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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific RSD12

SP sent 21 RSD5's back to Alco for a frame-up rebuild, these came back as RSD12's. The carbody was basically a late model low-nose RS11.

Atlas' HO scale model is something similar, their RS11 bodyshell on top of their RSD5 chassis. Problems for the SP modeler are that the Atlas RS11 shell is an early high-nose version, and details don't match SP's low-nose RSD12's.

Atlas HO Scale RSD12

A low-nose conversion kit is available to convert the Atlas high-nose RSD12 to a low-nose RSD12, but you are still faced with the other problems to correct. The image above shows some of the obvious differences, studying further material will show many more changes required. With the amount of work involved and the skill required to realise a quality model, one has to question whether the effort will be worth it.

As far as the Atlas RSD12 is concerned, I would add the low-nose resin conversion from Railway Recollections and leave it at that; a stand-in model until something better comes along.

Railway Recollections Resin HO Scale Low-nose Conversion
Very hard to get a good photo, the quality is much better than the photo.

HO Scale Atlas RSD12


  • N Scale:
    • ?
  • HO Scale:
    • Atlas once made a model of a high-nose RSD12.
    • Has been available in Brass, Overland recently made a run.
    • Tiger Valley Models also makes a white-metal kit of a lo-nose RSD12 suitable for SP models.
  • S Scale:
    • ?
  • O Scale:
    • ?

Modeling References:

  • Mainline Modeler March 1986 - RSD12 Atlas Product review.
  • Mainline Modeler October 1986 - RSD12 Plans that may be usable.
  • Model Railroader August 1986 - RSD12 Atlas Product review.
  • SP Dieselization by Garmany - Chapter 13 has photos.
  • SP Historic Diesels Vol.8 Alco Roadswitcher Locomotives by Joe Strapac

SP RSD12 Prototype Page

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Wednesday, 8 March 2006