MODELING: Another Caboose Build SP C-30-3


I resurrected this project stored away in a packing box awaiting a move someday. It was started about five years ago and set it aside after building up the sides, ends and underframe.  My interested waned as I got busy on a few commercial project.  I felt the need to start finishing old projects.

 The car is a Southern Pacific C-30-3 caboose.  The SP had a bunch of C-30-1, C-30-2 and C-30-3 cabooses.  They look similar but differ in details.  The -3 class had steel frames with the interior posts extending below the wood sheathing. The LA shops built 79 cars in this class between 1929 and 1930.

The lead picture of 615 was shot at Friant, CA at the end of the line.  This car spent a good deal of its later life on the Friant Branch.  Motive power was often a “Fresno Mallet” or better known as a Mogul.

I was able to obtain a 1″ scale blueprint of the car.  You can also find a drawing in SP Freight Cars Volume Two published by Signature Press.   Tony Thompson is the author of this very useful book.


This broadside view is from the Arnold Menke collection.   Number 26 operated in the Bay Area nearly its whole life.    The picture below was taken in Santa Clara in the mid-1950s and is from my collection.   The car is being pushed by C-9 2777.  Sadly Glacier Park Models advertised this loco but didn’t import it.


Collection of Gene Deimling

Collection of Gene Deimling

You can find a considerable amount of information on specific car numbers by obtaining a copy of equipment card which will describe the car and equipment configuration and upgrades.  Copies of these cars can be obtained from the California State Railroad Museum library.


One thing you will notice that car numbers were assigned vacated car numbers.  So it is possible to find a car with #2 or #4 as well #615 or #619.

Construction of the model follows the technique outlined in the NP caboo30-3-insidese build published on 10 October.  Sides are cut from Evergreen 3-1/4″ scribed styrene.   I added nail head marks along the sides.  The nail locations were taken from photographs of the actual car.  I make nail holes with a small scribe.

I sheathed the inside of the car with the same scribed siding that was used on the outside.  I started thinking about doing a whole detailed interior.  My current thinking is to just paint the interior ” light green”.  You can see the interior framing used on the end.    The brass strips are soldered to the bolster inserts.  I will likely add a  DCC decoder for the markers.


This side view shows the interior sheathing.


The center sill was made from .020″ x .250″. The bolsters, crossbearer and crossties are replica of the prototype parts.  I will apply Archer decal rivets on the bottom plates.   The bottom flange on the centersill  is made of .015″ x .156″ styrene.   The sidesills are made from Evergreen channels.  They are applied after the ends and sides are assembled into a box.  Before applying the channels I added the interior posts and rivets.  It is much easier to do this when they are separate.

The bolster insert is from Protocraft.  I rethreaded the parts to accommodate 2mm screws.  That is a standard size for Protocraft trucks.  They will be imported a 30-ton Vulcan truck for SP cabooses.

The steps are made from .015″ sheet styrene.  I used Tichy .020″ rivet heads for the steps.  Building the steps is much easier if you build a simple jig. The treads are wood on the prototype.  I used .020″ styrene strips that I textured with a small Dremel wire wheel.  You drag the wheel across the strip.


The next picture is of the underframe showing the location of brake components and tool box.   I am trying to figure out the location of the brake cylinder so I have not installed it yet.


I will end this installment at the point of my progress.   More research is need before I proceed further.

Oh by the way, I will go back to the NP caboose soon.

Happy Trials,



8 thoughts on “MODELING: Another Caboose Build SP C-30-3

  1. What a fantastic project. Thanks for sharing this, Gene. You make scratch building equipment look so easy that you may just encourage others to give it a go.
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

  2. Hi Gene,
    The cross mounted air tank is unusual for SP. Not saying it did not happen. The AB brake cylinder was in the same location as the original K brake cylinder and used the same mounting plate.


  3. Gene. I’d like to thank-you for your site. I have been out of the hobby for about seven years after my home was hit by lightning and burnt to the ground and with it fifty years of modeling. You have inspired me to start again with greater detail. Thanks J.D.

  4. Pingback: Ending in a Caboose: Beware the Spider | David L. Haase

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