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

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Southern Pacific
Cotton Belt
Texas & New Orleans
RSD5

63 units delivered

36 units to SP
3 units to SSW
24 units to T&NO


SP as delv'd
5294 5295 5296 5297 5298 5299
5300 5301 5302 5303 5304 5305 5306 5307
5336 5337 5338 5339
5445 5446 5447 5448
5494 5495 5496 5497 5498 5499
5500 5501 5502 5503 5504 5505 5506 5507

SSW as delv'd
270 271 272

T&NO
155 156 157 158 159
160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169
170 171 172 173 174 175 176
185 186

SP 1965
2850 2851 2852 2853 2854 2855 2856 2857 2858 2859
2860 2861 2862 2863 2864 2865 2866 2867 2868 2869
2870 2871 2872 2873 2874 2875 2876 2877 2878 2879
2880 2881 2882 2883 2884 2885 2886 2887

SSW 1965
2888 2889 2890



Southern Pacific's RSD5's, came in two varieties; branchline/switcher and road/helper service.

Road/helper units were setup short hood forward, switchers long hood forward.

  • the following units were setup long hood forward:
    • SP #5294 - 5307, 5336 - 5339
    • SSW #270, 271, 272 later 2888, 2889, 2890
    • T&NO #155 - 175, 185, 186 later 2850 - 2870, 2886, 2887
  • the following units were setup short hood forward:
    • SP #5445 - 5507 later #2871 - 2885

In 1960, 21 RSD5's were traded back to ALCo to be rebuilt into RSD12's, (or DL-702) only the trucks and miscellaneous equipment was reused. SP #5294 - 5307, 5336 - 5339, 5445 - 5447 were the units involved. Originally delivered with ALCo's 244 engine, (as were all RSD5's), these came back with the then new 251 engine.

The remaining 15 SP units #5448, 5494 - 5507 were leased to the Texas & New Orleans without being renumbered.

The Texas & New Orleans (T&NO or TNO) was a subsidiary of SP, and existed until 1961 when it was fully absorbed by SP. The T&NO units #155 158, 160 - 170, 172 - 175, 185, 186 later became SP #2850, 2852 - 2859, 2861 - 2870, 2886, 2887

T&NO 170 - 176 were delivered with dynamic brakes and later became hump units, 185, 186 were 'plain jane' units and remained as switchers.

In the 1965 renumbering, the branchline/switcher units became #2850 - 2870, 2886, 2887 and road/helper units became #2871 - 2885

With 63 units built over a 3 year period, in at least 7 orders, to 2 or 3 owners, (depending how you want to classify T&NO), there are bound to be a lot of differences, in appliances (light packages) fitted, and paint schemes as delivered. As well, some units lasted over 20 years before retirement, so would have lived through a lot of changes, regarding appliances and paint schemes.

I have only turned up one modeling article so far, so a photo is going to be a must, if you want to get it right.


Prototype References:

  • SP Motive Power Annual 1966-67 - has a photo of 5505 in 1964.
  • SP Motive Power Annual 1967-68 - has a photo of T&NO 155 in Road Switcher paint.
  • SP Motive Power Annual 1967-68 - Twenty Eight Years of ALCo Diesels mentions RSD5's.
  • SP Motive Power Annual 1968-69 - has a photo of 2878 in Black Widow.
  • SP Motive Power Annual 1970 - has a photo of (ex T&NO 169) 2870 probably in Blood Nose.
  • SP Motive Power Review 1978-79 - Article on Dieselization of the T&NO - covers RSD5's in text and Blood Nose photo's.
  • SP Dieselization by Garmany - Chapter 13 has photos.
  • Diesel Era Mar/Apr 1998 Vol.9 No.2 - ALCo's RSD4/5's, pages 11-26, 54 - 59.
  • SP Historic Diesels Vol.8 Alco Roadswitcher Locomotives by Joe Strapac


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All Corrections, Additions and Flames should be aimed at Richard Percy espee@railfan.net
This document © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008. Richard.A.Percy

9/11/2008