Friday, November 19, 2021

SP Supply Train (Part 4) - SPMW 2452 Ready Flat - Shop Car

SPMW 2452 with 2-board low sides installed.

The official 1956 Roster shows this car as "Ready Flat - Shop" I believe this car is also properly defined as a "Stores Dept" Wheel Car, many of these cars carried a "STORES DEPT" or "SAC GEN. STORES" stenciling.

The Prototypes

An interesting screen shot of 3-wide wheel stacks in low-side Stores Dept flatcar. (SP Company Safety Film 5:03)

A great view is provided in this SP Company Safety Film from about 1955, with footage shot between 1949 and 1954.  In this view of the Sacramento Wheel Shops, a low-sideboarded Stores Dept car is loaded with wheels, probably already turned, three-wide across the car.  Note the removed sideboards and the steel bridge in place to access the car's deck.

Note two-board Stores Department cars at left between boxcar and bulkheaded wheel car, Inad Akeb collection.

I don't believe the low-sided Stores Department car in the photo above has this option, as the stakes are in every pocket.  Removing boards and stakes would be needed to side-center load with a bridge plate.  Also stacking them from one end to the other would not allow center bridge loading.  So I'm guessing that a small crane was used to drop each wheel onto the car deck, probably with hooks in two of the three casting holes in the back of the wheel.

I wonder if second hand (worn out) wheels were also shipped this way, or the more commonly modeled "throw it in the bottom of a gondola".  This stacking method seems safer and more controlled way to move the several hundred pound wheels.

Basic Kit Assembly

I built the SPMW 2452 per OwlMtModels instructions as standard F-50-5 with T-section trucks and K-brakes.  

Basic SPMW 2452 assembly coming together per instructions, incorrect 1944 date, should be 1942.

The SPMW 2452 was retired from revenue service on 6-12-1942, thus is very unlikely to have received upgrades to AB-schedule brakes.  Many SP F-50-series cars hung on into 1950, even 1955 before getting the upgraded AB-brakes.  The AAR requirements were that the cars in interchange service would be equipped with AB-brakes by 1953.  Obviously the revenue cars hanging on with K-brakes after 1953 were restricted to SP and subsidiary operations.

I went ahead and painted the carbody before building the sides.

Based on the prototype photos, I made the call during construction to paint the carbody and not the sides.  I allowed overspray of the SP Freight Car Red to happen on the deck.  The deck was then weathered with my standard methods of tearing up the deck and then weathering with Apple Barrel acrylic paints.

Building the Sideboards

I scaled the height of the sideboards off the photo at Sacramento Shops from the height of the carside.  The deck weathering can be seen below.  Mostly grays used on the deck and the "newer" sideboards still keeping some of the tan colors, but with some gray-silvering happening too.

Two Sideboards installed with all stake pockets used.

The sides the same way I did in SP Supply Train (Part 5), using ABS stakes left over from OwlMtModels lumber load kits and 2x10 basswood strips, pre-stained.  This time I only made the sides two boards high.  I placed 0.010" or 1x10" basswood pieces between the boards as spacers.  This was to give a little light gap, which is cool to see on a finished model, that the boards are actually separate.

Lower stake protrusions modeled on SPMW 215.

I'll probably be putting some little stubs of the stakes coming through below the pockets on in the future, as I've done with SPMW 215, but probably not as pronounced on SPMW 2452.

Interchangeable Loads?

0.020" Styrene Sheets cut to size to make false-floor load bases.

I made two full size floor sheets from 0.020" styrene sheets and a shorter 'partial' load floor sheet.  I scratched the surface with my deck weathering techniques using a razor saw.  The painting is done with my standard Apple Barrel paint techniques.

Modifying the false-floor with 2x4 stringers spaced to nest 33" wheel castings.

The first load I'm building will be 33" Tichy Train Group wheels, without axles.  2x4 basswood rails are glued to the floor with ACC/CA superglue.  The steel bar is placed on the floor to keep it flat as the basswood strips are glued in place.

Tichy Train Group 33" (freight) wheels nesting in place.

Both ends have tie material (8x8 stained wood) used to provide the inclination to the wheel castings.

One full side of wheels... and I need to get more wheels!

The load above is an example of a full set of wheels loaded. Forty wheels per side for a maximum load of 80 wheels per car!  Once I'm happy with the wheel's stacked configuration, I'll glue them to the false-floor deck.  The load and floor will then be removable as a unit very easily.

In Closing

An interesting screen shot of 3-wide wheel stacks in low-side Stores Dept flatcar. (SP Company Safety Film 5:03)

I plan to do some research on what size wheels are used in the 3-wide loading.  I'm guessing they're 28" wheels.  If so, I'm a bit surprised that the SP was shipping that many 28" wheels out to shops around the system.  About the only place I can think 28" wheels were used in the early to mid-1950s would be 4-wheel pilot trucks on engines like the T-28/31 class, M-class, and C-class.  This car loaded with all those wheels will cover a large number of rewheeled steam engines!

About the only other think I can think is they're shipping wheels for the SPNG at Owenyo.  I don't recall if the NG open-air shops at Owenyo had the presses to assemble the wheels on to the axles, or if these would be going to Bakersfield to be assembled, then shipped as wheelsets to Owenyo.

SPMW 2452 with 2-wide wheelset rails on removable load floor.

One nice benefit of building removable loads is I'll be able to nearly instantly swap the loads from 33" wheels to an empty car or maybe second-hand scrap wheels going back to Sacramento Shops foundry.  Then in staging yard, I can again swap the load for 24 or 28" wheels 3-wide, and send the car out again!

I am still debating what extra decals I'll be putting on this model.  Probably some "Return to SAC GEN STORES" will be appropriate.  I look forward to doing an update on this blog with a couple of completed loads.

 Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SPMW Flatcar Jan 1, 1956 Roster & Analysis - Let's look at the SPMW flatcar fleet

Kitbashing Mystery SPMW 215 (Part 2) F-50-series Flatcar (Extra Gang) - Update on SPMW 214/215 Lone Pine mystery car and outfit.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

SP Headend Passenger Roster Modeling Data and Analysis

Almost finished SC&F kit built into SP 5199 crosses bridge in Niles Canyon on Seth Nuemann's layout

Sounds like Jon from Southern Car & Foundry is producing another run of his great resin one-piece body SP/UP Baggage and RPO cars!  A friend recently was asking for the consolidated SP/T&NO roster info for SC&F passenger car kits.  So here's some basic info from my spreadsheet list on the subject.  Enjoy!

Jason Hill

Cars with "*" indicate refitted around or after WWII with improved Train Baggage Man (TBM) facilities in car.  (Desk, enclosed toilet, water cooler, etc).

Note some cars are duplicated because I list to the right what car they became later in life.  The new car number is also listed again in the left column, but is the same car.

60ft Baggage Cars (60-B-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 class)

Standard 60-B-1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 Class 

60-B-1 class

SP 4243 rebuilt to 60-B-1 class in 1935, retaining 6-wheel trucks.  This class assignment is probably to match the original internal structural standard as-built, with new wall studs, sheets, and doors to match full baggage configuration.  The same is probably done in following conversions below. 

SP 60-B-2 class

SP 4083 rebuilt to 60-B-2 class in 1936, retaining 6-wheel trucks.

SP 6190 wrecked after 1933 and retired.

SP 60-B-3 class 

SP 4244 rebuilt to 60-B-3 class in 1935, retaining 6-wheel trucks.

SP 60-B-4 class cars

Note Central Pacific reporting marks were consolidated into the SP reporting marks in 1928.

SP 60-B-5 class Baggage cars

Several cars rebuilt from 60-PS or 60-P-series RPO cars.  These cars would have retained their 6-wheel trucks.

SP 60-B-6 class baggage cars

Note SP 4242 and 4245 were originally Storage Mail cars of 60-PS-1, but were then rebuilt to 60-B-6 standards, retaining their 6-wheel trucks in 1936.

60-B-7 class, all assigned to T&NO.

60-B-8 class cars.

SP 6029 was painted into Daylight colors in 1946 to protect SP 3300 and 3301 in San Joaquin Daylight service.  If the 3300/3301 combines on the SJD or the 3302/3303 on the Coast Daylight needed shopping then the protection service 60-B and a Daylight chair car would replace the combine in service.  Note: 3302/3303 were premier service cars, if they went to the shop, then one of the 3300/3301s would replace it, and the baggage car and extra chair would replace the 3300/3301 in the San Joaquin Daylight.

It would appear that 4086 was converted to a Postal Storage car possibly, then to a full baggage car with 6-wheel trucks in 1937, similar to the 60-PS rebuilds into 60-B-6 class above.

60ft Baggage-Dynamo Cars (60-BD-1,4,6)

During the same construction dates as the 60-B-1, -4, & -6, the SP built special head-end power cars called Dynamo (generator) cars.  The cars were built as baggage cars, with a part of the car filled with a gas generator.  A pair of extra windows were provided at the generator end of the car and roof vents as needed for the exhaust gas from the engine.

The cars then had power cables which were connected through the train, providing lighting.  This lasted until the major upgrades of the SP passenger fleet in the mid-1930s installing generators and air conditioning in many cars.  After the majority of the fleet upgrades made the BD-series of cars redundant and they were returned to full baggage service.  Many retained the extra window, which allowed these cars to be easily spotted in consist photos.

60-BD-series Baggage-Dynamo cars

60ft Baggage Cars (60-B - NWP Clones)

NWP 60-B clones of SP 60-B-series cars.

These cars were clones of standard SP designs, but did not carry the standard class format because of the co-ownership of the NWP with the ATSF.

60ft Baggage Cars (rebuilt from other classes 60-P, 60-BP-30-1, etc)

SP 60-B rebuilt cars - not all the same as standard 60-B-series baggage cars

I believe from the SPHTS Passenger Cars Vol3 book SP 6110-6114 were fully rebuilt to be 60-B-series clones with new sides of standard design, which can be modeled with standard SC&F 60-B-series kits.  Note that the 4100 and 4400-series cars were equipped with 6-wheel trucks, and retained those in their rebuilt baggage car form.

SP 6122-6132, 6366-6368, 6395-6399 were kept in their original 60-BP-30-1 wall configuration, dropping their Railway Post Office lettering under the RPO windows, and had their RPO apartment equipment (both inside and outside) removed. - Therefore, these cars would NOT be suitable for SC&F standard 60-B-series models.

70ft Baggage Cars (70-B-1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)

Suitable prototypes for SC&F 70-B-series kits.  


The first of the new 70-B-1 were built in 1918 by ACF.

Note: the later classes of 70-B-series were built with flat-stepped ends, not the angled sheet ends of the SC&F kit.  It is possible to kitbash the SC&F models to replicate this change in construction.

Note: GHSA, LW, and MLT cars became T&NO in 1928, then reassigned to the Pacific Lines, generally in the 1940s to early 1950s as the T&NO passenger service was cut back.

SP 70-B-1 baggage cars

70-B-3 & 70-B-4

The three 70-B-3s were built 3-1921 by Pullman.  The five 70-B-5 in 6-1924 by ACF along with the 70-BA-4s.

SP 70-B-3 & 4 baggage cars

3 cars transferred from T&NO to SP.

The 70-B-5s were built in 7 & 8, 1924.


SP 70-B-5 baggage cars

SP 6484 wrecked in 1933 and scrapped... Don't model that car after that date!


Built in 1925 by Bethlehem 

SP 70-B-6 baggage cars

T&NO 608 wrecked at Tortuga and rebuilt to SP 6309 in 1938, appears to have kept 70-B-6 class and baggage-express pool assignment.


Built in late 1926 by Pullman.

SP 70-B-7 class baggage cars

SP 6064 and 6073 involved in 1947 wreck of the Owl at Lerdo, CA (in the San Joaquin Valley).  I am not sure if these two cars were rebuilt or scrapped after the wreck.  I'm guessing they were repaired, as the SPHTS data doesn't say the cars were 'wrecked' as previous entries show.

SP 6080 was assigned to special NWP Redwood service in 1956 as effectively a News Agent-Baggage car with the News-Agent space at the rear, so that passengers to enter to buy food and magazines.


Built  1927 by Bethlehem.  These cars were built with then-current Postal standard ends with collision posts, thus a number of cars in this class were taken in hand 14 years later to be upgraded for high-speed LW passenger train service on the Lark, San Joaquin and Cascade.

I can't find photos off hand which show the ends of this class, if the 'new ends' constituted the change to the flat end-plate with taperred upper section.  The 'new end' certainly was applied to the following 70-B-9 class.

SP 70-B-8 class baggage cars

SP 6091 and 6092 were stream-styled for service in May 1941 for the San Joaquin, but were reassigned almost immediately to the Lark in January 1942. (Per Note 3 in SPHTS Vol3.)

SP 6084 and 6088 stream-styled for service at Sacramento in April 1941 on Lark.  Doors were blocked to provide a maximum 4 foot opening. (Note 2 in SPHTS Vol3.)

SP 6083 & 6085 were rebuilt stream-styled for San Joaquin service in 5/1942. (Per Note 1 in SPHTS Vol3.)  These two cars became were transferred to Noon Daylight service in 1946 and remained with those trainsets.  These two baggage cars followed the transfer of the Noon Daylight's Chair Cars to the Starlight in 1949 as SP shifted the LW equipment assignments.

In August 1950, SP 6088 and 6092 were reassigned from protecting the Lark pool to protect the Cascade's LW Baggage car SP 6602, when it was rebuilt to RPO-Baggage SP 5011.


This class clearly started the 'new end' series of SP 70ft baggage cars.  These followed the later ends on Pullman HW sleepers.  The 70-B-9 was built by SSC through 1928.

SP 70-B-9 class baggage cars

The SP 6448 was repainted into Daylight colors for protection service by 1959, and continued into the 1960s as such.  Originally the car still had the wooden doors, but received ply-metal doors with single windows by 1961.  Several other cars in this class received the 1954 TTG General Service scheme and eventually ply-metal doors by the 1960s.

70ft Baggage-Auto Cars (70-BA-2,4,5)

These 70ft Baggage-Auto cars were built with the A-end replaced with a set of doors for end-loading automobiles for passenger train movement.  It would be possible to kitbash the SC&F kits to model these cars.

70-BA-4s were built in 6-1924 by ACF.  70-BA-5 were built by PSC in 1930.

Roster of SP Baggage-Auto cars with end-doors.

SP 6457 was also involved with the 1947 wreck of the Owl at Lerdo, CA. The car was repaired, eventually being painted into TTG3 (1954 General Service) scheme and then into dark gray (1958 scheme) before being retired at last in July 1968!

69ft Baggage-Postal 30ft Apartment (69-BP-30-2/3

Finished SC&F kit as covered in my SP 5199 blog.

SP 69-BP-30-3 class Baggage-RPO with 30ft RPO Apartment.

69-BP-30-3 painted in Sunbeam SSS scheme after 1950. - Challenger model (I believe)

T&NO 141 and 148 were specially painted for Sunbeam service in 1937, then into Simulated Stainless Steel (SSS) in 1950 when the Sunbeam changed paint schemes to match the Sunset Limited pool of equipment.  Eventually the two cars came to the SP in 1961.

Some of the T&NO cars were transferred to the Pacific Lines in the 1960s.
Four SP cars were converted to Baggage-Express in 1954 and 1959 as noted.

Related Articles

SP 5199 Part 1 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 2 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 3 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 4 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 5 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 6 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 7 - Building SC&F resin kit - Lighting & Interior

SP 5069, Modeling San Joaquin Daylight RPO (Part 2) - Kitbashing to Stream-styled 70-BP-30-2/3