Thursday, November 5, 2009

It was so ugly, I had to model it

CP 5447 at rest in the Fort Francis yard.

It was so ugly, I just had to model it.

I'm talking about CP Rail 5447, which started life in 1975 as CNW 6910 before being sold to NRE (National Railway Equipment Company) in 1986. NRE rebuilt it and leased it to CP Rail in 1993, and sold it to that railway in 1994. It plied the rails as CP Rail 5447 until 1998, when it was relettered for the St. Lawrence & Hudson Railway (a division of CP Rail). It was sold in 1999 and today is FURX 3012. It was never painted in any CP Rail livery.

What attracted me to this unit was the hand-painted "CP" on the side--something that both makes it beyond ugly but also, in a strange sort of way, kind of appealing, too. I decided I had to make one for myself.

I made my unit the same way the prototype did. I started with an Athearn CNW shell, which I spray painted with primer. I then made a stencil out of masking tape for the unique lettering. I carefully drew the letters on the tape, then cut them out with an X-acto knife. I then affixed the stencil to the side of the unit, and used a brush to gently dab on white paint.

Applying the simple stencil.

Photos of the prototype unit show it both with and without lettering on the other side. I chose the simpler route, and left the other side unlettered.

I didn't have any small CP Rail dry transfers to put under the numbers, but I did scrape off part of the second number 4 to match the prototype.

Is it perfectly accurate? No. But it's close enough for me, and a real conversation piece when visitors come over.

The prototype. Photo from Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive Roster and Photo Archives. ( Another photo of the prototype unit can be found at


  1. Gotta love the ugly things...You end up loving them in the end! I can't say the 5447 THAT ugly, as it is still endowed with the natural appeal of being an SD40-2. I don't like that color, though!

    That photo is pretty crule...It's up against a Warbonnet SD75, which is probably the most beautiful locomotive to ever exist!

  2. i just found your blog . I have to say things like this are without question the most interesting items that can be found on a layout. I'm going to keep 5447 in mind for my N Scale layout.