EMD GP30

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"GP30" redirects here. For the grenade launcher, see GP-30.
EMD GP30
ATSF 2705 CA Cajon.jpg
A GP30, GP35, and GP20 run light in the late 1980s on California's Cajon Pass.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder GM Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
General Motors Diesel (GMD)
Model GP30
Build date July 1961 – November 1963
Total produced 948
Specifications
AAR wheel arr. B-B
UIC classification Bo′Bo′
Length 56 ft 2 in (17.12 m)
Locomotive weight 253,000 lb (115,000 kg)
Fuel capacity Standard: 1,700 US gal (6,400 l; 1,400 imp gal),
Optional: 2,600 US gallons (9,800 l; 2,200 imp gal)
Lubricant capacity 200 US gal (760 l; 170 imp gal)
Coolant capacity 240 US gal (910 l; 200 imp gal)
Sandbox capacity 18 cu ft (0.51 m3)
Prime mover EMD 567D3
Engine type Two-stroke diesel
Aspiration Turbocharger
Displacement 9,072 cu in (148.66 l)
Generator DC generator
Traction motors DC (4)
Cylinders V16
Cylinder size 8 12 in × 10 in (216 mm × 254 mm)
Transmission Diesel electric
Performance figures
Maximum speed 78 mph (126 km/h)
Power output 2,250 hp (1,680 kW)
Tractive effort 63,375 lbf (281.9 kN)
Locomotive brake Straight air, optional: dynamic
Career
Locale North America

The EMD GP30 is a 2,250 hp (1,680 kW) four-axle B-B diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division of La Grange, Illinois between July, 1961 and November, 1963. 948 examples were built for railroads in the United States and Canada (2 only), including 40 cabless B units for the Union Pacific Railroad.

It was the first so-called "second generation" EMD diesel locomotive, and was produced in response to increased competition by a new entrant, General Electric's U25B, which was released roughly at the same time as the GP30. The GP30 is easily recognizable due to its high profile and stepped cab roof, unique among American locomotives. A number are still in service today in original or rebuilt form.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

The GP30 was conceived out of the necessity of matching new competitor GE's U25B. The U25B offered 2,500 hp (1,860 kW) while EMD's GP20 and its 567D2 prime mover was only rated at 2,000 hp (1,490 kW). The U25B also featured a sealed, airtight long hood with a single inertial air intake for electrical cooling, with a pressurized cooling system which kept dust out of the engine and equipment area. Finally, the entire GE design was optimized for ease of access and maintenance. The U25B demonstrators were receiving much praise—and orders—from the railroads that tested them. Meanwhile, ALCO had been producing the 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) RS-27 since 1959, though it had not sold well.

EMD's engineering department pushed their DC traction system for an extra 250 hp (186 kW). The 2,250 hp (1,680 kW) wasn't quite equivalent to the GE and ALCO offerings, but EMD hoped the railroads' familiarity with EMD equipment would improve their chances. The locomotive in which the 16 cylinder, 567D3 would be fitted, was improved along the lines of the U25B; sealed long hood, central air intake, and engineered for easier maintenance access. The frame and trucks of the GP20 were carried across; the extra equipment for the centralized air system required more space behind the cab, and since the locomotive was not going to be lengthened, extra space was achieved vertically by raising the height of the locomotive, giving room for the central air system, turbocharger and electrical cabinet all behind the cab. This extra height behind the cab meant that the body style used for previous GP units was not suitable.

Since EMD needed the new locomotive to be visibly modern and updated, they turned to the GM Automotive Styling Center at Troy, Michigan for help. The automobile stylists created the GP30's trademark "hump" and cab roof profile. The hump-like bulge started at the front of the cab and enveloped the air intakes for the central air system and the dynamic brake blister. Units ordered without dynamic brakes were the same shape, but lacked the intakes to cool the dynamic brake resistor grids.

A high short hood could be ordered, but only holdouts Norfolk and Western Railway and Southern Railway received such units. EMD originally planned to name the locomotive the GP22, but EMD's marketing department decided to leapfrog GE's numbering to make the new locomotive seem more advanced. Marketing literature claimed 30 distinct improvements from the GP20 and that this was the reason for the number.

Sales and in service[edit]

The GP30 successfully countered the GE threat and kept EMD in the dominant position in the North American diesel market. While losing a little power to the GE and ALCO competition, the solidity and reliability of the GP30—and the familiarity of railroad mechanical departments with EMD products—ultimately won many more orders for EMD. 948 were sold, in comparison to 476 U25Bs. In addition, the GP30 was only sold until the end of 1963, while the U25B was available until 1966.

An EMD GP30 originally owned by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad -- Oak Ridge, TN.

Most major railroads ordered GP30s, and many smaller ones did too. The largest orders were from the SOU (120), UP (111), ATSF (85), and the B&O (77).

The sole purchaser of B units (by the mid 1960s generally an outdated concept) was the UP, who kept the practice of running its locomotives in matched sets much longer than others. Eight of those GP30B units were fitted with steam generators for heating passenger trains, the only GP30s to receive them. Prior to Amtrak, UP would use a GP30 and two boiler equipped GP30Bs on passenger trains when no E8s or E9s were available.

Some units for the GM&O, MILW and SOO were built with from ALCO trade-ins and ride on ARR type B trucks instead of the standard Blomberg Bs. An indisputable tribute to the quality of the GP30 design is the fact that a good number are still in service as of 2007, which is a service lifespan of over 40 years and well in excess of the design life of 25–30 years for the average diesel locomotive. Furthermore, when life-expired, some railroads chose to give them major rebuilds instead of scrapping them.

Specifically, the Burlington Northern rebuilt GP30 (and GP35) units to the specifications of the later GP39. These rebuilds (known as GP39Es, GP39Ms and GP39Vs [1]) came not only from the ranks of the units the BN inherited from its own merger, but from the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, SAL, and others.

The Chessie System rebuilt its GP30 units into GP30Ms [2], and they lasted with CSX into the mid-to-late 1990s, long after Seaboard System GP30s had been sold, retired and scrapped, or turned into road slugs[3].

Original buyers[edit]

Cab-equipped 'A' units[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Electro Motive Division (demonstrator)
2
5629 to Union Pacific Railroad 875
5639 to Seaboard Air Line Railroad 534, to Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 1343
Alaska Railroad
1
2000
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
85
1200–1284 rebuilt versions called GP30u**upgraded at Cleburne, Texas shops.)
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
9
900–908 to Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 1300–1308
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
77
6900–6976
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
48
3000–3047
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
38
940–977 to Burlington Northern Railroad 2217–2254
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad
3
239–241
Chicago Great Western Railway
8
201–208 to Chicago & North Western Railway 802–809
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad
16
340–355 AAR type B trucks. Renumbered 1000–1015
Chicago and North Western Railway
14
810–832
Canadian Pacific Railway
2
8200–8201 Built by General Motors Diesel (GMD) in London, Ontario. Renumbered 5000–5001
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad
28
3001–3028
Great Northern Railway
17
3000–3016 to Burlington Northern Railroad 2200–2216
Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
31
500–530 AAR type B trucks
Kansas City Southern Railway
20
100–119
Louisville and Nashville Railroad
58
1000–1057
New York Central Railroad
10
6115–6124 to Penn Central 2188-2197, to Conrail same numbers
New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad
10
900–909 to Norfolk and Western 2900-2909
Norfolk and Western Railway
44
522–565 High short hood, operated long hood-forward
Pennsylvania Railroad
52
2200–2251 to Penn Central 2200-2249, 2198, 2199; to Conrail same numbers
Phelps Dodge Corporation
9
24–32 New Cornelia Branch mine
Reading Railroad
20
5501–5520 renumbered 3600-3619; to Conrail 2168-2187
Seaboard Air Line Railroad
34
500–533 to Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 1309–1342
Soo Line Railroad
22
700–721 AAR type B trucks. Eighteen to Wisconsin Central Limited, same numbers
Southern Pacific Railroad
8
7400–7407
Southern Railway
120
2525–2644 High short hood
St. Louis Southwestern Railway
10
750–759
Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway
1
700
Union Pacific Railroad
111
700–735, 800–874

Cabless booster 'B' units[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Union Pacific Railroad 40 700B–739B Eight fitted with steam generators

Rebuilds[edit]

BNSF #2831, a GP39M, leading BNSF #1418, a GP10.
BNSF #2472, a GP30u.

The Burlington Northern Railroad was the most extensive user of rebuilt of GP30s. Finding a need for modernized units of lower power, it sent GP30s—-both its own and units purchased from other railroads-—to be rebuilt. Seventy units were sent to EMD, 65 to Morrison Knudsen (now Washington Group International) and 25 to VMV for rebuilding, and the rebuilds are known as GP39E, GP39M, and GP39V respectively. The changes included new generators, Dash-2 modular electronic control systems and 567D3 engines upgraded with EMD 645-series power assemblies, rated at 2,300 hp (1,720 kW) and designated 12-645D3. These units are still in service on local and smaller lines throughout the BNSF Railway system.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) had previously, performed a similar upgrade in its own Cleburne, Texas shops, stripping the locomotives down to bare metal and rebuilding with new equipment. The 567D3 engines were upgraded to a 2500 horsepower rating by the use of 645-series power assemblies. The generators and traction motors were upgraded and control and electrical equipment was replaced. The trucks received Hyatt roller bearings and single-clasp brake systems. Rooftop air conditioners and new horns were added. The locomotives were repainted in the blue and yellow Yellowbonnet scheme, and designated GP30u (for upgraded). 78 of these survived until the BNSF merger, and most are still in use in secondary service.

The Soo Line Railroad rebuilt three GP30s with CAT 3515 engines rated at 2,000 horsepower (1.49 MW). These were designated GP30C.

Preserved units[edit]

According to John Komanesky's Preserved Diesels site, 17 GP30s have been preserved by a variety of museums, societies and tourist railways. A number of these preserved locomotives are in operational condition. The following is a list of preserved GP-30s in North America.

See also[edit]

References[edit]