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EMD SD38-2 Diesel-Electric Locomotive
The EMD SD38-2 is a six-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) from 1972 to 1979. EMD built 90 of these medium road-switchers, which were used in both yard and mainline roles. Part of the EMD Dash 2 line, the SD38-2 was an upgraded SD38 with modular electronic control systems, HT-C trucks, and many other detail improvements. The locomotive's power was provided by an EMD 16-645E 16-cylinder engine, which could generate 2,000 horsepower (1,500 kilowatts). These units were constructed with either 3,200 or 4,000 US gal (12,000 or 15,000 L; 2,700 or 3,300 imp gal) fuel tanks and were available with or without dynamic brakes. It shared the same 64-foot-8-inch (19.71 m) frame as the SD40-2 and SD45-2, which gives it a length over couplers of 68 feet 10 inches (20.98 m).

Original owners

Railroad: BC Hydro

Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 382-384
Notes: To Southern Railway of British Columbia, same numbers.

Railroad: Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad

Quantity: 13
Road numbers: 870-879, 890-892 870, 872, 876  
Notes: 879 and 890 to Union RR, 50-54 (?/01); to EJ&E, 671-675 (11/01); 873 to LTEX, 873 (stored as of late '06); 877 to EJ&E, 670 (3/01); 891 to EJ&E, 669 (?/81); 892 to DM&IR, 215 (3/86); 871, 874, 875 all scrapped due to wrecks in the 1980s. 878 remains on B&LE rails as the last SD38-2 on the roster, as of 5-01-07.

Railroad: Chicago and Illinois Midland Railway

Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 70-75
Notes: To Union Pacific Railroad, 2800–2805; to UPY, 800-805.

Railroad: Chicago and North Western Railway

Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 6650-6659
Notes: To Union Pacific, 2806–2815; to UPY, 806-815.

Railroad: Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 209-213

Railroad: Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway

Quantity: 13
Road numbers: 656-668
Notes: All units still active under Canadian National ownership, some upgraded to Dash 3 specs. 658,668,664,666 To CN 658, 668, 664, 666.

Railroad: Jari Railway

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 10-11
Notes: Export, Brazil, 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) gauge.

Railroad: Louisville and Nashville Railroad

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 4500-4504
Notes: To Seaboard System Railroad, 4500-4504; to CSX Transportation, 2450–2454.

Railroad: McCloud River Railroad

Quantity: 1
Road number: 39
Notes: To Union Pacific, 2824; to UPY, 824 (yard service in Los Angeles).

Railroad: Northern Alberta Railway

Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 401-404
Notes: Built by GMDD; to Canadian National Railway, 5700-5703; renumbered 1650-1653.

Railroad: Orinoco Mining Company

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 1028–1032
Notes: Export, Venezuela.

Railroad: Reserve Mining

Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 1237–1245
Notes: To GATX, same numbers; to LLPX, 2808 still with LLPX; 2801–2809 to Iowa Interstate Railroad, 150-157. Most to South Shore Line, same numbers.

Railroad: St. Louis - San Francisco Railway

Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 296-299
Notes: To Burlington Northern Railroad, 6260-6263; to BNSF Railway, same numbers.

Railroad: Southern Pacific Railroad

Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 2971–2976
Notes: To Union Pacific, 2830–2835; to UPY, 830-835.

Railroad: United States Steel

Quantity: 1
Road number: 1
Notes: To Cyprus-Amax, same number.

Railroad: Yankeetown Dock

Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 20-22
Notes: 22 to Cyprus-Amax, same number.

EMD SD38-2 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD), General Motors Diesel, Canada
Build date: 1972 – 1979
Total produced: 90
​ • AAR C-C
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter: 3 ft 4 in (1.016 m)
Wheelbase: 43 ft 3.5 in (13.195 m) between bolsters; 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m) in each truck
Length: 68 ft 10 in (20.98 m)
Width: 10 ft 3.125 in (3.13 m) over handrail supports
Height: 15 ft 7.25 in (4.76 m) over cooling fan guard
Locomotive weight: 368,000 lb (167,000 kg)
Fuel capacity: 3,200 or 4,000 US gal (12,000 or 15,000 L; 2,700 or 3,300 imp gal)
Prime mover: EMD 16-645E
Engine type: V16 diesel
Aspiration: Roots-blown
Cylinders: 16

Main generator: AR10E1-D14 generator-alternator
Traction motors: 6 × D77/78 DC
Standard gearing: 62:15
Performance figures
Power output: 2,000 hp (1,500 kW)
Locale: North America, South America

See also:

Electro Motive Diesel

General Motors Diesel Canada

EMD Diesel-Electric Locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives


Locomotive Leasing Partners (LLPX) 2808, a General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) SD38-2. Locomotive Leasing Partners is a joint venture of GATX and EMD and leases locomotives to North American railroads.  By Morven - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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A General Motors Electro-Motive Division SD38-2.
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