First off, I am very new here. I don't live in America and my knowledge of (American) trains is somewhat limited. We do have trains here and I travel by train more or less every day, but yeah...
I was just wondering about the accuracy of the markings on the trains made my AZL. I was looking over some of the paint schemes and something on the Southern Pacific engines caught my eye - especially on the GP9 series.
On Wikipedia they are numbered in the 5000's something, ranging from 5600 to 5891. AZL GP9 engines from SP are numbered 3004-3006.
Is this something that is not an important detail for scale modelers?
One item on the 3000 series. these were likely were used primarily in commuter service. The 'torpedo' tubes on top are a give-away. The links show them also in commuter service. This is not to mean they wouldn't be found pulling freight as well.
Prototypical accuracy is rather important to Z scale modelers, thanks in part to AZL's attention to details.
The SP GP9 numbering is a somewhat complex issue, which it appears Wikipedia hasn't quite reported. The road numbers depend on whether the unit was built for SP or one of it's subsidiaries, the type of equipment and the era. The equipment at various times and locations were numbered in the 200, 3000, 3100, 3400, 5600 and 5800 series. Here's a couple of references as to their history and numbering:
Rob is right about passenger service. A number of these units were used in the San Francisco-San Jose commuter service. The units with the torpedo tubes were used on the Del Monte, a San Francisco-Monterrey passenger train than ran as an extension of the commuter service. They were also used for freight along the same route.
As for prototype accuracy, these models are quite good. The only exception I've noted is the absence of the roof mounted taillight or Mars light:
Given that most Z-scalers I've ever been around don't care much about these types of things, I think AZL does a pretty good job in this area. Especially on locomotives where most of the attention is paid. (and btw, nice info on the SP units, gents. Thanks for sharing.)
Freight cars can be a different story but, again, likely not something most in Z care or know about. It can get frustrating when most of the information is handed to them on a silver platter, (by mfgs in larger scales, et al) and their decoration is otherwise superb. They seem to be getting better about this though, so that's good.
RR Picture Archives - of course, how could I have skipped checking that website. How silly of me! Thanks for the reminder!
I have not yet had the pleasure to delve into model railroading, but I have since the last couple of months started to look into it. I am not an experienced modeler but I still like things to be somewhat accurate. I live in Scandinavia myself, but I prefer the look of the American freight trains compared to the European counterparts.
As I am limited on space, Z scale seems to be the perfect size for me. I might start out with a small yard of some sort and if I find it interesting I'll build from there.