It’s only fitting that we review this set today, given that this has been a big week historically for Southern Pacific mergers. Today marks the 47 year anniversary of the full inclusion of the Pacific Electric Railway (a long time SP subsidiary) into its parent company. And just four days ago marked the anniversary of Rio Grande Industries’ purchase of the SP itself in 1988 – though the Southern Pacific name remained until the 1996 merger with Union Pacific.
Our Southern Pacific Merger Set pays tribute to some of the other historic roads that became part of the “Espee” over the years, the Texas and New Orleans, Central Pacific, and the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt.) The T&NO, like the Pacific Electric, operated as a subsidiary road with its equipment wearing SP-style paint and logos but carrying its own reporting marks until 1961. The Cotton Belt retained its SP-influenced identity until 1992. Perhaps the most historic of the SP’s historic names was the Central Pacific which formed the western half of the first Transcontinental Railroad. The CP was first leased by the SP in 1885 but not fully merged until 1959.
Leading our set is our popular 0-8-0 locomotive, with an all new Vanderbilt style tender. These distinctive tenders, with a cylindrical water tank and angled coal bunker were quite popular on several western roads, including the Southern Pacific. The engine comes lettered for “Southern Pacific Lines” and painted in a “mini-Daylight” scheme, with the iconic red, orange and silver Daylight colors striped across the cab and tender coal bunker. The locomotive also features:
- Transformer controlled forward, neutral and reverse operation
- RailSounds RTR sound system with steam chuffing, whistle, bell and user-activated crew dialog
- Operating headlight
- Puffing smoke unit
- Operating couplers on front and rear of locomotive / tender
- Powerful maintenance-free motor
- Die-cast metal body and frame
- Traction Tires
- Upgraded drive rod assembly
- Silver metal rims on drive wheels
- Engineer and fireman figures
Rounding out the set are a Cotton Belt boxcar with operating doors lettered for the railroad’s famous “Blue Streak Merchandise” service. The Central Pacific is represented with a two-level stock car (used for sheep and hogs) also with opening doors. The Southern Pacific itself puts its name on a 4-bay hopper. And the T&NO rounds out the consist with a tank car and lighted caboose. Each car features working couplers and all but the caboose have sprung metal trucks. All of the equipment will negotiate an O-27 curve.
Our Ready-to-Run set also includes a 40″ x 60″ oval of FasTrack and a CW-80 transformer to get you started or expand your platform. Look for the Merger Set (6-30167) to pull into dealers’ shelves in December of this year. Suggested retail price is $399.99.