Modelling late 1990s San Diegans/early Surfliners

Some good advice to model a good San Diegan consist. Or if you model the 2000s a great way to model early Pacific Surfliners when the Surfliner cars were still being delivered. It also has tips on what locos to use to pull a 1990s San Diegan train.

The 1990s was an interesting era in Amtrak's history. The San Diegan was powered both by the F40PH and the F59s. The F40PHs were the main locos for a majority of the 1990s. Amtrak P40s and Dash 8s were seen, but were used for a brief time due to those GE units being unreliable on keeping up with the schedule. If you chose to have P40s or Dash 8s then you can get the Dash 8 from Atlas and Athearn makes the P40 in HO. Kato is a good option to get the F40PH, but Walthers makes an F40PH they're both good though.

The Surfliner F59PHI first appeared in 1998 so it's appropriate in the late 1990s time frame. The best HO F59PHI in the market is Athearn's, but are hard to find.

A couple of videos of some HO San Diegans on my layout a couple years ago:

Modelling an Amtrak San Joaqoin/Capitol Without California Cars

Modeling tip for those who can't afford the brass California cars.

The Amtrak San Joaquins and Capitols have been apart of rail history from the 1990s today. Currently the prototype trains use bi-level "California" cars. Unfortunately, no HO manufacturer has made the cars in plastic, so the only way to model the current train is the Overland cars, which are expensive and very hard to find.

When the California cars were being delivered, Horizon cars were used on the train. This is good for a modeler who can't afford the expensive Overland California car.