Thursday, June 9, 2011

Modeling diesel locomotive chronology-2: roadswitchers

Back in March of this year, I posted some thoughts on modeling the chronology of diesel locomotives on the Coast Line (available at: In that post, I summarized the history by saying that the 1953 diesel  fleet operating on the Coast was dominated by EMD F7 road locomotives and by Baldwin roadswitchers, but that both EMD SD7 and Alco RSD-5 locomotives did have tryouts, however brief, on the Coast.
     My model locomotive fleet is dominated by steam, as was the Coast Line in 1953, the last year when that was true. Moreover, I have several A-B and A-B-B sets of F7 models. But I do also have models of all three relevant types of roadswitchers. Here’s a view of them in my staging yard (any of them could be called for the Surf turn):

The models are a Stewart/Kato model of an Alco RSD-5, number 5301, which I decaled in its entirety,  and also added one of Rob Sarberenyi’s “fat stacks” (nearest the camera); a Hallmark brass model of a Baldwin AS-616 with dynamic brakes, which I painted, decaled, and numbered 5249; and a Proto2000 SD7, numbered 5324 (and detailed and finished by Seth Neumann). Back two tracks is an A-B set of F3 Phase IV units, redetailed from Athearn shells. And by the way, at right is Consolidation 2752, waiting to handle the Guadalupe local.
     The turns and locals referred were discussed previously in a couple of posts, notably the portions of my interview with Mac Gaddis, available at: Perhaps to avoid confusion I should admit that the photo above does not represent the normal state of the staging yard, with three potential Surf turns all lined up on adjacent tracks, but is just arranged so a group photo could be taken. The various freight cars, however, are very much as they would normally be.
     Because these diesels all represent locomotives uncommon in road service, though more likely to be found in local and branchline service, I intend to use them the same way, even though steam will be the most common power.
Tony Thompson

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