MTH Electric Trains O Gauge Southern Pacific AC-6 Cab Forward

Part of the first transcontinental railroad, the Southern Pacific’s passage over the Sierra Nevadas, from Sparks, Nevada to Roseville, California, has always been a challenge for man and machine. Grades in both directions approximate 2.5%. Thirty-nine tunnels and nearly 40 miles of snow sheds protect the track from snowdrifts and avalanches – Sierra Nevada, after all, is Spanish for “snow covered.” Seeking more muscle for this route, the SP took delivery of two Baldwin articulated 2-8-8-2s in 1908. Initial trails, however, revealed that heat and exhaust gases in the tunnels and snowsheds made life nearly unbearable for the engine crew. Although cab forwards had been tried before in Italy and northern California, legend has it the SP cab forwards were inspired by an engineer who turned a Baldwin articulated around and ran it tender-first, putting the smoke behind him so he could breathe while he did his job.

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