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How to make an E-8 cab interior

As I was building my Union Pacific City of Los Angeles passenger car interiors I figured should also do the cab interiors of the E8's pulling the train.  A while ago I re-painted the stock engineer and fireman figures but knew the cab interiors of these K-Line part# K-28901S could look a lot better.  First I looked at Precision Scale’s website that offered beautifully detailed brass interior parts for EMD E8 diesels cabs.  But after reading other postings on this forum about how visitors cannot see most the details you install inside an E8's cab I decided to buy a less detailed interior kit #48-041 from ScaleCityDesigns.  This all white metal kit has two chairs, rear electrical control panel wall, front dash, controller, heaters, gauges, air brake valve.   Scale City's description said it was made for early Weaver FA-2 O-scale diesel cabs.  I knew it would not exactly match my E8 diesel cab interior and I would have to do some minor modifications.

After putting together the all metal FA-2 cabs floor and walls the first thing I noticed was the rear electrical control cabinet wall did not leave enough room for my K-Line's forward motor.   All the other detailed parts provided in this kit looked like they were going to work great.  But the FA-2 metal walls and floor were not going to fit in my E8 application.  At this point the modifications were not going to be minor anymore.


So, I took some measurements and built a new floor, front dash wall and rear electrical control cabinet wall.   The new floor and walls were made from a sheet of 1/16"x 3"x 24" basswood and provided the room needed for the K-Line motor.


In the photo below you can get an idea of the extra motor clearance needed at the rear of the cab.  In my early attempts to make the back wall I included an overhead support in the engine room.  I had to remove this overhead support after my test fit to allow more room for the motor.


To build this interior correctly I wanted to visit a real Union Pacific E8A to get some photos for my research.   Accorded to their website the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA (now called the Southern California Railway Museum) had this exact style locomotive in their collection I needed to research.  Their Union Pacific #942 was built in 1953 to pull the City of Los Angeles trains.  The OERM spec sheet provided for guests said it was rated for 2250HP and has two 12 cylinder diesel electric engines.  For a fee, the OERM also teaches a 1-hour diesel engineer class.  In this class the OERM instructors allow you to drive the 942 on the museums tracks.   


The people at OERM were friendly and I carefully climbed up the ladder and into the E8's cab.  I found myself on the left side of the cab standing next to the fireman's seat.  In front of the seat toward the lower left side was a red emergency brake valve.  On the lower right side was the floor heater with round dial.  The single seat located on this side of the cab was mounted on a plywood floor and white papers were hanging on a dark gray dashboard.  According to the UP plans it should have two seats on this side.  But since the 942 only has one seat, that's what I duplicated in my E8 interior.

E-8 interior fireman a

In my o-gauge reproduction of this E8 cab next to the fireman's seat I recreated a brake valve with red handle, paperwork and heater mounted to the front wall.   Both figures in the cab are from Artitsta, part numbers 1176 (fireman) and 1143 (engineer).


On the other side of the 942 I found the engineers seat, controller and instrument panel.  On the lower right mounted to the floor just in front of the engineer was the air brake valve.  The big square box with round dial mounted on top of the controller (on the engineers upper left side) is the speed recorder.   The smaller box is the communications radio.

E-8 interior engineer c

Since these FA-2 metal parts from ScaleCityDesign where not made for my E8 cab interior I had to file the metal controller in half and mount it to the cab's center wall.  Also, I modify one of the metal gauges supplied in the #48-041 kit to look like a speed recorder for this E8 application.


Mounted on the back of the 942's electrical control cabinet wall was paperwork and a small painted sign that said "DANGER 600 VOLTS".

E-8 interior rear wall center


Below is a view looking forward next to the 942's front 12 cylinder engine.  You can see the door going into the engineers side of the cab is light tan and most the walls inside this section are grey.



Here's an overhead view of the finished E8 cab.  At this point I mounted a small warm white LED to the shell above the cab section to lighten up the new interior.


It was difficult getting a clear photo inside the finished cab with the shell on either because the little plastic windows blurred the cameras view, the figures were to close to the camera or the figures got in the way of the shot.  But I'm happy with the end results of this build even if the camera cannot get a good photo.  The older postings on this forum on how little detail you can see were correct, you just can't see much an E8's cab interior with the shell on.  But the new cab interior is better than stock and it looks great to my visitors as it goes by pulling the rest of the detailed passenger cars.


I'm attaching my final drawings for the walls and floor for anyone who wants to make there own K-Line E8 cab interior.  Just print the drawing on a sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper and it will be sized correctly.

E-8 cab floor and walls drawing


To look at the other interior builds in this series click on the links below. They are listed in the order I run them on my layout:


Images (18)
  • cab17
  • cab3
  • cab8
  • IMG_5901
  • E-8 interior fireman a
  • E-8 interior engineer c
  • cab13
  • cab26
  • cab26
  • cab23
  • E-8 interior rear wall center
  • cab29
  • cab31
  • IMG_5917
  • cab28
  • 46A5E508-B019-4A13-9E05-627B6DEC0192
  • E-8 cab floor and walls drawing
  • E-8 plans 2250hp
Last edited by T.Albers
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