EMD SD40-2

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EMD SD40-2
MRL 250.jpg
Montana Rail Link XDM SD40-2 diesel locomotive 250 at Everett, Washington, United States, January 1994
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGM Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
General Motors Diesel (GMD)
Material y Construcciones S.A. (MACOSA)
Equipamentos Villares S.A. (EVSA)
Build dateJanuary 1972 – October 1989
Total produced4,175
 • UICCo′Co′
 • CommonwealthCo-Co
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), Brazil
1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in) metre gauge, Guinea and Brazil
Driver dia.40 in (1,016 mm)
Wheelbase43 ft 6 in (13.26 m) between bolsters; 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m) between axles in each truck
Length68 ft 10 in (20.98 m) over the coupler pulling faces
Width10 ft 3+18 in (3.13 m) over the grabirons
Height15 ft 7+18 in (4.75 m)
Loco weight368,000 lb
(167,000 kilograms)
or 184 short tons
(164 long tons; 167 t)
Fuel capacity3,200–4,000 US gal
(12,000–15,000 l; 2,700–3,300 imp gal)
Prime moverEMD 16-645E3
Engine typeV16 diesel engine
Performance figures
Maximum speed65 mph (105 km/h)
Power output3,000 hp (2,240 kW)
Tractive effortStarting: 115,000 lbf (52,163 kgf) @31.5%
Continuous: 82,100 lbf (37,240 kgf) @11 mph (18 km/h)
LocaleNorth America, Mexico, Brazil, Guinea

The EMD SD40-2 is a 3,000-horsepower (2,200 kW) C-C diesel-electric locomotive built by EMD from 1972 to 1989.

The SD40-2 was introduced in January 1972 as part of EMD's Dash 2 series, competing against the GE U30C and the ALCO Century 630. Although higher-horsepower locomotives were available, including EMD's own SD45-2, the reliability and versatility of the 3,000-horsepower (2,200 kW) SD40-2 made it one of the best-selling models in EMD's history, edged only by the GP9, and the standard of the industry for several decades after its introduction. The SD40-2 was an improvement over the SD40, with modular electronic control systems similar to those of the experimental DDA40X.

Peak production of the SD40-2 was in the mid-1970s. Sales of the SD40-2 began to diminish after 1981 due to the oil crisis, increased competition from GE's Dash-7 series and the introduction of the EMD SD50, which was available concurrently to late SD40-2 production. The last SD40-2 delivered to a United States railroad was built in July 1984, with production continuing for railroads in Canada until 1988, Mexico until February 1986, and Brazil until October 1989.

The SD40-2 has seen service in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Guinea. To suit export country specifications, General Motors designed the JT26CW-SS (British Rail Class 59) for Great Britain, the GT26CW-2 for Yugoslavia, South Korea, Iran, Morocco, Peru and Pakistan, while the GT26CU-2 went to Zimbabwe and Brazil. Various customizations led Algeria to receive their version of a SD40-2, known as GT26HCW-2.

Appearance and spotting features[edit]

Ohio Central Railroad System SD40-2 5855 showing extended rear deck
A CSXT SD40-2 waiting in Tunnel Hill, Georgia
A NS SD40-2 waiting at NS Elkhart Yard for its next job. This is an ex-Conrail unit which was manufactured with Flexicoil C trucks.
NS 3204, a former Southern Railway SD40-2 with a high nose

As the SD38, SD39, SD40, and SD45 shared a common frame, so too did the SD38-2, SD40-2, and SD45-2. It was 3 ft (0.91 m) longer than the previous models, giving a length of 68 ft 10 in (20.98 m) over the coupler pulling faces. The SD38-2 and SD40-2 shared the same basic superstructure, since they used the same 16-645 engine (in Roots-blown and turbocharged form respectively); the long hood was 18 inches (457 mm) longer than the SD38 and SD40, but since the increase in frame length was even greater, the SD38-2 and SD40-2 had even larger front and rear "porches" than the earlier models. These empty areas at front and rear are spotting features to identify the Dash 2 models of both units. The SD40-2 can be distinguished from the SD38-2 by its three roof-mounted radiator fans instead of two, and a single large exhaust stack instead of two smaller stacks.[1]

The increase in the frame length between the preceding 40 Series and the 40-2 Series six-axle locomotives was made to accommodate the new HT-C truck design, in which the traction motors all face the same direction, making the trucks longer. After a series of derailments involving Amtrak SDP40F units that were equipped with "hollow bolster" HT-C trucks, applied only to the SDP40F, Conrail ordered the SD40-2 units and several orders of SD50s with the older Flexicoil trucks, but the HT-C truck was vindicated and it ultimately went under most 40 Series, 50 Series and 60 Series six-axle locomotives, and this truck is still found under many remanufactured locomotives.[citation needed]

Some SD45 and SD45-2 units have been modified by replacing their 20-cylinder engine with the 16-cylinder removed from scrapped SD40-2 units; this was common on Union Pacific and possibly other railroads. In many cases these are identified by the owner as SD40-3, SD40M-2 or some such. Confusingly, what appears to be an SD45 is labeled as an SD40-2. Older SD40-2 units used in low-power modes such as yard switching or hump service have been de-turbocharged, resulting in the mechanical equivalent of a SD38-2. Units so modified may or may not be re-labeled.[citation needed]

There are several variations of the SD40-2 such as the SD40T-2s (Informally: T for tunnel motor; the actual EMD designation is "SD40-2 With Cooling System Modification", as stated on this model's EMD manuals) bought by the former Southern Pacific, and Denver and Rio Grande Western railroads; now operated by Union Pacific. The SD45 tunnel motor equivalent, the SD45T-2 model, was also utilized by Southern Pacific. Many tunnel motors were rebuilt and sold second-hand to a handful of American shortlines including, Bessemer and Lake Erie, Illinois Railway and Missouri and Northern Arkansas, as well as Canadian shortline Goderich-Exeter Railway. There is the SD40-2W (W for the 4-Window Safety Cab) bought and operated by the Canadian National railway. High-nosed versions of the SD40-2 were bought by Norfolk & Western, & Southern Railway. These units are now operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway (Resulting merger of N&W and Southern Railway). A narrow gauge version produced for Ferrovia Central Atlantico in Brazil is the BB40-2.[citation needed]

There are distinguishable differences between the EMD models and the Canadian GMD-built models. Most notable are the headlight configurations. The biggest giveaway is the rear light. GMD SD40-2s have a single beam, where EMD has twin-beam styled lights, usually placed next to each other. GMD models also have lights mounted on the nose, and EMD is above the cab between the numberboards. Some EMD variations have a nose headlight, although the headlight style and placement usually is not the same as seen on the GMDs. Other features on the GMD models include the bell mounted above the cab between the numbers, triple-style classification lights above the numbers (since trains don't use classlights anymore, many locomotives have had them removed), and no numberboards on the back.[citation needed]

Three cabless SD40-2Bs were also rebuilt from standard SD40-2s by the Burlington Northern Railroad in the early 1980s. The units had been in collisions and BN decided that it was more economical to rebuild them without cabs. Canadian Pacific also owns a few SD40-2Bs. These were created by welding metal plates over the cab windows of many of its ex-Norfolk Southern and some of its original SD40-2s.[citation needed]

Additional specifications[edit]

Main generator: AR10 alternator
Traction motors: 6 × D77/78 DC
Standard gearing: 62:15
Maximum speed with 62:15 gearing: 65 mph (105 km/h)
Continuous TE with 62:15 gearing: 83100 lb

Original owners[edit]

American SD40-2 orders
Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 187 5020-5192, 5200-5213 Most now in service with BNSF Railway however BNSF 6351 (Ex ATSF 5036) wrecked 2004 near Gunter, Texas and scrapped.
Burlington Northern Railroad 835 6325–6334, 6348–6373, 6376–6385, 6700–6836, 6840–6847, 6850–6851, 6900–6928, 6950, 7000–7291, 7800–7940, 8000–8181 Most now in service with BNSF Railway. 7167-7205, 7206-7235, & 8074-8089 were the only SD40-2s built by General Motors Diesel as exports to the United States, when EMD LaGrange IL plant was overloaded with orders. EMD sent the three orders to GMD London, Ontario. Burlington Northern 7149 and 7890 were LNG test units modified by energy conversions
Burlington Northern Railroad (Colorado and Southern Railway) 27 900-925 980-996 All of them went to BN, renumbered 6348-6373 6850-6950
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 20 7600–7619 Now in service with CSX Transportation
Chicago and North Western Railway 135 6801–6935 Most now in service with Union Pacific Railroad, 6847 donated and restored at the Illinois Railway Museum.
Conrail 167 6358–6524 Equipped with flexicoil trucks. Now renumbered and in service with CSX, Norfolk Southern, or leasing firms
Clinchfield Railroad 5 8127–8129, 8131–8132 Family Lines Paint, to Seaboard System, now in service with CSX Transportation
Illinois Central Gulf Railroad 4 6030-6033 6031 was converted into 6200, 6033 was destroyed in a collision in Flora, Mississippi on February 6, 1994
Kansas City Southern Railway 46 637-692 637 was the very first SD40-2 constructed in January 1972.
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 191 1259–1278, 3554–3612, 8000–8039, 8067–8086, 8095–8126, 8133–8162 8000s units delivered in Family Lines paint; all to Seaboard System, now in service with CSX Transportation.
Milwaukee Road 90 21–30, 171–209, 3000–3040 Now in service among several various railroads. 124 were exported to Guinea.
Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad 37 600–636 Most now in service with Union Pacific Railroad. Order based on Burlington Northern specifications for Pooling Service.
Missouri Pacific Railroad 306 790–838, 3139–3321, 6020–6073 Most now in service with Union Pacific Railroad. 790–838 & 3139–3321 lack dynamic brakes. 6020–6073 were based on Burlington Northern specifications for Pooling Services. Considered the heaviest SD40-2s ever built.
Oneida and Western Railroad 8 9950–9957 Not an actual railroad - purchased on Louisville & Nashville specifications. Later became BC Rail 743-750, 749 is now GECX 749
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 10 4790–4799 Later became Illinois Central Gulf 6040-6049. Six are in service with Wisconsin and Southern Railroad
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 36 8040–8066, 8087–8094, 8130 Delivered in Family Lines Paint, to Seaboard System, now in service with CSX Transportation
St. Louis–San Francisco Railway 8 950–957 Merged in Burlington Northern in 1980, numbered BN 6840-6847, same numbers in BNSF. Now in service with the BNSF Railway
Soo Line Railroad 57 757–789, 6600–6623 Most now in service with the Canadian Pacific Railway. 6623 is the last SD40-2 built in the United States.
Southern Railway 128 3201–3328 Some sold to Canadian Pacific Railway. All other units rebuilt with low short hood; now in service with Norfolk Southern Railway.
Union Pacific Railroad 686 3123–3239, 3243–3304, 3335–3399, 3410–3583, 3609–3808, 8000–8002, 8035–8099 Several have been renumbered and others retired to leasers. 3200–3410 delivered with snoot noses. 3105 donated to RailGiants Train Museum along with a boxcar and a bay-window caboose and now sits on UP 4014's former spot.
Southern Pacific Railroad 229 8230–8299, 8300–8329, 8327–8341, 8350–8371, 8377–8391, 8489–8573 Model EMD SD40T-2. To Union Pacific, retired. 8278 was destroyed and scrapped in the San Bernardino train disaster.
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad 73 5341–5413 Model EMD SD40T-2. To Union Pacific, retired. 5371 Preserved at the Utah State Railway Museum at Ogden Utah. 5401(UP 9871) is preserved at the Colorado Railroad museum.
St. Louis Southwestern Railway 10 8322–8326, 8372–8376 Model EMD SD40T-2
Canadian SD40-2 orders
Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Algoma Central Railway 6 183–188 Units became WC 6000-6006 after the Wisconsin Central took over the Algoma Central. Now in service with Canadian National Railway.
British Columbia Railway 17 751–767 Purchased after complications arose from safety concerns on a recent order of MLW M630Ws. 767 is the last SD40-2 built in Canada in July 1985.
Canadian Pacific Railway 486 5500-5560, 5565-5879, 5900-6069 9000-9024 Units 9000-9024 are GMD SD40-2F.
Canadian National Railway 123 5241–5363 These units had the Canadian Safety Cab with 4 windows and were classified as SD40-2W
Ontario Northland Railway 8 1730–1737 These are the only SD40-2s built by GMD London without dynamic brakes.
Quebec, North Shore and Labrador Railway 44 221–264 Four engines now serve the short-line Wellsboro & Corning Railroad in northern Pennsylvania, hauling sand cars to support Marcellus shale hydraulic fracturing in the region.
Export SD40-2 orders
Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Chemin de Fer Boké (Guinea) 3 107–109 Meter gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in)
Estrada de Ferro Carajás (Brazil) 29 401–429 Constructed by Equipamentos Villares S.A. (EVSA) and built to Irish Gauge (1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)) specifications. 429 is the very last SD40-2 constructed in October 1989.
Ferrocarriles Unidos del Sureste (Mexico) 4 601–604 The only SD40-2s in México without dynamic brakes.
NdeM (Mexico) 103 8700–8798, 13001–13004 13004 is the last SD40-2 built for México in February 1986.
RFFSA (Brazil) 36 3711–3747 The only SD40-2s constructed in Europe for a Brazilian customer in Irish Gauge (1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)) by Material y Construcciones S.A. (MACOSA).
Mauritania Railway 21 CC101–CC121 SDL40-2 variant for operating in high temperatures.



A variant of the SD40-2 was created for several western railroads for extended periods in tunnels and snow sheds. Originally purchased by Southern Pacific and Rio Grande railroads, these were transferred to the Union Pacific Railroad in 1996. They have since found their way into the used locomotive market and many have been sold to regional railroads around the U.S.

British Rail Class 59[edit]

Another variant of the SD40-2 was created for Foster Yeoman, a British quarrying and aggregates company, which features a unique body design specifically for the European railway markets. Designated as Class 59 the initial production batch of four locomotives entered service in 1986.


Canadian National SD40-2W 5321

The GMD SD40-2(W) is a Canadian-market version of the SD40-2 diesel-electric locomotive, built for the Canadian National Railway by the Diesel Division of General Motors of Canada Ltd. (formerly General Motors Diesel) of London, Ontario; 123 were constructed between May 1975 and December 1980.[citation needed]


The EMD SD40-2F was a locomotive operated by Canadian Pacific Railway. It is essentially an SD40-2 with a full cowl hood. CP was the only buyer, buying 25 units, numbered 9000-9024. Most have been scrapped, but 10 were sold to the Central Maine and Quebec Railway. When CP acquired CMQ in 2020, the 10 SD40-2Fs became CP’s once again.


A number of SD40-2s have been rebuilt into other models. Some of the most unusual are the metre gauge BB40-2s for use in Brazil.[citation needed]

Conversely, several other models of EMD locomotive have sometimes been rebuilt to SD40-2 standards, including the SD40, SD45 and SD45-2. Normally, this consists of electrical upgrades (-2) and replacing the 20-cylinder prime mover with a 16-cylinder version, often built for GE Capital in Poland using EMD's manufacturing drawings and specifications. An outgrowth of this may be GE Transportation's second-sourcing of EMD repair parts.[citation needed]

The unusually troublesome SD50 have also been rebuilt into the equivalent of SD40-2s, rather than scrapping them. The 645F block and crankshaft are inherently good designs (indeed, the lessons learned with the 645F became part of the 710G); lowering the rating from 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) at 950 rpm to 3,000 horsepower (2,200 kW) at 900 rpm solved the mechanical and electrical reliability issues.[citation needed]


The Dash 3 suffix is not part of any official lineup, and is a loose designation for rebuilt Dash 2 series EMDs. One example of an SD40-3 rebuild program is the one conducted by CSX. It started in 2010 with 10 units upgraded and numbered 4000-4009; in 2011, 20 units went through the program and were numbered 4010-4029 and in 2012 another 20 units followed and were numbered 4030-4049. CSXT 4040-4049 are painted in the new CSX "RAILCAR LOGO" paint scheme. CSX plans to rebuild 300 locomotives (CSXT 4000-4399). The plan has been to have the new units serve an additional 30 years and cost far less than brand new locomotives. The new cabs can withstand crashes better, have new heating and air-conditioning systems, a new control stand, including visual displays, a modern WABCO braking controller, and modernized starting systems. The engine retains the original 3,000 horsepower (2,240 kW) rating, with rated tractive power increased to 130,000 lb (58,970 kg) from the former 86,000 lb (39,010 kg) rating.[2]


The SD22ECO is an EMD SD40-2 or similar, repowered with an EMD 8-710-ECO engine. The resulting locomotive is rated at 2,150 horsepower (1,600 kW), and meets EPA Tier II emissions regulations.[3]


The SD30C-ECO is an EMD SD40-2 re-powered with an EMD 12-710 prime mover. The locomotive is rated at 3,000 horsepower (2,200 kW) and meets EPA Tier 0 emissions regulations.[4]


Union Pacific donated SD40-2 9950 to Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow, California in 2004. 9950 was built in 1980 for the Missouri Pacific as their 3320.[citation needed]

In June 2009, Union Pacific had donated 3028 (former Chicago & North Western 6847) to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. The unit still wears its original factory paint from when it was built for the CNW in March, 1974. CNW 6847 was patched by UP in February, 2003, to UP 3028, and retired in December, 2008.[5] The locomotive has since had its UP patches removed, and CNW herald and numbers restored.[citation needed]

In 2014, Union Pacific traded SD40-2C 3105 and other equipment to the RailGiants Train Museum at Fairplex in Pomona, California for 4-8-8-4 Union Pacific 4014 "Big Boy", which UP restored to operational status in 2019. Locomotive 3105 was originally built in 1979 as Missouri Pacific 6027, and one of the few that the Missouri Pacific ordered with dynamic braking.[6] This is the only operational locomotive in the museum.

In the Fall of 2018, Canadian Pacific donated SD40-2 5903 to the Canadian Railway Museum in Delson, Quebec, making it the first SD40-2 to be preserved in Canada.[citation needed]

In June 2020, Norfolk Southern donated SD40-2 6162 to the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. 6162 was originally built for the Norfolk and Western in 1978 as N&W 6162.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gerald L. Foster (1996). A Field Guide to Trains of North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 56–57. ISBN 0-395-70112-0.
  2. ^ Ross, Jim (2015-09-26). "New power from old: CSX locomotive rebuild program preserves jobs in Huntington, WV". The State Journal. Archived from the original on 2015-08-30. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  3. ^ "ProgressRail | Progress Rail, A Caterpillar Company".
  4. ^ "Canadian Pacific orders additional SD30C-ECOs". Trains. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015. (subscription required)
  5. ^ "IRM acquires an EMD SD40-2". Illinois Railway Museum. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
  6. ^ "After 52 Years, No. 4014 Poised to Return to Rails". Union Pacific. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  7. ^ "Kentucky Steam Acquires Norfolk Southern SD40-2 Locomotive". Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. 18 June 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.

External links[edit]

External image
image icon RailPictures.Net – EMD SD40-2 photographs at RailPictures.Net.