Southern Pacific 1518

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Southern Pacific 1518
SP 1518 20050716 Illinois Railway Museum.JPG
1518 in operation at Illinois Railway Museum in 2005
Type and origin
Power type Diesel
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model SD7
Build date May 1951
 • AAR C-C
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 60 ft 8 in (18.49 m)
Width 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m)
Height 14 ft 1 in (4.29 m)
Prime mover 645CE
Engine type V16 diesel
Cylinders 16
Performance figures
Power output 1,500 hp (1,100 kW)
Operators Southern Pacific Railroad
Class DF-116
Numbers 1518
Delivered October 1952
Current owner Illinois Railway Museum
Disposition operates in excursion service

Southern Pacific Railroad's (SP) number 1518 is an EMD SD7 diesel locomotive. It was built originally in May 1951 as General Motors Electro-Motive Division's (EMD) Demonstrator #990. It was the first "SD" series locomotive ever built.[1] Its road number 990 is in reference to its EMD Engineering Department Project Number: 15990. It demonstrated on several roads before being sold to Southern Pacific on 10/10/52 and sent back to EMD for refurbishing and repainting in SP's tiger stripe paint and renumbering as #5308. It was classified in one-unit class DF-116 as it was slightly different from all the other SD7s. It entered service at Ogden, UT on 10/23/52 and was immediately sent to work on SP subsidiary Northwestern Pacific Railroad alongside SP's other SD7s.

As delivered, it had dual control stands, a winterization hatch over the forward fan and two single A-200 "blat" horns mounted on the roof of the long hood directly behind the cab. SP added a steam generator inside the short hood and a large "beer barrel" or "trash can" Mars signal light above the headlight on the front of the short hood. In the mid-1950s SP repainted it in the "black widow" paint scheme, then into the scarlet and grey scheme about 1959. Since it still had dual control stands, the painted feathers were applied to both ends. It was the only SD7 to have feathers at both ends denoting two control stands for bi-directional operation, similar to the San Francisco-San Jose, California commute GP9s.

In the early 1970s it was repainted without the rear feather, although it retained its dual control stands. SP renumbered the locomotive to #2715 in 1965, then to #1415 in 1/74 when the EMD MP15AC deliveries approached the 27xx numbers. In the late Sixties, the two A-200 horns were replaced by a Nathan P3 on the right side and a Nathan M5 on the left side. Also at some point during the late Sixties, the large Mars signal light was replaced with an end mounted Pyle National sealed-beam Gyralight.

The locomotive was rebuilt at the Sacramento General Shops as an SD7R in 1980 and renumbered to #1518, and was released for service on 2/5/80. In this rebuild, it lost its dual control stands, dual horns and winterization hatch.

It was the only SD7 to have a winterization hatch, a feature that was very rare on SP but not unknown - several SP F7 and the odd GP20 also had them.

Union Pacific Railroad took control of the SP in late 1996, and 1518 was retired on 5/5/97 and sent to the UP's roundhouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be preserved. Instead, Southern Pacific 1518 was donated in April 2003 to the Illinois Railway Museum where it currently resides in operable condition.


  1. ^ "IRM Roster - Southern Pacific 1518". Illinois Railway Museum. Retrieved 2008-06-27.