Southern Pacific 9010

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Southern Pacific 9010
Southern Pacific 9010.jpg
Type and origin
Power type Diesel
Builder Krauss-Maffei
Serial number 19106
Model ML-4000
Build date 1964
Rebuild date 1968-69 (as camera car)
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Operators Southern Pacific Railroad
Numbers 9010, renum 9113 in 1965, SPMW 1166 in 1968, 8799 in 1969
Locale Roseville, California, then flat territories, California
Retired 1968 (as a locomotive), 1984 (as a "Camera Car")
Current owner Pacific Locomotive Association
Disposition Under cosmetic & mechanical restoration

Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) locomotive number 9010 is a KM ML 4000 C'C' diesel-hydraulic locomotive, built in 1964 by German manufacturer Krauss-Maffei. SP 9010 generated 4,000 horsepower (3,000 kW) from two 2,000 horsepower (1,500 kW) V16 Maybach MD870 diesel engines. It was painted to Southern Pacific's 1958 standard, the so-called "bloody nose" colors of Scarlet and Lark Dark Gray,[1] for its entire operating career. It was renumbered to SP 9113 in late 1965, rebuilt extensively at SP's Sacramento General Shops (later Sacramento Locomotive Works) during the latter half of 1966, and was initially retired in 1968. It was revived and rebuilt by Sacramento General Shops into a "camera car" for the purpose of shooting motion picture background plates for a ground-based full-motion locomotive training simulator. As camera car number 8799, it was retired in 1984 and donated to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California. It was de-accessioned by CSRM and acquired by the Pacific Locomotive Association and moved to the Niles Canyon Railway's Brightside, California rail yard in the summer of 2008. It is currently undergoing cosmetic and mechanical restoration. At the date of its inception, its type represented the highest-horsepower six-axle diesel locomotives in the world. SP 9010 is the sole surviving ML 4000 C'C' built for use in North America, and the sole surviving mainline diesel-hydraulic locomotive in North America. (Several diesel-hydraulic switchers exist in service and in museums).

Operational history[edit]

SP 9010 was delivered as part of the second order of ML 4000 C'C' units in the Spring of 1964, road numbers 9003-9017. (ML: Mechanical Locomotive; 4000: net horsepower; C'C': two powered bogies/trucks with three connected axles each.) The first order of six locomotives—three for SP and three for the Denver and Rio Grande Western) -- were called "Prototypes" by KM, but were popularly known in the U.S. as "cab units" due to their fully enclosed car bodies, similar to the EMD F-unit. SP 9010 was a member of the second production order of fifteen locomotives. These were called "Series" units by KM, but were popular known as "hood units" after the more modern narrow-hood carbody with external walkways. SP's stated motives for ordering the German-manufactured locomotives were a desire for more power per axle, better adhesion to the rails, freedom from electrical malfunctions, and fewer locomotives in 'consist' than the available American diesel-electric locomotives of the time. SP owned a total of 21 ML 4000 C'C' locomotives, and a total of 24 of the diesel-hydraulic type. ML 4000s were originally used in freight service on SP's famous Donner Pass line over California's Sierra Nevada, as they were originally intended to replace the EMD F7, and had a special track set up at the Roseville locomotive shops specifically for servicing the locomotives, with German mechanics and supervisors from K-M taking U.S. residence. However, the locomotives were found unsuitable in mountain service after extensive testing and relegated to service in the flat territory of the San Joaquin Valley, often running in tandem with EMD F7s or EMD GP9s.

Retirement as a locomotive[edit]

The ML 4000s and diesel-hydraulic locomotives in general began to be phased out in the late 1960s, as American locomotive technology progressed and more power with better adhesion control was able to be generated by single-engine diesel-electric locomotives. Maintenance requirements had exceeded the average levels of comparable domestic locomotives, and a planned upgrading of the entire KM "Series" fleet was halted after only four of the 15 were so modified. ML 4000s began retirement in 1967, coincident with the arrival of high-horsepower American-made EMD SD40s, SD45s, and GE U33Cs. SP announced the end of its diesel-hydraulic program on February 13, 1968, and from that date forward, any wear or damage requiring major repair or overhaul would result in the retirement of that unit.

SP 9113 was sidelined on September 18, 1968 with damage to the number 9 cylinder of the forward Maybach V-16 and was officially retired November 22, 1968.[2] Scrapping of the Krauss-Maffei fleet took place at Associated Metals in Sacramento, California, with the exception of SP 9113.

Camera car[edit]

SP 9113 (ex-9010) was converted into a "Camera Car" between 1968 and 1969 at the Sacramento General Shops. Its purpose was to record picture and audio to create the background motion plates and sound effects for a computerized locomotive simulator for engineer training, developed by Conductron-Missouri, a subsidiary of McDonnell-Douglas. This pioneering six-axis-of-motion locomotive simulator was housed in a fixed-base operation in Southern California. Called the "Southern Pacific Engine Service Training Center", it was located in Cerritos, California.

SP 9113 when being rebuilt carried the unofficial identity 'SPMW #1'. The railroad's traffic computer required 4 digits, and so it emerged from the shop bearing a small SPMW 1166 stencil. In June 1969 it was renumbered to SP 8799, in standard Southern Pacific locomotive lettering configuration. The most drastic change in appearance was the locomotive's short hood (or "nose"), which had been removed. In its place, a custom structure was fabricated to house twin Mitchell 35-millimeter film cameras and Nagra III timecode magnetic recording equipment, with stand-up headroom and two seats salvaged from another KM for operators. Heavy, thick steel was used for collision protection and to replace lost weight. The front Voith L830rU transmission was removed to create space for the camera enclosure, while the Number 1 radiator compartment was emptied of radiators and ancillary equipment to house an Onan skid-mount generator to power the camera equipment. The two engines and rear transmission were simply disabled, principally being retained for weight. All gearboxes and Cardan (universal) shafts were removed; gears were left in place on the six axles. All of the controls remained in the cab so that it could control a locomotive pushing behind it, much like a cab car is used on a commuter train. The camera car could be put on the lead of any train, but it primarily operated as special trips with just one locomotive behind it for power. Known locomotives used for power are a single EMD F7 B-unit, an EMD GP-9, an EMD GP35, and a Cotton Belt (St. Louis Southwestern) SD45T-2.[citation needed]

Initially reassigned to Roseville, California and making filming runs over portions of SP's Donner Pass line, it was relocated in the 1970s to what became its permanent home at West Colton Yard in Southern California.[citation needed]

Retirement as a camera car and restoration as a locomotive[edit]

The camera car was retired in 1984 and donated to the California State Railroad Museum in 1986. Initially, volunteers removed the camera "nose" and opened up the highly modified cab windows to 1964 profiles, with the goal of restoration to original appearance. However, that restoration was halted, and the engine sat in outdoor storage exposed to weather and vandals, with much of the copper wiring and a good portion of the Behr radiator assemblies being stolen. It was de-accessioned by CSRM and donated to the Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA) in 2008, along with several pieces of rolling stock. They were moved by the Union Pacific Railroad in the summer of 2008 from Sacramento to their interchange with Niles Canyon Railway at Hearst, California. The Niles Canyon Railway then transferred SP 9010 to its Brightside Yard. Restoration by volunteers of the PLA started in 2008, with much of the cosmetic restoration nearly completed in 2012.[3]

The restoration process includes the building of a replica of the locomotive's original nose, and returning the locomotive to its original 1964 appearance with its original road number, 9010. It will retain its cab controls so that it can be pushed by a locomotive providing power from behind. All gearing was removed during the Camera Car conversion, and mechanical attention is primarily focused on the restoration of systems necessary for multiple-unit operation. Investigation continues into the mechanical integrity of the Number 2 Maybach MD870, which appears in good condition but lacks a Cardan shaft connection to the Brown Boveri/BBC Dynastarter.[4] Many mechanical sub-systems are being repaired or restored, and parts are currently being sought, with the intent to facilitate the resumption of self-powered operation at a future date.

On February 14th, 2017, the Number 2 Maybach MD870 started up for the first time in nearly 50 years.[5]


  1. ^ Cauthen, Jeffrey (2013). Southern Pacific Painting and Lettering Guide. Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society. 
  2. ^ Strapac, Joseph (1969). Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual 1968-1969. Burlingame, CA: Chatham Publishing Company. p. 10. 
  3. ^ "Southern Pacific 9010 Restoration Progress". Niles Canyon Railway. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Krauss Maffei SP 9010 Frequently Asked Questions". Niles Canyon Railway. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Facebook, Southern Pacific 9010. "You know that day? The one we've all been waiting for?". Southern Pacific 9010 - Facebook. Pacific Locomotive Association. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 

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