Burlington Northern Railroad EMD SDP45 diesel locomotive No. 6597 at BN Interbay, Seattle, Washington. Photo by S.L. Dixon.
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89249
SP 3207 with Amtrak No. 6 at Sacramento, CA on February 27, 1987. Photo by Roger Puta.
EMD SDP45 Diesel-Electric Locomotive
The SDP45 was a six-axle, C-C, 3,600-horsepower (2,680 kW) diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division of La Grange, Illinois. It was a passenger-hauling version of the SD45 on a stretched locomotive frame with an extended, squared-off long hood at the rear, aft of the radiators, giving space for a steam generator for passenger train heating. This steam generator placement followed the pattern set by the SDP35 and SDP40.
A few SDP45s remain in service, rebuilt to SD40-2 standards.
The Southern Pacific Railroad ordered their ten on May 9, 1966 with the units being placed in service between May 24 and July 26, 1967, initially on the City of San Francisco between Oakland and Ogden, and eventually used system-wide. As built, each unit carried 2,500 US gallons (9,500 l; 2,100 imp gal) of fuel and 3,000 US gallons (11,000 l; 2,500 imp gal) of steam generator water in a partitioned underframe tank. The steam generator was a Vapor Model OK-4740. SP's units had Pyle National Gyralights on the leading end, came with Nathan P-3 horns, and cost $317,156 each (SP's straight SD45's from the same period cost $290,788 each). Ordered with 62:15 gearing with the overspeed set at 72 mph (116 km/h), the gearing was changed to 60:17 (overspeed at 83 mph or 134 km/h) during 1968-1969. All except 3201 and 3207 would eventually be re-geared back to 62:15 once they entered commute service. After Amtrak took over long-distance routes in 1971, various units were leased to Amtrak for West Coast service (primarily on the Coast Starlight) until Amtrak purchased their SDP40F locomotives, while the rest were used in freight service and on Company specials. Beginning in 1973 the SDP45s were used for commuter service on the San Francisco Peninsula, replacing the Fairbanks-Morse Train Masters. SP's commuter service was demanding work and the locomotives required electrical modification to meet those demands. A "Passenger Start" switch was installed inside the cab electrical cabinet; in the "COMM" position the units were held in Parallel, in the "FRT/PASS" position normal transition was made. They stayed on the commute route (often working in freight service on weekends) until 1985 when Caltrain equipment arrived, and they were placed into freight service until their retirement, initially working out of Roseville, then in local and hauler service in the Los Angeles Basin. All were retired between 1986 (3208) and 1990 (3204) and sold for scrap.
The Great Northern Railway purchased eight SDP45s in 1967 to replace F-units on the Empire Builder. Normally paired back-to-back, they were also used singly leading F-units. These joined six smaller SDP40 locomotives ordered in 1966 for the Western Star. After the startup of Amtrak in 1971, Great Northern Railway successor Burlington Northern Railroad converted all fourteen SDP locomotives to freight service.
The Erie Lackawanna Railroad ordered 34 SD45Ms in 1969 and 1970. Intended for freight service, these units had a long metal head end; the extra space aft of the radiators had concrete ballast. Their longer frames permitted a larger fuel tank which gave the locomotives a greater range between fuel stops.
Order Number: 7955
Order Number: 7979
Order Number: 7174
Order Number: 7246
Order Number: 7246
Burlington Northern Railroad SDP45 No. 6599 was retrofitted with an articulated four-axle truck by EMD, converting it to an A1A-B+B wheel arrangement. The middle traction motor in the lead truck was removed and placed in the rear truck. The rear truck, called the HT-BB, for High Traction B+B arrangement, was tested successfully but advances in traction engines obviated the need for four axle trucks. This testing was not related to the development of the HTCR three-axle radial truck first seen under SD60 EMD 3 and SD60MACs, and made standard on the early SD70 series.
Southern Pacific Railroad 8691-8696 were SD40M-2 rebuilds done by Morrison-Knudsen. They were ex-EL 36??, 3668, 3666, 3665, 3662 and 3659. It is this group that most surviving SDP45s belong to.
Erie Lackawanna 3637 was wrecked and rebuilt into a slug.
Erie Lackawanna Railroad 3639, later Conrail 6670, is listed as being preserved at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
EMD SDP45 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Build date: May 1967 – August 1970
Total produced: 52
• AAR C-C
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Prime mover: EMD 20-645-E3
Engine type: V20 diesel engine
Locomotive brake: Independent air
Optional: dynamic brakes
Train brakes: Air, schedule 26-L
Maximum speed: 100–109 mph (161–175 km/h)
Power output: 3,600 hp (2,680 kW)
Locale: North America
Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
EL No. 3643, an EMD SDP45 at Hammond, IN yards on December 22, 1969. Photo by Roger Puta.
SP No. 3199, an EMD SDP45 with Train No. 50 at the 4th and Townsend Terminal in San Francisco, CA in November 1984. Photo by Roger Puta.
SP No. 3206, an EMD SDP45, at Berkeley, California, April of 1971. Photo by Drew Jacksich.
By Drew Jacksich from San Jose, CA, The Republic of California (3206 Berk Apr 71cr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.
Purchases through our Merchant Links and Store help to defray the costs of operating the non-profit Classic Streamliners website, and at no additional cost to you. All of the staff at Classic Streamliners are unpaid volunteers who have all devoted thousands of hours of their own time to bring the site into fruition. We would like to sincerely thank all those who have already helped support this worthy cause. For more information click HERE.