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

   Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind
Site search Web search
Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific

Baldwin changed the radiator in early 1941 from a hand assembled unit that was expensive and leaked when subjected to heavy switching couplings, to a purpose designed spring mounted unit. This necessitated increasing the overall length by 10 inches. In theory... #1320-1324 should have an overall length of 48 feet, and #1325-1329 an overall length of 48 feet 10 inches. The study of builders and early photos in the references listed below, seems to show radiator differences and therefore the difference in length.

These early VO's also had a shallower arch to the cab roof, and curved metal trim on the battery boxes and curved stepwell gussets.

As delivered these came with a single exhaust stack that was later modified to a four stack arrangement by the Los Angeles General Shops. Later deliveries came with either a single stack, two or four exhaust stacks. The early single stacks caused overheating of the main generator. The improvement to a two stack design caused exhaust manifolds to crack, so leading to the four stack design.

The next number series #1371-1385 took 17 months until all were delivered. These were not built and delivered in order, and so some earlier units had late factory features, ie. #1373-1374 and #1383-1385 did not have the curved metal trims, ie. no trim around the battery boxes and angled stepwell gussets. This feature (or lack of) was changed at the factory in May 1944. The cab roof arch was also a rounder profile.

Paint was basic black, with either white or aluminum frame stripe, road number and stencilling, and lettered Southern Pacific Lines. Later painted in Tiger Stripe, later still in Halloween, and finally Blood Nose paint.

A few units were leased to and (hand) lettered (before 1954) for Pacific Electric. Some receiving trolley poles to activate PE's grade crossing system.

As always, build a model from photos for accuracy, especially as #1329 in Halloween paint in 1964 had stacked roadname lettering, very non-standard and others may also have had it.

As with the VO-660's many mechanical modifications were made over their lives. Early units were brought up to later standards. Later deliveries came with factory improvements. Some of these may have included:

  • the addition of cab armrests and awnings,
  • semi-circular cutout in the frame for better access to the fuel filler,
  • the addition of shutters over the top of the radiator fan,
  • the addition thermostatical control for all radiator shutters,
  • the addition of an expansion tank for the radiator behind the headlight,
  • the single exhaust stack was changed to a four stack arrangement,
  • and later the exhausts were reduced to just two,
  • extra sets of louvers at the top of the hood sides, behind the existing louvers,
  • a mesh grid over the top radiator screen,
  • the hood side radiator screen was plated over,
  • the cast steps were replaced by welded steel steps.


  • N Scale
    • ?
  • HO Scale
    • Stewart
  • S Scale
    • ?
  • O Scale
    • Weaver have announced a new model

Model References:

Additional information supplied by Bryon Morgan.

Home Steam Loco Index SP MoW Index Diesel Loco Index Diesel Roster Index
Freight Car Index Passenger Car Index Structure Index Depot Index
Feed Back Caboose Index DRGW Index Miscellaneous Freight Car Spec Sheets
Data Index PicIndex Diesel Model Info
website logo for use in banner exchange [185 x 50] (5k) This document prepared and maintained by Richard.A.Percy.
All Corrections, Additions and Flames should be aimed at Richard Percy
This document © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008. Richard.A.Percy

Sunday, June 23, 2002