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Lake State Railway Co. SD40 #5921 at Saginaw, MI

The Electromotive Division SD40 is a 6 axle, 3,000 HP diesel-electric locomotive built by EMD from 1966 to 1971. It uses a turbo charged 16 cylinder 645 diesel engine rated at 3,000 HP. It is generally considered one of the most successful engines of all time due to it's durability and longevity. The SD40 (along with the GP40, GP38 and SD45) were launched in 1966 and featured EMD's all new 645 engine. At first many railroads opted for the higher horsepower SD45, though many still bought smaller orders of SD40's. As fuel prices rose in the 1970's, the more fuel friendly 16 cylinder SD40 (and later the SD40-2) became the locomotive of choice and the SD45 fell out of favor. Built with a low short hood as a standard option, a high short hood was an option, with N&W and Southern ordering SD40's with high hoods configured for long hood forward running. Picture of BDLX 1602, an ex NS SD40 with a high hood. Though most SD40's that exist today are rebuilt in various forms, several still ply the rails on Class 1's and shortlines alike.

The prototype SD40 was called the SD40A. It used an SD35 frame and was purchased by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio RR, which later became the Illinois Central Gulf after merging with IC, then Illinois Central and finally belonging to CN before being retired in early 2009. CN supposedly has plans to donate the historic unit (now classified as an SD40-2R and numbered IC #6071). Picture of IC 6071, the first SD40.


CSX SD40-2 8367 at Wyoming, MI

The Electromotive Division SD40-2 is a 6 axle, 3,000 HP diesel-electric locomotive built by EMD from 1972 until 1986. Like the SD40 before it, it's 645 engine puts out 3,000 HP. The SD40-2 is considered the most successful diesel locomotive of all time, with over 4,000 units being built. Burlington Northern had the most with nearly 900 units. EMD introduced it's Dash 2 line in 1972 as upgraded versions of already successful engines like the SD40. For the SD40-2, EMD added a host of electrical upgrades and lengthened the frame, among other minor tweaks. As on the SD40, high short hoods were an opion, with N&W along with SOU buying batches of high hood SD40-2's.Picture of NS 3202, an ex SOU high hood SD40-2. SD40-2's could also be ordered with 3 different nose lengths, 88", 118" and 123", called "Snoot Noses". The extra length in the nose provided space for radio control equipment that would allow the units to be used in helper service remotely. SD40-2's can still be found by the thousands today on Class 1's, shortlines and lease fleets. Most have been rebuilt more than once, adding to their longevity.


HLCX SD40T-2 #6144 at Durand, MI

The Electromotive Division SD40T-2 is a variant of the SD40-2 developed by EMD and the Southern Pacific railroad in 1974 and built until 1980. It used the same 645 engine rated at 3,000 HP that the SD40-2 used. Southern Pacific's mainline over Donner Pass featured many tunnels that would cause conventional locomotives to overheat when working heavy, slow moving trains over the summit. The solution was to move the radiators to the bottom of the long hood, rather than the top like on conventional engines, and the configuration was dubbed the "Tunnel Motor". The same arrangement was used on the SD45T-2. 312 SD40T-2's were built, with 229 going to SP (some will built with longer 118" and 123" "snoot noses"), 73 to the Rio Grande and 10 to the Cotton Belt. All were later on the SP roster after the Rio Grande-Cotton Belt-Espee merger. Most of the units remain in service on SP sucessor Union Pacific, though many have been sold off to shortlines and leasing companies. CN owned Bessemer & Lake Erie and Duluth, Missabee & Iron Range both operate a fleet of rebuilt SD40T-2's.


CN SD40-2W #5338 at East Chicago, IN

The Electromotive Division SD40-2W is a Canadian variant of the SD40-2 built by EMD affiliate GMD in Ontario for the Canadian National railway from 1975 until 1980. The SD40-2W features a wide nose Canadian safety cab instead of the conventional "spartan cab" found on other units. Other spotting features include snow shields, cab mounted bells and triangularly arranged class lights. 123 SD40-2W's were built, all for Canadian National. In recent years, CN has begun retiring the locomotives, either scrapping them or selling them off. Picture of CN SD40-2W 5340.


CP SD40-2F #9011 at Wyoming, MI

The Electromotive Division SD40-2F is another Canadian variant of the SD40-2 built by EMD affiliate GMD in Ontario for the Canadian Pacific railway in 1988 and 1989. The SD40-2F was a cowled version of the SD40-2. The units were unusual because at the time they were built, the then new SD60 had been being built for 3 years. CP insisted on SD40-2's, and EMD gave in. 25 SD40-2F's were built, all for CP. As delivered, they wore CP's "Action Red" paint scheme, and railfans nick named them "Red Barns", being CP's only cowls. The units were plauged with mechanical troubles in their early years, but those problems have since been smoothed out. All 25 continue to soldier on for CP.

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