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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific

6000 - 6004, 6017

5900 - 5909, 5916, 5917

5 E-7A units delivered

10 E-7B units delivered

1 E-7A rebuilt

2 E-7B rebuilds

For further History on E-2A #6017 and E-7B's #5916 and 5917 see 'Queen Mary' - SP's oldest diesel

E7A units
6000 6001 6002 6003 6004 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000
6000 6001 6002 6003 6004 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000
6000 6001 6002 6003 6004 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000
6000 6001 6002 6003 6004 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000
0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 6017 0000 0000
E7B units
5900 5901 5902 5903 5904 5905 5906 5907 5908 5909
0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 5916 5917 0000 0000

E7 in Golden State paint

Delivered throughout 1947, the first arrivals were 6000A,B,C to 6002A,B,C (matched E7 A-B-B sets). The 6000,6001 and 6002 sets came painted in the Golden State paint scheme, of red and silver.

The 6003 and 6004 sets came painted in Daylight colors, but lettered Shasta Daylight for a train of the same name. All units were also the first to wear the SP Rails to the Sunset Medallion.

To qualify engineers they were used on various Coast Line runs out of LA, in their Golden State paint!, until the passenger cars arrived for the new Golden State train run in conjunction with Rock Island (LA - Chicago return).

SP had looked for some time to introduce a Shasta Daylight but shortages of steel delayed the building of the required passenger cars. However EMD was able to deliver the required E7 sets, 6003 A, B, C and 6004 A, B, C arrived in Daylight paint and Shasta Daylight lettering and Medallions. These were also assigned to the LA diesel pool, and also worked runs out of LA. They soon lost their Shasta Daylight lettering and the medallions were replaced with the 'Sunset' medallion.

The Daylight Paint Scheme proved so popular, that it was soon adopted as the standard for the passenger diesel fleet.

A couple of variations appeared to the lettering as applied to the E7's.
Daylight paint:
Initially the Southern Pacific roadname appeared in the two upper panels between the carbody air intake grilles on both the A and B units. By 1949 the roadname on the A units was moved to the center of the 3 lower panels, between the cab door and engine room door. The B units lost all roadname lettering, just having the roadnumber.
The roadname was split either side of the engine room door in the lower panels.
Blood Nose
The lower center position remained the preferred place, except for variations listed below.

As delivered they did not have the road number underneath the headlight, this was applied starting late 1948.

In 1949, all units with letter suffixes were renumbered, (as in the above table) with E7A units going to the 6000 series, and E7B units to the 5900 series.

Quite a number of changes occurred in the appearance of the E7's over the years.

  • Shortly after delivery, 3 vent or louvers were cut into the rear most top panel.
  • Originally equipped with retractable couplers, these started to be removed around 1953/54.
  • Around 1955 'airfoils' started appearing at each end of the roof-mounted radiators.
    These appear to be two pieces of sheet metal in an inverted 'V' shape with open ends.
  • Also around the same time, the louvers behind the cab door, were replaced by mesh grille(s).
  • Around 1957 nose MU connections started appearing.
  • Some units received a 'ladder' of grab irons just behind the lefthand-side numberboard (6004 for sure).
  • Some/all? A units received the Nathan M-5 chimes instead of the A-200 blat horns (6001, 6003 and 6004)
  • The skirting between the fuel tank and carbody, started to disappear later in their life.
  • A 1964 photo of 6001 shows a freight pilot fitted......... see MRG below.

The 1972 SP Motive Power Annual states in part "In 1956 all A units received MU connections on the nose, possibly around the same time, #6000, 6002 and 6004 received pilot plows similar to the F7's, but did not carry them for long.", however this has since been qualified in 'SP Historic Diesels Vol.3' as "No photographic evidence has come to light to show these actually carried the snowplow pilot"...

Prior to the introduction of the grey and scarlet (Blood(y) Nose) in 1958, some units were painted in an experimental orange and black scheme. E7A #6001 was one such unit, the unit was overall black, with an orange nose, the shape of which would be similar to the scarlet area on Cab units, except the orange angled back from the bottom of the numberboards, straight down the ends of the fluting extending from the anti-climber. (Another case where a picture would be worth a thousand words). I presume the lettering was also orange, it looks to be the same color value in a black and white photo I have seen, but on reflection was more likely aluminum/silver, as the color photo's of F Units in this scheme, have aluminum/silver lettering.

These units were not renumbered in the 1965 systemwide renumbering, but did receive grey and scarlet paint.

In 1959, 6002 also received a variation on the Blood Nose paint, below the door mounted signal light was a white? circle with a red? Gothic SP. Centered? and low on the panel between the cab door and engine room door, Southern Pacific was spelt out in a small Gothic lettering.


  • SP Dieselization by John Bonds Garmany.
  • Extra 2200 South Issue 59, Jan/Feb/Mar 1977 - 1976 SP Roster Part VI.
  • SP Motive Power Annual 1972 - Passenger E-Units article.
  • SP Historic Diesels Vol.3 E-Units and Pass. F's
  • Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society magazine "Trainline" Summer 2004 issue #80 pages 14 to 28 - SP's E7's and how to model them plus color photos on front and rear covers

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