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

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Model Train Help EBook

Cotton Belt

'Golden State'/
/'General Service'

SSW Class L1

SP Class GS-7


10 units built

Baldwin built for SSW
Orig.# 800 801 802 803 804 805 806 807 808 809
Final # 4479 4475 4476 4477 4478 4480 4481

Delivered in 1930 from Baldwin, these came with Worthington S-5 feed water heaters and roller bearings on the pilot and trailing trucks.

Though built at the same time and place, as SP's and T&NO's GS-1's, they were built to a smaller diagram, and classed L1.

Another difference was, that these were delivered in dark Nile green painted boiler and cylinder jackets, with chrome plated cylinder and valve head covers.

They also had their air pumps behind shields on the pilot beam.

Used in freight service, these remained on the Cotton Belt, until the delivery of enough diesels rendered them surplus to requirements.

These were rebuilt in 1940-41 with roller bearings on all the engine axles, Boxpok main drivers, multiple bearing cross-heads and lightweight rods. All features of the later 1937-42 built L1 Class. Only #807 is known to have had a full set of Boxpok drivers fitted, all others had just the main driver replaced.

In mid 1952, seven L1's were transferred to Pacific Lines. Used in freight and commute service, one, #807 (#4478) was also assigned to the San Joaquin Daylight.

Late in 1952, SP leased seven early L1's [GS-7's] (#801, 802, 404, 805, 807, 808, 809), three late L1's [GS-8's] (#815, 817, 818), while T&NO leased three late L1's [GS-8's] (#812, 813, 819) and operated them on the Rio Grande and San Antonio Divisions out of El Paso. These were fitted with train number indicators, Barco speed recorders and silver smokebox doors.

After steam operations finished out of El Paso, the seven early L1's leased by SP were sent back to California, renumbered, reclassed GS-7, and used on the peninsular commute service. The later three L1's were classed GS-8. The three leased by T&NO were sent to storage in Tyler, TX.

While on the SP proper only small physical changes were made; see Cotton Belt Locomotives - by Joseph Strapac for details.

All retired and scrapped by 1957.


  • A Century of SP Steam Locomotives - Guy L. Dunscomb.
  • 4-8-4's Daylight The Complete Story of the Southern Pacific GS Class 4400 Series Locomotives - by Robert J. Church.
  • Mainline Modeler June 1995 - Southern Pacific GS-1 History and Plans - by Robert J. Church.
  • Cotton Belt Locomotives - by Joseph Strapac.

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This document © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008. Richard.A.Percy

Tuesday, November 17, 1998 2:20:11 PM