California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

   Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind
Site search Web search
Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific Diesel Locomotive Paint Schemes
1937 - 1944
Dress Black

1937 - 8/1944

I call this scheme Dress Black but if you have a correct name, or any name for this scheme, please let me know.

SP's first fully owned diesels, were SW1 switchers, and received a paint scheme based on EMD's SW1 demonstrator #804. Most references say the lettering was white, but SP's later Lettering Diagram for the Black Widow F-units calls Aluminum-Bronze lettering. There is probably a better than good chance that the lettering and striping were in fact Aluminum-Bronze.

The early diesels came in all-over black, with a thin frame pinstripe, and a parallel pin-stripe placed just below the cab window, and running the length of, the cab side, the long hood and wrapping around over the radiator and according to the Kato NW2, the back of the cab.

SP simply applied 12" Southern Pacific Lines lettering to the hood, the number 1000 under the cab window, and in very small lettering at the bottom of the cab, the class and ? weight ?

This black scheme was applied to all switchers delivered to SP from 1937 through to August 1944, in fact only diesel switchers were delivered to SP. Cotton Belt being the first to receive FT's in 1944.

T&NO's first full-size diesel switcher ALCo S-1 #10 was delivered in 1941, in the same black scheme as SP's switchers.

Locos known to have appeared in this scheme:

  • SP - SW1, NW2, S-1, S-2, DS-660 (VO-660), DS-1000 (VO-1000), HH-660, HH-1000, GE 44-tonner.
  • T&NO - SW1, S-1, S-2.
  • SSW - none that I have found so far.

Known Variations:

  • On the taller hood Baldwin's and ALCo's, the pin-stripe on the hood didn't extend to the cab-side or back, as it would have gone through the cab window opening.


  • Any brand of Black.
  • Info required for the Cotton Belt's paint.


  • perhaps one of the Steam sets.
  • If you prefer Aluminum lettering, then one of the Steam sets could likely be used.

Known Exceptions:

Cotton Belt's first diesel switchers were Baldwin DS-1000's #1000 - 1008 (also listed as VO-1000) delivered in 1942, they were painted Purple and Aluminum with Yellow pin-striping and Purple lettering, or Royal Blue and Aluminum with Yellow pin-striping and Purple lettering, it has been described both ways so obviously was open to interpretation. The only ones such painted, they had St. Louis Southwestern lettering, and a Cotton Belt logo at the bottom of the cab-side. photo page 168 SP Dieselization.

The rest of Cotton Belt's DS-1000's, (VO-1000's) #1009 - 1022 were delivered in yet another scheme, of Gray and Yellow with Red striping and Yellow lettering. These were lettered St. L.S-W. still with the Cotton Belt logo at the bottom of the cab-side. photo page 170 SP Dieselization.

Cotton Belt's FT's were the first main-line power delivered to the System. 5 sets of FT ABBA units were delivered during 1944, all came in light gray paint with yellow wings, set off with red pinstriping and trim.

In August 1944, SP introduced Tiger Stripes.

Home Steam Loco Index SP MoW Index Diesel Loco Index Diesel Roster Index
Freight Car Index Passenger Car Index Structure Index Depot Index
Feed Back Caboose Index DRGW Index Miscellaneous Freight Car Spec Sheets
Data Index PicIndex Diesel Model Info
website logo for use in banner exchange [185 x 50] (5k) This document prepared and maintained by Richard.A.Percy.
All Corrections, Additions and Flames should be aimed at Richard Percy
This document © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Richard.A.Percy