Number Boards

Southern Pacific ordered all of their early locomotives with number boards on both ends. Each number board is designed to hold 5 opaque number or letter inserts, separated by vertical metal pieces.   During the GRIP program which the 4423 went through in 1977, the rear number board openings were plated shut and simple plastic 1 piece boards were made for the front to replace the clear glass which normally covered the opening.  Cutting out the rear openings was a real chore because the plates were welded into the opening rather than over it.  In addition, whoever welded the plates in was a good welder and got nearly 100% penetration on his welds.  Once opened up, the interior of the number boxes was cleaned of rust, wiped with Rust Mort and then primered and painted.  Replacement sockets were mounted and then wired into the existing circuits.  New glass lenses were made and installed along with new rubber glazing. 

The front number board openings were intact and the only problem was that the vertical number separators had been cut out.  Replacements were made using the rear parts as patterns.   The work here was pretty simple.  The separators were welded in, the interior of the box painted and we awaited the arrival of new glass.  Once on site, the glass was installed, bulbs screwed in the sockets and numbers put in the slots.  Of course, the 5472 is only a test to see what the original number looks like.

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