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Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Discussion of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads.

Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby Randy Hees » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:18 pm

I received a request for information from Spen Kellogg <spenkellogg@centurylink.net> of the Early Rails Yahoo group... about modeling the trains that were present at the Golden Spike ceremony. The 150th anniversary of that event is less than two years away... I am reposing his question, followed by a post of my initial answer...

Randy,

I am going to model the two trains that met at Promontory on May 10, 1869. I have both the Balboa and the United (Westside?) brass models. as well as the Westwood kits for the cars. I also have Bitter Creek trucks T-64 with semi-scale wheels. I have several questions about the project, and am hoping you can point me in the right direction.

Where would I go to find the most current thinking on the colors for the locomotives and cars that met at Promontory? I have looked at the website for the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum, and its list of sources is daunting, to say the least. Also I realize that some of the sources are considerably suspect, and thus I don't know which way to turn. I hope you can set me straight.

Also, do you have any thoughts as to which brass models are more accurate for the locomotives and tenders? Or should I buy the Bachmann models with sound and detail them from pictures and other sources?

While all the kits and brass models for the cars have only two cars per train, I know that the UP train had more than two cars as evidenced by an A. J. Russell photo taken at Promontory showing the CP tender and locomotive with the UP train stretching out in the background (http://cprr.org/Museum/). Are there any sources (photos or text) that would help me in accurately adding cars? I do have several of the Westwood kits, and so could kitbash additional cars if enough information were available. And, of course, the same info would be needed to add cars to the CP train.

Many thanks for any help you can give me.

Spen Kellogg (member of the Early Rail Yahoo List)
Erie, CO
Randy Hees

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Re: Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby Randy Hees » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:22 pm

Hi Spen...

This is a complicated subject with lots of details...

A couple of quick thoughts... the Balboa set is more accurate than the PFM... the Precision set might be more accurate yet.
The Bachman locos are based on the PFM brass locos, which were themselves a rework of their existing Baldwin V&T Reno... (from 1874)

The current paint on the locomotives at Golden Spike is pretty good, but the blue is too electric. One significant issue... Don't fall into the Russia iron = blue trap... its dark grey.

The Westwood CP passenger cars are pretty good. I do have some additional unpublished drawings done during the study for the Stanford car (it survives at NSRM-CC.) I wrote the restoration and paint portions for its preservation study. I have the Westwood UP set but would need to look at it.

The CP had very few passenger cars in May 1869 so we can make some guesses... plus the UP train had several CP cars being delivered on their own wheels. Of course the UP train included the Lincoln car rebuilt with conventional trucks.

I also have some CP freight car diagrams, particularly flat cars. The CP water cars were built on such flatcars. CP box cars at the time were 25' long... Silver Crash Carworks did a 25' car but it is long out of production.
Randy Hees

Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City
Railway Preservation News http://www.rypn.org
Chasing old trains where ever I may find them...
http://randyhees.blogspot.com/
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Re: Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby kylewyatt » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:07 am

A few further thoughts.
As Randy says, the Balboa loco set is much better than the PFM/United set. And the more recent Precision is likely to be better still.
From what you say, I gather you just want to model the two locomotives and the attached official train behind each - not the other trains and cars that both railroads had at Promontory that day. The Central Pacific train was just the CP Directors Car ("also called the "Commissioners Car") and the Subsistence Car. The Westwood models are reasonable representations of those cars.
The Union Pacific train had 4 cars. The Westwood models represent the UP Directors Car (also called "Bushnell's Car - he was a UP Director and made a trip that was photographed) and the arch-roof Subsistence Car. Missing are UP Official Sleeper car #29, and a Pullman sleeper (not yet determined which car). Note that the Lincoln Car was NOT present at Promontory. There is a photo of a UP train at Corinne that shows a monitor-roofed car that has been incorrectly identified as the Lincoln Car, but it is actually a UP coach (more windows than the Lincoln Car) - they had several monitor-roofed coaches.
Others can speak to locomotive colors - there has been a good deal of research on both locos. As to cars, the Central Pacific passenger color was a straw or canary yellow. No exact match has been found yet. The Union Pacific cars were painted generally in Pullman colors. We know by the 1880s that Pullman color was a dark brown - and that in the early 20th century (after Pullman had changed from brown to green in 1900) that UPS adopted the Pullman Brown color for their trucks - they actually call it Pullman Brown. It is not completely clear, but it appears that Pullman may well already have been using that Pullman Brown in the late 1860s.
Hope that helps.

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Re: Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby Andrew Brandon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:21 pm

There are two posts elsewhere on the forum that will be of interest.

Early UPRR Flat cars

Early UPRR Cabooses
Rio Grande Models makes a HO scale V&T Caboose #9 in the original side door configuration, it could be adapted into a UP car.

These posts are about virtual modeling (Trainz) and models that Curtis Reid has been making for the V&T.
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Re: Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby Curtis Reid » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:24 am

This would be a fun Trainz project, also. What Kyle mentioned - 'the other trains and cars that both railroads had at Promontory that day' would be fun; we don't often hear of that.....
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Re: Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby Andrew Brandon » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:59 am

Curtis,

I agree.

Last night I was able to get a high res copy of one of the CP coach photographs I needed. I will have an illustration in the future. I will also have the early UP lettering finished soon for your revised flat car.
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Re: Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby Brian Norden » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:34 pm

I realize that this post is a bit late.

My understanding is that Pullman Brown is the very much like the brown used by United Parcel Service has used for its trucks. I have seen the UPS color referred to as "Pullman Brown."

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Re: Modeling Promitory May 10, 1869

Postby Curtis Reid » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:02 am

I have drawings of the CP Director's car - at least once it arrived on the V&T. I suspect I could hack existing drawings of Lincon's car to change the window configuration. Are drawings available of any of the other cars?

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