Southern Pacific Power: Endless Variety
Although these appear in earnest on this line only after the 1988 merger, there was a lot of run-through SP power as far back as 1983– mostly tunnel motors. After the merger with the D&RGW, many different types of SP power was seen in Colorado. I’ve tried to get a representative sample of the variety. 1988-1996 is one of my favorite eras. The main issue is, many units in this era acquired deck-mount ditch lights, which are time-consuming to build and install.
Within a few years after the UP merger, most SP units were retired, the prominent exception being the AC4400’s.
Since the SP era overlaps with the UP regime, I’ve been concentrating on upgrading the SP fleet to DCC, and I’m over halfway done with it.
||No. 4823 in as-built configuration, before all the distinctive SP lights were removed. My first SP unit… Not beefy enough for most mainline trains, it’s handy for locals and yard jobs. Blue-box Athearn.|
||These speed-lettered GP40M’s appeared around 1992, and many can be found in Colorado to this day (albeit patched or painted with UP numbers…). 7132 is a blue-box Athearn that I detailed. The other (7122, not pictured) is Atlas and DCC.|
||A new RTR Athearn unit, which required relocation of the headlights and some serious weathering to fit into my era. The results were totally worth the effort. DCC|
||From Atlas, a typical late-date Cotton Belt four-motor that has wandered into the Rockies. These were more common here than often realized. DCC|
||Photo: detailed Athearn model of snoot No. 8322, as it would appear in 1994 or later. It has working ditch lights. Blue-box Athearn model. DCC
Second unit is one of the RTR Athearn ones, in original SP configuration and lettering. DCC
I have every SP paint scheme represented on my 45T fleet!
(After the UP-WP merger in 1982, SP power did start showing up on the Moffat.)
|SP 9342. It’s a recent Athearn RR release, but I repainted and lettered it, then heavily weathered it. DCC|
|SSW No. 9264 is an extensive kitbash, done before the commercial models were available. I’m very proud of this unit! It has onboard battery-powered headlights. Yes, it’s a dummy.|
|No. 9192 is an SPSF merger scheme unit. You need at least one Kodachrome for those post-1985 operations! Since this photo was taken I’ve weathered it heavily. DCC|
|The fourth SD45T-2, No. 9308, is a speed-lettered repaint. DCC|
||Pictured are Nos. 9738 and 9794. These are Athearn blue-box models, and receive the usual detail treatment. They power RODVT / DVROT trains as well as the Ski Train on occasion.9738 now DCC; 9794 was recently sold off.
My SSW unit came pre-installed with a working strobe, which is very fun.
||(photo coming later)||Walthers unit with ESU sound. This is a D&RGW unit that got the SP repainting treatment. Unfortunately the model doesn’t have ditch lights and I can’t figure out how to wire them to the board. It’s OK like this for now.|
|(photo coming later)||From Athearn: DCC with Tsunami sound. The prototype unit was rebuilt by Morrison-Knudsen from an Erie Lackawanna SDP45 carbody for SP.|
||I now have enough of these to call them a “fleet”! These arrived in 1995, very late for my layout’s era, so most will stay pretty clean. This shot shows Nos. 263 and 144 leading an eastbound EYCKC train at West Portal.|
|This photo demonstrates that little oddity of remote-control units: it really doesn’t matter which way they face! It just looks wrong, but the railroads run them in strange configurations all the time.I have three blue-box units and two of the newer, ready-to-run kind. I detailed the blue-box ones to enhance the realism. Did you know that there are 13 grab irons on just the cab of these units?|
||No. 2578 is a nicely-detailed Athearn model that I picked up second-hand.|
Since implementing DCC, I have acquired two new units as yet un-photographed.
- An SD50, former D&RGW unit repainted in Speed Lettering. It’s Walthers with ESU sound. The details are generic and basic so it needs work, especially ditch lights and the high-mount bell.
- An SD40M-2, one of the rebuilt ex-EL SDP40 frames that Morrison-Knudson rebuilt for SP in the early 1990s. Since I had photographed No. 8694 in real life, I bought that one. It’s an Athearn Genesis and is perfectly detailed (Bless you, Horizon Hobby!)