The Sacramento & San Joaquin


Developing a freight car Roster
The freight car roster for the Sacramento & San Joaquin is governed by four factors; era, location, traffic base, and availability of the appropriate models.  The mid 1950's through the early 1960's seems to be the "sweet spot" for S-Scale equipment.  Since the Sacramento & San Joaquin is a subsidiary of the Western Pacific operating in the San Joaquin Valley,  there should be a lot of Western Pacific cars on the roster.  There should also be a lot of ice bunker refrigerator cars for hauling citrus.  Up until late 1967, Western Pacific partnered with PFE so there should be an abundance of PFE reefers with a few SFRD (Santa Fe) included for variety.  Since the Western Pacific tended to purchase a few cars on behalf of its subsidiaries, there should be a few Sacramento & San Joaquin cars thrown into the mix.

Western Pacific #3009 - This car was built from a Pacific Rail Shops kit.  The original tooling for this car was done by Front Range Products in Colorado.  The tooling provided for a variety of configurations including different doors, ends, roofs, side sills, heights and other details.  The actual parts, paint and pad printing were done by Intermountain.  The parts were then shipped to Pacific Rail Shops in Oregon for packaging, sale, and shipment as kits.  This is basically a lightly weathered stock kit with replacement metal wheel sets and Kadee #802 couplers.

Tidewater Southern #508 - This is another variation of the 50' boxcar from a Pacific Rail Shops   This car was a limited run kit done for a NMRA convention.  The 25 prototypes were built by Pullman Standard during the mid 1950's.  The model isn't quite right, most noticeably the side sill, but the length, door style and door width are correct.    The car is lightly weathered with replacement metal wheel sets and Kadee #802 couplers.

Tidewater Southern #522 - This car was cobbled together from parts purchased on ebay.   The metal trucks with scale wheelsets are from MTH.

Western Pacific #18505 - This car is a 40' double door from Pacific Rail Shops.  The "State of the Art" tooling and production were done by Intermountain.  Again, the parts were shipped to Oregon for packaging and sale.  This is limited run convention car lightly weathered with replacement metal wheel sets and Kadee #802 couplers.

Spokane Portland & Seattle #11150 - This is another 40' boxcar variation from Pacific Rail Shops.  Except for the scale, you would think this was a Intermountain HO or O Scale kit built car.  MTH metal trucks with scale wheel-sets were substituted for the plastic originals.  I assembled the kit and sprayed on a coat of matte finish in one night.  It is next up for weathering.


C&EI #64154 - This is another Pacific Rail Shops 40' box car.  At first glance it looks a lot like the SP&S cars pictured above but thats not really the case.  It has a different roof (Viking) different roof walk, different ends, different door, and it isn't as tall.  I purchased this car on ebay, made some needed repairs, and weathered it with Bragdon powdered pigments.

PFE #47564 & #46706 - These two cars are S Scale America RTR cars (Ex Pacific Rail Shops).  All I did was add Kadee 802 couplers and weather both with Bragdon powdered pigments.  These cars are fragile and several had broken stirrup steps right out of the box.  Fortunately, getting replacement parts from SSA (DesPlaines Hobbies) was hassle free.

During the 1950's, PFE cars were refurbished and washed on a regular schedule.  As a result the color ranged from like new orange to nearly all black from spending a lot of time in tunnels and snow sheds on Donner Pass (SP)  I personally don't care for peeling paint, rust, and cars covered with graffiti so this is about it, for me, when it comes to weathering.

Southern Pacific #27233 - This "modernized" 40' foot box is a ready to run model from S-Helper.  S-Helper is out of business but the line has been picked up by MTH.  I weathered the car with Bragdon powdered pigments and added Kadee couplers. 

Southern Pacific #27162 - This "modernized" 40' foot box is another ready to run model from S-Helper.

The next four cars were all built from Pacific Rail Shops kits in one day.  Each took about 2 hours to build including full underbody detail.   Weathering all four took another two hours.  All four were equipped with MTH scale trucks and Kadee couplers and they were all weathered with Bragdon powdered pigments.

Southern Pacific #83034

Santa Fe #143780

Pittsburg & Lake Eire #30021

Naval Supply Depot Oakland #12