Often called the “most beautiful train in the world,” the Southern Pacific’s Daylight trains were a fitting complement to the California coast. The brilliant orange, red, black and silver trains and matching locomotives made an immediate and lasting impression on riders and anybody who loves trains and style.
In 1936, Lima built 6 GS-2 steam locomotives for the Southern Pacific. The 4-8-4s were the first streamlined GS locomotives, and the first to wear the new Daylight colors for the trains’ 1937 debut.
The locomotives performed admirably in several roles over their careers. When the higher-drivered GS-3s arrived in 1938, the GS-2s were often bumped down to lesser passenger runs. During WWII, the locomotives shed their bright coats for black and went to work hauling troop trains.
The last of the GS-2s retired in 1956. None has been saved.
As the GS-2s were hauling troops, a new class of very similar locomotives arrived from Lima. The GS-6 looked nearly identical to the GS-2 from the running boards up, but these lacked the streamlined skirts above the drivers. The changes were the result of restrictions from the wartime production boards. In addition to cutting costs, eliminating these skirts also made maintenance much easier. Following the war, the skirts were removed from the GS-2s as well.
Also unlike the GS-2, the GS-6 featured roller bearings and a fully enclosed cab. The Southern Pacific received nine on these locomotives, dressed in black, and used them as prefered power on the San Joaquin Daylight and San-Jose to San Francisco commuter trains. They also occasionally found their way into freight service.
Also searching for power during the war, the Western Pacific also received six locomotives from this order. These were diverted from the Espee’s request for 14 locomotives. The WP units, classed GS-64-77, differed in a few features including Franklin boosters. The locomotives were later given “elephant ears” – smoke deflectors – by the WP.
The Western Pacific used the locomotives in both freight and passenger service during their brief 10-year career on the railroad. In 1953, three were sold to the Southern Pacific and used for parts. Tenders from the remaining two were used for rotary snow plows. One of these tenders survives today at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.
The Southern Pacific’s locomotives remained in service until 1958. One, No. 4460, pulled the last Espee steam train and is now preserved at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis.
Lionel is happy to reintroduce our models of these great steam locomotives, now with LEGACY control and Railsounds. Both the GS-2 and GS-6 / GS-64 models feature numerous details unique to their class and appropriate for the paint schemes they wear.
All of the models feature:
- LEGACY Control, able to be run with LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control
- Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
- LEGACY Railsounds including
- CrewTalk and TowerCom announcements
- Six official railroad speeds with CrewTalk dialog
- Synchronised steam chuff
- LEGACY quilling horn and whistle (they had both!)
- Single or Continuous bell
- Sequence Control for sound effects for an entire trip
- Current speed and fuel dialog and refueling sounds
- Maintenance-free motor
- Wireless Tether connection to tender
- ElectroCoupler on tender
- Directional Lighting including headlight and backup light on tender
- Lighted “teardrop” class lights
- Lighted cab interior
- Flickering Firebox in cab
- Traction Tires
- Fan Driven smoke unit with adjustable output
- Metal locomotive body, pilot and frame
- Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
- Detailed cab interior with crew
- Many separately applied details including builders plates
The GS-2 is available in as-delivered Southern Pacific Lines Daylight and wartime black schemes. The GS-6 is available in black and in the Western Pacific GS-64 version.
All of the locomotives will operate on an O-54 curve and retail for $1,299.99. They are scheduled to ship in February. Place your orders with your dealer and get ready to add some classy power to your passenger or freight trains.