Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Bob Collins, Dec 15, 2002.

  1. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    I had occasion today to drive back and forth from Jefferson City to Lee Summit, MO oh Highway 50 that basically parallels the UP track that crosses the state from Kansas City to St. Louis.

    I saw three empty coal trains and headed west, two with two motive units (sorry, I can't spot the diesels by type) up front and one at the rear, the third one had three units on the head end. What struck me about each of these trains was that one ot two of the units on each train were wearing SP colors. Does that tell me that basically the UP has no plans to repaint these and will just eventually retire them sometime wearing their SP paint?

  2. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Bob, It's been awhile!! I think the UP will probaly get to painting the units unless they are just about junk. They are still running C&NW units here in their original paint.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think that repainting schedule will be a function of how much the RR has tied up in their image, how much profit they're making, and whether the units need repainting anyway.
    I know that CP Rail had a switcher painted in the second last CPR maroon scheme for over 25 years after they went to the Action Red scheme.
    If they're trying to blot out bad memories, or if they get very hot on corporate image, they may have a crash repainting.
    and boxcars last even longer.
  4. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member


    Glad to hear about the CNW as I plan to run a few mixed with my UPRR engines.

    Saw another interesting one a couple of days ago when I crossed over the UPRR tracks at Dexter MO in the southeast part of the state. A mixed consist of freight was sitting waiting to be cleared to proceed and is was being powered by two shiny newly painted CSX engines! Wonder where they came from.

    About the SP engines. If they didn't need to be painted they were at least as dirty as they ever ought to get.

    Thanks guys.

  5. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Are you sure that they were not patched with Armour Yellow? UP has made an all-out effort to obliterate SP from the face of this planet by patching all SP engines with a UP number on the cab while leaving the familiar "bloody-nose" SP paint on the hood.

    While the engine may have been sporting SP colors, it would certainly be unusual not to at least have a patch-job on the cab. As such, you sure were lucky to get a glimpse of a very rare sight.

    I trust that you had a camera with you?

  6. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    I've seen a coal train with 2 up and 1 sp engine pulling it here lately. A friend of mine who is a rail fan says that Norfolk Southern have bought some of their older units and just have not gotten around to painting them yet. Probably too cheap to do it IMHO.

  7. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Michael, are these pre-DRGW merger Speed lettered units you are seeing? If that is the case, they are second generation power from the late 80' s and early 90's rather than the older 4 axle power.

    Regardless, if they are NOT patched, you would be well advised to get whatever pictures you can regardless of whom bought the power.

    Please feel free to post them here too as I am certain that others may appreciate a piece of history.
  8. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, I did not have a camera with me. It was probably fortunate as I was driving down the highway that parallels the track in several locations. Not a particularly good time to try to use a camera me thinks!

    I wouldn't bet the farm, but I think my powers of observation as acute enough to recognize that the engines appeared to be in their regular livery without any paint overs. Each of the trains I saw was an empty coal train headed west with a consist that had "old" looking cars from the UP, CNW and several other lines that I forget now.

    I know we have a member on the Gauge that lives along that mainline. I'll have to try to remember who it is and put him on the alert:D

    What about the CSX on the UPRR??

  9. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    I have to agree with Jeff, a SP without the "patch" would be a rare bird. Here in central CA all the engines seem to be in need of a good wash, is this the case all over? I seem to recall UP engines always looking like new even though they may be several years old. Did they stop washing them to cut costs. I know they have a wash rack in the Roseville yards, where they just ran the engines thru it at a slow speed after refueling.
  10. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Funny thing you should mention this, but a few months ago I watched an engine go through that very rack and I came out looking the same way it went in. Only difference - just wet.

    It seems to me that UP power is kept a little cleaner than SP was but that is also adds to the mystique of SP - dirty engines!!!

    BTW - where in Central California?

  11. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    UP hasn't been totally successful in patching the SP power. The GE AC units in the 100-300 series numbers seem to be the most common unpatched units running out there. A couple of SD70M's may remain unsoiled. We are currently using a GP40-2 in Sparks that is unpatched, #7119. A D&RGW unit is working out of Sparks also, in its own number of #3130. UP was real fast at obliterating the WP image and less so of the MKT. CNW and SP units happened to be slower in the repaint department, due to other priorities, like moving trains. Enjoy them while you can, since UP took BNSF's que and started the vinyl patch. BNSF to its credit at least tried to make it look good by matching the units colors.

    Greg Elems
  12. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi Jeff'
    Central California is Visalia for me. Goshen is on the west edge of Visalia and thats where the UP/SP mainline runs through. Thats also where the local shortline San Joaquin Valley Railroad meets the UP and heads west to Hanford and the BNSF mainline. About 15 miles east in Exeter is the main office and shop of SJVR.
  13. tomfassett

    tomfassett Member

    I am still seeing a few "all SP" locos in the southwest, although California seems to be "patch central." I think it has to do with how far a loco is from a major service facility, as well as its current use. In Phoenix, we still have 4 GP38-2s in all SP paint, one is even "non speed lettered..." On a trip back to Phoenix from El Paso this week, I saw a few more unpatched units. A couple were GP60s. I saw a few GP40-2s as well. I also saw 1 AC4400, although I am going to have to check the pics for a number. I have been seeing the AC4400s showing up at Colton with patches recently. Seems like the old forgotten workhorses in the boonies are the last to get the yellow patch or a new number. I wonder how many of the older geeps will never get a full UP paint job...:(

    Tom F
  14. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Tom, any chance you have a digital camera and can snag some roster shots of the GP38-2 non-speed lettered and also the GP60?

    You are probably correct about why any remaining SP units are not patched. Roseville Yard is one of a couple of major facilities on the west coast and if an engine goes through the yard in SP it will come out patched.

    Unless, of course it is going to Al's Pick & Pull tracks on Antelope where it will just rust away into oblivion.
  15. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    A few months back, I took a short road trip down the central valley just to chase this train. I had a great time and will do it again in the future.

    It is good that others out there know of these smaller short line operations as they are sometimes more fascinating that mainline power flying by at track speed.

  16. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Here is a GP38-2 that is patched but has the non-speed lettering. I'm not sure how many GP38-2's are out there unpatched.


    Attached Files:

  17. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    This is a fairly recent shot taken in Sparks NV. I haven't traced it to see if it still is unpatched.

    Attached Files:

  18. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    This is all very interesting. I must lead a sheltered life as I have never seen an SP engine with a "patch." I don't live along or near the UPRR lines so what I see is what goes by while I am driving either up in the St. Louis area or along the mainline that runs between St. Louis and Kansas City.

    I wonder if those "patches" are available that I might get myself a couple of SP engines and patch them? If I were in the right place at the right time might I see other merged engines with patches, such as the Rio Grande?

    This is all very interesting foir me. By the way, those are two of the ugliest engines I have ever seen:D :D

    I can still remember the summer I worked for the UPRR in the Council Bluffs years and walking up to stand beside an FEF 4-8-4 with hugh drivers. I'm 6'3' tall, but standing on the ground next to the rail the drivers were well over my head. You could feel the power, even though the boilers were cold. That was about 1955 and they still used a few of them to move fresh produce from the west coast and they still iced reefers in Council Bluffs in those days.

    Merry Christmas

  19. trainworm

    trainworm Member

    I shot this one not too long ago in Ontario CA. none of the 3 were patched....yet. pretty rare consist.

    Attached Files:

  20. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member


    Besides SP, the CNW and D&RGW units are getting the same patch treatment. In fact I saw a DRGW SD50 with the patch yesterday. It was buried in the yard so no pictures could be taken. One of the locals out of Sparks had two D&RGW units, with one having a patch. The D&RGW units look better patched than the SP ones and the CNW units are even harder to tell yet.
    I may have some shots of the D&RGW units with the patch.


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