Friday, November 23, 2012

Rock Island [ex-D&RGW] GP7 #4206

Just in time for "Black Friday"

I've always been a fan of the “Oddities” and “One-offs” and one fairly easy project that I've wanted to add to my fleet was one of the ten ex-Rio Grande GP7's. The Rock acquired these to help supplement their power when they ran their large fleet of 125 GP7's through their CRP [Capital Rebuilding Program]. 

Two notable features of these units were, as far I can tell, the only units that The Rock ever owned that had Dynamic Brakes. The other thing was that they were not MU capable.

This delegated them to transfer runs and local switcher service. The only thing that Rock Island did was to paint out the logos, hastily apply a few shields and cab numbers and slapped their asses into service. They eventually entered the CRP and had the Dynamics removed and MU ability added.   NOTE:  See addition at the bottom of this post.

Not much work was needed for this loco.  I picked it up second hand at a swap meet since it was already decaled for Rio Grande. 

I swapped out the chassis with a newer DCC ready chassis and installed a TCS ASD4 decoder.  I removed the small logos on the side, painted out the lettering on both ends with a splotch of orange, and applied the Rock Island heralds and cab numbers and number boards. I added a typical 3 chime horn to the top of the short hood, the spark arrestors and cab shades.

I used an oil based light grey for the fade coat and an oil based  burnt umber for a wash.  Finished it off with some Bragdon powders for the soot and rusty areas. 

One thing that didn't turnout like I had hoped it would was on the side sill, Rio Grande added six red [what looks like] round reflectors. I picked up some 1mm red jewels to simulate these, but the indoor lighting doesn't make them stand out more than just black zits.

I plan to keep this stationed at El Dorado for a sweeper loco.

Here is the scoop on the 10 ex D&RGW GP7's  This is taken from the soft cover book: 
ROCK ISLAND Diesel Locomotives 1930-1980  by Louis A. Marre

"The second hand GP7's acquired directly and not via CRP exchange were 
ten decidedly decrepit Denver & Rio Grande units. bought with traded F units
in November of 1972.  Exactly half were later traded to Precision National and the 
roster completely, as detailed in the CRP roster.  While still in their original condition
they were nearly useless, as they would not MU with standard Rock units due to
incompatible brake systems"  

Over the years of collecting photos of The Rock Island, I have come across several pictures showing these Geeps in a lashup with other Rock Island units in action.  So there's always the possibility that a few of them might have been modified if needed, before they entered the CRP.  Here are several shots of the GP's in action.

Grouping of like units were common.

Note in these two shots unit #4602 is in a consist, possibly modified at one time.


  1. That looks great Allen! I have considered getting some DRGW GP7s and trying the same thing.

  2. Sorry but I have to ask...

    In your blog you mention that the Rio Grande GP7s didn't m.u. but you have a prototype picture of one of the units that is, well, obviously m.u.ed to a maroon RI Geep. Just curious...

  3. Love t he oddities Allen