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

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific U33C

Atlas HO Scale U33C by Ken Perry

Atlas HO Scale U33C by Ken Perry

8754 was the last U33C in service, it was last used in helper service on Tehachapi

Models Available:

  • N Scale:
    • ?

  • HO Scale:
    • Athearn - an 'earlier' 'fatso model
    • Atlas
    • Atlas has announced a new U30C model that may be useful in making a correct U33C

  • O Scale:
    • ?

Atlas also have an SP model with an 'L' shaped windshield a feature on all 'as delivered' Espee U33C's, but removed and not present on the last unit in service (#8754) by 1988, and mostly likely other units.

Quite a few changes are needed to make an SP unit from either of the models that Atlas market. Some are simple like moving the airhorn and bell, some moderately easy, like adding SP light packages, and the major difference, is adding the extra electrical cabinet behind the cab on the fireman's side, which also involves removing the last box on that side, and making a new handrail/stanchion assembly for that side as well.

See caption below.See caption below.

In progress images of the Atlas U33C, show the bell, headlight and electrical cabinet salvaged from an Athearn U33C, in place. Along with the usual detail add-ons, ie cab armrests, sunshades, roof vents and radio antenna base, Details West supplied the P3 airhorn. The closest signal light, for between the numberboards, that I could find, was the DA 1009. This should have shields, DA's 1024 light does have shields but is the wrong shape. A bracket for the DA 1001 UDE light was fabricated from Evergreen styrene and glued to the cab roof although this part is available from Sunrise Enterprises as part SRE part #13103 or Utah Pacific as part #71.

As I had re-arranged the electrical cabinets (as per the prototype) I had to make new long hood handrails for the fireman's side, these were bent up using 15 thou. piano wire, and Utah Pacific GE stanchions. To keep things in balance, I also made new handrails for the long hood on the engineers side, but will use the supplied Atlas ones in all other positions.

In the intended era on my yet to be layout, this unit will only be used as a trailing unit, so the pilots will not be finely detailed.

One other thing, is that the sideframes look more like Adirondacks to me, (and to a lot of informed people as well), than the GSI/GSC's that Atlas purports them to be.

I had inferred previously, that the trucks from the Atlas C30-7 may be usable, to model the other type of sideframe. As was pointed out to me, these are Dash7 style sideframes, and so are not usable for the earlier era.

Paint: All U33C's were delivered in the 1958 scarlet and red scheme, aka 'Blood(y) Nose.
in 1970 SP started to paint a block lettered 'SP' on the nose. U33C #8688 was the first 'new' unit to have this applied in November 1971.

SDP45's #3202 and 3203 were the test units for this feature...

Additional information from Cliff W. West

Model References:

  • Model Railroader Aug. '82, Page 72. - has a set of Plans.

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