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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific

Passenger Trains


This information has been compiled from postings to the SP Mailing list.

The Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society's quarterly magazine Trainline had articles pertaining to the lightweight Casacade in Issue #54

Karl Swartz has a very detailed webpage on the Cascade

  • The Lightweight Cascade, Two Decades of Operations and Consists (Jim Lancaster)
  • Cascade Club (Mike Jarel)

The Cascade was a overnight sleeper train from Oakland, California to Portland, Oregon with through cars to Seattle, Washington.

The Cascade was inaugurated in April, 1927, it started out as a heavyweight train and was converted to a lightweight train in 1950.

In 1937 it was listed as Train 23/24.

Later it became Train 11/12 Cascade Limited

In the steam era, the motive power was mostly GS class 4-8-4's.

Cascade consist from SP Equipment Circular #14 of 6/2/ 1946 is as follows:

  • Baggage-Express
  • 14 Section sleeper
  • 12 Section/1 Dr Rm sleeper
  • 12 Section/1 Dr Rm sleeper
  • 8 Section/1 Dr Rm/2 Compartment sleeper
  • Diner
  • Diner
  • Lounge
  • 6 Section/6 Dbl Br sleeper
  • 6 Comp/3 Dr Rm sleeper
  • 8 Section/5 Dbl Br sleeper
  • 8 Section/5 Dbl Br sleeper
  • 12 Section/1 Dr Rm sleeper

I was looking thru some of my "stuff" and found this consist of the Cascade dated 8/15/1949. This was the first day the new 3-unit dorm-kitchen-diner-lounge operated on the HW Cascade.
Enjoy, Jeff Cauthen

Consist of # 12:
Storage mail (mags) (Wed. only) Oakland - Portland
30' Mail Apartment "
AC Chair car #12 "
AC Chair car #13 "
10-1-2 Slpr 128 "
6-6 Slpr 127 "
8-5 Slpr 126 "
12-3-2 Room 125 (plan 4158)? "
3-unit diner lounge "
6-6 Slpr 124 "
6-3 Slpr 123 Oakland - Seattle
8-5 Slpr 122 "
8-5 Slpr 121 "
6-3 Slpr 120 "

Here is a heavyweight 1947 consist:

  • Baggage-Express
  • 12-1
  • 10-1-2
  • 8-1-2
  • 8-1-2
  • Diner
  • Diner
  • Lounge
  • 6-6
  • 6-3 to Seattle via NP
  • 8-5 to Seattle via NP
  • 8-5 to Seattle via NP
  • 12-1 to Seattle via NP

Pullman cars were Pullman green with black roofs. SP heavyweight cars were Dark Olive with black roofs. SP Dark Olive is very similar to Scalecoat Empire Builder green. (SP Dark Olive was different to Pullman Green).

Before it was streamlined, the Pullmans were drawn from the SP Pullman pool, and the headend, diner and lounge cars were probably of a mixed assortment, as there were a large number of cars that contained the accomodations necessary. So you need to know the Pullman names of the car types assigned to Cascade service. This is one huge list of cars.

Re: two diners - Add up the total number of Pullman accommodations, and the need for two separate diners or equivalent seating is apparent. And of those Pullman riders, most ate in the diner except those who wanted privacy and could prevail upon the porter to be served in their Pullman room.

In Some Classic Trains,. the chapter on the Cascade, there is a photo of post 1947 Heavyweight Cascade and toward the visible end of the train there appears to be a round roofed diner followed by another round roof car (obscured by a cut, end only visible) the second car could be another diner or a round roof lounge. From the "Conventional Passenger Cars Pacific Lines" list of July 17, 1956, only three Heavyweight A/C diner classes are shown as surviving (The Cascade was an Air Conditioned Train) 77-D-3, D-4, and D-6. The 77-D-6 had a standard roof. 77-D-3 diners surviving to 1956 were #10099, 10103, 10104, 10107. Surviving 77-D-4s were #10006, 10009, 10010, 10109, 10112, 10114, 10116. Six Hamburger grill cars, rebuilt from 77-D-3/4s, are also listed, but I don't know when they were rebuilt from diners.

The 1948 Official Register of Passenger Train Equipment shows 89 a/c dining cars in number from 10003 to 10201 and five non-a/c dining cars numbers 10000 to 10119. Dining cars 10180 and 10181 are shown as steel underframe, were these wood sided cars still in service in 1948? Inside length was 59'5" and 73'11" so these cars were definitely not the same class. I am not going to type in all 89 a/c dining car numbers, probably couldn't do it accurately anyway.

The hamburger grill cars were rebuilt from diners in 1955. These 77-D-3 and 4 classes (arch roofed, similar to Harriman) survived because they had been upgraded in late 30's and 1940 with new kitchens, interior upgrades, and Waukesha A/C. The newer monitor roofed cars didn't last as long because they had ice A/C and no upgraded kitchens etc.

All the Hamburger Grill cars were done in 1955. 77-D-3 10098 to 10505, 10100 to 10506, 10101, to 10507, 10105 to 10511. 77-D-4 10115 to 10512, 10117 to 10513.

10505 Two-Tone Gray in 1960 and 1962 per photos, 10507 in Daylight 1961 per photo, 10509 in Daylight 1959 per photo, 10513 in UP yellow in 1957 and 1960 per photos, 10508 Two-Tone Gray in 1961 per photo, 10500 in UP yellow in 1959 per photo (this is rebuilt 77-D-2 #10095, ex 2806).

Lightweight Cascade consists entered service on August 13, 1950

car typecar #
Baggage 6600 6601
Baggage-mail 5000 5001
22 Roomette 9300 9302
12 Dbl Br 9400 9401
10 Rmt/6 Dbl Br 9030 9033
Dorm-kitchen unit 1028010283articulated triple units,
known as Cascade Club
44 seat diner unit 1028110284
tavern-lounge unit 1028210285
4 Cmpt/4 Dbl Br/2 Dr Rm 9118 9119 Seattle car 9120
10 Rmt/6 Dbl Br 9031 9034 Seattle car NP 365
10 Rmt/6 Dbl Br 9032 9035 Seattle car NP 364
22 Roomette 9301 9303 Seattle car 9304
10 Rmt/ 6 Dbl Br (blunt end)9053 9054

Lightweight chair cars were added to the consist 11/11/1950; 2425, 2431, 2433, and 2437, two per consist. The dorm/diner/tavern above were an articulated 3 unit car.

Above is the official consist for the lightweight train's start-up on August 13, 1950. On October 11, 1950 two 44-seat chair cars were added to the consist behind the baggage-mail car. At the same time the first 10-6 sleeper was moved to a position behind the dorm-kitchen-diner-lounge.

In N Scale Marshall Shops produces all the Cascade cars you will ever need.

Per Wayner's "Car Names, Numbers, and Consists", the Lark 4-4-2s of 1941 (SP 200-205) were built to P-S Plan 4069E, whereas the Cascade 4-4-2s of 1950 (SP 9118-9120) were built to P-S Plan 4069M. In HO the Cascade 4069M cars are available as kits fromUnion Station Products
or for a listing of all SP cars by Union Station Products see: Southern Pacific

Steve Sandifer's extensive website on prototypes for HO models HO Model Prototypes lists the Brass Car Sides and Laser Horizons models as Plan 4069, and the Eastern Car Works model as 4069B. How close either of these plans is to the Lark 4069Es I cannot say--I had always understood that the Brass Car Sides and Eastern Car Works kits were accurate for the Lark 4-4-2s.

The Cascade 4-4-2, 12 DBRM, 22RMT and 10-6 sleepers also had a different underbody arrangement,smaller windows, and different air vent arrangement on the roofs. Compare photos in Ryan and Shine's SP Passenger Trains series of books and Jim Lancaster's Trainline article (#54 Winter 1997). The E&B/ECW kits are really only useful for the Lark or COSF/Overland 4-4-2, 6-6-4 cars with some modification. The Laser Horizons sides are pretty good for the 12DBRM, 22RMT Cascade cars if you can live with the faults of the ECW core kit.

On the SP Cascade the through Oakland-Seattle sleepers were placed between the triple-unit Cascade Club and the Oakland-Portland blunt-end 10-6 sleeper (the last car on the train).

Actually the Shasta Daylight went from daily to a mix of tri-weekly and daily before finally being discontinued in 1966. During its operational lifetime (1949-66) it was always a day train between Oakland and Portland. It was never combined with the Cascade (the night train on the same route) although some of the Shasta Daylight chair cars began operating on the Cascade on an as-needed basis as early as 1957.

The Cascade 4-4-2, 12 Bedroom and 22 Roomette sleepers, as well as the Cascade 10-6 sleepers and 10-6 blunt end sleepers, were part of the large order that included sleepers, diners, coffee-shops and lounges for the City of SF, the Overland and the Golden State.

Jim Lancaster

The NP cars used on the Cascade were 10-6s identical to SP 9030-9035. The NP numbers were 364 and 365. They were painted and lettered for the Cascade, and sublettered for the Northern Pacific. There were no UP cars built for that service, and I know of no UP cars that were ever painted and lettered for the Cascade. The Cascade cars that went to Seattle were (scheduled to be) forwarded on the NP pool train.

The NP cars were 10-6 smoothside Pullman Standard cars #364 and #365 plan 4140C. There is a nice photo of #364 in the July 1972 RMC, and a photo of the same car and write up in "SP Passenger Trains vol 2: Day Trains of the Coast line" on p393 (both in NP colors). These cars were originally painted to match the rest of the "Cascade" consist in two-tone gray, but with NP lettering and orange "Cascade" herald. NP#364 was later repainted in simulated stainless steel, while NP#365 was replaced by two-tone gray UP Pacific Beach when UP pool train #457 took over duties north of Portland from NP#407/8. The HO Rivarossi 10-6 car is close but has one too many aisle windows (PRR prototype). Microscale has a set for the heralds and you can piece together the NP name from a SP lettering set.I hope that helps.

I would like to weigh in on this subject. The Rivarossi 10-6 needs a Great deal of work and I mean a Great deal of work, to make it into a plan 4140C. I know, I did one as a blunt end 10-6 and have NO intention of doing it again. I did a clinic at the PCR in San Luis Obispo last May on how to build the Lark cars from Brass Car Sides, which would work for the Cascade as well. Bill Schaumberg has indicated that he would be publishing the article I have written sometime in the future on this subject. He also brought his camera to SLO and we took photos of the cars for the article so I would hope that it will show up sometime soon. But in short the 10-6 sides from Brass Car Sides are correct for the smooth side SP 10-6's. The correct decals are from Thin Film # 158 (these are also correct lettering for the Daylight). The best and closes logo is from champ. The only thing good from microscale are the letters SP and the number for the cars that go with it and this is from their Daylight sheet. Also I believe in Video Rails "The Shasta Route" in the early morning coming across the Martinez Bridge #11 has a GN 10-6 near the front of the consist. So I guess anything is possible.
Trust this helps
Ron Plies

The Cascade Club cars came in August 1949 and were used on the train. The lightweight sleepers arrived in June thru August 1950. The UP Pacific Beach was painted 2-tone gray with Pullman centered on the letterboard with Union Pacific at each end. No Cascade herald. Later the car was painted in SP SSS with red letterboard with regular UP lettering setup. UP streamliner mag had a good article on the Pacific cars with photos a couple of years ago. There are pictures of these NP and UP cars in Volumes 4 and 5 of the Northern Pacific by Four Ways West publications.

There is a March 1958 in service picture of the Pacific Beach in Cascade colors (no herald) on page 16 of the January 1991 Passenger Train Journal.

A restructuring of Portland-Seattle passenger train schedules in 1955 eliminated the Cascade's NP connecting train from Portland to Seattle. The Cascade's northbound cars were then switched to UP#457, but the southbound cars from Seattle to Portland continued to operate on an NP train. Because of this, NP and UP each provided a 10-6 sleeper to the Cascade pool.

One UP Pacific sleeper, Pacific Beach I believe, was painted SP silver and red for Cascade service. If SP had to paint cars yellow for the City, then UP had to paint a car to match SP.

The Sunset and the Cascade never had observations of any kind in lighweight setup. If there was one on the train it was a one time occurance.

The Shasta was a day train, the Cascade was a night train. Never ran combined that I've heard of. The only thing I can think of is that the Cascade had the Lark obs on for some reason. Stranger things have happened. There's a picture of it running on the Overland in '62, so anything is possible.

The blunt-end 10-6s did in fact have a rotating red emergency light, I believe, but with the vestibule at the other (engine) end, it would have been hard to see any light at all off the rear end!

The Cascade was always the night train, and until near the end of SP's involvement in passenger railroading, the Pullmans were always on the rear.

Looking at a photo of the 1960 Cascade's 10-6 iat Berkley in Dill's latest book "Colourful Shasta Route" (p.19)and there is clearly a large red Mars type light centred over the tail-end door. this is flanked by a double cluster of smaller "classification" type lights which look to be clear (or off) above/red below.

WHICH SP passenger cars had red oscillating lights?

The answer, at least in part: Sunset, COSF, Cascade blunt-end (sic) 10-6s, Daylight parlor-observations, certain other round-end lounge cars (probably including the Sunbeam cars).

The torpedo-shaped lights on the car sides are the other lights are markers.

The large light centered on the roof is the MARS (oscillating) light.

On either side of the MARS light are two small lights. I believe that the upper ones were red (and were used instead of the MARS light when the train was standing ON THE MAIN for a pass, so as not to blind the overtaking engineer, but I have no bulletin that says so much). The lower two were the green ones referenced in rule 19.

the SPH&TS Web site has a 1960 Rule book for viewing.

Although the Cascade did not have an observation car in the traditional sense it did have--at least as originally configured when it went "lightweight" --two 10-6 sleepers with the "blunt end" feature. These cars-- SP 9053 and 9054--did have oscillating lights built into the roofline, so it would indeed be possible to "stand in the rear door and see the oscillating arc from a light on the end of the car."

As far as I know, the two Cascade 10-6 blunt-end sleepers came with the etched train name drum head as built. These were replaced later with the neon signs; I'm not sure on the date, but probably 1951/52 or so. The small warning lights were red and green; green above, red below.

> While preparing to make models of cars in the Cascade I saw on the Microscale
> decal sheet 87-761 - Passenger Car Emblems - that there are two different
> versions of the Cascade logo. Can someone explain the differences, when the
> change started and offer any other relevant information?

The only one that comes close is the decal of the logo from Champ. Everything I have seen from Microscale is wrong just like with the Daylight logo. The right lettering is from Thin Film sheet 158, and that is for both the Daylight and the two tone gray cars, and you need to use the car numbers from the Microscale Daylight sheet. As you can see in order to do it right it can be a little pricey. Once Champ is gone I am not sure what we are to do for the correct logo's .

Ron Plies

>Another Microscale stumper.....
>Microscale has two versions of the Cascade logo on their set #761, but
>offers no explanation (!) other than 'revised' for the second choice. Which
>is correct? Version #1 with orange script lettering with black outline and
>green ball/wing, or #2 with orange script with red outline and green
>ball/wing? If both are correct when did the paint spec. change? Is either
>one correct?
>Stefan Lerche'

The drawing indicates black edging around the orange. I have no revision that has red. The ball and wing were emerald green, DuPont #88-6202, edging around ball and wing were light green, DuPont #88-24011, orange lettering, DuPont #88-5452 was edged in black, DuPont #95-7469. SP and Car # were 'silver grey', DuPont #88-586. Black edging around SP and car # was removed 12-17-56. I don't believe SP ever drew a Cascade herald for the SSS paint scheme.

Jeff Cauthen


SP passenger paint schemes - the final passenger paint scheme was known variously as General Service or Simulated Stainless Steel (abbreviated to SSS). This was similar to (but not the same as), the Sunset paint scheme.


  • Bob Pecotich
  • Kenneth R. Clark
  • Jim Lancaster
  • Tom Cockle
  • Jeff Pape
  • Jeff Cauthen
  • Ken Harrison
  • Stefan A. Lerche'


  • The New, Streamlined Cascade - San Francisco·Portland : Southern Pacific brochure reprinted by Wright Enterprises
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Sunday, 6 March 2005