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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific SD45X

Photos Copyright Elizabeth Allen and Harry Wong

From Ryan Martin: Elizabeth Allen's in progress shots for her SD45X kitbash. This project is perhaps 2 months old from the first cut into a flat normal piece of styrene. Everything white is kitbashed from flat styrene using EMD blueprints and photos. Grey stuff is obviously Cannon & Co. parts and/or detail associates parts.

Hope you appreciate the pics. Any SD45X tech info you have might help out Liz even more.

As can be seen in the photos, the majority of the construction of the shell is completed, and into the adding specific details phase. Current plans for the opening of the dynamic brakes call for them to be filled with a couple of Cannon SD50/60 grills spliced to fit into the opening to provide a 'see-through' look. Some roof detail needs to be completed prior to that. Without the detail photos provided by Brian Rutherford, it would have been impossible to make this much progress. I figure it is almost time to start building the frame and mechanism as well.

I'm looking for information regarding the use of etched metal walkway material. Specifically, what is the best adhesive to use, and have you ever experienced problems with the walkway becoming detached? Since cyanoacrylates have much less resistance to longitudinal stress, and metal and plastic expand at different rates, I've been hesitant to use the material prior to this.

When the Cannon Farr grills will be out? As you can see, I'm approaching the point where I'll be adding radiator grills to the model, and will be needing to splice several of them to complete that portion of the model.

SP bought 3 experimental EMD 4200hp SD45X's #9500 - 9502, during 1970, and tested them for EMD in the Sierra's. These came painted in standard SP paint, and SP light packages. Later SP bought another 3 from EMD, and they came in EMD Demonstrator blue and white, numbered 4201 - 4203, and also having full SP light packages, these were eventually repainted to red and gray, and renumbered 9503 - 9505. EMD kept one other #5740, that they had built, for use as a continuing testbed. 4203 was still in Demo paint as at 1979.

These units basically developed the Dash-2 features, having the modular control circuits and the HTC trucks, as well as other Dash-2 enhancements.

Modeling choices at the moment are:

  • For N Scale:
    • Atlas SD50/60 kitbash
    • Concor SD50 kitbash
  • For HO Scale:
    • Athearn SD40T-2 kitbash
    • Rail Power Products SD60 kitbash
  • For S Scale:
    • ?
  • For O Scale:
    • ?

The kitbash article listed below was based on the 'fatso' Athearn models of the day. Today, HO 'scale width' shells with plenty of Cannon & Co. parts, atop either an Athearn SD40T-2, an Athearn SD60 or perhaps an old Rail Power Products SD60 chassis will make the job a lot easier.


  • Railroad Model Craftsman May 1973, page 41 - Plans for the SD45X
  • Railroad Model Craftsman Dec. 1977, page 63 - Kitbash article, plus reprinted plans in N Scale.

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Wednesday, 14 January 2004