -23), maybe the all-steel versions of those cars (G-50-15/16/18/22/25s)?  Maybe the newer and bigger cars?  Well, let's turn back the prototype clock and also take a closer look at these 'cheap old toys'.

Bachmann "generic" 40ft gondola body

Well it turns out that these cars aren't that much different than the newer RC cars, and taking into account some of the older SP classes of gondola, the G-50-3, -6, and -8s, they can be changed to make a pretty good stand-in model with some kitbashing modeling effort.

SP G-50-3 Class 830 cars for SP and 300 for pre-T&NO roads

SP 53120-53729, 610 cars 1913
SP 53930-53949, 20 cars 1914
SP 54190-54389, 200 cars 1910
GH&SA 41000-41099, 100 cars 1913 (T&NO)
T&NO 41100-41199, 100 cars 1913
ML&T 41200-41299, 100 cars 1913 (T&NO)

G-50-6 Class 280 cars for SP & NWP

SP 53730-53929 200 cars 1916
NWP 4750-4829, 80 cars 1916

G-50-8 Class 500 cars for T&NO (and subs)

GH&SA 41750-42049, 300 cars 1924 (T&NO)
LW 42050-42149, 100 cars 1924 (T&NO)
HE&WT 42150-42249, 100 cars 1924 (T&NO)

One for the Road!

Let's look at a car I kitbashed about 18 years ago.  The SPMW 1902, a G-50-3 class car built between 1910 and 1914, it was originally SP 53482, it was retired from revenue service and assigned to Shop Service in April of 1940.  The G-50-3 was characterized by only four pairs of drop doors near the center of the car, with the door mechanism under the 3rd panel from the center, and a deeper sill between the bolster and the endsill of the car.

SPMW 1902, ex-G-50-3 SP 53482, kitbashed from a Bachmann or Life-Like "toy" showing what can be done.

Currently, the other five or so models I've been bashing up to be various other SP gondolas.  They show a range of steps as to the progress I've made on them, so instead of looking at each one from start to finish, let's instead look at where they all are at the moment.

On with the Bashing!

First let's look at where the Bachmann models start at and what needs to be done.

Starting point for a G-50-6 model

So the SP 53825 started about where this body is above.  The ribbed ends are WAY too modern for these early cars, so that will be replace with a flat end with L-beam stiffeners.  The lower line of rivets has already been removed.  The lower sill will be re-added between the bolster and the endsill.

Stock underframe of Bachmann model.

The main concept of this bash is the need to raise the whole car about 8-10" at the frame to make room for the drop doors.  In the photo below, the areas where the drop doors will be installed have been removed from the solid floor.  Also all extraneous details on the underbody have been removed.  The centersill has been cleared to accept a lead bar weight down the length of it.

Here with floor sections removed for the addition of drop doors.

The new doors come from Details Associates "Plate Doors" for GS gondolas, I had a couple of extra sets left over from G-50-22 and -23 DTA kits.

Here with new "plate" style drop doors installed, shimmed, and cross members replaced.

Next come the ends, which I found were most easily replaced completely along with the endsills.

Ends removed, probably still need to remove the endsill

On SP 53825 I used Details Associates "Plate End" replacement end for their old G-50-22/23 GS kit, but filed away the lower rib to match photos in Anthony W. Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.1: Gondolas and Stock Cars (2002, Signature Press) on Page 75.

SP 53825 with new ends

The new endsills are Tichy 40ft USRA Flatcar ends, which had to be spliced and lengthened.  Also the draftgear striker plate and area was removed to fit a Kadee #5 style coupler box. -- Yes, I started this car a LONG time ago!

Side view of SP 53825 with proper T-section trucks and most of the kitbash completed

On the SP 53825 I tried modeling the triangular shaped gussets at the bolster and was working on adding the thin sills from just inboard of the grab iron ladders to the endsill, obviously they didn't survive on the SP 53825, and I took them back off again to try a different method.  The center sill is built up with extra styrene strips and sheet lead installed below the drop doors to bring the car up to proper weight.

The centersill raised, a lead bar installed down the centersill, couplers installed at correct height.

Mostly what remains on the SP 53825 is putting in the rest of the underframe cross members, sills under the grab iron ladders to the endsills, brake components, grab irons, brake wheel, etc.  One of the key things to note about the G-50-6/8s compared to the earlier G-50-3, is that the -6/8s seem to have a much higher floor level, but the ribs between the side panels extend down to or past the level of the endsills, much more like the later G-50-18 and -22 class cars (RC and DTA models show this), so there are subtle differences in the depth of the kitbashed centersill between a G-50-3 and a G-50-6/8.

Other "Knock-Offs"

Tyco, Life-Like, Rivarossi, Bachmann, Varney, and probably several others have made very similar bodies using this same design.  Here's a few photos of them.  Most of the photos above are showing the LifeLike or Bachmann versions.


Bottom of Varney model, going to be SPMW 104

Side of Varney 40ft Gondola

Top of Varney 40ft Gondola

Starting to cut up the Varney gon to replace the ends.  seems the plastic steps on the other side are gone already.


SPMW 320 starting as from a Rivarossi body.

Side of Rivarossi body.

Top and interior of Rivarossi body.

End and side of Rivarossi Body.

In Closing

Here's another look at SPMW 1902, which has been 'finished' since about 1998, doesn't look too bad for 20 years of service and a 40+ year old body. --- Sounds about like the real thing in 1952!

Completed SPMW 1902 with a load of scrap heading back to the Company Foundry to be reclaimed.

Hopefully this will inspire some Gondola Archeology at the local flea markets and swap meets in your area... for probably $15-20 you can pick up one of these older 'toys' and the parts needed to upgrade them to stand with your Tangent, Red Caboose, and Intermountain freight car models!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Ex-EPSW 40ft Ballast Gondola from a "Cheap Toy" Manuta body.

SP 65ft Mill Gondolas - Athearn's lovely 65ft Mill Gond's with drop ends.

"Musical Chairs" Modeling of SPMW Cars - The game of parts swapping

Mistakes in Modeling - Part Oops! - Don't be afraid to fix that research error when you've already "finished" the model!

Modeling an MOW Supply Train (Part 1) - Overview of Supply Cars and Supply Trains