SP AC-6 4-8-8-2 just arrived on the GN property!

GN interfaced with the SP in Oregon and California: That's my rationale for having an SP engine, plus I like them  

This is by Key and made in 1984, factory painted.  I'll be adding the Sacramento grey boiler paint to it.  Cam motor with direction headlight and tender light.

Extremely well detailed.  Besides all the piping, Key even added flex hose between the piping to the articulated set of drivers.  Piping running towards the tender is also a nice detail along with the plate deck between the engine and tender.   Nicely detailed cab with a removable roof.

With all that extra piping, one came loose and was touching the wire connecting the drawbar.  Also, replaced the drawbar with a scissors type drawbar for better contact.

Still have to add window glass, marker lights, paint gauges, valves and crew.

Surprised SP didn't use larger tenders on these monsters as it is a yellowstone, only in reverse!


SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 01SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 02SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 03SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 04SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 05SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 06SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 07SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 08SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 09SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 10SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 11SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 12


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A good friend of 36 years called and wanted to know if I wanted a couple of cab-forwards....that was a no brainer   

The AC-5 flat face and an AC-7.  Brand new, never run.  Made around 1984.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 19


Lots of detail.  Flex hoses between engine and articulated drivers, fully detailed cab with removable roof.  The tender trucks are cool in that they are sprung plus, since they are 6 wheel, the truck articulates vertically.  The AC-7 has the huge tender and the compound air pumps are on the fire box door.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 02SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 03SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 04

Right side:SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 08

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 05SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 06SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 07


SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 09SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 10

deck and cab:

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 11SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 12SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 13SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 14SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 15

Left side:

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 16SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 17SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 18


Photos (18)
Bob Delbridge posted:
samparfitt posted:

SP AC-6 4-8-8-2 just arrived on the GN property!

SP AC-6 Key, 4-8-8-2 FP 09

I can imagine what it was like walking across the "back porch" while the train was at speed , or did they???

The rare occasion that a hobo mistakenly rode the "Monkey Deck", he was usually found gassed/scalded to death after one or two snow sheds/tunnels. It didn't take long for the "word to get passed" about NOT ridding on the "Monkey Deck".

UP 4-12-2 bald face by Key.

Went to the Springfield, Ohio flea market and saw the engine at a good price.

Another excuse to get it: GN interfaced with UP in Oregon.

Also, only single engine with 12 drivers   

Also, has a 3rd piston.

Full cab detail.


UP 4-12-2 Key 01UP 4-12-2 Key 02UP 4-12-2 Key 03

Smoke door hatch opens:

UP 4-12-2 Key 04UP 4-12-2 Key 05UP 4-12-2 Key 06UP 4-12-2 Key 07UP 4-12-2 Key 08

3rd piston moves via attachment to one driver.

UP 4-12-2 Key 09UP 4-12-2 Key 10


Auger in tender:

UP 4-12-2 Key 11

Spare flanged driver.  With 48" minimum radii, I'll add this driver.

UP 4-12-2 Key 12

See through walk boards:

UP 4-12-2 Key 13



Photos (13)

Springfield meet:

Held on county fairgrounds and takes up two buildings. 

I've gotten some of my best 'deals' at this flea market over the last 30 years.

A couple of layouts were set up.  One fellow has, what looks to be 'like new' or mint pre war and post war Lionel trains.

springfield2016 01springfield2016 02springfield2016 03springfield2016 04


Photos (4)

SP AC-4 flat face 4-8-8-2.

I bid on this at an online auction and lost but the high bidder reneged and I was the next high bidder.   Another 34 year old engine made in 1984 that was never run.

By Key, factory painted with removable cab roof, well detailed cab interior and lots of piping.

This should be the last cab forward.  The AC-4 through 6 will be painted with a Sacramento grey boiler while the AC-7 will just be black.


SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 01SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 02SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 03SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 04SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 05SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 06SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 07SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 08SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 09


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Functioning caboose marker lights.

Picked up 7 of Utah pacific (sold by tomar) caboose marker lights.  Nice that they are still in business as the last ones were bought about 3 decades ago!  Nice that they don't try to make a profit on shipping with a reasonable 4 bucks for shipping.

tomar web site:


Already have them in some of my 'cabeese' and will finish up the others.  Can get them with small bulbs but figured some LED's would be cheaper and easier on the battery.  They come with jewels.

caboose marker lights 01caboose marker lights 02

Figure I can also put them on the front of the cab forwards.  Easy access since the markers are on the cab.  I can grind off the tops  of the caboose markers to get them to look like the front engine markers.


SP AC-5 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 04


Photos (3)


Nice. The lights on the FRONT of locomotives are referred to as Class Lights, and would normally show white to the front, for an extra. Green color to the front would indicate that a second section was following (passenger service), and red color to the front would indicate that the locomotive was backing up, i.e. red to the rear.

DM&IR M-4 2-8-8-4 by Westside.

Picked up a test run only yellowstone.

It's by Samhungsa so that persuaded me to get it.

Has nice detail including cab detail and a functioning closed cab.

The box also has a caboose, which is the only example that I know of included with an engine.


DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 01DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 02DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 03DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 04DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 05DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 06DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 07DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 08


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Comparing the Westside M-4 to the Tenshodo M-4.

The Westside has an elesco feed water heater in front of the smoke stack.

DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 09DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 10


The Tenshodo has more fine detail than the westside, ie, door outlines in front of cab, boiler jacket stays, extra piping and see through running boards.

DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 11DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 12DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 13DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 14

The tenshodo tender has marker lights and see through castings on the truck wheel side frames.

DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 15DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 16

The tenshodo also cost about twice as much as the westside (at least on what I paid for them) so you have to weigh the cost of what you're comfortable with versus detail.  The tenshodo is also already painted.

The westside gives a very nice running engine with nice detail plus a nice caboose thrown in for a reasonable price. 



Photos (8)


In a very strange turn of events, I am re-interested in my small steam and a TOC19 (Turn of the 19th Century) small layout.

However, like you, I prefer PFM 2 sound for steam engines. A few questions along this line:

* Is there a cottage industry/individual that has figured out a way to piece together/sell in-tender modules?

* What speaker would be a good replacement for the 1" (?) PFM face ported speaker?

* Is there a substitute for the contact capacitor?

What can you tell me about trying to model steam using PFM 2?

Thanks much for any input.



I only use the PFM speakers as they are very high quality and give the bass sounds.   They are difficult to find now but can be found on ebay.

You can make your own sound boards.  I go to radio shack and get 47UF capacitors (two go in series) and a 473J (green capacity) in series with the cam contact.

Another hard part to get is the PFM choke (RF trap) but they do show up on ebay.

I also get a bridge rectifier from radio shack for the 1.5 v bulbs (LEDS).

I have some extra cams if you need those ($3.50 each plus a buck for shipping).  These cams came from Tenshodo and are what they used on their engines.

I put an X over one axle on a driver and pull the driver off and put the cam on and then, re-insert the driver.  A wheel puller is best for doing this.  You will also have to cut a slot in the retaining plate that holds the drivers to the frame to make room  for the cam.

I've done so many of my engine that I'm low on speakers and chokes (RF traps) and will have to wait until I find them for sale on ebay.

Below are pictures of parts needed plus schematics.  The one picture is of the instructions that come with a LTM kit so if you buy one of those, it actually shows the parts for a sound system.

The LTM doesn't include a speaker.   You should be able to use a speaker for DCC.


sound system parts 01sound system parts 02sound system parts 03



Photos (3)

Good stuff. I've had a soft spot for the GN for a while as I don't live too far from their line into Seattle, nor the SP&S, which they owned jointly with the NP.

I rode the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle back in September, sadly a few years late for riding on a GN train, of course.

GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab from westside.

Picked up a Mike that just came in today.

Things that needed fixing:

1.  piping on one side loose and needed soldering.

2. piping from front air compressor needed soldering.

3. whistle broken off and re-soldered.

4. Injector loose and re-soldered.

5. Lift bar on tender broken and needed re-soldering.

6. both hand rails loose to the ladders on back of tender and re-soldered.

7. screw missing holding motor to mount.

8. screw missing on trailing truck, wheels frozen in trailing truck plus side frames too close and also binding the wheel axle and spring missing on one side of journal on trailing truck.

9.  Journals on geared axle frozen to axle.

Other than that, no problems.

Took a few hours to fix but, I can't complain, I got it pretty cheap.

I now have a westside closed cab (that one had no problems) and an Oriental limited closed cab.  The OL is real nice, FP glacier park, coast drive, movable sand and cab hatches, and directional lights.   Paid twice as much for the OL but the westside is by Samhungsa and has a lot of nice detail.  A nice feature of the westside tender is how low mounted the trucks are to the tender frame (very scale).

GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 01GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 02GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 03GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 04GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 05GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 06GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 07




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Thank you very much for such a quick and informational reply.

As of a few nights ago, I have started watching eBay for the module kits/etc. I have about three traps on hand, and a couple of speaker-less modules. I'm hoping to see some 02A tender modules pass through, and if so, I will try to snag them. I guess I could try to build my own, but I did like the ease of the constant light/etc that the modules offered.

I'm still in the process of digging through my stash of steam stuff to see just what all I still have left. I am bitterly regretting selling off some of my stash several years ago. I seem to regret almost every model railroad sell-off I have. (Hm, is there a lesson there?)

As for needing the better bass that the PFM steel enclosure speakers (like the face-ported one pictured above) can provide: Though I would love to have those PFM speakers again, I used (still have) the 02 Bypass w/woofer and it makes a dramatic difference, so a good quality DCC speaker for the tender will probably be okay.

IF there was a DCC system that can do what PFM2 can do... then I'd be open to such... but to date I've NEVER heard a DCC steam sound system that can give me what the PFM system gives. As I'm sure you well know, the on-the-fly adjust-ability of the exhaust cut-off, wheel noise, and that wonderful reverb on the whistle, et al, just isn't there in DCC.

Don't know if I'd still be interested in a small steam/small layout if staying with PFM isn't practical, it's that important to me.

All fer now!



The DCC makes it pretty easy for present modelers to get nice diesels with nice sound.  My layout was started back in 1979 and, if I switched over to DCC, I'd have to rip out all the wiring and start over.  I'm partial to brass steam as they have tons of detail and, if made after 1975 (or so), they run great with the can motors (else I have to re-motor and re-gear them). 

I thought I had enough sound parts to do all my engines: actually I did, but I have acquired about 30 more engines in the last year and a half so I'll have to watch ebay for PFM sound parts. 



Post some pictures of your On30 layout.  Would like to see it.

I also do RC airplanes (going by your handle) and have about twelve 8'-10' wingspan warbirds: complete with retracts, closing gear doors, full cockpits, functioning canopies and cowl flaps.  Gotta' have my toys!


BLI brass hybrid's GN S-2 4-8-4 Northerns.

I got them when they first came out several weeks ago but had to send them in to the service department as both engines were shorting out, intermittently, and smoke not properly working on one.  It took awhile but they got everything fixed and all is working fine, now.

It turned out the drivers were shorting on the boiler.

They did put a lot of detail on these engines from boiler jacket stays to functioning closed cab, windows, crews, cab detail, etc.  The cab light comes on first and as the engine starts to move, the cab light goes out and either the engine or tender light comes on.  It really smokes nice and is comparable to O gauge smoke units.

The boiler and tender tank are brass but the front/rear and tender truck frames are plastic.  Unusual, at least for brass engines, electrical pick up in that one side of tender and engine wheels are hot while the other is ground. 


 GN S-2 4-8-4 BLI 09GN S-2 4-8-4 BLI 04GN S-2 4-8-4 BLI 14GN S-2 4-8-4 BLI 15GN S-2 4-8-4 BLI 16


Photos (5)
samparfitt posted:


Post some pictures of your On30 layout.  Would like to see it.

You can check out the link at the bottom of my signature on this post, there are plenty of shots there.

As for planes, I never got into model planes after seeing people put a lot of money into detailed RC stuff that crashed with spectacular results. I saw a 1/6 scale B-17 pretty much shred itself into pieces on a high speed pass at an event in my teens, and it hadn't hit anything. I never forgot that.

I have flown in some neat WW2 planes, including (but not limited to), a real P-51, B-17, B-24, B-25, T-6 and others...

SP GS-4 4-8-4 from Westside.

Just delivered to go along with the cab forwards; plus I like multi colored steam engines

Factory painted, made in 1980.  A good runner.  No cab detail, unlike the Key model, but it can be bought at a very reasonable price.  The handrails around the cab need some 'touching up'.


SP GS-4 4-8-4 westside 01SP GS-4 4-8-4 westside 02SP GS-4 4-8-4 westside 03SP GS-4 4-8-4 westside 04


Photos (4)

Great GS-4 model. I'm a big SP fan as well and have seen 4449 on several occasions and ridden behind it a few times, as I live just over 100 miles from her current engine house location in Portland. I've also seen the GS-6 in St Louis in 2002.

I saw 4449 at the age of 7 during its run on the Freedom Train as well.

If I modeled standard gauge, no matter what scale, I'd had gotten a GS-4 for sure.

Nice GS-4 model. I notice you selected the "as delivered" version with the small "Southern Pacific Lines" lettering high up on the tender sides. For what it's worth, the SP did away with that lettering styling beginning in 1946, and changed to the large "bill-board"  SOUTHERN PACIFIC styling. I still have two HO Westside GS-4 models, in my display case; one de-skirted black #4444, and one "Daylight" #4449.

samparfitt posted:

Comparing the Westside M-4 to the Tenshodo M-4.

The Westside has an elesco feed water heater in front of the smoke stack.

DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 10



The tenshodo also cost about twice as much as the westside (at least on what I paid for them) so you have to weigh the cost of what you're comfortable with versus detail.  The tenshodo is also already painted.

The westside gives a very nice running engine with nice detail plus a nice caboose thrown in for a reasonable price. 


I just noticed this series of nice photos. I'm a bit curious though about that model with the Worthing Type S Feedwater System, as I dod not know that DM&IR ever had any of their M Class yellowstone delivers that way. I can only remember seeing photos of the Elesco equipped locomotives.  Sure are nice looking models!

Hot H2O,

Hey, I just work here!: I'm GN but, usually, the importers usually get their facts straight on their products.


Milwaukee EP-2 bi polar electric by custom brass.

Just arrived.  Two motors for each end unit.  Interesting how the center section just fits over some pins located on each end section. It runs well on the track but you have to be careful on picking it up since the attachments are not permanent.

The last picture shows the paint scheme that I'll use.

Milwaukee was a direct competitor to the GN.  I believe they were the last to reach the west coast after the GN and NP.  They decided to extend their electrification for several hundred miles.  GN considered it in the late 40's/50's but deemed it too expensive, plus diesels were showing up. 

It reminds me of the Lionel pre-war years.

Sammilwaukee EP-2 bi polar 02milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 03milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 04milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 05paint schemes 03


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UP FEF-2 4-8-4 Northern factory painted grey by Key in 1991.

A very detailed model that I just got off of ebay.

1.  functional drop coupler.

2.  directional lighting

3.  coast drive.

4.  see through walk boards.

5.  removable sand hatches.

6. 3 operational doors on top, in front of cab.

7.  opening rear cab doors.

8.  functional deck plate.

9.  full cab detail

10.  3 operational water hatches on tender.

I was expecting the engineer's head to rotate!

Back in the 70's I used to think that they couldn't get any more detailed than the Tenshodo engines.


UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 01UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 02UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 03UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 04UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 05UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 06UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 07UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 08UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 09UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 10UP FEF-2 4-8-4 key 11


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UP Big-Boy, 4-8-8-4 by Key.

I used to have one of these by Tenshodo but sold it around 1980 so I could buy a 1962 Chevy impala SS convertible.

It doesn't have all the fancy movable hatches, coast drive, etc, that the previous northern has but it's nicely detailed and runs great.  With a can motor, full cab detail, deck plate, see through walk boards and movable pilot coupler.

Come this Fall I've got a few engines to paint!

ps: the last picture was posted vertical, not sure why the software like to rotate it!


UP big boy key 02UP big boy key 03UP big boy key 04UP big boy key 05UP big boy key 06UP big boy key 07UP big boy key 08


Photos (7)

UP 4-6-6-4 Challenger by Key.

Was looking for a Tenshodo FP grey challenger but found this Key model instead.

It has to be the most detailed engine that I've ever owned, or seen in HO scale.

1.  Coast drive.

2.  directional headlight/tender light.

3.  moveable pilot coupler.

4.  Functioning sand and access hatches on both sand domes with detailed interior.

5.  Functioning access hatches in front of cab roof with detailed interior.

6.  Functioning cab roof hatch.

7.  see through walk boards.

8.  Functioning doors on back of cab.

9.  Cab deck plate. 

10. functioning water hatches on the tender.

11. Tons of detail piping and running gear.

12.  full cab detail

13. FP grey with yellow stripes.

SamUP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 19UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 01UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 02UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 03UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 04UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 05UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 06UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 07UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 08UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 09UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 10UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 11UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 12UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 13UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 14UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 15UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 16UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 17UP 4-6-6-4 grey SD key 18


Photos (19)

Substitute speakers for the PFM sound system.

I got some sugar cube speakers (and enclosures are required)


The sugar cube speakers worked great for the PFM sound system.
A speaker enclosure is needed for proper sound (not sure why they sell the speaker and enclosure separate as both are required).
They measure about 3/8" X 1/2" and are super thin.  The enclosure adds about another 1/2" to the depth.
Compared to the PFM speaker (in photo) is about an inch square and about 1/4" thick.
Each set is 16 bucks.


speaker suger cube 01speaker suger cube 02


Photos (2)

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