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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific Diesel Locomotive Paint Schemes
Halloween Paint scheme.

June and July 1958

The term 'Halloween' was never an officially adopted 'name'. Anecdotally though, Shop paint crews were heard to refer to this scheme as Halloween, and the term _was_ generally used in a derogatory manner. Depending on your viewpoint, the term Halloween can either mean every locomotive that SP painted into solid orange and black, or those locomotives that were not originally painted Tiger Stripe. ie. F and E units, and possibly passenger GP9's and H24-66's.

During a recessionary period in 1958, SP was looking at a cheaper paint scheme, than the expensive to apply 4 color Black Widow scheme. Legend has it, that this scheme was first applied to an HO Scale model, with nail-polish during one lunch break at Head Office...

As it was applied to switchers, the areas that were previously orange diagonal stripes were simply painted solid orange. This included the sills, hood ends and pilots. Switchers kept their orange lettering.

Switchers known to have appeared in this scheme:

  • GE:
    • 44 tonner #17 (ex PE 1654)
    • 44-tonner #1902
    • 44-tonner #1905

  • EMD:
    • SW1 #1000
    • SW1 #1015
    • NW2 #1917 (ex #75)
    • NW2 1312
    • NW2 #1415
    • SW8 #4611 (SP Review 1977 p. 19, cab end view, was a tiger-stripes with aluminum painted ends, but rear of cab is black above bottom of lower windows, units with aluminum ends had the entire rear of cab painted aluminum. Could this have been the only switcher in "roadswitcher" paint that lost it's aluminum painted ends in favor of the plain switcher scheme?)

  • ALCO:

  • Baldwin:

  • Fairbanks-Morse:
    • H12-44 #1488
    • H12-44 #1490
    • H12-44 #1534

As it was applied to road-switchers, only the hood ends were solid orange, with the lettering remaining Lettering Gray.

Road-switchers known to have appeared in this scheme:

  • ALCo:
    • RSD-5 #5295
    • RSD-5 #5495
  • Baldwin:
    • DRS6-6-15 #5213
    • AS-616 #179
    • AS-616 #183
    • AS-616 #5264
    • AS-616 #5277
  • EMD:

The passenger units, perhaps had the greatest variation. Hood units were fairly standard, with orange hood ends and hoodside lettering 'Letering Gray'. The cab units however, exhibited two variations, the early cab units had the orange on top of the nose in same later scarlet area, but then rounding the numberboards and angling back towards the end of the anti-climber. The later cab units had the orange applied in the exact shape the later scarlet would take, (including the wings or feathers), of the scarlet and gray scheme.

Passenger locos known to have appeared in this scheme:

  • EMD:
    • GP9s #5600
    •    "     #5601
    •    "     #5602
    •    "     #5603
    • E7A  #6001
    • E9A  #6051
    • F3     #6152
    • F7     #6342
    • F7     #6351
    • F7     #6362 (not confirmed)
    • F7     #6371
  • ALCo
    • PA2 #6024
    • PB2 #5922
    • PA2 #6039
  • Fairbanks-Morse:

The following Houston rebuilt F9m's were turned out in Halloween.

  • F9Am's
    • #631
    • #632
    • #633
    • #634

  • F9Bm's
    • #724

Plus, there was at least one lower-numbered F9Am repainted from the Black Widow scheme to the Halloween scheme. (# yet to be confirmed)

Known Variations:

F3 #6152 had the orange in the same shape as the later scarlet wings.

PA2 #6024 had the orange in the same shape as the later scarlet wings.

PA2 #6034 had Daylight Red wings on a pure black body - not strictly Halloween but mentioned here for completeness...

H24-66 #4811 is described as having 'white' lettering? in SP Historic Diesels Vol.1 page 36
but a color photo in the "Train Master" by Diesel Era and Sweetland, the lettering looks more like 'Lettering Gray'.


  • Any brand of Black.
  • Floquil or Scalecoat Daylight Orange, according to informed opinion.
  • White for handrails.


  • Microscale sheet 71 will supply orange lettering for switchers,
  • For the lettering; a Microscale Black Widow sheet 60/87-201 - for the record Microscale revised this sheet to Lettering Gray, older sheets had silver lettering representing the older Aluminum Bronze lettering color,
  • If you believe white lettering is correct, then Microscale sheet 447 may be appropriate.

RTR Models:

Athearn has released a 'Special Edition' set SE-2219 with two powered S12's #1457 and 1511. Photo's of 1511 and 2114 ex1457 appear in the 1983-85 Southern Pacific Review on pages 22 and 19 respectively.

Relevant Magazine articles:

  • Model Railroader, July 1974, page 36. - Painting Diesel Switchers - Interim Tiger Stripe, Tiger Stripe, Halloween and Blood Nose - color photo of SW1 #1000 in Halloween.

Color photo's appear in the following publications:

  • #4811 in Train Master by Diesel Era and Sweetland
  • #6152 and #6371 on the back cover of the 1981 SP Review

The above lists of unit numbers appearing in this paint scheme, is not exhaustive, (I may have missed one or two), but is simply the photo's that were in color, or captioned as 'black and orange' in the following publications.

  • Every SP Motive Power Annual/Review I could lay my hands on
  • SP Historic Diesels Vol.1
  • Train Master by Diesel Era and Sweetland
  • Diesels of the Espee Vol.1 ALCO PA's
  • Model Railroader, July 1974

Loco Paint Index

Additional Information on this Page contributed by Rob Jacox and Rich Sievers.

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