PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton


Southern Pacific Lines logoThe Southern Pacific (reporting mark SP) (or Espee from the railroad initials- SP) was a name of multiple American Class I railroads that existed from 1865 to 1998 and all operated in the Western United States. The names that represented the Southern Pacific were Southern Pacific Railroad, Southern Pacific Companyand Southern Pacific Transportation Company.

The original Southern Pacific began in 1865 as a land holding company. The last incarnation of the Southern Pacific, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, was founded in 1969 and took over the Southern Pacific system. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company was taken over by the Union Pacific Corporation and merged with their Union Pacific Railroad. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company was the surviving railroad as it absorbed the Union Pacific Railroad and changed its name to "Union Pacific Railroad", the Southern Pacific Transportation Company is now the current incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad.


An excellent source of prototype and modeling info is available at

Only classes with models cites as accurate (per the above site) are included below.

Series Class AAR Type Notes
Box Cars

SP #63330-63579

SP #63747-64096


Auto Car


Essentially Style 1 box cars (square corners), 40 ft. long inside, 7-ft Youngstown double doors.
The prototype had three panels to the left of the door, five to the right, all of equal (or very nearly equal) width.
Blt. 1937.

Red Caboose regarded as an acceptable stand-in.

SP #64925-65424

T&NO #52260-53059


Auto Car


Essentially Style 2 box cars, 50 ft. long inside, 8-ft Youngstown doors

Class A-50-14 had a straight-panel roof with 13 raised panels, along with a smooth panel at each end to accommodate the lateral running boards. They also had 4 + 6-panel sides, meaning four panels to the left of the double doors, and six to the right, and full-length straight side sills. In all these respects. the -14 cars were the same as the A-50-12. But the -14 ends were the standard late-1930s Dreadnaught ends with W-corner posts, making the edge rounded, while the -12s had sharp-cornered Dreadnaught ends. The ends, then, are the most visible difference between -12 and -14. -- Tony Thompson

The Athearn car is not accurate.

Walthers Proto 2000 is a good representation. -- Tony Thompson

SP #193000-193999
The class renumbering to SP #209548 - 210547


Auto Car


50 ft double door boxcar.

It had the early improved Dreadnaught ends with 4+6 panel sides used SP. The roof on these cars was a hybrid of rectangular panel and diagonal panel. This was found on many auto box cars of this era. The 4 rectangular panels were used to stow the auto loaders. 

AccuRail 5200 series is incorrect.

InterMountain postwar 12-panel car (SP 10’ interior).

SP #32770-34519 B-50-18  

Style 1
Built 1936-1937.
Sharp-corner Dreadnaught end ("S-corner posts"), straight-panel roof, Youngstown door.
These SP cars came with wood running boards, some still had them in 1964, and brake steps.
They used ASF AAR trucks.

Atlas Trainman 1937 AAR boxcar kit is "close enough" to the prototype.

SP #81490-81989  B-50-22 XME

50 ft. Single Door Box Cars.
Essentially Style 2, 6 + 6 panel sides, 8-ft. Youngstown door. 

It has the 6+6 panel design, a straight-panel roof, and W-corner-post ends. They used Bettendorf AAR trucks.

It’s one of the AAR 50' B-50-22 boxcars originally built in 1941. The B-50-22 cars were built in October and November, 1941, to essentially the AAR 1937 car design, stretched to 50 feet. The AAR would adopt a “standard” design for this type of car in February 1942, but the SP box car was not of the AAR design. The design SP used had six panels on each side of the door, panels which looked much like those on the 1937-design 40-foot cars. The new AAR design, however, had eight narrower side sheets on each side of the door. Many railroads in the late 1930s also used the 6+6 panel design, so SP was far from alone. But there were just 500 of these cars built by SP.

It was used for auto parts. By AAR definition this is a box car, not an automobile car, but is part of the automobile traffic fleet. It carries AAR class XME (stowable parts racks). There were still 22 of them in service according to the 1972 ORER. -- Tony Thompson

Athearn is a "stand-in" with about the right look.

The Walthers Proto2000 version is almost exactly accurate right out of the box.



Express Box


These 50'-6" box cars were all built to the same basic design by SP Equipment Co. in 1957 and featured 4895 ft 3 capacity, DF loaders, Hydra-Cushion underframes and a single 8'-0" door. This class was one of the first classes to have Hydra-Cushion underframes installed. The parts were the first commercially manufactured parts applied to SP freight cars. Previous applications used parts manufactured directly by Stanford Research Institute.

#651596 Experimental 40’ Hy-Cube Box Car
This car, running on roller bearing trucks, was rebuild in January 1965.
Sub-series 659008- 659047 is equipped with DF-2 loaders and assigned to unique appliance loading.

There was ONE such car, from Class B-50-47, numbered #651596. It was an obscure 50 foot boxcar built to demonstrate load restraining devices on the Coast Mail.

InterMountain offers an accurate car.
Flat Cars:    

SP #40986-41458

SP #41459-41483

F-50-5   Kit available from Owl Mountain Models.
SP #42600-42899 F-50-9   Kit available from Owl Mountain Models.

SP #39520-39819

SP #42941-43090


Red Caboose is an accurate SP model of an SP prototype car. The models were built for the SPH&TS members.

Kit available from Owl Mountain Models.

SP #43191-43690  F-50-12   Kit available from Owl Mountain Models.

SP #79955-80254

SP #506529-506537


These were 53 ft. 6 in. long and were used between 1940 and 1948 for flat cars. These cars were built in 1942. -- Tony Thompson

SP #506529-506537 Bulkhead Flat Car

Red Caboose is a "stand in".

SP #80255-80654

SP #506000-506029

SP #506030-506137

SP #506138-506222 


In September 1949, SP began to install these bulkheads on its own flat cars of Class F-70-6. They were converted specifically to carry plasterboard, which is why the bulkheads are not very tall. They were distinctive because of the fairly short bulkhead height (10-11’ above the rail). Loading to the top of these bulkheads would be a 70-ton load of plasterboard. There were 10 or 12 cars converted per month until the spring of 1950. Some additional cars were converted in subsequent years, likely as plasterboard service needs dictated.
Tony Thompson

New cars were received around 1951, 1952. They were distinctive because of the fairly short bulkhead height (10-11’ above the rail). They were 53’ 6” long and classified as F-70-6.

Some were leased to the T&NO for TOFC service in the 1950's even though the T&NO did not roster any as built. Then, it seems that a group of 500 cars were re-numbered as SP 570000-570499 between 1970 and 1973. Not sure if these were all F-70-7's, however. Some also lasted into the 1980's and possibly beyond as SPMW cars doing everything from hauling burro cranes to serving in welded rail train service. Also, the classes F-70-6, -5 and -2 were very similar all at 53'-6" deck length.

The F-70-7 and the F-70-6 are the same car, just different years and production orders. Class F-70-6 were not as numerous as the F-70-7s.

There were at least three versions of home-built bulkheads, and perhaps four, as can be seen in my Volume 3 on flat cars. Drawings what SP called "shop sketches," don’t exist anywhere. They definitely are not at CSRM.-- Tony Thompson

SP #506000-506029 Bulkhead Flat Car
SP #506030-506137 Bulkhead Flat Car
SP #506138-506222 Bulkhead Flat Car

SPH&TS Espee Models  is accurate.

SP #140500-142549 F-70-7  

These cars were built between October, 1949 and April, 1950 by American Car & Foundry. They featured a 53'-6" loading platform and were riveted in construction. The F-70-7 and the F-70-6 are the same car, just different years and production orders. Verification from the original class of the first 250 cars (F-70-6 and -3) from SP documents.

Over the years, they seemed to wind up in many different number series'. The series SP 560824- 562854 was reserved for them as part of the large scale SP freight car re-numbering program started in the mid 1950's. Some also got placed into the SP 506xxx series with bulkheads for wallboard.
F-70- 7 (Piggyback Service). The very first SP TOFC's were the F-70-7's. They were designed for the 22' trailers.

Although SP initiated piggyback service in 1953 with converted F-70-7 cars, they soon decided the all-welded F-70-10 was better for that job. By mid-1955, all the -7 cars had gone back into general service, and the converted TOFC fleet was 100% -10 cars. And in mid-1957, of course, the Clejan cars began to be delivered, which were intended to replace, and soon did replace, the converted 53' 6" cars. -- Tony Thompson

F-70- 7 (Bulkhead)
The SP #506299 represents the 1956 version of Southern Pacific’s unique 53’ 6” F-70-7 bulkhead flat car with the 6’ 5” tall bulkhead. SP modified the prototype in Los Angeles from 1948-built AC&F riveted F-70-7 flat cars. SP used these cars primarily for wallboard, or “plasterboard,” service as well as lumber and equipment duty.

The F-70-7 bulkhead flat, circa 1961 had an (8'-5"bulkhead). They were used in a variety of service around the Golden Empire. Their assignment was most common in plaster board, lumber, and light equipment transfer duty.

SP #506478 was the 1962 version of Southern Pacific’s F-70-7 bulkhead flat car, measuring 53’ 6” long with an 8’ 6” tall bulkhead. SP also used these cars mainly for wallboard, or “plasterboard,” service, hauling lumber or equipment. These cars were retired by the mid 1980s.

SPH&TS Espee Models is accurate.

Red Caboose version of the real early TOFC flat based on their F-70-7 53' 6" car are accurate. 

SP #142550-143549 F-70-10  

These were indeed the piggyback cars of the late 1950s. F-70-7 cars went back to general service as soon as the F-70-10 welded cars came along. By mid-1955, the piggyback fleet was all F-70-10. The car number for a STANDARD F-70-10 is series 562855-563854. SP had no 75-ft. flats, at least not before 1965.
Tony Thompson

The converted F-70-10's were series 510000-510472, and lasted at least until 1963. F-70-10 flat cars were in TOFC service) prior to the arrival of Clejan cars and acquisition of 85- and 89-foot specialty flats. (All were reverted from TOFC service before 1965.)
Tony Thompson

F-70-10 TOFC used 25' trailers painted in Daylight colors.

Later classes F-70-10 and -12 were similar also, but were welded in construction, thus no rivets. An example would be
SP #570270. This particular car started life as an F-70-10, but it seems that SP renumbered this group in random order not taking into account the original class. 

SPH&TS Espee Models is accurate.

   G-50-13  GB

48’ long inside. Solid bottom gondola. Dreadnaught drop ends and wood floors. Mill gon. 

Athearn is a "stand in" model.

The Speedwich model is a very accurate SP G-50-13, which is not a car you can get any other way.

  G-50-14 GB

50 feet long, solid bottom.

Athearn is a "stand in" model.

SP #151000-152649 G-50-22 GS

G-50-22 with improved dreadnought ends with steel side. 40’ long.

Steel Side G50-22 from Red Caboose is accurate.

SP #150000-150999


Beet Service


Improved dreadnought ends make them G-50-23's. The ones done with extended sides were properly lettered G-50-23. The different classes of steel cars are a challenge because each class has a different end, though the rest of the body was the same.

Composite Side G-50-23's from Red Caboose is accurate. 

Stock Cars:
The Southern Pacific was a partner in Pacific Fruit Express.


Paint Schemes

Specific timeline unknown. 

1940: Known in use.

 "SP" reporting marks.

1947: Known in use, at least for the T&NO: 46014w

1948: Known in use.

"SOUTHERN PACIFIC" spelled out with line above. Herald on other side.


1955: Known in use.

 "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" in large type opposite herald.


Correct for 1959:

ACF Type 27 Riveted 10,000 Gallon Tank Car


1965: Known in use.

No herald.

1972: Known in use (special purpose): 48303wl
1974: Known in use (special purpose): 48301w