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Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad

Large Scale Models of South Park Rolling Stock and How to Improve Them

Commercially available large scale models of the DSP&P are not easy to find. None are currently in production (2022), so the after-market is the only source.  Commercial models are only moderately correct for the DSP&P in the 1880's - you can improve this with some small fixes and a couple of larger mods.

This page shows most of the better models that appeared commercially over the years, with comments on their accuracy in representing the real South Park in the 1880s. The following sections cover models of DSP&P locomotives, freight cars, passenger cars, examples of detailing and kit-bashing, and some other odds and ends. If you like detailing your models, scroll on down to see the commercial products "as delivered" and how small fixes make them look better. Take a peak at how neat the simulated wood roof looks! See  how I fixed the "Wood Roof Problem" on freight cars, and the "Silver Roof Problem" on passenger cars.

Portions of the Locomotives section were published in "The Bogies and the Loop", the quarterly magazine of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Historical Society.
July 2020   October 2020   April 2021   July 2020   October 2020   January 2022

Large Scale Models of DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogies
Large scale modeling of the DSP&P is not easy and ready-to-run, properly proportioned and decorated locomotives are rare in any scale. Fortunately, the Mason Bogie locomotives that have been available over the years are really quite faithful models. The Delton and Accucraft models are remarkable representations; the LGB version somewhat less so.

This section covers the 1:20, 1:22, and 1:24 scale locomotives that ran on my outdoor railway, with some comments on their peculiarities. A photo essay side-trip to some exquisite scratch built Bogies is also covered here. Super-large scale 1:11 custom built models were added recently, with links to the original article.


To be thorough, I have included a failed attempt by Midbar Locomotive Works to market a plastic version of a DSP&P Mason Bogie.

Below are the Mason Locomotive Works builder's photo, the Railway Age engraving,  and Evelyn Curro's wonderful art print of the well known DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #15 "Breckenridge".



Engraving of DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #15 "Breckenridge", originally published in "Railway Gazette" in 1879, reprinted in "Recent Locomotives" by Mathias Forney in 1886, and again in "Early American Locomotives" by John White Jr in 1972. Drawn from the builder's photo shown below.  Click on image to capture larger image (0.75 Mb)

Builder's Photo, taken in 1879, of DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #15 "Breckenridge". The lettering was probably gold with red drop-shadow. The boiler was Russia iron, probably light grey or blue, cab and tender box probably dark green or brown, brightwork polished brass. Photos could not be reproduced in magazines or newspapers until after 1890 when the duotone process was invented, so engravers were assigned to redraw photos, as shown above.

Reproductions of the Breckenridge engraving have been published to decorate office and home. This print shows some nice detail and can be found on eBay in a 20 inch wide format.

A series of art prints in "The American Rye of Evelyn Curro" appeared in 1972 and included this rendering of DSP&P #15 in red  with Russia Iron boiler. Its bright red colour scheme was probably not authentic, but made for dramatic art.  This image may have been the inspiration for the 1983 Delton colour scheme on their 1:24 scale brass model, shown below, although sadly they didn't keep the iron colour on the boiler.


The Delton 1:24 Scale DSP&P Mason Bogie
Delton Locomotive Works (DLW) of Delton, Michigan produced the first large scale brass models of DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogies, in 1:24 “H” scale, in 1983-84. The models were patterned after DSP&P #15 “Breckenridge”, the best known of the 14 “light” double truck locomotives that Mason Machine Works delivered to the DSP&P in 1879.

Delton's DSP&P #15 2-6-6T "Breckenridge" in the burgundy and red paint scheme, showing the many individual decals representing the pin-striped original. The red drop-shadow on the lettering is there, but doesn't photograph well..

This was the first group of brass models manufactured by Delton, in conjunction with RichArt Company of California. It was offered only as an electric powered 12 volt DC version. As on the original, the model’s power truck swivels under the boiler. The center drivers are blind and it has a small diamond smokestack matching the builder’s photo.

A total of 189 models were built, 140 in a somewhat garish red and burgundy, which was claimed to “closely match the paint color of the original Breckenridge”. I personally doubt this, but that is the story promoted in the DLW history in the hardcover reference book by Lenny Sloboda (Sloboda Publishing, Astor, Florida). Of the remaining 49 models, 10 were delivered in naked brass, the remainder in 5 different colour schemes, as documented in Sloboda’s book.

DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #55 (originally #22 "Crested Butte"). Delton produced one brass model painted to match this photo.

The level of detail is excellent, but not quite as fine as the 2007 Accucraft version, partly because the DLW model is 1:24 instead of 1:20 scale. The finish is also excellent, with many tiny decals applied to represent the various flourishes and stripes. Domes and headlight are well done. There is no coal in the coal bunker. The side cab doors are spring loaded but the front cab doors are solid. Windows are not moveable.

Drivers and rear bogie are painted red and look quite nice this way. Accucraft’s versions have these items painted black. Photos have appeared online of burgundy-coloured models with the boiler repainted in russia Iron, giving a much more attractive image than the bright red boiler of the original DLW model.

An early advert for the Delton Mason Bogie, Garden Railways Magazine, Sep 1984

The original DLW locomotive was not “sound-ready” as this concept had not been developed at the time. It is relatively easy to add basic LGB-style sound sensors and an American steam sound module in the coal bunker. Full DCC sound might be more difficult due to lack of space.

VITAL STATISTICS: Delton DSP&P Mason Bogie #15 “Breckenridge”, 1:24 “H” Scale
Retail price: then $2000, now $1500 to $6000 range, depending on scarcity of colour scheme, and condition Model numbers: D2100 (naked brass), 2101 (red/burgundy), 2102 – 2106 (rare colours)
Weight: 9 pounds     Size: 19.5” long by 4.2” wide by 6.5” high Minimum radius: 2 feet
Power: 0 to 12 volt DC motor

Head shot of Delton's DSP&P #15 "Breckenridge" about to enter Glacier Tunnel on the author's outdoor railway, with the Express on the Highline above.

The Accucraft 1:20.3 Scale DSP&P Mason Bogies
Advertised in 2007, the first prototype of Accucraft’s 2-6-6T Mason Bogie, in 1:20.3 “F” scale, made an appearance online in the summer of 2009, with deliveries to customers occurring in late 2010. The models were patterned after builder’s photos and plans of the early “light” DSP&P Mason-built locomotives. This double truck design won the 1888 World's Fair prize for “Best Piece of Machinery” built in that decade.

Builder's Photo DSP&P #4 "San Juan", a 2-6-6T Mason Bogie, later renumbered DSP&P #41, Note the tender flare carries D.S.P. & P. R., not "R.R." as on later engines.

The models come in two liveries: a dark green version of DSP&P #4 “San Juan” and a chocolate brown DSP&P #6 “Tenmile”. Both have simulated Russia Iron boilers and simulated ash or oak cabs with the exquisite arched windows. Both were available as electric or live-steam versions. David Fletcher’s initial artwork for these models is shown HERE and his plans for both engines were published in “The Bogies and the Loop” in July and September 2004. The full set of David's Mason Bogie Master-Class plans are HERE.

The body of the Accucraft model is built from heavy brass with steel drivers, side rods, and linkage. The engine swivels under the boiler and the center drivers are blind, just as on the full scale Mason Bogies that were delivered to the DSP&P in 1879. The level of detail is excellent, especially the Nesmith smokestack, domes, headlight, pilot, and rivet patterns. Paint and lettering, especially the stripes and decorative flourishes, are superb. All four doors are spring loaded and one window on each side slides open.

The final “R” of D.S.P.& P.R.R. is missing on the coal bunker flare on the “San Juan”, as on the Mason Machine Works builder’s photo. The second “R” is present on the “Tenmile” model,

The electric versions are sound-ready but not plug-and-play – there is a rat’s nest of open ended wires in the coal bunker and a brief reference to the colour codes in the maintenance manual. There is no coal in the coal bin, which lifts out to access the wiring harness. Coupler pockets are designed for link-and-pin fittings (not supplied).

DSP&P "Tenmile" and "San Juan", with Waycar
#60,  on the author's outdoor railway

I have no personal experience with the steam powered units. Online reports suggest 30 to 40 minute run–times, depending on loading and weather. There are some good videos of these steamers on YouTube. The engine has a single flue boiler, two cylinders with piston valves, sight glass, pressure gauge, safety valve, lubricator, Walschaerts valve gear, reverse lever, and throttle.

Accucraft's version of DSP&P #4 "San Juan"

Accucraft model of DSP&P #6 "Tenmile"


The LGB 1:22.6 Scale Forney, Masquerading as a DSP&P Mason Bogie
It is definitely an ODD addition to my DSP&P fleet as it is a model of a locomotive that DSP&P never owned. I refer of course to the LGB 21252 1:22.6 “G” scale version of an 0-4-4T Forney painted as DSP&P #2, named “South Park”. None of this is true to the prototype. DSP&P #2 was a Dawson and Bailey 4-4-0; none of the South Park’s locomotives were ever named “South Park”. And it's a Forney, mot a Mason Bogie. Oh well....

LGB's 0-4-4T "Mason Bogie", renumbered, as it appeared on the author's railway, I swapped the "too modern" headlights for more era-specific versions.

If you don’t count the drivers too carefully, you can imagine that #3 is a South Park Mason Bogie. A new number, name, smoke stack, and headlight would help the illusion (delusion?), as would a pilot truck. The factory installed sound system emits the European whistle that sounds like the death throes of a wounded mountain goat. The driving truck on this model swivels like a Mason Bogie, unlile most Forneys which had drivers fixed to the main locomotive frame.

The price was right and nothing else resembling a real Mason Bogie was available at the time, so this model passed for my first Mason, renumbered to represent DSP&P #3 – at least the number, if nothing else, is correct for a Bogie.

The Midbar 1:22+/- Scale DSP&P Mason Bogies
A model of a 2-6-6T DSP&P Mason Bogie and a Waycar were advertised in 1992 and 1993, manufactured by Midbar Locomotive Works. Price, scale, and construction materials were not stated. A photo caption in the Apr 1993 Outdoor Railroader indicates that the locomotive was based on an inexpensive plastic superstructure, probably the Echo toy train set, with a kitbashed Bachmann caboose (images from OR Dec 1992 and Apr 1993).  Based on this scant description, the level of detail could not match that of the Delton and Accucraft brass models described elsewhere on this page. The ads read "Patience Please" for the next two years and disappeared by 1996, so this Bogie may have been vaporware.



Some Handcrafted 1:20.3 Scale DSP&P Mason Bogies
David Fletcher put a great deal of time and effort into his online Master Class series on building large scale models of Mason Bogies. Here are a couple of samples from participants. See all of David's construction articles and drawings HERE.

DSP&P 2-8-6T Mason Bogie #25 "Alpine", photos from David Fletcher's Master Class webpages

DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #12 "Como", photo from David Fletcher's Master Class webpages

Three more shots of the scratch built DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #12 "Como"

Two shots of the scratch built DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #8 "Lake City"

Handcrafted 1:11.25 Scale DSP&P Mason Bogies
David Fletcher's plans inspired Martin Rindlisbacher of Switzerland to build three DSP&P Mason Bogies in 1:11.25 scale running on 80 mm gauge track (known in Europe as Spur 80), representing 36 inch narrow gauge. The models are made entirely of wood with some brass detail parts, fully functional with remote control. One of Martin's photos is shown here. See the whole story at http://fluhdesign.ch/?p=2042.




This section is a collection of photos showing details of large scale models of early versions of Mason 2-6-6T locomotives. These were gathered from the internet in 2009 and went missing in my disorganized archives until 2019. As a result I no longer remember the source, builder, or scale of these fine models. You may find a detail of interest for use in your derailing project.





The large scale Mogul locomotives that have been available over the years can "pass" if you don't look too closely for some specific "South Park" details.

This section covers the 1:22 scale LGB Mogul locomotives that ran on my outdoor railway, with some comments on their peculiarities. A brief comment on the Echo "toy train" version of a large scale DSP&P 2-6-0 is appended at the end of the section.

DSP&P owned three series of 2-6-0 Mogul locomotives. The first were built in 1875 by Dawson and Bailey, numbers 17, 18, and 19. The second set were numbered 29 through 38, built in 1882 by Brooks. The final group were built by Cooke in 1884, numbered 39, 40, and 69 through 74.


DSP&P Brooks Mogul #35 "Dillon"

The left side of "Dillon"

Photo of DSP&P Cooke Mogul #69 - note fancy scroll work on the domes

Builder's Photo DSP&P Cooke Mogul #71

CAD drawings of DSP&P 2-6-0 Mogul #71 from "Model Railroader" Dec 1998. This plan shows two air tanks on the rear deck of the tender - one large, one smaller.


The LGB 1:22.6 Scale DSP&P Moguls
LGB produced its first 1:22.6 “G” scale model of a 2-6-0 Mogul in 1985. It was inspired by DSP&P steam locomotives of 100 years earlier and was a reasonable replica of the Cooke Locomotive Works 2-6-0’s delivered to DSP&P in 1884. Unfortunately, the model arrived molded in garish red and green plastic and lettered as DSP&P #18 (LGB2018D). DSP&P #18 was a Mogul but one built by Dawson and Bailey, not Cooke, The model had ornate domes, brass handrails, the famous Nesmith smoke stack (with no rivet detail), and a wood load in the tender, even though these locomotives never burned wood. The big air tank on the rear deck of the tender was also missing, although a small tank was present. Oh well, it was the first affordable large scale locomotive with a US profile, and we all had to make do with what we could find.

The cover of the 1986 "Toys and Model Trains" magazine (precursor
 to "Classic Toy Trains") showed the first LGB 2-6-0 Mogul


LGB's 2-6-0 Mogul dressed as DSP&P #18 with non-prototypical colours. DSP&P 17 - 19 were Dawson & Bailey-built in 1875. These early D&B Moguls may have used wood or coal, so the wood load in the tender is plausible. The 2006 LGB version, DSP&P #20, looks identical but had built-in sound and DCC.

After this, LGB produced many versions of Moguls, labeled for different US railroads, sometimes with non-prototypical colours and numbering. Over the years, 6 of the 7 modernized C&S Cooke Moguls have been represented as they appeared in the early 1900’s (C&S #6 through 10), with simulated steel cabs, smooth domes, straight stacks, some with bear trap spark arrestors or snowplows, and coal loads in the tenders. An ornate old-time version was produced for C&S #5, and it is very attractive.

The Oct 1986 "Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette" carried an article by Glenn Joesten showed a repaint and detailing of the original DSP&P #18 into DSP&P #71, with appropriate colours on the cab, boiler, and tender. In 1988, LGB discontinued #18, replacing it with #71 (LGB2028D) with a paint job similar to Glenn’s. They didn’t add the missing air tank on the rear tender deck though.

The level of detail on all LGB Moguls is moderate compared to the brass models discussed elsewhere on this website. The model bears a strong resemblance to the builder’s photo of #71, but I can’t vouch for accuracy of the dimensions. The finish is good but a little weathering will help subdue the plastic look. This engine is a good prospect for a super-detailing project.

The original LGB Mogul locomotive was not “sound-ready”. It is relatively easy to add basic LGB-style sound sensors or full DCC and an American steam sound module in the tender. Some more recent Moguls come with factory sound, including the C&S #5 and DSP&P #20. At the moment, only aftermarket models of DSP&P versions of the LGB 2-6-0 Moguls are available, as there are none in the current LGB catalogue.

VITAL STATISTICS: LGB DSP&P 2-6-0 Moguls #18 and #71, 1:22.6 “G” Scale
Retail price: then $350, now $450 to $950    Number built as DSP&P: ? (10000 in 1988)
Model numbers: LGB 2018D (#18), LGB 2028D (#71) plus 7 C&S versions
Weight: 8 pounds            Size: 26.5” long by 4.2” wide by 7.5” high
Minimum radius: 2 feet    Power: 0 to 16 volt DC motor

LGB's 2-6-0 Mogul dressed as DSP&P #71, with reasonably correct colours. DSP&P 69 - 74 were Cooke-built in 1884. DSP&P Cooke Moguls always used coal so the wood load in #71 is incorrect. Numerous details could be added based on the builder's photo and recorded DSP&P practice.

LGB also turned out a Congdon-stacked C&S Mogul #5 (DSP&P #40/110) with a nice paint job and logo on the cab sides, representing a possible "turn of the century" version. The cab is a simulated riveted steel design compared to the simulated painted wood on the DSP&P models. It had a nice built-in sound system. Several other more modern C&S Moguls were produced with the classic black and silver paint schemes, one with a snow plow pilot, others with bear-trap spark arrester, and some plain-jane straight-stack versions.

DSP&P 17, 18, 19, and 71 as they appeared on the author's outdoor railway. #18 and 71 are pretty much as delivered by LGB. #19 is the D&RG version with a DSP&P tender. #17 has a #71 boiler and a #18 cab, renumbered.

The ECHO 1:22+/- SEMI-Scale DSP&P Mogul
This model was produced in the early 1990's and was intended as a toy. it could run on LGB or other brands of #1 gauge track or on the plastic track supplied with the set. It ran on 4 C-cells in the tender and could just barely pull the tender and two cars included. The slightest grade would stall it. I owned one briefly to see what could be done with it, but gave it away as a kid's push toy. These sets show up periodically on eBay. Don't be fooled by the vendor's description - it really is just a toy.

Image of Echo's DSP&P toy train set from the packaging lid. The freight cars never matched the locomotive road name. The set included plastic track and a trestle, although the train could not climb the slightest grade.

Left side of Echo 2-6-0 Mogul. Drivers and connecting rods are plastic, as are all other parts. Note motor cooling slots in lower part of the boiler shell.

Right side of Echo 2-6-0 Mogul.

The included rolling stock was a 4-wheel gondola labeled South Pacific and a 4-wheel bobber caboose with cupola, labeled for ATSF. These may have varied from time to time.



Large Scale Models of DSP&P 2-8-0 Consolidations
Large scale modeling of the DSP&P 2-8-0 by Aristocraft's Delton Classics line are decent 1:24 scale representations. The newer Accucraft 2-8-0 Consolidations, based on David Fletcher's detailed plans, are remarkable models, with very faithful details and colour schemes.

This section covers the 1:20 scale Accucraft and 1:24 scale Delton / Aristocraft locomotives that ran on my outdoor railway, with some comments on their peculiarities.

DSP&P 2-8-0 Consolidations #41 through 49 were built by Cooke and were delivered in 1883. Numbers 50 through 57 were Baldwin products, and #58 through 68 were again Cooke models, also delivered in 1883.

Builder's Photo Cooke Consolidation DSP&P #63

DSP&P #51 as built, drawn by David Fletcher, in Sep/Oct 2015 NGSLG.

The Aristocraft "Delton Classic" 1:24 Scale Consolidations
In 1989, Delton Locomotive Works began producing a Denver and Rio Grande C-16 Class 2-8-0, in 1:24 “H” scale, matching all their other products. The good-looking body was plastic with some metal fittings, and a good metal frame and metal wheels. Unfortunately, the motor and gearbox were a little primitive and it took 6 more years before all the mechanical issues were resolved. It was painted in several variations for the Colorado and Southern, among other road names, but none were labeled for DSP&P at that time. A paint sample in garish red is noted in Sloboda’s history of DLW, but it was never produced for sale.

After a number of corporate shuffles, the tooling for these locomotives ended up with Aristocraft Trains (now out of business). In 1996, they began marketing re-tooled versions of the Delton 2-8-0 under the Aristocraft “Delton Classics” trade name. Two versions were painted for DSP&P: a wood burning DSP&P #63 with diamond stack, and a coal burner, DSP&P #64 with straight stack and modernized domes. These road numbers represent the Cooke-built DSP&P locomotives #58 through #68, delivered to the DSP&P in 1883.

The level of detail is moderate compared to the brass models discussed elsewhere on this website. The model bears a strong resemblance to the builder’s photo of #63, but I can’t vouch for accuracy of the dimensions. The finish is good and equal to most moderately priced plastic models, Domes and headlight on #63 are fancy, those on #64 more plain as befits a more recent rebuilt locomotive. There is a wood or coal load as appropriate in the tender. Cab doors and windows are immobile. Couplers, on the rear only, are Delton knuckle type. My biggest complaint about this model is that the engine number on the boiler front is always "268", regardless of the actual road number elsewhere on the model. It would not have cost much for Aristocraft to do it right.

The original Delton Classic locomotive was not “sound-ready” as this concept had not been developed at the time. It is relatively easy to add basic LGB-style sound sensors or full DCC and an American steam sound module in the tender.

Sadly, only aftermarket models of DSP&P versions of the Delton Classic 2-8-0 are available today. Aristocraft had commissioned David Fletcher to prepare a prototype for C&S #30, and although it was a masterpiece, Aristocraft abandoned all versions except D&RGW models of this locomotive. Aristocraft ceased all production of model trains in Dec 2013, so nothing is available except old stock in hobby shop inventory. The company was resurrected as Polk's GenerationEXT (fall 2014) but no rolling stock has appeared.

a Aristocraft 2-8-0 DSP&P #64

Aristocraft 2-8-0 DSP&P #63 

David Fletcher's prototype model built in 2010 for Aristocraft, now in my collection. The model features a lower profile than the older production runs, more closely representing the real locomotive. Aristocraft decided not to proceed with production.

The Accucraft 1:20.3 Scale DSP&P Consolidations
Accucraft’s DSP&P 2-8-0 Consolidation model locomotive, in 1:20.3 “F” scale, made its debut in advertisements in 2007 and was delivered in 2010. The models were patterned after the Baldwin Locomotive Works engine at the Colorado Railroad Museum. This is the cosmetically restored DSP&P #191, previously #51 prior to the UP re-numbering in 1885.

DSP&P #51 was one of eight such locomotives (numbers 50 through 57) acquired by the South Park. Consolidations were the mainstay of Western narrow gauge railroads and some of these lasted well into the C&S era. DSP&P #191 became DL&G #191 in 1889, then C&S #31 in the merger of 1899.

DSP&P #51 with a Tiffany reefer and Waycar
#60 on the author's outdoor railway

The models come in two liveries: a dark green version of DSP&P #51 as it appeared in the 1880’s, and an all-black DSP&P #191 as it appears now at CRM. Both have simulated Russia iron boilers. Both were available as electric or live-steam versions. Plans and liveries were drawn by David Fletcher – see more HERE.

The body of the model is built from heavy brass with steel drivers, side rods, and linkage. Level of detail is excellent, especially the domes, headlight, pilot, and rivet patterns. Paint and lettering is superb on #51 with all the ornate curlicues expected in that era. Dressed as #191, the engine is pretty “Plain Jane”, but that’s the way it really was. Domes and headlight mounts on both models are just as elaborate as on the Mason-built 2-6-6T’s. This locomotive carries the large Nesmith smoke stack. The two center pairs of drivers are blind as they were on the original.

The electric versions are sound-ready but not plug-and-play – there is a rat’s nest of open ended wires in the tender, accessed by lifting out the coal load. Coupler pockets are designed for link-and-pin fittings (not supplied).

I have no personal experience with the steam powered units. Online reports suggest 30 to 40 minute run–times, depending on loading. There are some good videos of these steamers on YouTube. The engine has a single flue boiler, two cylinders with piston valves, water level and pressure gauges, safety valve, lubricator, simulated Stephenson valve gear, reverse lever, and throttle.

Painting of DSP&P #191

Accucraft's 1:20.3 scale model of DSP&P Consolidation #191 (originally #51)

Accucraft's 1:20.3 scale 2-8-0 painted for DSP&P #51 in 1885 colours, later renumbered as 191.


Accucraft's DSP&P Freight Cars
Accucraft's 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 are  spring loaded but there is no interior detail. Coupler pockets are designed for link and pin fittings (not supplied).

Hartford 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 availability -- see Ozark Miniatures website for availability. Here are the Hartford photos of their completed kits. My only complaint about these models is their extreme scarcity.

Above 5 photos: Hartford Products 1:20.3 scale DSP&P freight cars. These are beautifully
designed and accurate craftsman kits.

Delton 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.

Bachmann DSP&P Freight Cars

The Bachmann 1:24 scale UP reefer has the correct road number for the post-1885 era, but wrong roof.

Aristocraft "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 sides. Oh well, they are pretty!

USA 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.

LGB 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.


Model 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.

Customized 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 manufactured 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 forgotten Canadian subsidiary of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad, most of the equipment 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.


Touch 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 accurate models.

Back-date 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 arrive 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!.

Add 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 situations.

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 winter.

An old-timer with modern headlights just won't do. I added Hartland headlights to help the
 locomotive fit in better.

More Elaborate Kit-Bashes
Making completely unique equipment 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 effort.

Steam Shovel O4 can be brought forward to clear the line of avalanches 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 assembly removed.

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 folio drawing.

The wrecking crane tender/boom car includes lots of tools, parts,
rope, chains, junk, and a guard goat.

The pile driver uses the same steam hoist with a free lanced mast holding
the pile driver's hammer.

Swap the boiler for a locomotive with a different paint job, add a
 snow plow and you have a unique engine on your roster.

Open 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 glue.



Four more of the open loads on my large scale outdoor railway.


Painting 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.

If you can see inside, there should be something inside to see.

See: Photo Galleries for Snow Fighting Traind and Work Trains for more elaborate kit-bashing projects.


Large 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 some customized cars that I managed to capture on eBay.



THE LGB DSP&P Passenger Cars
LGB made the only ready-to-run Large Scale passenger cars labelled for the DSP&P. They are patterned 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 coaches 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 combines 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 windows.

Custom 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 passenger 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 cars 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 aluminum colour.

Researching 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.

The Double-Board Roof

John Maxwell's plans for some DSP&P house cars have the notation "double-board roof" so it appears 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 Murphy 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 research 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.

Some Board-Roof Definitions
Four general styles of roof construction were used in the 1880's on boxcars and refrigerator cars:
             1: the double-board roof
             2: the single board roof covered with tin or other sheet metal
             3: the sheet metal roof protected by a single layer of roughly matched boards
             4: a 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 from injury.

 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 next.

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 carlines or purlins, thus giving an unobstructed interior to the car. Panels and carlines were galvanized to resist corrosion. The panel joints and carlines were riveted, and later welded, to form a "uni-body" roof.

Research 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.

Research 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. purline 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.


Example 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 years of weathering and modification as a shed. The sawed-out roof area shows construction details including the near-side purline running lengthwise halfway between the car wall and ridge pole. Photo from "Narrie Gauge Pictorial" Vol VIII.

Close up 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 Scale Models

The Murphy patented "outside" metal roof didn't arrive 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 roof.

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 kit bashing project.

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