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1953 NWP Locomotives

Member Richard Todd compiled this Spring-Summer 1953 NWP locomotive roster based on Stindt data -- please contact Richard with questions or comments:

I decided to do a liitle research to determine just what locos were running on the NWP in late spring early summer of 1953. The line up is very interesting!

There were 6 NWP steam engines, all 4-6-0's. #s 141,142,178, 181,182 &183.

There were 6 SP 4-6-0s

There were 13 SP 2-8-0s

There was 1 SP 4-8-0

There were 4 TR-6 cow calf units

There were 7 SW-8s

There were 12 SD-7s

There wer 4 SW-1s

There were 2 NW-2s

This means that at that point it was about a 40/60 split steam to diesel.

If any one is interested, I have compiled all the numbers as reported by Fred Stindt.


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Comment by Rob on July 1, 2017 at 8:29am

I'm starting a layout inspired by the NWP in Humboldt County during the transition era, and this thread has been a great help!   I've gotten the Stindt book, Vol 1, and the NWP Willits to Eureka, and the newer NWP RR Book.  I'm having a hard time getting to the HSU Shuster aerial photos, though.  Seems that since these were written, the CSU has moved to a system requiring a HSU login.  Any suggestions as to how to get access now?  I'm living in southern Cal so stopping by would require a long road trip.

Comment by Richard Todd on August 15, 2012 at 10:07am

James, thank Mark Drury! They were some of the first photos on the site put there by Mark. If you haven't been to the Humboldt University site, I recommend that you take the time to look around. There are lots of images that will make a modeler drool. You have to look at things other than those labeled railroad. You can find small mills that if you built a model, people would say things like that NEVER existed.

Comment by Richard Todd on August 15, 2012 at 6:03am

From Fred Stindts volume 2-1410 and 1413 were on the property in 1953.

Comment by Nick Lorusso on August 15, 2012 at 12:26am

What are the numbers for the NW2s?


Comment by Richard Todd on October 26, 2010 at 2:11pm
Jim, as to road numbers, I defer to Mr Percy! Between late fall of 52 and early spring of 53 all the leased baldwins were off the roster. The 44 tonners worked the Tiburon ferry slip and surrounding area. I find no information that they strayed very far, certainly not up north. My research shows that the appearance of the first SD-7 spelled the end of the Baldwins on the NWP. They rode smoother pulled better and were more reliable.

If you go to the web site and go to the photo collection, search Shuster, click on eureka and over 900 aerial photos come up. Go to #743 titled roundhouse dated 11/52 and you will learn a lot about the NWP in the early 50s! You could lose a day looking at the images. Steam and diesel are both in view. No road switchers that I can see. All the NWP engines had short tenders so they can be picked out.

None of this is to say you can't have what you want! I have the Redwood running concurrently with the night trains, Fort Seward as a junction point with 2 logging branches and Alton next to Loleta! My RR is what I want it to be. You want Baldwins, have at it! And more power to you! Its all about having fun.

Richard Todd
Comment by Jim Harville on October 26, 2010 at 11:17am
Thanks for all the info, Richard! I have a copy of Stindt's NWP Vol 1, but not Vol 2. Most of my diesel info is from the rosters posted on Richard Percy's and David Coscia's sites. I am pretty comfortable with my understanding of which diesel models and even road numbers were assigned to the NWP in '52-'53, but can't seem to get any info of which specific units worked the Eureka yard, and to a lesser extent, the Willits yard.

My current diesel roster is an Atlas SD-7 SP #5308 in Tiger Stripe, two Atlas VO-1000's in Tiger Stripe that will be renumbered/kitbashed into S-12's (possibly #s 1446 and 1450), and a LifeLike SW-8 currently in Pennsy colors. I plan to buy a couple more of the LifeLike locos and kitbash a TR-6, and would also like to add a couple of the Bachmann 44 tonners. Any advice you could give me on road numbers would be greatly appreciated!

Comment by Richard Todd on October 26, 2010 at 3:38am
Cory, for this to work well in that period, the engines had to all be geared for the same speed. If you can find it, JeryKitts commented on the problem of MUing a TR-6 with the Eureka Southern GP-38s!

It all must have been planned!

Comment by Cory W Swank on October 25, 2010 at 9:07pm
Huh, what a trip. I remember you posting those pics because of the great trestle and scenery details and only quickly looked at the motive power in the consist! I wrongly assumed these units were traveling "dead" to be repaired or transferred elsewhere on the SP. I never thought they would be MU'd together for real tonnage power. Thanks for the eye opener!
Comment by Richard Todd on October 25, 2010 at 9:44am
Cory, pages 17 and 18 of vol.2 are relevent. The shot on page 17 is listed as being from the mid 50's. It was taken be Robert Morris in 1962, and is available for sale. I highly recommend his web site at His photos are beautiful and of great interest to any NWP fan.

If you go to my photos, there are 5 of interest. NWP slides 8,17.&18, and 2 photos from Bob Hogan labeled NWP Scotia Bluffs. One of the first 3 is a side shot of an SW-8 set up for road work, including dynamic brakes! This is also train#77 with 2 SDs and 2 switchers. Apparently the road foreman of engines looked at the tonnage to be moved, the capability of the power available and matched them up.

I hope this helps!

Richard Todd
Comment by Cory W Swank on October 24, 2010 at 10:56pm
Are there photo's in the Stindt books of the MU situation you are talking about? How prevalent was this practice? I find this info very fascinating from an operations stand point.
Comment by Richard Todd on October 24, 2010 at 3:09pm
My info is mostly from the Fred Stindt books. In 1953 the only NWP steam engines were 4-6-0s. All but 1 of the leased SP engines were 4-6-0s or 2-8-0s. The 1 exception was a 4-8-0. All the pics I have seen of it were in the far south. All the photos I have access to show SP engines in the north to 2-8-0s, but this doesn't mean there were no 4-6-0s. Other wheel arrangements may have been on the road in 1953 but this information concerns leased power.

If you use 4-6-0s and 2-8-0s for Willets and Eureka you'll be fine. The SP engines were gone by August 31st and the NWP engines by December 31st.

Diesels were on the NWP as early as 1947, in the form of SW-1 1902. SP management decided to dieselize the NWP in 1950, with 3 years being the goal. The first SD-7 arrived in October 1952, with a steady stream thru 1953. The SW-8s began arriving in April 1953. The SDs, with help from the SW-8s, with which they could MU, took over the mainline thru freights. The SW-8s took over local switching. steam ended up as helpers or running locals.

I highly recommend that you gain access to the Stindt books as they are a great source of information. In addition, I suggest that you go to the Humboldt State University site to view the Shuster aerial photos. They are incredible! In addition, once you figure out the listing, all the photos are dated. There are several photos of the yards and engine facilities, i.e. the ballon track, in Eureka. By looking carefully, you can identify most of the power in the yard.

For 1953, 4-6-0s, 2-8-0s, SD-7s SW-1s NW2s TR-6s and SW 8s would all be appropriate.

A caveat. All this is my impression from my research. The ultimate authority would be the books by Signature press and the SP historical Society, and the Espee list, whose members have more data than you can believe! You can find and join their list thru Yahoo groups.

I hope this helps!

Richard Todd
Comment by Jim Harville on October 23, 2010 at 8:23pm
Richard, is it possible to get an idea of which locos were based out of Eureka or Willits at that time? I have enough pictorial evidence to decide which steam engines I want to model, but can't get a handle on which diesels worked the Eureka area in '53.

If you recall, I am modelling 1929 in N scale, but will also run equipment from '41 or '53 as the mood strikes me. (plus, the later stuff is MUCH easier to get my hands on!)


Jim Harville

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