The Locomotives of the Cabrillo and Southwestern

On the Cabrillo and Southwestern, old locomotives never die. They are lovingly restored and kept running. The steam engines of this line date back to 1900 (or earlier!)

Not only are these engines replicas of the kind of motive power once used, the model engines themselves are old! some have been running more or less continuously since 1935, a preservation and maintenance feat.

Most steam engines are named for their wheel arrangements. This is known as the Whyte Wheel Classification System for Steam Locomotives. Most wheel arrangements also are known by a knickname often derived from the first railroad to build that type.

A steam engine has large wheels, connected by rods to steam chests. These are known as the drive wheels. All but the smallest steam engines also have a pair or two pair of smaller wheels placed forward of the drive wheels. These are the forward pony wheels as they were mounted on the pony pilot or engine truck. They help support the weight of the front of the steam engine and they help guide the drive wheels around corners, thus substantially reducing the risk of derailment at higher speeds. Most fast passenger steam engines of long ago had at least a four-wheel pilot truck (four pony wheels) up front, two on each side. To the rear of the drive wheels, steam engines with large fireboxes also had rear pony wheels or trailer truck. The purpose of the rear trailer truck was to help carry the weight of the cab and firebox.

The American Standard engine of 1900 was a 4-4-0, that is 2 pony wheels on each side or 4 altogether, followed by two drive wheels, two on each side or 4 altogether. The American Standard engine had no rear pony wheels, thus its designation 4-4-0. The oldest operating engine on the O-Scale layout is a 4-4-0 American Standard. Far from retired, you may spot it hauling a modest-sized load over the High Line, one of its favorite habitat.

In the 1905 to 1925 period, two high-speed engines were introduced to American railroads:

Look for these two high-steppers leading a short but fast express train. Don't put more than 4 or 5 cars behind them, however. They were built for speed, not lugging tonnage.

Through the steam era there was the versatile:

With just two front pony wheels, this engine was fine for slower-speed passenger trains and great as a general-purpose freight engine.

In the 1910 to end of steam period (1950):

Then for the really heavy, long trains, there were the articulated locomotives, often called mallets with four steam chests and four sets of drive wheels, two on each side. An articulated or Mallet engine was first developed in France by Anatole Mallet (1837-1919):

Yes, look for all of the above steam engines on the Cabrillo and Southwestern. In addition, the railroad is steadily acquiring diesel engines, too. You will find early "covered wagons", the E and F units of Electro Motive, moving tonnage. Look also for Electro Motive SD 40's and SD 45's. Few General Electric diesel engines have yet invaded the property, but you will occasionally see a demonstrator. There are virtually no high horsepower diesel engines on the C & S due to a very conservative management. But you will see locomotives from other railroads running over the Cabrillo and Southwestern lines, exercising their "trackage rights". Trackage rights permit other railroads to use C&SW tracks in return for the payment of a trackage rights fee.

Rolling Stock

Like its locomotives, much passenger and freight rolling stock was at its prime in the first half of the 20th Century. Our skilled modelers keep the cars serviceable. The streamlined cars of the 1940, 1950 and 1960 era are still very much in evidence. Freight traffic is still heavily tilted to the manifest freight of the 1950's, with a very slow acceptance of such freight traffic innovations as Road Railers, double-stacked containers on spine cars, and piggyback trailers on flat cars.

The management of the railroad has promised to pursue this kind of traffic more aggressively, particularly to compensate for the dwindling mining and logging activity.