SP 1744 and SP 1785

A pair of classic SP 2-6-0s in Proto:48

Maybe it’s the time of year – February, on the Canadian Prairies, where the temperature this morning was -34C (-29F) and felt like -43C (-45F) with the windchill. Or maybe I just needed to stand up and stretch while writing for a client today. But while I wandered around the home office / layout space, I stopped to admire these two SP 2-6-0 Moguls and decided I should share them.

With their relatively short overall length and their role in switching or local freight service, these 2-6-0s represent the kind of locomotive and layout theme many modellers could find room for in 1:48. Glacier Park Models took the brave step of offering these with replacement wheel sets – including the drivers – to convert them to the more accurate Proto:48, which is what my models are.

SP 1744

SP 1744 was a natural choice for a model. This M-6 was preserved and operated in excursion service for many years. Wikipedia has an extensive entry on SP 1744 – where I learned that as of this writing, it’s being rebuilt at the California State Railroad Museum so that it can return to service.

SP 1785

SP 1785 is one of the few M-6 moguls that received the Wagon Top boiler found on the M-8 class. (Don’t fret if you can’t see it – it’s a pretty subtle change in diameter in the section of boiler between the two domes.)

Glacier Park Models imported these lovely O scale examples of small steam locomotives in 2008 (along with a third Mogul, SP 1767, of which I also own an example). Unlike 1767’s unusual tender (which I wrote about in that previous post), these two sport classic SP “Vanderbilt” tenders, with round water tanks.

From a practical perspective, that makes installing DCC and sound a little trickier. The bottom of the tank is perforated to allow sounds out of the tube, while the back of the tank pops off to provide access to the interior.

Fitting decoders, speakers, and wiring is a “ship in a bottle” exercise. I know this because many years ago, I equipped 1744 with DCC. I’ve decided it’s time to upgrade 1744’s decoder, install one in 1785, and replace the traditional lightbulbs with LEDs. So I’ve ordered the necessary bits to do this – all ESU LokSound, which are my go-do decoders for many reasons – and when they arrive I’ll add this project to my workbench queue.

Once the wiring is done, I can exchange the house dust – acquired during years of display on open shelves – with proper weathering, as I’ve done on 1767. I’ll then have a trio of SP steam, ready to keep packing houses supplied with refrigerator cars on a shelf layout set in sunny Southern California.

Take that, February!

Published by Trevor

Lifelong model railway enthusiast and retired amateur shepherd who trained a border collie to work sheep. Professional writer and editor, with some podcasting and Internet TV presenting work thrown in for good measure.

6 thoughts on “SP 1744 and SP 1785

  1. What caught my eye quickly on these two M-6 Moguls was the difference in their stacks . . . one tall and slender, the other shorter and more plump. 🙂 S.P. steamers always have a great look!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The stacks sure do make them look different, don’t they!
      I just stuck a ruler against the models. 1785’s stack is about 25% taller than 1744’s – while the diameter of 1744’s stack about 25% greater. I also checked these two against my third Mogul: 1767 and 1785 have the same stacks.
      I do like the look of SP moguls. While still small locomotives, they have a beefy look about them that my CNR 2-6-0s do not.


  2. Trevor, regarding sound, Scale Sound Systems “Boiler Barker” smokebox speaker might be a good solution to the “ship in a bottle” struggle (great phrase, by the way), at the cost of two more wires…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. That said, the ship in a bottle isn’t that difficult (and I have to get into the tenders anyway, to install the decoders).
      Also, the tender provides the most space for a big speaker.
      My 1744 has a speaker already mounted inside it, from my initial sound installation back in 2010 or so. If I recall, that speaker is more than 1.5″ in diameter. It produces some lovely big bass notes, even at low volume.


  3. Trevor, these brass models appear timeless, just like the prototype.

    One note on the post: 1744 is being restored to operation by the Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA), where it is planned to operate on the Niles Canyon Railway (NCRy). The machine work on the drivers was outsourced to Stockton Locomotive Works (SLW) and the work was performed on the lathe at the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) in the former Southern Pacific repair shops. Call it a team effort.

    1785 is also preserved as a static display in Woodburn, Oregon. 1629, 1673, 1727, 1765, 1771, and 1774 also made the cut of M Class Moguls preserved at various museums and parks.


    Looking forward the progress of this project.

    Liked by 1 person

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