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

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Model Train Help EBook

Cotton Belt SW1500

240 SW1500's delivered between 1967 and 1973

36 to Cotton Belt

2481 2482 2483 2484 2485 2486 2487 2488 2489
2490 2491 2492
2511 2512 2513 2514 2515 2516 2517 2515 2519
2520 2521 2522
2580 2581 2582 2583 2584 2585 2586 2587 2588 2589

see for more SW1500 Images

The SW1500's came in 12 orders, with deliveries starting in 1967 through to 1973. Of those 12 orders, 3 went to Cotton Belt. With this long a production time, there were detail differences in types of headlights fitted, and the early models came with sheet metal 'gussets', a bit like the SW1200 'gussets' between the stepwell and the bottom of the walkway.

All were delivered in scarlet and gray paint, and stayed that way until 1985, when two were painted into the SPSF Merger scheme using two different variations. 2539 had a yellow cab, 2575 had a red cab. However end road number placement varied over the years, some not even having the small versions at either end. Some went that long between repaints, that the Scotchlite™ wore off, revealing the red primer, hence the red lettered units; 2466 being one. The introduction of Speed Lettering after the buyout by DRGW saw a few painted that way. See the B-List for Speed Lettered SW1500's.

In service modifications seem to be few initially, limited to the pilot being cut back to accomodate an AAR type pin lifter, and the removal of the full length grab iron and/or the pilot steps and/or the MU hose boxes, photo's show a few variations.

Later modifications included the removal of the marker lights and signal lights, with varying degrees bodywork done. Some had the openings plated over, others were left with holes...
Along with the removal of lights, some received rotating beacons, placement of which varied considerably, photo's show centered on the back of the cab roof, offset to the left side at the back on some units and at the front on others.


  • Cotton Belt Locomotives by Joe Strapac, Chapter 15. - pages 188 - 191, history and photo's.
  • Cotton Belt Color Pictorial by Steve Allen Goen - Four Ways West Publications.
  • Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual 1974-76 - pages 26 to 31.
  • SP 1987/88 Motive Power Pictorial by Joe.W.Shine, Page 91.
  • SP into the 90's... by Joe.W.Shine, Page 164.
  • SP 1995 Motive Power Annual by Bill Shippen - Four Ways West Publications. Has 4 pages of good detail photo's.
  • Diesel Era, Jul/Aug.'94, Page 41, Prototype Photospread
  • Southern Pacific Rails - a motive power finale by Peter Limas - has images and data.
  • Southern Pacific in Transition by Bill Shippen and Joe Shine - Four Ways West Publications.

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This document © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Richard.A.Percy