A&P RR G-16 506B

Arizona and Pacific Railroad

G16 506B

G16 Engine #506B

History of the Arizona and Pacific Railroad Engine G16 #506B

          Our A unit, No. 582, was originally part of a Miniature Train Company “limited” train meaning she had a second power unit (B unit in her case). We had been looking for a B unit for a number of years to complete the classic look of the AB configuration. There weren’t very many B units produced and the ones we found were either beyond reasonable restoration or understandably the owners wanted to keep them with their A unit.


Description of "Limited" train from a 1951 MTC order form


The last B unit was built in 1952. Later "Limited" trains had back-to-back "A" units instead of "A" and "B" units

          In November 0f 2008, I finally found a B unit for sale in California. It had been stripped of all parts usable on other projects and was without a builder's plate. Much like the restoration project on No. 582, it would take several years to locate enough of the missing parts to place her back in service. She had been owned by four different owners since the early 1990s and stored for many years. None of the prior owners that we were able contact had any idea what her production number might have been. I was hopeful we could determine the production number of our B unit, but the chances were admittedly pretty slim.


Moving the B Unit to Peoria for restoration in the A&P RR Shops

          There were a handful of clues that seemed to indicate she was one of the earlier B units produced. There was no consistency in the rivet patterns of the port hole window frames and it looked as if they freelanced where the four rivets were placed. On our A unit, no. 582, they are all symmetrical and evenly spaced. The rectangular sand box openings were 4” x 3” on our A unit and match those of the G12 rectangular frames. The sand box openings on our B unit were 3 ½ inches by 3 inches. The B unit instrument panel is set up for the older style throttle and brake valves and there are vacuum horn mounting holes.


Instrument panel mounted throttle and brake valves

          The original paint scheme on our B unit was the green and yellow of the Chicago and Northwestern. When we bought our two dual side load coaches, we discovered one is a coach from train No. 504 and one is from the No. 506 both of which ran in Chicago at Riverview Park. The paint scheme was the green and yellow of the Chicago and Northwestern at that park. At one point the gentleman that we purchased the coaches from owned our B unit, but he sold it to someone else. After a couple of additional owners, none of whom did anything with it, we were able to acquire it. Under where the builders tag had been, you could see green and in places you could see the yellow of the Chicago and Northwestern. I was starting to suspect this B unit was either No. 504 or No. 506, but didn’t have any solid substantiation.


Baby blue paint covering the orginal green and yellow paint

          When we bought our B unit it was mostly rust covered, but the original paint scheme had been painted over with a baby blue layer of house paint that was peeling off in most places. It was thick and appeared applied by a large paint brush. It was a distinctive color and not railroad themed. Out of the blue one day, I get a text from my friend Joey Klein telling me to check out new items listed on Ebay. Among other MTC builders plates for sale were the builders plates for B unit no. 504 and B unit no.506.


G16 #506B builder's plate

          The plate for unit 504 was clear of paint; the one for unit No. 506 was in part covered by the same blue paint that was on our B unit sheet metal and it matches up exactly. The distinctive paint stain on the rear of the plate was the final clincher. Our B unit is No. 506 which first operated as part of the Riverview Scout in March of 1948 in Chicago.


Spot where the builder's plate was once mounted


Back of the builder's plate for #506B


Riverview Scout at Riverview Park in Chicago Illinois

          It turns out the builders plate was removed sometime in the 70s by the owner at that time, L. Gray Tuttle, when the B unit was headed to scrap. Mr. Tuttle bought G16s and S16s from service organizations primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia when they were converting to CP Huntingtons in the 1970s and early 80s. He purchased and sold somewhere between 35 and 50 of the trains over the years.

          Later, someone saved our B unit from scrap and it passed through many owners not knowing or caring what its production number was. The builder’s plate passed from Mr.Tuttle to Les Kasten along with a huge MTC collection maybe 30 years ago and was in an envelope forgotten in his desk all those years. It recently resurfaced when he was reorganizing and it became available online. I am thrilled we were able to obtain it and solve the mystery about our B unit production number. I am torn whether to mount it on the B unit or display it in the engine house with its unlikely story.

          A couple of months ago, Shaun Hardke advised he had sold what may have been A unit no. 506 to Rick Nairn a few years ago. Last month, Rick confirmed that he owns the no. 506 A unit. He also stated that two coaches painted in the same blue house paint are now in Pennsylvania. This month, Neil Boreczky advised that passenger cars nos. 2 and 3 from train no. 506 are awaiting restoration at the Eden Springs Railroad at the House of David in Benton Harbor, MI.


G16 A unit #506

506 Coaches

G-16 506 coaches number 2 and 3 awaiting restoration at the Eden Springs Railroad in Benton Harbor, Michigan

          I’m not sure, but suspect they operated with five passenger cars at Riverview Park in Chicago; we have accounted for no. 506 power units A and B, passenger cars 2, 3 and 4 and have it on good authority that two additional cars are in Pennsylvania. Perhaps these are passenger car 1 and the observation car. If anyone has additional information on the passenger cars in PA, please give me a heads up and I will share with everyone.

          Thank you to Joey Klein, Les Kasten, L. Gray Tuttle, Rick Nairn, Shaun Hardtke and Neil Boreczky for helping us piece all this information together over the past few months and for the photographs they have provided.


G16 A unit #582 and B unit #506


A&P RR "Limited" train on the turntable

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