|Guide to HO Rio Grande Models (and other Railroads)|
Over the years, I had purchased many HO models painted for the Rio Grande, and other road names. Once I began reading in much more detail, I discovered that many, even most of the models I had didn’t match real freight cars. Fortunately for modelers, manufacturers have in the past 10 to 15 years been paying much closer attention to fidelity to the prototype, both in dimension and detail, and paint jobs. With a little careful observation, we can find many models in HO which do closely match the prototype. Please note that HO models are generally produced in limited numbers and production runs, often never repeated. The majority of the models found in this list have been produced anywhere from a few years ago to decades ago (this list was originally created in 2003 and is being updated again in 2009). As a result, most models are out of production and to find them, one will need to visit swap meets, train shows and/or check auction sites on the internet such as ebay.
In many cases, there are not any models matching particular freight cars, but there may be some which have the overall look, which I will refer to in this list as a “stand-in” or close stand in. In other words, due to unavailability, we will often allow a model which is incorrect but looks roughly like the real thing, to “stand in” on our layout to represent a freight car (for example) until a manufacturer offers a better model. An example of one stand in is the Details West combo door box car which has the general look of the Evan's 50' combo door box car. Just because a manufacturer offers a model painted for your favorite railroad does not mean it matches a real freight car, so beware!
For purposes of building this list, I have reviewed Jim Eager's Rio Grande Color Guide to Freight & Passenger Equipment, and in some cases other prototype photographs found in books in my library and on the internet. Jim Eager’s book has pictures almost every class of passenger and freight cars owned by the Rio Grande during the diesel era and have been an invaluable resource for building a roster of "reasonably correct" Rio Grande freight cars.
This list represents an ongoing effort to enumerate primarily plastic models produced in HO which are close matches to the prototype. A list of brass models is outside the scope of this list, however in some cases brass rolling stock may be listed. I have decided recently to add in a list of HO diesels to assist modelers in building a motive power roster; that is currently being added and may not be complete at the time of this reading. I also plan on adding available plastic passenger cars. Please feel free to review this list and offer corrections or additions and contact me at email@example.com Manufacturers may feel free to provide website or other basic information to this list to assist the hobbiest.
Rio Grande HO models which are close/correct with dates purchased & main usage:
- Proto 2000 PS-2CD 4427 cu ft high side 3-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW '67 & 3/68 barley & petroleum coke)
- Wathers 50' 4800 cu ft 2 compartment air slide covered hopper (orange D&RGW 11/71), gray D&RGW-ends are slightly different, 8/69 sugar beats)
- Walthers PS-2CD 4427 cu ft 3-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW 1964 potash)
- Concor PS2 3-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW 1959 cement)
- Tangent Scale Models www.tangentscalemodels.com PS-2CD 4740 cu ft 3-bay covered hopper (orange D&RGW LO series 15400-15499 7/71 grain & minerals). This model is offered 12 road numbers accurately painted for DRGW. These models have many more details and finely scaled parts than most HO models.
- Athearn PS-2CD 4740 cu ft 3-bay covered hopper (orange D&RGW LO series 15400-15499 7/71 grain & minerals) The gray model produced by Athearn was bogus.
- Athearn 52' ACF CF5250 3-bay covered hopper (orange large D&RGW LO series 15500-15559 3/73 grain) incorrectly has the angle iron stiffener - alternative is to use Accurail's car and convert to 4-bays and replace roof walk with older style
- Walthers Gold Line RTR 2893 3 bay 2893 cu ft PS2 (D&RGW Gray LO series 18197-18224 1959 cement) these cars appear to be an excellent match to the prototype.
- Athearn RTR PS-2 2893 PS (gray D&RGW Greenville series 18020-18099, 7/61 freight loading type not listed) This Pullman Standard based model can only be considered a stand-in because it does not match the Rio Grande Greenville covered hopper roof. The sides have the end channel posts and correct number of ribs, however, the roof on the prototype has evenly spaced hatches while the model has paired hatches on either end.
- Athearn RTR, upgraded MDC FMC 4700 cu ft 3-bay low hip 3-bay covered hopper (orange D&RGW series 15600-15669 11/73 grain)
- Intermountain PS 4750 cu ft 3-bay covered hopper (orange D&RGW '74,'79 wheat, barley, potash, perlite)
- Athearn RTR 34’ PS2 2003 2-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW series 18325-18349 1956 cement) The Athearn car is an upgrade MDC model and appears to be a good representation of the Rio Grande prototype – although the end treatment is still a bit crude and thick)
- Athearn RTR ACF 2970 cu ft (D&RGW gray series 15993-15999 cement) The Athearn model appears to match the Rio Grande prototype except for the horizontal rib stiffener along the upper side sill.
- Kadee PS2 2003 cu ft 2-bay covered cement car (gray D&RGW 2/56 & 12/56 cement ) Atlas's model is a close stand-in
- Front Range ACF CF2980 2-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW 7/77 cement) decorating by FR is wrong for this class car.
- Intermountain ACF CF2980 2-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW 7/77 cement)
- KATO PS/GA 1958 cuft 2-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW 1946 & 5/49 cement) gray is on the dark side
- Bowser PS 1958 cu ft 2-bay covered hopper (gray D&RGW)
- Eastern Car Works/Concor/Walthers 2600 cu ft single compartment air slide
- Stewart 3-bay Bethlehem 70-ton 12 & 14 panel (black small D&RGW 14P 1957/58, 12P 1960/62/66)
- Bowser 3-bay 100-ton built by C&O Raceland shops (reporting marks only - no stacked logo, acquired 2nd hand in 1990 from UMP)
- Wathers 4-bay Bethlehem 100-ton hopper (D&RGW small logo 5/64, large logo 1968/69/71/74&75)
- Bachman Silver series 3-bay covered hopper (wrong paint scheme - should be restinciled plain cars, ex-N&W, acquire 2nd hand-date? Ex-UMP, same as C&O built cars. Model is almost two feet short in length.)
- Athearn RTR-upgraded MDC Thrall hi-side gondola (correct for joint UP/D&RGW Kaiser coal train cars 5/69, D&RGW owned only 5, UP owned 95 originally. UP purchased more Thrall gons later when demand increased). These Thrall gons are also appropriate for second-hand ex-COPX, DJJX, KCS, OGEX and PLMX coal gons.) Athearn has also offered Thrall gons with NORX and PCSX paint schemes. D&RGW Blue-end gons sold by Athearn were leased by DRGW 1981-1984.
- Walthers 4000 cu ft Bethlehem triple for the ex-AEPX cars and a very close stand-in for the ex-WP cars.
- Atlas Trainman close to a welded 3-bay class.
- LBF Coal Porter - rotary hopper is closed to PSCX unit coal cars delivered in 1985 adding to the Thrall fleet. The LBF car is about a scale foot too tall but otherwise very similar to the prototype.
- Athearn 86' Greenville 4-door auto box car, two 10ft plug doors per side (orange large D&RGW logo 11/69 Ford service) Athearns car is welded but the prototype is rivited.
- Athearn 86' Thrall 4-door auto box car, four 10ft plug doors per side (brown small logo 6/64, large logo 5/67 Fort parts pool) Athearn car has wheel wells, prototype had straight side sill.
- Walthers 86' PS 8-door auto box car (dark brown small D&RGW logo 7/66 GM parts, sold to UP in 1972)
- Atlas 60' ACF double door auto box car (brown large D&RGW logo 1966/70 GM parts, most to UP 1972)
- Walthers and Intermountain 60' single door PS auto box car (dark brown small D&RGW logo 1965/66)
- Athearn Genesis 60' Berwick waffle box car (brown large D&RGW 12/78)
- Athearn Genesis 50' PC&F 10'6" door box car (orange D&RGW 2/72) tack board wrong position, but very close otherwise.
- Eel River 60' PC&F RBL box car (orange D&RGW 4/72 beer service) needs flat roof and fill in side sill notches to stirrups).
- Walthers 50' FGE RBL single plug door box cars (orange D&RGW 7/71)
- Walthers 50' North American RBL flat rivited sides (orange D&RGW owned 1965-1972) roof is thick
- Walthers 50' North American RBL w/ rivited exterior post sides (not offered in RG paint)
- Athearn Genesis 50' NACC (same as above Walthers car but finer model)
- Details West/Athearn 50' Evans combo door box car (orange large D&RGW 1968 general service, wallboard & forest products) incorrect but close stand-in
- Kadee 50 PS dd box car (brown small D&RGW logo 1957, most sold to MA&PA in 1977, auto parts)
- Intermountain 40' PS single door box car (brown small D&RGW leased 350 2nd hand cars in 1966)
- E&C Shops/LBF 50' Gunderson Hi-cube Dread Naught ends boxcar (light orange D&RGW 1967)
- Branchline 50' North American single plug door box car (D&RGW GARX orange, black ends, silver roof, black lettering, green corner stripe. Early improved dreadnaught ends, overhanging diagonal panel roof, Blt 1954,1968 reweigh.
- MDC 50' North American single plug door box car (D&RGW NITX 3/64)
- Westerfield 66000-67499 series 40ft composite wood & steel truss
boxcar built by Pullman (not PS!) in 1916. These lasted in company
service into the 1980s!
- C&BT Shops 12-panel 40ft boxcar. (Change the side sill and you are
95% there for the 67500-67999 series.)
- High Tech PS 40ft high cube appliance boxcars, + Microscale decal set
- Front Range 50ft single 8ft door boxcar (notch side sill to match
64000-64099 series. (Branchline does a notched-sill model, but it
has a 9ft door.)
- Modeler's Choice ACF 50' combo door 63300-63499 series Precision Design box cars
- Modeler's Choice GATC 63000-63099 & 63200-63299 series box cars
(ALL 40' cookie boxes produced in plastic are bogus to date, no one makes the straight side sill Pressed Steel box car yet)
- MDC 52' Thrall Gon (Railgon with D&RGW restincel acquired 306 cars 2nd hand 1987 for coil steel and sheet metal)
- Walthers 52' Thrall gon (D&RGW orange 1/73, 1/77 & black 5/69) middle 2 ribs are incorrectly spaced and the third panel from each end is too narrow but otherwise very close match to at least one series of orange cars. Be aware that many of Rio Grandes Thrall gons had more 5 ribs at the ends and differ a bit more from the Walthers model.
- Walthers Gold Line Thrall 53’ 14-post gon (D&RGW orange GB series 56275-56344 1/73 general service and coiled steel) The Walthers RTR model is 53’ long and taller than the Rio Grande prototype which is 52’ long. This model is similar to the above kit model but neither are exactly correct for a D&RGW gon.
- Walthers Gold Line Thrall 53’ 14-Post gon (D&RGW black GB series 56100-56124 general service and steel products) The Walthers 53’ gon should be considered a close stand-in due to the top side sill rib being thin on the model and thick on the prototype. Also the model has a very visible step down on the bottom sill between the 2nd and 3rd rib, whereas the prototype is virtually flat with only the slightest step.
- Walthers 65' Thrall gon (D&RGW black 6/68 US Steel at Geneva service) this is the only RR I've identified the Walthers car to be correct for.
- Athearn RTR 65’6” mill gon (visually the matches D&RGW black series 30050-30099 were built by Pressed Steel Corp in 1948 to AAR recommended design and used mainly to service the large steel mill at Geneva, Utah). The Athearn model is listed as General America built and and while it visually matches the the prototype with slope, number of ribs etc, it has a wheel hand brake rather than the the lever type which the prototype has.
- Eastern Car Works 65' Mill gon (D&RGW black 1939 & 1948) close match to Pressed Steel cars) The Eastern Car Works kit is long out of production and rare.
- Red Caboose GS gon is pretty close for 46000-46499 series
- Modeler's Choice is doing a kit for the 30220-30244 Darby 65-footers
- Modeler's Choice is planning kits for 56100-56124 & 56125-56274
series, 56275-56374 series, and 56375-56424 series Thralls, and
possibly the 56425-56474 ICCs and 56000-56009 Gundersons.
- Walthers Gold Line Difco Rotary Dump gon (D&RGW silver LO series 3900-3919 2/84 aggregate and rip-rap)
FLAT CARS & AUTO RACKS
- Walthers W&K bi-level auto rack TTGX (D&RGW orange 6/79)
- Walthers W&K tri-level auto rack (D&RGW orange date?)
*Both are actually 1980s Thrall designs based on the W&K design. The earliest Grande trilevel dates I have are 1977, making them slightly different W&K racks.
- Accurail Paragon bi-level open rack on PS flush deck flat TTBX (orange action road herald 1974)
- ExactRail Ver-A-Pac auto rack (model is orange ((D&RGW 6/72)) The superstructures were built by St. Louis Car (1st order) and Whitehead & Kales (2nd & 3rd orders); the flats were built by ACF and PS.
- Accurail PS 89' flush deck flat car (TTX yellow D&RGW marks -ex WP 1985)
- Athearn PS 85' straight side sill piggy back flat (black D&RGW 2/63 COFC & later pipe service with side stakes)
- Walthers 50' GSC flat cars with bulkheads (black D&RGW 3/65 wallboard) some set up for plate steel, later some had bulkheads removed
- Proto 2000 50' ACF flat car (D&RGW black 1956) It is actually closer to the 22000-22199 series built by the Grande in 1944. BTW, the 1956 ACF cars had silver lettering when delivered.
- Walthers 89ft Bethlehem TOFC flat, good for 21700-21759 after
removal of autoracks.
- Overland 89ft ACF flush-deck TOFC/COFC flat, good for 105004-105049
Southern Pacific & Cotton Belt Freight cars
- Athearn Genesis 50' PC&F 10'6" door box car
- Athearn Genesis 50' PC&F 14' door box car (SP & Cotton Belt)
- Athearn Genesis 50' PC&F 8'+6' door box car (SP & Cotton Belt)
- Intermountain FMC 5283 cu ft double door box car (SP, Cotton Belt)
- Walthers 52' mill gon - perfect match for a class of 100 SP gondola's.
- E&C/LBF 50' Hi-cube box car, perfect for last last new SP box cars (1996)
- E&C/LBF 50' ACF CF5525 double door 8'+8' Youngstown sliding doors
- E&C/LBF 50' FMC CF5244 double door 8'+8' Youngstown sliding doors
- Walthers twin aggregate hoppers
- Red Caboose SP 53ft flat
- Eel River PC&F 62' SP and SSW beer cars
- Atlas 60ft autoparts cars
- Genesis PS 60ft autoparts car
- LBF/E&C 50ft highcube Gunderson dbl plug boxcar
- Atlas and InterMountain CF4650 Center Flows
- Intermountain CF4750 3-bay covered hopper (BN original logo, BN left side newer logo)
- Intermountain P-S 5277 (Ex-Frisco only)
- Intermountain P-S 60' Boxcar
- Walthers 2600 cuft single compartment Airslide
- Walthers 2-bay airslide hopper
- Walthres 62' Thrall Mill Gon
- Walthers 72' Centerbeam flat car
- MDC 50' double door box car (not a confirmed match but very close)
- MDC 50' bulk head flat car
- Front Range/McKean 62' Centerbeam flat car
- Eel River PC&F 62' green Burlington Northern
Other RR identified correct models
- MDC 50' FMC centered DD boxcar (WP's were lower Plate B cars but otherwise a very good stand-in.)
- MDC 50' mill gon (Railgon GONX)
- Athearn 57' Reefer PFE orange & white, UPFE, SP white (color logo) WFE green
- E&C/LBF 52' mill gondola correct for MP & UP
- Athearn Impac spine car (5-unit), actually correct for TTX and various roads
- Walthers spine car (5-unit) only correct for TTX, all others fantasy
- Walthers Front Runner (4-Runner sets are not correct, but make decent stand-ins)
PIGGY BACK TRAILERS
- 45' Accurail Brae (SP Golden Pig Service, BN, Trans America, CNW, FEC and ICG, plus Miller and Dorsey made similar 45x102 vans, but Availco (preferred Pool/45/102)
had no Breas, only Fruehaufs and Trailmobiles)
- 45' Atlas Pines (CC&P, CSX, KB&S, Redon, N&S, Xtra Intermodal, Xtra Lease)
- 45' Athearn Freuhauf (Rio Grande, SP Golden Pig, Perferred 45, Preferred Pool, Xtra)
* Accurail represents the Brae & very early Stoughton 45' trailers
* Atlas represents an accurate Pines 45' trailer (beware-BN,KCS,Milw,Pref Pool,SF & SP are all bogus)
* Athearn 45' trailers is a good stand-in for the Freuhauf trailer but not accurate (only A-lines Freuhauf is accurate - comes in both 40 & 45' trailers)
* Walthers makes accurate 45 & 48' Stoughton trailers - many are correct, some are bogus)
** others maybe correct but I have not verified them
Ho Diesel Models (early draft)
The HO diesel list will contain information about most of the better quality HO diesel models which match Rio Grande prototype engines. As time allows, I will add further information about the production dates of the prototype and other notes.
(many/most of these HO diesel models may be out of production but can be obtained by searching train shows, swap meets and internet auction sites)
Second Generation Hood Units & Switch Engines
- Athearn RTR SD50 represents the EMD SD50 purchased by the Rio Grande in 1984 primarily to supplement the mineral hauling diesels. The model has been produced in 3 runs so far of 3 numbers each, and a 4th run has been announced with 4 numbers. This model needs numerous prototypical details to be added by the modeler (such as a correct snow plow, nose gyra light, etc). This model is regarded as having a more accurate shell (for Rio Grande’s model) than the Proto2000 version.
- Athearn RTR SD45 represents EMD SD45’s purchased by Rio Grande in 1967. They have offered two production runs representing small herald first order SD45’s (first Athearn run) and large herald second order (second Athearn run). These models are based on the old Rail Power shell which has received major upgrades. This model has a gyra light, snow plow and other details added.
- Proto2000 SD45 has been produced in the small herald Rio Grande paint scheme. The paint is fairly dark compared to many photo’s of the prototype and the nose light is incorrect and would take some work to fill in the hole, reshape it and then cut a new correct gyra light mount.
- Athearn RTR SD40T-2 represents EMD tunnel motors purchased by Rio Grande between 1974 and 1980. Athearns model represents Grandes 2nd order with 81-inch nose and ratchet brake (1st run), last order with 88-inch nose and wheel brake (2nd run) and first order with 81-inch nose and ratchet brake (3rd run). These models are much improved prototypical details added such as gyra light, snow plow, see through radiator grills, etc.
- Proto2000 GP60 has been produced painted for Rio Grande. This model is regarded as more accurate that the version offered by Athearn.
- Athearn GP60 has been offered by Athearn in the “blue box” kit version. The frame is said to be based on another EMD version and is not the correct wheel base.
- Athearn RTR GP40-2 has been offered in 4 numbers (as of 2009) and is based on an upgraded version of the old “blue box” model. This model more basic than the more highly detailed RTR models such as the Athearn SD45 and SD40T-2).
- Atlas GP40 and GP40-2. Atlas has produced (in 2000) the small herald GP40 representing Rio Grande’s small herald units #3051-3080. Atlas also produced the large herald GP40, with the darker orange paint to represent the 2nd hand ex-Conrail GP40’s. Atlas has also produced the large herald GP40 representing the first large herald GP40’s bought by the Rio Grande, representing road numbers 3081-3085.
- Atlas/Roco/Concor GP40. Atlas originally produced a GP40 in HO in the 1970’s with the large Rio Grande logol; Roco was the manufacturer. The tooling for this version was later sold to Concor who produced a version of this model with a modified chassis and small herald Rio Grande logo.
- Athearn RTR GP35 has been offered in 4 numbers (as of 2009) and is based on an upgraded Rail Power shell. This unit is more basic than the SD45 and SD40T-2 and does not have the prototypically correct details added at the factory. Details will need to be added by the modeler.
- KATO GP35 has been offered in 2 numbers in the 1990’s (#3029 and 3044).
- Proto2000 GP30 phase 1 and phase II models have been offered painted for Rio Grande representing both small herald and large herald and first order and second order GP30’s. These models will need prototypical details added such as snow plow and low nose gyra light, etc.
- Athearn RTR SW1000 represents the SW1000 diesel switchers purchased by the Rio Grande in 1968 to replace worn out first generation switchers. Offered are two numbers with friction bearing trucks and spark arrestors with numbers #141 and #144 which were used in Denver’s North Yard, and #147 with roller bearings and used on the west end in Utah’s Roper yard. In the late 1980’s, the west end SW1000 moved east to Denver.
- Proto2000 SW1200 have been produced but never (to date 2009) been painted for D&RGW, so fans would have to paint their own to have an operational SW1200 on an HO layout.
First Generation Hood and Cab Units & Switch Engines
- Proto2000 SD7 and SD9 have been produced in the early yellow horizontal stripes (original paint job applied and used until the mid-1960’s) and the late “switcher scheme” orange paint scheme.
- Broadway Limited has produced the SD9 in black with yellow horizontal stripes.
- Front Range GP9 has been produced and painted for the black switcher scheme. This model is long out of production.
- Proto 2000 GP7 has been produced only in the black with horizontal yellow stripes (original paint) version.
- Atlas GP7 has been produced in the original “yellow box” and improved “red box” classics series. The Red box GP7 was offered in small and large herald. The Atlas GP7 represents the first order of GP7’s ordered by the D&RGW.
- Proto2000 PA/PB have been produced in the original black with yellow stripes, yellow over silver with 4 black stripes and yellow over silver with single black stripe.
- Broadway Limited has produced the PA/PB in the 2nd paint version (Silver with Aspen Gold leaf nose) used by the D&RGW between 1949 and 1952.
- Athearn Genesis F9 was produced in single stripe paint in an ABB set numbered for the Rio Grande Zephyr F units #5771, 5763 and 5764, and an AB set numbered #5774 and 5773.
- Stewart Hobbies/Bowser has produced the KATO designed and tooled F9 in the aspen gold/silver single stripe version. This model arguably has the best running mechanism produced for any HO F unit model, however the shell tooling was designed in the late 1980’s and is not as good as recent tooling offered by Athearn Genesis or Intermountain. The Stewart/Bowser F unit was originally manufactured by KATO and was later produced by Stewart in the United States. Stewart sold the tooling and rights to Bowser, who now produces these HO diesels.
- Athearn Genesis F7 phase II has been produced in their “modernized” series which represents later day modifications to the engines as per the prototype in the 1960’s. Athearn issued two AB sets numbered 5711 and 5712 and 5713 and 5714, as well as F7A #5764, all in single stripe grande gold/silver paint. F7A #5764 was used commonly in California Zephyr service after 1965 and until that passenger train was discontinued.
- Athearn Genesis F7 phase I has been produced in both black with yellow stripes and grande gold with 4 stripes.
- Stewart/Bowers F7’s have been offered under the Stewart name in both black with yellow stripes and grande gold/silver with 4-stripes. Later scheme has been painted on both a phase I F unit production run and a phase II F unit production run. The phase II F units lack the roof over hang that is on the prototype.
- Athearn Genesis F3 late phase has been offered in single stripe paint in two AB sets numbered 5544, 5543, and 5541 and 5542. These models appear to accurately represent the post 1951 phase details (including roof fans, side louvers and grills, etc) and are lovely models. The Genesis F3 model does not include the 1960’s added details like the toe creep way or nose side and top grab irons as opposed to the Proto2000 model.
- Stewart/Bowser F3’s have been produced in the black with yellow horizontal stripes in the original phase I version.
- Proto2000 has offered F3 late phase models in grande gold/silver single stripe paint in two separate ABBA number series and sold as AB sets. They are fairly close in phase details to the 1960’s prototype with the following exceptions: The nose should have the stair step MU receptacle rather than the door which the model has, and the upper chicken air wire grills on sides of the model should terminate prior to the doors with a solid sheet metal panel. The model chicken wire incorrectly runs all the way to the door. The model, however, does include some of the 1960’s added details such as the toe creep way and nose side and top grab irons (The Athearn Genesis model correctly has the sheet metal panel).
- Bachman Spectrum GE 44 ton switcher diesel has been produced in early, and later upgraded mechanism versions.
- Walthers H10-44 switcher has been produced in the past via Roco, and more recently in a newly tooled version. Both models are painted in the as delivered scheme.
- Atlas S2 switcher was produced in their old “yellow box” series and is long out of production.
- KATO NW2 represents Rio Grande’s first diesel engine, originally numbered 7000 and later renumbered to 100. This switcher was delivered 1/41 and retired 1/68.