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EMD SD38 Diesel-Electric Locomotive
The SD38 is a 6-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division between May 1967 and October 1971. It had an EMD 64516-cylinder engine generating 2,000 horsepower (1.5 MW), compared to the turbocharged EMD 645E3 V-16 engine that produced 3000 horsepower. The SD38 had the same frame as the SD39, SD40 and SD45. 52 were built for American railroads, one was built for a Canadian railroad, four were exported to a mining firm in Jamaica and seven were exported to a mining firm in Venezuela. The SD38 was succeeded by a Dash 2 version called the EMD SD38-2.

Original Owners

Railroad: Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad

Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 861-863

Railroad: Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 250-254
Notes: To Grand Trunk Western 6250-6254; 253 and 254 still in service as Reading and Northern Railroad Nos. 2003 and 2004.

Railroad: Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway

Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 650-655
Notes: 650 sold to CITI Rail in 2011, 654 sold to Hartwell railroad in 2011, 651-653, and 655 sold to DMIR in 1992/1993.

Railroad: Kaiser Bauxite (Jamaica)

Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 5101-5104
Notes: Now called Noranda Bauxite Limited (NBL).

Railroad: McCloud River Railroad

Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 36-38
Notes: 36 & 38 on MCR property as of July 2017, 37 Now On Dakota Southern Railway. Builder No. 34880-34882.

Railroad: Orinoco Mining Company (Venezuela)

Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 1021–1027

Railroad: Penn Central

Quantity: 35
Road numbers: 6925-6959
Notes: All went to Conrail with same numbers. When Conrail broke up, 21 went to Norfolk Southern (Some rebuilt to slugs, rest retired), 13 to CSX (All but two retired), and 1 to the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railway (Operational).

Railroad: RFFSA (Brazil)

Quantity: 45
Road numbers: 3601-3645
Notes: SD38M - 34 units in service. 

An M version of SD38 was built for the Brazil Federal Railways (RFFSA - Rede Ferroviária Federal S. A.).

Forty of a passenger version, the SDP38, were built for the Korean National Railways in May-July 1967. The units were numbered 6351-6390.

EMD SD38 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model: SD38
Build date: May 1967 – October 1971
Total produced: 108
​ • AAR C-C
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Fuel capacity: 3,200 US gal (12,000 l; 2,700 imp gal)
Prime mover: EMD 645E
Engine type: V16 diesel
Cylinders: 16
Performance figures
Power output: 2,000 hp (1.5 MW)

See also:


EMD Diesel-Electric Locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives


Historic Rail - Shop Now!

Classic Streamliners - TRAIN​CYCLOPEDIA

Norfolk Southern EMD SD38 No. 3809 and NS MT6 slug No. 978 at Buckeye Yard in Columbus, Ohio.

By MeRyan - IMG_2677, CC BY 2.0,

Snake River Farms Wagyu Brisket
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Norfolk Southern EMD SD38 No. 3809.
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