||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (October 2011)|
U50 #50 on an eastbound freight at Laramie, Wyoming.
|Build date||1963 - 65|
|AAR wheel arr.||B+B-B+B|
|Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Length||83 ft 6.5 in (25.46 m)|
|Prime mover||Dual GE FDL-16|
|Power output||5,000 hp (3,700 kW)|
|Operator(s)||Union Pacific Railroad
Southern Pacific Railroad
The U50 rode on four two-axle trucks, grouped in pairs linked by span bolsters, giving a wheel arrangement of B+B-B+B. The trucks and bolsters were re-used from scrapped UP turbine locomotives built by GE during the 1950s. The U50 was built in response to the Union Pacific Railroad's requirement, issued in the early 1960s, for a 15,000 hp (11,200 kW) 3-unit locomotive intended to replace the turbines. The design was effectively two U25B locomotives on a single frame; each diesel engine and generator powered only the two trucks at the same end. Three were delivered to the UP in October 1963, and three to the Southern Pacific Railroad in May and June 1964. Other locomotives built to this requirement were the EMD DD35 and the ALCO Century 855.
The Southern Pacific kept the three but did not order any more. They were kept on the roster until the late 1970s, but were often sidelined. SP's units gained the nickname "Baby Hueys" from the cartoon character of the same name. Original numbers were #8500-8502; they were later renumbered #9950-9952. Southern Pacific's three units differed from the Union Pacific U50s by having a cab door and headlights in the hood beneath the front windows.
The Union Pacific was more satisfied with their three, and ordered 20 more. A batch of 12 were delivered between July and September 1964, while a final eight were built May through August 1965. They were numbered #31-53.
Most were withdrawn from service in 1973 and 1974 and traded-in to GE for more modern high-powered units, although Southern Pacific's three survived in service until 1977.
The U50 is sometimes inaccurately referred to as the U50D, a back-formation from the U50C name given to the six-axle units. The name is incorrect and was never used by the manufacturer or the railroad. The U50 did not ride on D trucks in any case. It is also sometimes referred to as the U50B, but this is incorrect as well. Some[who?] references erroneously give the wheel arrangement as B-B+B-B.
- My Espee Modelers Archive U50 Information Page
- The Great Book of Trains by Brian Hollingsworth, Salamander Books Ltd. (UK) 2003 p.323
- Komanesky, John et al. General Electric U50 Roster. Retrieved January 14, 2005.
- Percy, Richard A. Southern Pacific U50. Retrieved January 14, 2005.
- Strack, Don. A History of Union Pacific Dieselization, 1934-1982, Part 4. Retrieved January 14, 2005.
- Strack, Don. UP Diesel Roster, Classic Index Page. Retrieved January 14, 2005.
- Strack, Don. Union Pacific GE Dash 8 Locomotives. Retrieved January 14, 2005. Mentions earlier UP GE purchases also.
- Union Pacific Railroad Locomotive Department (1979). Locomotive Diagram Book. Union Pacific Railroad Company.