Written by: TrainSim-James
Two SD40T-2 locos treading the snow on Donner Pass.
With my last successful article on Sherman Hill, I figured why not continue into the era of UP and go to Donner Pass? Donner Pass has a lot of history to it, but some might not be able how to use the time setting and may screw something up.
Donner Pass has a lot of history to it from the building of the Central Pacific to the Southern Pacific and now Union Pacific.
Here is Frisco’s list on certain time periods for Donner Pass!
Steam Era (Late 40’s – Late 50’s) Cab-Forward, GP9 (Route and Add-on), F7 Route and Bloody Nose)
The Mighty Cab-Forward pulling the Pacific Fruit Express on Donner Pass.
The last of the Cab-Forwards were treading over Donner pulling the PFE trains with the intruding F7 diesels and GP9 locos. Only 1 Cab-Forward survived, but the whole AC-10 – AC-12 class can be re-ran with the GTRAX loco. The GP9s and F7s can still run on Donner alone, but for 50’s runs will need the Cab-Forward because of the PFE and Boxcars included.
This era is perfect for all the steam lovers or those who enjoy running the Cab-Forward over Donner. Since this engine includes PFE Reefers, I use it ALOT for my scenarios whether they be steam (R-20-14) or diesel (R-20-48).
Early Diesel Era (60’s – 70’s) Cab-Forward, F7 (Bloody Nose), GP20 SP, SD45 SP, GE 44 SP, GP9 (Route )
The Classic SD45 is a marvellous add-on for Donner Pass as it included period-appropriate freight cars and is a real powerhorse.
With the Cab-Forwards now gone, the Diesels have taken over Donner Pass. Some of the GP9s and F7s have been retired but some still tread like the intruders they were. The SP was bustling at this time, so many of these locos would be seen crossing the hills of Donner.
Even though the Cab-Forwards don’t tread anymore, the engine includes some PFE reefers in the years of the diesel that the steamers wouldn’t have pulled. Other models are shown including the GP20.
Tunnel Era (Mid 70’s to Early 80’s) SD40-2 & SD40T-2 (Included), SD45, Cab-Forward, Amtrak California Zephyr, Cab-Forward, GP9 (Route)
From the cab of another loco, two tunnel motors pass by with an intermodal train.
The GP20s and F7s are long gone now, but a select few GP9s are still in service as switcher engines. The ever-so-popular SD40-2 locos are now in service along with its twin the Tunnel Motor SD40T-2. The SP owned the most Tunnel Motors because of exhaust fumes breaking engines. Amtrak is now in the Picture with the Cali Zephyr.
The last era to use the PFE reefers, many of them are likely to be scrapped to newer models. The SD45s are still in service and the cars included are still useable as well. With passenger service handled by Amtrak, one can take control or watch the F40PH locos pound out hard over Donner Pass.
Merger Era (Mid 80’s – Mid 90’s) Soldier Summit, Amtrak California Zephyr, SD70M, SD45, P30CH (Optional)
With the acquisition of the D&RGW, SP locos began running on unfamiliar tracks on other extreme terrains. Note: This Picture is of Soldier Summit and not Donner Pass.
By the early 90’s, the SP took over Soldier Summit and ran trains over their tracks. The Cali Zephyr can still run on either route. Freight cars from both routes can be run on either routes along with certain engines. It wouldn’t be long before another merger happens though.
For this era, D&RGW SD40T-2s and freight cars can be seen on Donner Pass with the arrival of a new engine, the SD70M. The Zephyr still runs with the F40PH, and it seems golden for the SP.
The P30CH is optional because it’s in a Phase 3 skin and some scenarios can be run over Soldier or Donner. The cars included with the F40 Zephyr are Phase 3, and the P30CH is Phase 3. See the similarity?
UP Era (90’s – Today) Sherman Hill, SD70ACe, P42DC Empire Builder, SD70ACe Heritage
The trains of Donner Pass today, Union Pacific.
The SP era is now over and UP has taken over as the “Great Big Rollin’ Railroad. Some SP engines still run over Donner but are now patched locos. The Tunnel Motors have all been retired as the SD40-2 is still used however. Amtrak no longer uses the F40PH but now is using the P42 as their workhorse.
Trains of the UP can come from Sherman Hill and the SD70ACe and Heritage SD70ACe pack along with a few other UP models on steam out there. Amtrak cars are all Phase 4B, but for the early 2000’s, I guess an occasional Phase 3 Superliner would pop up.
I hope you enjoyed and I welcome comments below!