South Park and Pacific Railroad
Large Scale Models of Sourh Park Rolling
Commercially available large scale models of the DSP&P are not
easy to find. None are currenrly in production (2022), so the
after-market is the only source. Ccomercial models are
only moderately correct for the DSP&P in the 1880's.
This page shows some of the better models that show up from time
to time on eBay, with comments on their accuracy in representing
the real South Park in the 1880s. This is followed by a section
on dressing up some details and how I fixed the "Wood Roof
Prohlem" on freight cars, and the "Silver Roof Problem" on
If you just like to see trains run, don't fret - the vast
majority of people don't care about the details described here.
But do scroll on down to take a peak at how neat the simulated
wood roof looks!
DSP&P Freight Cars
1:20.3 scale waycar is pretty good.
Made of heavy brass with steel wheels, it comes
painted in straw yellow as a DSP&P un-numbered waycar or as a
brown, unlettered, generic transfer caboose. No dry transfer
numbers are provided by Accucraft to give the waycar a number –
that would have been a nice touch. I labeled mine as DSP&P #60
to match my 1:1
scale replica waycar / train storage shed.
The Accucraft model generally follows the
dimensions of Charles Brommer’s plans for DSP&P #73 in the
Jan/Feb 1992 "Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette". However, the
window treatment on the model is weak – in the famous photo of
Waycar #72 (with Mason Bogie #42), the lower sash clearly slides
up inside the upper sash. The model does not replicate this
feature as obviously as it could have. The end railings include
a solid panel between each pair of inboard uprights, as on
Brommer’s plan. This ODD feature does not appear on other plans
in my collection. Brake rigging and pedestal details are good
but nothing moves. Doors
but there is no interior detail. Coupler pockets are designed
for link and pin fittings (not supplied).
Products DSP&P Freight Cars
Accurate DSP&P freight
car models were produced by Hartford Products in 1:20.3 scale.
These were craftsman kits produced in the 1990's. Production may
have resumed after a long break in availablity
Ozark Miniaturses website
for availablily. Here are the Hartford photos of their completed
kits. My only complaint about these models is their extreme
Above 5 photos: Hartford Products 1:20.3 scale DSP&P freight cars.
These are beautifully
designed and accurate craftsman kits.
DSP&P Freight Cars
DSP&P Tiffany Reefers: Delton 1:24 scale "Plain" (available in 2
road numbers 1055 and 1056), and Delton "Fancy Script" version
(based on the Tiffany advertisement in the 1878 Car Builder's
Cyclopedia). Neither has correct roof or ventilation holes in
the end walls. The fancy script version never ran on the DSP&P.
About 1000 of each were produced in the late 1980's.
DSP&P Freight Cars
The Bachmann 1:24 scale UP reefer has the correct road number
for the post-1885 era, but wrong roof.
"Delton Classics" DSP&P Freight Cars
Delton Classics from
Aristocraft 1:24 scale. The Tiffany reefer has incorrect roof and no
ventilation holes, the box, flat, and gondola have the wrong road
numbers, the hopper is a Quincy and Torch Lake model and never ran
on the DSP&P, and the DSP&P never had a long caboose. And DSP&P cars
never had logos on their sudes. Oh well, they are pretty!
Trains DSP&P Freight Cars
The USA Trains
1:24 scale reefer 903 has a logo and black paint on the doors that
shouldn't be there and of course the road number and roof are wrong.
They also produced a generic Tiffany car that had the ornate
lettering resembling the standard gauge car (not the DSP&P car).
They also produced a fictitious DSP&P long caboose.
DSP&P Freight Cars
LGB's sole 1:22 scale DSP&P entry had wrong road
number, wrong roof, and no ventilator holes. Otherwise a credible
Tiffany reefer. Tens of thousands of LGB's Cooke 2-6-0 DSP&P Moguls
were produced -- why not a full train of freight cars? Marketing
people amaze me sometimes.
Die Casting DSP&P Freight Cars
MDC turned out a
1:22+/- scale DSP&P waycar, but no other DSP&P cars. It has a
correct road number but the window arrangement is wrong and it comes
with two 4-wheel trucks instead of a 4-wheel bobber undercarriage.
DSP&P Freight Cars
Some custom lettered
cars purchased from eBay vendors
Dressing Up Commercial Large
Scale Rolling Stock
Commercial large scale rolling stock leaves a lot to be
desired if you want to be faithful to the idea of the DSP&P.
A few locomotives were manufactued that are reasonable
representations, but most other rolling stock is generic.
This page illustrates a few of the things that can be
done to commercial products to make them more like the
original and to make them unique to my railroad. To see what
DSP&P rolling stock should look like, see my DSP&P
Rolling Stock page, where
accurate models in various scales are portrayed.
The Rocky Mountain House, Leaverite and Northern Railway has
many interesting and unusual items on its roster. As the long
forgotton Canadian subsiduary of the Denver, South Park and
Pacific Railroad, most of the equipmennt is borrowed or leased
from the DSP&P.
Accurate large scale models of DSP&P locomotives and rolling
stock are rare and mine are no exception. Using commercial large
scale models, I have accepted some "as is", kitbashed others,
and relettered others to obtain variety and colour, giving
an impression of what it might have been like in the 1879 to
1889 era. Some were modified by other modelers and purchased
from eBay, then further adapted by me. Weathering varies from
slight to really grubby, depending on age and class of service.
The MOW cars are the most interesting, but the open loads and
reefers are pretty nice too.
Up The Details
Minor upgrades by painting
cast-in detail or modifying ladders also adds variety and
realism. Lengthening the brake staff is the most important
modification to make the cars look like they really belong on
narrow gauge track. My wife, Sonja, does the fine detail paint
jobs, sometimes with a single-hair brush. I do the rough
weathering and mechanical work.
Cast in door
hooks on LGB reefer touched with black paint (lower right on
left-hand image). In the right-hand image, all hardware, brake
staff, and truss rods were painted black, with ice hatches
removed, air vent and ladders added, and a new road number
inscribed, making the LGB reefer closer to the 1880 prototype.
Steel wheels painted rusty brown look well used compared to the
black plastic originals. Knuckle couples (USA Trains are the
right size) painted grubby brown fix up the end view. I know
body mount link and pin would be more authentic and look better
but my curves won't permit this.
Just correcting the road number on a car can be satisfying. A
little research and some press-on dry transfers lead to more
A Commercial Car To Your Era
In my case, I wanted an 1880's
double-board roof on my house cars to replace the 1920's metal
roof on the original product..
The Murphy patented "outside" metal roof didn't arrrive until
1905 so no DSP&P car could have carried one until well along in
C&S service. Converting the poorly rendered Murphy metal roof on
the LGB, Delton, and USA Trains reefers and boxcars to a
simulated wood roof makes a huge difference. The cure is to
purchase some well used Bachman 933xx series boxcars at auction
and snap off the roof - it is simulated wood, and the only one
available in large scale. It needs to be shortened a bit in a
miter saw to replace the Delton and USA Trains roof, and
shortened even more for the LGB cars, then it just snaps into
place. Doesn't it look nice!.
Parts and Details for Unique Models
Many commercial models are
incomplete or have features that are not quite right for the
model's era or purpose. The examples below show some typical
The original USA Trains rotary was freelanced into DSP&P
Rotary O2.. To improve visibility in blowing snow, a cupola has
been added. A roof and backhead were added at the rear using
Hartland parts, as were a bell and whistle on the roof. The
tender is from an LGB Mogul with sound added.
Wedge plow O3 sitting in the yard during a summer respite. This
is also my track cleaning car, with emery cloth under the plow
blade and a scrubbing pad under the body. It was kitbashed from
an Aristocraft plow, shortened by 3 inches, with a Hartland
headlamp added to backdate the original modern headlight.
Headshot of DSP&P wedge plow O3 showing rusting plow blade
before it gets scoured clean and shiny by the icy snow next
An old-timer with modern headlights just won't do. I added
Hartland headlights to help the
locomotive fit in better.
Making completely unique
equipmentr or performing significant modifications to existing
commercial products is called kit-bashing. Lots of fun can be
had while doing the work, and observers will notice the special
Steam Shovel O4 can be brought forward to clear the line of
avalances and rock falls, or to widen a cut or clean up a ditch.
The enclosed cab is a real comfort to the crew in the minus 40
temperatures of the Northern winters. This is kitbashed from an
LGB flatcar and a JS Woodcrafts steam shovel with the track
Add a diesel powered shovel for a more modern ditcher.
Starting with steam shovel parts and some Ozark
Miniatures pulley blocks,
a wrecking crane appears, loosely following a DSP&P
The wrecking crane tender/boom car includes lots of
rope, chains, junk, and a guard goat.
The pile driver uses the same stwan hoist with a
free lanced mast holding
the pile driver's hammer.
boiler for a locomotive with a different paint job, add a
snow plow and you have a unique engine on your roster.
Loads Provide Eye-Opening Interest
Whether on a flat car or in a
gondola or coal car, a load is a must. Few cars
run empty for very long.
Machinery appropriate for the era makes a dull
flatcar into a detailed model.
All you need is some scale chain and a bit of
Four more of the open loads on my large scale
and Lettering for Variety
Making it uniquely yours.
The right paint, people in the seats, and the car name plaque
give a realistic,
even if somewhat inaccurate, model.
you can see inside, there should be something inside to
Galleries for Snow Fighting Traind and Work Trains for
more elaborate kit-bashing projects.
Scale Models of DSP&P Passenger Cars
This section describes DSP&P passenger cars available, with some
comments on the deficiencies. I have also shown som customized
cars that I managed to capture on eBay.
LGB DSP&P Passenger Cars
made the only ready-to-run Large Scale passenger cars labelled
for the DSP&P. They are patterened after the D&RG / D&RGW
Jackson and Sharp cars -- DSP&P never had any cars of this
type.The DSP&P models have a silver roof (should be black) and
need to be renumbered.
The cars are a little
short and shy of a few windows because of it.
In the early years the DSP&P passenger cars were chocolate brown
or Tuscan red (mineral brown). The LGB cars are more like
caboose red, but are not too bad when not in direct sunlight.
At the right are Bill
Goulds renderings of the D&RG cars. Compare the window
arrangement to the LGB photos below. A few DSP&P cars are a
reasonable match to these models, notably the Bowers and Dure
coachs purchased second hand from the AT&SF.
LGB's 1:22 scale DSP&P passenger cars need a little help - they
are all too short with incorrect window shapes and arrangements, but
black roofs and new car numbers will assist. There was no
combine-caboose or Mack Railbus (a Delton product) on DSP&P, but "it
could have been"! The correct colour should be more brown, but in
more natural light, the colour is about right (see below).
Here's what the LGB cars look like on my outdoor railway, after
painting the roofs black. The Delton Mason Bogie on the lower level
track looks more natural in daylight, too. It's the glare from the
sun on the black car roofs that makes them look silver, on models as
well as the originals in the old black and white photos, so don't
paint the roof silver - nature will do it for you.
The LGB model of the single door baggage car is a close match to
DSP&P #42. Note the new roof colour and the new road number.
My LGB coaches have
been renumbered to represent DSP&P # 16, 17, and 24, built
originally by Bowers Dure for the AT&SD in 1879. The prototype had
13 narrow windows instead of the 10 wide spaces on the model.
My LGB coombines have been renumbered to represent DSP&P # 23 and
25, built originally by Bowers Dure for the AT&SD in 1879.
These models are also a little short and need more and narrower
DSP&P Passenger Cars
Delton dressed a set of
passenger cars in DSP&P livery for advertising purposes but the set
was never produced for sale.
Depot G Hobbies offered a
Delton four car
DSP&P passemger train set with a 2-8-0 locomotive (DSP&P #65) in
1989-90. Unfortunately, none were produced for sale and this colour
sample was probably the only one to see the light of day. The garish
red loco and refrigerator car (#1070) may have played a role in low
interest, although the passenger cars looked like real winners. This
photo is from the Depot G advertisement in Garden Railways magazine.
The photos of the paint samples from Lenny Sloboda's book on DLW
history show a little better detail. Note the car numbers in the
round "blot" on the coach (#9) and combine (#6) -- both valid
pre-1885 numbers. The baggage-mail car is numbered 1301, a post-1885
number for car #43.
The Delton passenger
cars are now made by Hartland Locomotive Works. The long RPO,
combine, and coach in maroon can be relettered for DSP&P -- these
may be in short supply. Good decals were offered on eBay but
not seen recently. These cars are longer than the LGB passenger cars
so they look a little better.
The Bachmann Jackson
and Sharp cars are also decent models, and their maroon colour
matches the Hartland colour very well. Window arrangements are still
wrong for most DSP&P cars but they are a little longer than the LGB
versions, so they look pretty nice.
I purchased the above
3 cars from an eBay vendor. They are Bachmann kits painted and
lettered for DSP&P. The three photos represent 1878 Barney and Smith
combine #4 "Hall's Valley", coach #5 "Leadville", and Pullman-built
parlour car "South Park". As for the LGB cars, they are a bit short
and shy a few windows.
Some people have managed to improve the stock available. Bob Baxter
did a beautiful job of adding arch windows and reasonable lettering
to a Bachmann passenger car. Some very early photos suggest that the
roofs of passenger caes might have been painted with white lead, so
the white roof on this model is probably correct. Later photos
suggest sunshine on a black roof, which looks like light grey, not
white and definitely not silver or alumunum colour.
the Wood Roof of the 1880 Era
This section covers my research on the wood roof used on freight
cars during the last part of the 1800s. All the large scale
models sold as 1880s era cars have simulated metal roofs because
that's what they have now at the Colorado Railway Museum. They
had wood roofs in the 1880s so I wanted to backdate the roof to
represent wood. A little work found out how the wood roof was
built and a quick scan of Garden Railway magazine found the
solution to the "Wood Roof Problem", as described earlier on
this page. Here's the gen on freight car roofs.
John Maxwell's plans for some DSP&P house cars have the notation
"double-board roof" so it appeaars likely that most were built
with this kind of roof. Early cars may have had a single-board
roof at first. All of Ron Rudnick's drawings of DSP&P
house cars show "wood-board" roofs. The first Murohy metal
roofs didn't appear until 1906 and photos of C&S era cars show
no evidence that these or similar roofs were ever applied.
Below is the reasearch that I could find on the Internet on the
subject of wooden roofs, followed by my solution to retrofit
wood roofs to large scale models.
Four general styles of roof
construction were used in the 1880's on boxcars and refrigerator
single board roof covered with tin or other sheet metal
sheet metal roof protected by a single layer of roughly matched
double roof consisting of an inside roof covered with felt, tar
paper or asphalted canvas and
an outside roof built over it to protect the roofing material
Ridge pole -- runs the
length of the car along the centerline, under the roof, forming
support for the
peak of the roof.
Purlins or purlines -- beams that run the length of the car,
spaced between the ridge pole and the
exterior wall of the car to support roof boards.
Carlines or carlings -- beams that run from the car side wall to
the ridge beam, acting like rafters, to
support the purlins, which in turn support the roof boards.
Double board roof -- two layers of dressed 1x6 lumber, with
grooves to shed water, running from the
ridge pole to the car sides, painted before installation and
overlapped so that joints are offset from one
layer to the neaxt.
Single board roof -- a single layer of boards as above but
covered externally by tarred canvas or
sheet metal, or with sheet metal underneath with or
without tar paper or tarred felt between.
NOTE: on a self-supporting
metal roof, such as the Murphy patent roof, the carlines are
outside the roof, not underneath, and act as both support for
the roof and as a water-tight seal at each panel joint. There
are no interior caelines or purlins, thus giving an unobstructed
interior to the car. Panels and carlines were galvanized to
resist corrosion. The panel joimts and carlines were riveted,
and later welded, to form a "uni-body" roof.
Results - Double Board Roof
The double-board roof was the most common, well into the
1900's, but had disappeared on new construction in favour of all
metal roofs by the early to mid 1920's.
As quoted on the
Pacific NG website "In the
construction of this roof only the best seasoned white pine
boards should be used. A common practice is to use boards
dressed on both sides and edges to a uniform size of about 7/8 x
5 1/8 inches and have two semi-circular grooves of 5/8 inch
diameter on one side, near each edge. (running the length of the
board). The purpose of these grooves in the top course of boards
is to catch and carry off as much of the water as possible,
keeping it out of the joints; these same grooves in the under
course catch and carry off such of the water as penetrates the
joints of the top course. As the grooves in the under course are
apt to become clogged with dirt sometimes the two courses are
placed in contact so as to increase the size of the channel for
carrying off the water. The boards of both courses are nailed to
the plates, purlines, and ridge pole. The edges and faces
of the boards are always heavily coated with paint before they
are laid. The pitch of the roof varies from 1 ¼ to 2 inches rise
per foot. The steeper the pitch the better the protective
qualities of the roof but the more dangerous to trainmen who
have to pass over it."
Cross-section of the
two styles of double-board roof. It is not known which was used
on DSP&P cars. Only the version shown at the top of the image is
given in the Car Builder's Dictionary of 1879 and 1888. Note
that the grooves are not at the edge of the boards, as they are
on V-groove tongue-and-groove siding. I used Bachmann simulated
wood roofs to replace the Murphy style metal roofs on my large
scale DSP&P house cars, as shown later on this page.
Another drawing of the double board roof, an out-take from
Robert Stears drawing of D&RG reefer #119.
Results - Single Board Roof
The single-board roof became more common in the late 1880's and
early 1900's. It typically used wooden roof strips over each
joint in the boards and had metal inner roof to keep out the
water. There were many variations on the theme as car builders
progressed toward the self supporting metal roof.
The single-board roof was made of T&G 1" x 6" boards without
V-groove edges. Some had metal above the boards, some had metal
below, some had roof-strips covering each joint. Cross-section
above from the 1887 Car Builder's Dictionary shows 1. roof
strip, 2 metal sheet underneath boards, 3. roof ridge pole, 4.
purlin parallel to roof ridge, 5. car side-wall sill, 6. roof
boards. I have never seen anyone model roof strips and most
models show V-groove boards.
of the Double Board Roof
This is UPD&G boxcar 25192 on the ground near DSP&P tracks at St
Elmo near Aloine Tunnel in 1948 after more than 50 yeasr of
weathering and modification as a shed. The sawed-out roof area
shows construction details including the near-side purlin
rumming legthwise halfway between the car wall and ridge pole.
Photo from "Narrie Gauge Pictorial" Vol VIII.
Closeup of the roof hints at the double board construction along
the lengthwise saw cut near the roof ridge. A carline is also
visible under the purlin, and the interior roofing below that.
A Double Board Roof Solution for Large
The Murphy patented "outside" metal roof didn't arrrive until
1905 so no DSP&P car could have carried one until well along in
C&S service. Converting the poorly rendered Murphy roof on the
LGB, Delton, and USA Trains reefers and boxcars to a simulated
wood roof makes a huge difference. The cure is to purchase some
well used Bachman 933xx series boxcars at auction and snap off
the roof - it is simulated wood, and the only one available in
large scale. It needs to be shortened a bit in a miter saw to
replace the Delton and USA Trains roof, and shortened even more
for the LGB cars, then it just snaps into place. A little glue
makes it semi-permanent. LGB boxcars have the top door track
molded into the roof, so you will need to steal door tracks as
well as the roof, and glue them in place before installing the
After you steal the roofs from the Bachmann boxcars, what do you
do with the leftovers? Remove the trucks, underframes, steps,
grab irons (both sides and ends), and the doors and door tracks
(one side only). Glue two cars side-to-side, add a platform,
stairs, freight, barrels, people, signage, and (of course) a new
roof. Here I used three of the LGB roofs to make the two needed
replacements. You could use simulated corrugated iron or shakes,
depending on your taste. The trucks, or at least the wheels,
from the Bachmann cars are probably better than some on your
older rolling stock, so use these spare parts to upgrade, or for
another kitbashing project.