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SP 8238 CA Caliente.jpg
SP 8238, eastbound at Caliente, California, in the late 1980s
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGeneral Motors Electro-Motive Division
Build dateJune 1974 – July 1980
Total produced312
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length70 ft 8 in (21.54 m)
Width10 ft 3 in (3.12 m)
Height15 ft 7.5 in (4.763 metres)
Loco weight368,000 lb (167,000 kg)
Fuel capacity4,400 US gal (16,700 l; 3,660 imp gal)
Prime moverEMD 645E3
Engine typeV16 diesel
Performance figures
Power output3,000 hp (2,240 kW)
Tractive effort409 kN (92,000 lbf) (starting)
365 kN (82,000 lbf) (continuous)
OperatorsSouthern Pacific (and Cotton Belt), Rio Grande, Union Pacific
Nicknames"tunnel motors"
Localewestern United States
Dispositionmost still in service as of 2010

An SD40T-2 is a 6-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division having a 16-cylinder EMD 645E3 diesel engine producing 3,000 horsepower (2,240 kW). 312 SD40T-2s were built for North American railroads between April 1974 and July 1980. This locomotive and the SD45T-2 are popularly called tunnel motors, but EMD's term is SD40-2 with "cooling system modifications" because they were designed for better engine cooling in mountainous areas.[1] The difference between this locomotive and its non-tunnel motor cousin, the SD40-2, are the radiator intakes and radiator fan grills located at the rear of the locomotive.

EMD SD45T-2 vs SD40T-2 radiator fan motor access doors

This locomotive model was purchased by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, the Southern Pacific Railroad, and its subsidiary Cotton Belt. Southern Pacific's version has a 4,400-US-gallon (16,700 L; 3,660 imp gal) fuel tank and is 70 feet 8 inches (21.54 m) long. Rio Grande's version has a smaller 4,000-US-gallon (15,100 l; 3,330 imp gal) fuel tank.

In 2005, most of these units were owned by Union Pacific or leasing companies. By 2008, none were left in service on UP with SP or DRGW reporting marks.[2] DRGW 5371 was the last one, retired in March 2008, and now resides at the Utah State Railroad Museum in Ogden Utah. Another SD40T-2 is preserved at the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad in Boone, Iowa, and in late 2017, it was announced that another Rio Grande SD40T-2 was going to be donated to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado. On August 22, 2018, UP 9871 (formerly D&RGW 5401) was moved to the museum grounds, and was since “unpatched”, painted to resemble its original appearance from 1980, which included painting the number back to 5401. Three former Rio Grande units, 5391, 5413,and 5411, are still active on the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad out of Brewster, Ohio.[3]

Original purchasers[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad 73 5341-5413 All with 81 in. or 88 in. short noses.
St. Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 10 8322-8326, 8372-8376 "snoot noses"
Southern Pacific Railroad 229 8230-8299, 8300-8321, 8327-8341 8350-8371, 8377-8391, 8489-8573 8300 series featured extended "snoot" noses for radio control equipment. 8278 was damaged beyond repair at Cajon Pass and sold for parts, then scrapped.

Other owners[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Alabama & Tennessee River 3 2832, 2842, & 5387 2832 & 2842 still in UP yellow. 5387 still in "Bloody nose" paint lost speed lettering as of 5-10-11
America Latina Logistica
Fort Worth and Western Railroad 3 2015-2017, 3252
Buffalo & Pittsburgh 2 3301 & 3302 Both still in KCS Grey
Everywhere West Leasing Co. 1 8702 currently in EWG colors.
Ferrovia Centro Atlântico (Brazil) Rebuilt as 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in) metre gauge BB40T-2s
Indiana & Ohio 3 IORY 4070, 4071, and 4072 All wear RailAmerica red and gray
Kansas City Southern Rebuilt as SD40-3s
MNA (Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad)
New York, Susquehanna & Western 4 3010, 3014,

(3012 and 3016 have been rebuilt into SD33ECO's)

All units wear Susquehanna "Yellow Jacket" paint. 3014 has "snoot" nose, all others have 88 in (2.24 m) noses.
OHCR 3 4025-4027 OHCR 4025 sold to Chicago Fort Wane Eastern Railroad, 4026 sold to New England Central Railroad, 4027 remains on the roster
R.J. Corman 9 5353, 5361, 5372, 5409, 8307, 8336, 8569, 8718, 8861
Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA) 3001,3005
Tri-City Railroad (TCRY) 1 37
Wheeling & Lake Erie 2 5391, 5413, 8795 WE 5391 and 5413 are still in D&RGW paint, WE 5411 wears UP colors, Ex-Squaw Creek[3]
Independent Locomotive Service (ILSX) 1 1343 Former UP 2906, UP 4429, & SP 8371
Comparison between an EMD SD40T-2 (left) and SD40-2 (right)


  1. ^ Guss, Chris (January 1, 2018). "Tunnel (motors) from the past | Trains Magazine". TrainsMag.com. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  2. ^ "Tunnel Motors, SD45T-2/SD40T-2". American-Rails.com. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  3. ^ a b "Current Locomotives of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Roster Page". www.nsdash9.com. Retrieved 2021-09-29.

External links[edit]