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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific GP38-2

Modeling an SP GP38-2 is not as straight forward as I originally said here.
These units were not only delivered with most options (as per normal SP practice), like 'L' shaped engineers windows, anticlimbers and 'light shows', but also had the larger 3000 gallon fuel tank and 'Q' radiator fans.
Fortunately the fuel tank is easily fixed by substituting an Athearn GP40/50/60 chassis with the larger fuel tank. The fans will either have to be aftermarket parts, or cut from an Athearn GP50/60 shell.

The Mainline Modeler article listed below, also shows the construction of the 'flush exhaust stacks' that the original order had. Although they may possibly be available as a detail part from Miniatures by Eric; made for Canadian 38-2's but applicable to SP's.

Modeling one of the leaser's, will involve careful study of prototype photo's, as these are rebuilt units from other Railroads, and do not necessarily have standard SP features, eg. 4873 has a Leslie horn.

From Jean-Marie Syx of Belgium comes these series of images showing an under construction HO Scale 'snowfighter' GP38-2:


  • Z Scale:
    • Rogue Locomotive Works and in SP paint.
  • N Scale:
    • Kato once made a GP38-2 in N Scale.
    • LifeLike also made a GP38-2.
  • HO Scale:
    • LifeLike makes a trainset model - best avoided...
    • Athearn has a GP38-2 kit in SP paint scheme - kit #4610
      • and Speed Lettered - kit #4618
  • G Scale:
    • USA Trains


  • Mainline Modeler July 1990 page 44 - SP GP38-2 "Techniques of a Master Builder" by Clyde King.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman Oct. '95, Page 56. - GP38-2 Plans.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman Nov. '91, Page 90. - SP GP38-2 superdetail a painted model.
  • Model Railroader Feb. '80, Page 84. - SP GP38-2 Plans.
  • Model Railroader Feb. '89, Page 102. - SP GP38-2 superdetailing article.

Additional information on this page contributed by Andrew Martin.

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Saturday, 28 May 2005