But good HO SP consolidation models are not easy for me to come by. New ones are very rare and cost over $1000. I am reluctant to buy older models I will have to paint and wire for DCC. I was fortunate to find the locomotive numbered 2575 in a private sale at a reasonable price. It is a Sunset model that had been professionally painted, DCC installed along with a Tsunami sound system. I am not too keen on the sound and as I now have to wear a hearing aid in one ear and the other ear almost profoundly deaf, it is not my highest priority. It doesn't sound right so I resort to F8 to silence the locomotive. The tender is still unlettered and after researching the C-9 series in "Southern Pacific Consolidation 2-8-0. Pictorial Album Series Volume 1" I decided to renumber it 2568 as the running boards on that engine matched the model with a high step. 2575 had a lower stepped running board at the front running around the cylinder pipe. I would like the new C-9 or 10's to have Vanderbilt tenders. Interesting enough I spotted 2568 in an 1950 photo of Port Costa with a whaleback tender.
The Bachmann heavy Baldwin consolidation is an interesting story. I understand Bachmann based this 1990's model on an Illinois Central 1920's Baldwin prototype. There was a plan a while ago for Owl Mountain to produce 3 D printed slanted cylinders, valve gear and domes to match the common SP locomotive style which unfortunately did not go anywhere. I then found a picture of a series of Cotton Belt 2-8-0's transferred to the Coast and Western Division in 1956 to use up their remaining boiler time before being scrapped. These it turns out were almost identical to the Bachmann model with similar dome shape and positioning, cylinders and valve gear. The tenders were similar but with different heavier tender trucks. They were numbered 2861-67 on the Pacific Lines but lasted a only a few months before scrapping. I had given the Bachmann model the open number 2870 and a fictional background as one of a pair of Oregon lumber company locomotives acquired by the SP in the late 1940's. I planned to add 2869 later. They were fictionally assigned class C-13, a class vacated by scrapped 19th century consolidations by the 1950's.
But suppose 2869 and 2870 were purchased by the SP from the SSW/Cotton Belt about 1950 during their early dieselization for the specific purpose of adding muscle to the helpers needed to move very heavy eastbound trains up the grade east of Martinez to the Carquinez Strait/Benicia bridge and still fit on the turntable at Port Costa. A not entirely implausible fiction. I no longer need to do the surgery. I am looking for a good deal on another soundless but DCC wired Bachmann Baldwin heavy 2-8-0.
Both 2870 and 2568 need to be fitted with a keep alive so they can navigate Peco electrofrog turnouts without having to wire the turnout frog. The diesel switchers work fine through these turnouts. Oh for that glorious day to come of bluetooth/wifi dead rail and no reliance on track wiring for power or control.
I could do with at least 2-3 more C-9 and/or C-10 locomotives to populate the Port Costa ready tracks and roundhouse. And I would love to add a pair of M-6 moguls (or an M-6 and M-9) to represent the engines used on the San Ramon branch line based at Port Costa. The station at Walnut Creek is still in my long range planning .
I have a pair of IHC 2-6-0's that are sort of representations of M-4's. But to my knowledge the M-4's were based at Fairfield and worked the very light Calistoga branch along with local switching. The IHC moguls will take a lot of work to make into good robust working models. I had just started on one of them just before the ceiling collapse in February 2019 took my office/train room and caused me to scrap my old Padstow layout. I had just worked a bit on a shorty Vanderbilt tender built from a Bachmann sort of UP like switch engine before the deluge.
The only other SP steam power that may yet grace the turntable at Port Costa is a pair of MDC 4-6-0's that represent T-28 locomotives. I built these in the early 1980's and spent a lot of time removing cast on details and replacing them with brass castings. They never worked very well and will need a complete new approach to the chassis, drivers and everything else to bring them up to any level of working on a DCC layout.