..................................SP Motor 03... in 1946?............SP Pages

Wx4 has yet to run across complete data regarding to the disposition of SP's fleet of gas-electric motor cars. John Bonds Garmany wrote a thorough history of their early careers in his Southern Pacific Dieselization (1985), but data are missing regarding the ultimate fate of cars not scrapped at the end of their SP revenue careers. Some further (and some great pictures) info can be found in a 1999 article by Phillips C. Kaufke in SP Trainlines (see bibliography).

What we can deduce using these sources is that SP had disposed of all of its Pacific Lines gas-electrics by the end of 1945 save three that were transferred to maintenance of way service. The SP-1 is recorded as having its motors removed at the time of its conversion to MW-7017H (it was stiil in service as MW-4257 in 1959). It is unclear whether or not the others kept their engines.

  • SP-1 (Mack-Cummings, 1929) became SPMW 7017H on 9-2-43, later SPMW 4257 (motors removed)
  • SP-2 (J.G. Brill, 1930) became SPMW 7028A on 1-26-43 (see page bottom)
  • SP-9 (J.G. Brill, 1930) became SPMW 7017J on 9-30-45 (Garmany lists the unit as vacated in 1942)
Now we come to Motor SP-03, which was making the rounds, possibly as a weed sprayer, south of San Jose in May of 1946, as seen in the two train orders at left. Curiously, the car did not have a MW-prefix number. Since SP sold its 1930 EMC/Pullman - built SP-3 (earlier McKeen SP-03 was dismantled in 1923) to SSW on 8-2-41, the unit addressed in the orders may be MW-7028A or MW-7017J, renumbered yet again. The numbering of MW-7017H and MW-7017J indicates that they were originally part of the same MW consist (if we understand SP's system correctly).
So, what was the 1946 version of SP Motor 03? This should be an easy call for many of you out there. You'll earn 100 Wx4 Bonus Points by forwarding a photo; 100 more for furnishing pointers toward further reference books/articles. See our eMail address on the Contents page.

Further reading about SP's gas-electrics:
  • Southern Pacific Dieselization, by John Bonds Garmeny; PFM Publications, 1985; 400 pages plus appendicies. The early part of this book, thorough fascinating chapters about SP's motor cars and early diesel experiments, is worth the price of admission (if the travails of railroad dieselization interest you, lay your hands on Hirsimaki's multi-volumed Black Gold - Black Diamonds, The Pennsylvania Railroad and Dieselization; a Wx4 Staff favorite). Our only criticisms of Garmeny's book are that it lacks disposition data for SP's diesel-electric roster, along with the aforementioned incomplete gas-electric data.
  • Diagrams Common Standard Rail Motor Cars Southern Pacific Lines as of 1937; reprint by Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society, 1996. This large reproduction contains diagrams for then-existing SP, NWP and TNO gas-electrics. The previously-retired GE gas electrics, and the few remaining McKeen gas-mechanicals are not covered.
  • SP Company Pacific Lines Gas-Electric Rail Cars, by Phillips C. Kaufke; article in SP Trainline, Issue 60, Summer 1999 that is still (1-2004) available from SPH&T Society. This wonderful must-have only includes a roster for the latter-day (1929-30 built, SP-1 through SP-12) motors built for the Pacific Lines, not later transferees from NWP, but makes up for this with excellent narrative and extensive material on actual assignments.
  • Instructions to Engineers on Gas-Electric Rail Motor Cars, Southern Pacific, 11-1-30; 58 pages plus diagrams. This early operators' manual covers EMC-Pullman Cars SP-3 to SP-6. Mainly text, this booklet also contains a few photos of the power plant, plus extensive diagrams of various systems (example: right), but no exterior drawings or photos. If we receive overwhelming interest, we'll reproduce some of it on Wx4.



SP gas-electric models:

In the early 1960's, Suydam imported a brass version of Brill SP-2, a.k.a. SPMW 7028A, which detail-wise holds up pretty-well today and is fairly affordable. Wx4 staff also recalls that Overland imported some SP Brills a few years back, but we don't recall which ones (experts?). With some hacking and hewing, one could make a low cost, reasonably accurate model of a Pacific Lines EMC-Pullman car out of a couple of Bachman Spectrum units, which are currently (2004) available. Alternately, W&R Enterprises imported some EMC's awhile back, but we don't recall id they did an SP version.

above: Suydam model, dead on for SP-2; below Bachman Spectrum model - close, but no cigar


Not in the hunt: McKeen SP-13 (scrapped in 1923) at Sacramento, date unknown.
If you're interested in Mckeens, the Nevada State Railroad Museum is restoring an ex-V&T machine (sadly, no original power plant/drive train is known to exist).



(from an old postcard; Wx4 collection)