Monday, May 14, 2012

Locomotive and car paint colors


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Juan Jose Rodriguez S."

I am in the process of deciding if the Athearn Genesis HO GP9 Southern Pacific "Black Widow" with Torpedo Tubes is appropriate for my 1950's themed, mainly-UP RR. Specifically, I would like to know when the "black widow" paint scheme came into being. I have seen examples of F units as far back as 1966, but nothing for GPs nor SDs in the 1950's. Is this design influenced by the Rio Grande? ...

—Juan José Rodríguez S.

7/26/2014 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Kyle Wyatt"
Subject: Southern Pacific "Black Widow"

I am not sure if you are referring to Southern Pacific's (not Union Pacific) diesel "Black Widow" paint scheme (a railfan name – not an official SP name), or to some later paint scheme from the Rio Grande. Southern Pacific introduced the Black Widow scheme on F-units (F-3s) in the late 1940's. It was applied to all locomotives that the railroad considered road freight locomotives – as distinct from switcher locomotives, or passenger locomotives. It also got applied to certain passenger locomotives – specifically hood units like Trainmasters, and boiler equipped GP9's and SD9's – and also all F-units whether primarily in passenger or freight service (including FP7's). Note that the wings in the black Widow scheme are at the front of the locomotive, which could be the long hood or the short hood depending on how the individual locomotive was set up in the cab.

Baldwin road switchers, and SD7's, when delivered new, were considered road switchers and received a switcher-based paint scheme. Later these were considered road freight units, and received Black Widow paint schemes when repainted.

In 1959 Southern Pacific adopted a new unified paint scheme for all locomotives regardless of service, gray and scarlet, known to fans as "Bloody Nose". Locomotives were repainted as needed, and earlier paint schemes persisted on some older locomotives into the early 1970's.

As built, the SP GP9 "torpedo boats" (with air reservoirs on the roof) came from the factory in Black Widow paint. They were repainted in bloody nose in the 1960's – possibly before but certainly after the 1965 system-wide locomotive renumbering. On locomotives with dual controls in the cab – cab controls on both sides of the cab for running in either direction with the engineer on the right side of the cab, the Black Widow scheme included wings at both ends of the locomotive, not just one end as other locomotives had. This specifically related to passenger GP9s (like your torpedo boat).


7/27/2014 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Denny Dickinson"
Subject: Southern Pacific "Black Widow"

I suggest that you contact the Truckee Donner Historical Society for any pictures that they may have of the "Black Widow".

—Denny Dickinson

7/28/2014 7:46 PM  

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