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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.
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
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.
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 ) 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 , 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.
Cab-equipped 'A' units
|Electro Motive Division (demonstrator)||
||5629||to Union Pacific Railroad 875|
|5639||to Seaboard Air Line Railroad 534, to Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 1343|
|Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway||
||1200–1284||rebuilt versions called GP30u**upgraded at Cleburne, Texas shops.)|
|Atlantic Coast Line Railroad||
||900–908||to Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 1300–1308|
|Baltimore and Ohio Railroad||
|Chesapeake and Ohio Railway||
|Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad||
||940–977||to Burlington Northern Railroad 2217–2254|
|Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad||
|Chicago Great Western Railway||
||201–208||to Chicago & North Western Railway 802–809|
|Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad||
||340–355||AAR type B trucks. Renumbered 1000–1015|
|Chicago and North Western Railway||
|Canadian Pacific Railway||
||8200–8201||Built by General Motors Diesel (GMD) in London, Ontario. Renumbered 5000–5001|
|Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad||
|Great Northern Railway||
||3000–3016||to Burlington Northern Railroad 2200–2216|
|Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad||
||500–530||AAR type B trucks|
|Kansas City Southern Railway||
|Louisville and Nashville Railroad||
|New York Central Railroad||
||6115–6124||to Penn Central 2188-2197, to Conrail same numbers|
|New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad||
||900–909||to Norfolk and Western 2900-2909|
|Norfolk and Western Railway||
||522–565||High short hood, operated long hood-forward|
||2200–2251||to Penn Central 2200-2249, 2198, 2199; to Conrail same numbers|
|Phelps Dodge Corporation||
||24–32||New Cornelia Branch mine|
||5501–5520||renumbered 3600-3619; to Conrail 2168-2187|
|Seaboard Air Line Railroad||
||500–533||to Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 1309–1342|
|Soo Line Railroad||
||700–721||AAR type B trucks. Eighteen to Wisconsin Central Limited, same numbers|
|Southern Pacific Railroad||
||2525–2644||High short hood|
|St. Louis Southwestern Railway||
|Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway||
|Union Pacific Railroad||
Cabless booster 'B' units
|Union Pacific Railroad||40||700B–739B||Eight fitted with steam generators|
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.
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.
- Baltimore & Ohio #6944 is preserved at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
- Branson Scenic #99 currently in operation on the Branson Scenic Railway as the south end locomotive.
- Canadian Pacific #5000 (one of only two GP30s built in Canada) is preserved in its as-retired condition at the Alberta Railway Museum in Edmonton, Alberta.
- Conrail #2233, a former PRR engine, is at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. It is believed to be serviceable.
- Cotton Belt #5006 is preserved at the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
- Denver & Rio Grande Western #3011 is preserved at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado.
- New Hope & Ivyland #2198, another former Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive is currently running in daily service hauling tourist trains in New Hope, Pennsylvania
- Nickel Plate Road #900 is preserved at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.
- Nickel Plate Road #901 & Great Miami Railway #30 (ex-Nickel Plate 902) are preserved, and operating for the Cincinnati Railway Company, Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, and the Cincinnati Dinner Train.
- Norfolk & Western #522 is preserved in operating condition by the Roanoke Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.
- Reading #5513, the first production GP30, is preserved by the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Operational in the 1980s and 1990s, it is currently awaiting repair.
- Soo Line #700 is preserved at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, Minnesota, restored for use on their North Shore Scenic Railroad.
- Soo Line #703 is preserved at the Colfax Railroad Museum in Colfax, Wisconsin.
- Soo Line #719 still exists, but is in the process of slowly being scrapped on the Dakota Southern Railway in Chamberlain, South Dakota.
- Southern #2594 is preserved at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia and is operational. (currently leased to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum)
- Southern #2601 is preserved and operational at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina.
- Union Pacific #844, the engine that necessitated the renumbering of UP steam engine #844 to #8444 for a time, is preserved and in use at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City, Nevada, also known as the Nevada Southern Railway.
- Union Pacific #849 is in the collection of the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California and is operational.
- Western Maryland #501 & 502 (ex-Pennsylvania Railroad and ex-Reading Company respectively) are preserved with both in active service on the Western Maryland Scenic.
- Wisconsin Central #715 is preserved at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to EMD GP30 locomotives.|
- Moran, Miles (1975). "And Passenger Service Too". Railroad Modeler 5 (8): 40–47.
- Goodman, Eric. ATSF GP30u Project. Retrieved on February 1, 2005.
- Eck H. C. (1977). The Modern Locomotive Handbook. The Railway Fuel and Operating Officers Assoc.
- Hayden, Bob (Ed.) (1980). Model Railroader Cyclopedia-Volume 2: Diesel Locomotives. Kalmbach Books. ISBN 0-89024-547-9.
- "The History of EMD Diesel Engines". Pacific Southwest Railway Museum. Retrieved February 12, 2005.
- Komanesky, John. Preserved EMD Locomotives: All except Cab Units and Switchers. Retrieved on February 2, 2005.
- Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide. Kalmbach Publishing Co., Milwaukee, WI. ISBN 0-89024-026-4.
- Sarberenyi, Robert. EMD GP30 Original Owners. Retrieved on August 27, 2006
- Strack, Don. Union Pacific's EMD GP30s. Retrieved on February 2, 2005.
- Trainpix.com. BNSF Motive Power Roster. Retrieved on February 1, 2005.
- The Alberta Railway Museum website. . Retrieved on February 19, 2011.