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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific EMD Yard Slugs

Courtesy Tom Fassett:

I took the frame from an old Athearn SW7 along with the end sills and pretty much made the rest out of styrene. The trucks are the newer type from an SW1000 (I just couldn't bring myself to put those old cast metal ones back on... ). In the past, I have used the brake shear to bend the styrene at the top of the hood but the results have been less than predictable and I wasted a lot of sheet styrene... This time I decided to use quarter round styrene for the rounded over edges and glue the sides and top to it. It worked a lot better. The old railing holes were filled and new piano wire railing made to better approximate the real thing. All the detail parts are Details West except the MU hose and receptacle which are white metal. I couldn't find the right doors in any of the Cannon stuff so I just scribed 'em and made hinges out of very small styrene strips (darn near went blind workin' on them little things... ) Since I had already committed myself, I filed the door handle out of tiny styrene rod. It all came out decent for a hack job... I forced myself to take a lot of "in progress" photos and did up a scale drawing that I will post (someday) for anyone with a hankerin' to add on of these little spuds to yer' SP yard. Now I just gotta' get the darn MP15AC painted so I have something to pull it behind... Still, I'm quite pleased with it, all the same.

Scrathbuilt slug attached to a brass MP15AC by Tom Fassett.

Image of my HO model SP Yard Slug coupled to a detailed Athearn SP SW1500

This is my model of SP Yard Slug #1012, there are a few 'errors' in my model, made mostly because of my skills (or lack thereof) and a lack of photo's to study. Still, all in all, I am very happy with the way it has turned out, and it looks great coupled up to an SW1500, (until I can get/build a model of an MP15AC).

  • There are frame detail differences between the four units - the Athearn SW7 frame doesn't appear to match any of them,
  • I filled in the pilot below the coupler box - this matches most of my other SP locos - but in this case? is incorrect,
  • The Cannon & Co. doors I used have 2 latches (after shortening to size), the slug doors have only a center latch,
  • The 2 grilles on each side should be in 3 sections - not one piece as I have them,
  • The brakewheel is likely incorrect - I didn't have a photo showing that end of the slug,
  • The trucks should be converted to Roller Bearings - mine are the older metal ones - the new plastic ones can be changed more easily,
  • I simplified the end handrail/stanchions - see the photo's for the 'correct' shape etc.,
  • I also simplified the long handrail on top of the carbody, using 4 DA 2206 eyebolts - instead of the offset stanchion?
  • The coupler lift bar I used DA 2211 or DA 2212, is not quite the correct shape - see plans.
  • I lettered mine to the best of what I could make out in the photo's, and put the maintenance depot, as Bay Area. This is not correct at all, AFAIK they only ever operated at Eugene, Roseville and Tucson, but as SP and SSW switchers rarely left their areas, having a switcher labelled for one of these on a layout set around Watsonville Junction, wouldn't look quite right.
  • Floquil SP Lark Light Grey and SP Scarlet paint, Microscale decal sheet #87-447.

Model References:

  • Railroad Model Craftsman, Feb, '86, Page 78 - Plans and description.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, Sep, '81, Page 60 - Article with accurizing an NW Pilot, by Montford Switzer.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, Jan, '89, Page 64 - Article with building more accurate SW Air Reservoirs.

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