Along with the other variations of the F40PH and a few other passenger locomotives, the EMD F40PH-3C is known as a "Cowl Unit". Despite being an older locomotive than the F59PHI (below), the F40PH-3C makes a great locomotive for pulling passenger trains, as the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) unit above shows. Several passenger/commuter railroads have at least two of these locomotives in their fleet (with the exception of Amtrak California, who uses the F59PHIs). Railroads that operate this locomotive include ACE, Coaster, Florida Tri-Rail, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), and VIA RailCanada. Other companies such as Metrolink, Caltrain, Metra, Music City Star, and the Virginia Railway Express use other F40PH variations, including the F40PH itself! Here's how to identify an F40PH-3C:
1. Very blunt-shaped nose - almost like a GE locomotive.
2. Two-axle switcher-like trucks of EMD's "GP" locomotives.
3. Horn set is clearly visible on top of the cab.
4. Three air tanks positioned underneath the locomotive in front of the fuel tanks.
There is no mistaking the look of the EMD F59PHI. It has a one-of-a-kind look that makes it instantly recognizable from any other modern diesel locomotive. Amtrak owns many F59PHIs as short distance road locomotives, despite the fact that they have 2 axle trucks like switchers. This is the most common of Amtrak's locomotives. It can be seen on the company's "Amtrak California" Capital Corridor and San Joaquin trains, as well as the Pacific Surfliner, the "Cascades" trains (seen in the Pacific Northwest), and the "Sounder" trains. The F59PHI in the picture, #2011, is pulling one of Amtrak California's Capital Corridor trains. You can easily identify an F59PHI by:
1. Very little nose - like on GE's P42DC.
2. Unusual shape of the headlights.
3. Just the overall, rather boxy-looking, shape of the locomotive!
The EMD GP7 is a historic locomotive, rarely seen serving the Class 1 railroads. Back in the old days, when railroads like Western Pacific and Southern Pacific still existed, the GP7 was an extremely common sighting. Now, most (if not all) GP7 units are operated by small tourist railroads or a few select shortline railroads. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the only known GP7 is currently operated by the Niles Canyon Railway in Sunol. This unit is Western Pacific #713. Here's how to identify a GP7:
1. High short hood - some GP7s, however, were later modified to have low short hoods.
2. 2-axle switcher-like trucks.
3. Small fuel tanks with small vent-like detail on top.
The EMD GP15-1 is a multipurpose locomotive used primarily in the switching yards as a yard switcher...but it can also be a light road switcher or road locomotive. GP15-1s owned by UP are the easiest to recognize. Their primary spotting features are:
1. Flashing lights on top of the cab - at least on the UP versions.
2. The low placed radiator section at the rear is smaller than on the larger "Tunnel Motor" road locomotives - however, the GP15-1 is not a "Tunnel Motor".
Helpful Hint: The initials UPY are written on the side of the cab of all UP owned GP15-1s - UPY stands for "Union Pacific Yard", indicating that this locomotive is mostly a yard switcher.
Like the F59PHI (above), the EMD GP30 is another locomotive that is extremely easy to recognize. 948 examples were built for railroads in the United States, including 40 cab-less B units for the Union Pacific Railroad. Also like the F59PHI, the GP30 is a road locomotive, despite having the 2 axle trucks of a switcher. Like many other locomotives, the GP30 was built in a couple of different versions. Santa Fe unit #2471 in the picture is an example of a GP30u. This locomotive is similar to the GP40-2, except:
1. Traditional nose - low short hood.
2. The shape of the roof and the cab - no other locomotive has this look.
3. 2 axle trucks.
4. Very distinctive fuel tanks.
Like the UPY GP15-1, the GP38-2 is also quite a common multipurpose locomotive under the UP name. However, the GP15-1 is primarily a yard switcher, whereas the GP38-2 is more commonly seen as a road switcher. Its powerful engine allows it to pull large fully loaded freight trains onto the main line to get a final check before they set off. Like the UPY GP15-1, the GP38-2 also has its own distinguishable features:
1. Traditional nose.
2. Two rear-mounted exhaust stacks - the GP15-1 has smaller stacks positioned in the middle.
3. No lower placed air intake like on the GP15-1.
4. Overall, a more "clean" appearance than the GP15-1.
Note: The initials "UPY" are not written on the sides of the cab of UP's GP38-2s.
The EMD GP39-3 is another 2-axle multipurpose locomotive that is similar to the GP38-2 in appearance. GP39-3s were upgraded GP39s built between 1974 and 1984. However, they were based more on the design of the older GP35u. 239 examples of the GP39-3 were built for American railroads including BNSF (as shown above). Because of their GP38-2 appearance, GP39-3s may be a bit harder to recognize, but heres how to identify them:
1. The cooling fans on top of the rear section are farther apart than on the GP38-2.
2. Headlights on the nose instead of the cab - traditional nose
3. No air tanks above the fuel tanks - small fuel tanks.
The GP40-2 is another multipurpose locomotive similar to the GP38-2 (above). Commonly seen under the UP name as well as CSX, the GP40-2 is primarily a road switcher. However, it also serves as a light road locomotive. Standard GP40-2 production totaled 861 units, with 817 built for U.S. railroads, making the GP40-2 quite an easy locomotive to come across. Despite being a sales success, fewer GP40-2s were sold than the earlier GP40, the GP38-2, and the SD40-2. In all, total production of the GP40-2 and its variations totaled 1,143 units! A large number of GP40-2s are still in service today. They are easily recognized by:
1. Traditional nose.
2. Three radiator fans at the rear and a single fan in the middle.
3. Air intakes - positioned directly underneath the three radiator fans.
4. "Clean" lines of other EMD locomotives - similar to those of the GP38-2.
The EMD GP60 is another multipurpose locomotive. Built on the same chassis as the older GP59, the GP60 however, was the first of EMD's diesels to be classified as a third-generation locomotive. Cabless units of this locomotive, known as GP60Bs, were also built by EMD and purchased exclusively by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Units built with a modern wide cab and a wide nose were designated GP60Ms and all purchased by the Santa Fe. A total of 294 GP60, 23 GP60B and 63 GP60M units were built by EMD. The GP60 is a really easy locomotive to identify.
1. Traditional Nose.
2. Slightly smaller fuel tanks.
3. 2-axle trucks.
4. 3 radiator fans - like on the SD70M and SD70MAC.
5. Different look of the middle section and the cab.
The EMD GP60M is probably the easiest "GP", or "Geep", locomotive to recognize, yet is also one of the most exclusive. It is a variation of the GP60 (shown above). What makes these locomotives exclusive, however, is that the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railway (ATSF), the former BNSF, was the only railroad to purchase a fleet of GP60Ms, as the picture above suggests. GP60Ms are simply GP60s with modern EMD wide-cabs (like those on the SD70M, SD70MAC, and most other modern EMD locomotives). A total of 63 GP60Ms were purchased by ATSF, rendering them rare. Here's how to identify a GP60M.
1. Detail of the locomotive's middle section - similar to a GP60.
2. 2-axle trucks of EMD's other "GP" series locomotives
3. Modern Wide-Cab of most other modern EMD locomotives (the SD70M and SD70MAC for example).
4. Headlights mounted on the nose instead of on top of the cab.
In the world of railroading, EMD SD9s (along with SD7s) are legendary. They were built between 1954 and 1959 and became extremely popular with many railroads both in and out of the US. Southern Pacific, Chicago & Northwestern, Denver & Rio Grande Western, and the Great Northern railroad were all original owners of the SD9. Today, most SD9s can be seen in museums or serving on tourist railroads such as SP 5472, which serves on the Niles Canyon Railway in Sunol, CA. SD9s were nicknamed "Cadillacs" due to the the smooth ride they reportedly gave. In all, 471 examples of the SD9 were built for US railroads and another 44 for export. Here's how to identify an SD9:
1. High-short hood.
2. The SD9's classification lights are on a small pod, canted outward (as the picture shows).
3. 3-axle trucks of older design.
The EMD SD24 was a moderate success when it comes to sales, so it's a rare sighting. However, the SD24 was a milestone in EMD locomotive development and the forerunner to today's high powered six axle road locomotives. Because of its 3 axle trucks, the SD24 can serve as a switcher and a road locomotive. It may be rare, but it is also extremely easy to recognize:
1. The SD24 does not have the usual "air tank/fuel tank" combination of modern locomotives - its air tanks are relocated on the roof just behind the cab. This is a major spotting feature on the SD24.
2. Distinctive detail on the side behind the cab. This is a major spotting feature on the SD24.
3. Large fuel tanks.
4. Flat topped low or high short hood - only Burlington & Southern SD24s have high short hoods.
5. 3 axle trucks - similar look to those of the GE Dash 8. They are not the high adhesion trucks.
6. Overall look of the rear section - the air intakes are positioned more in the middle (instead of at the very rear). This is a major spotting feature on the SD24.
7. The roof detail is completely different from all other locomotives. This is a major spotting feature on the SD24.
EMD's SD40-2 is not like the SD40T-2. It is a somewhat smaller road locomotive and its not used as a "Tunnel Motor" like the SD40T-2 is. It's a very reliable locomotive and every Class 1 Railroad in North America has operated this locomotive. In all, production of the SD40-2 has totaled 3,957 units, making it one of the best selling diesel locomotives of all time. Some of the largest SD40-2 fleets are owned by BNSF, CSX, UP, and Canadian Pacific (CP Rail). The SD40-2 is extremely easy to recognize.
1. Three radiator cooling fans at the rear - three exhaust fans ahead of the radiator cooling fans.
2. Similar middle section of the GP40-2.
3. Traditional nose - low short hood.
4. Lengthened front and rear walkways.
The SD40T-2 is a specially designed locomotive built to operate in railroad tunnels (T=tunnel). Because of this, the SD40T-2 and the SD45T-2 (another EMD locomotive of similar design) are nicknamed "Tunnel Motors". It is a road locomotive that looks like a cross between a GE C44-8W (Dash 8), GP15-1, and a GP40-2. It has the trucks of a Dash 8, the lower placed air intake of a GP15-1, and the middle radiator section of a GP40-2. Its spotting features are:
1. Traditional nose - low short hood.
2. EMD's signature rounded fuel tanks - like those on the SD70M.
3. Distinctive air intakes - placed lower than those on other locomotives (to allow this locomotive to do its job as a "Tunnel Motor". They are also much larger than those on the GP15-1 switcher.
Despite the fact that it's a similar locomotive to the SD40-2, the EMD SD45-2 has a noticeably different design. Like the SD40-2 being a variant of the first SD40, the SD45-2 is a variant of the first SD45. However, the SD45-2 was upgraded to the SD45T-2, which made it a "Tunnel Motor" like the SD40T-2. These are currently the only locomotives to have a "Tunnel Motor" configuration. There is one main spotting feature that distinguishes the SD45-2 from the SD40-2.
1. The rear cooling fans on the SD45-2 are more spread out over the top of the rear of the long hood - they are closer together on the SD40-2.
2. The SD45-2's trucks look like those on the SD60M.
The EMD SD59M-2, more commonly refered to as the SD59MX, is one of the rarest locomotives in the Union Pacific motive power fleet. Not much is known about the SD59M-2 because it is not a totally new locomotive. SD59M-2s are simply rebuilt SD60Ms. Currently, UP has just nine of these locomotive in service, but they are among the easiest locomotives to recognize. Here's why:
1. Modern Wide-Cab.
2. Slightly slanted air intakes - like those on some versions of the SD70M.
3. Similar trucks to the SD60M and GE C41-8W - they're not the high-adhesion trucks.
4. GE-style angular fuel tanks - like those on the SD70ACe.
EMD's SD60 is a small road locomotive used for heavy-duty drag freight and medium-speed freight service. The SD60's looks make it look basically like a cross between an SD70M and an SD70MAC. However, it is mostly common under the Norfolk & Southern name.
1. 3 radiator cooling fans - like on the SD70M.
2. 3 axle trucks.
3. Traditional cab.
4. Location of the center air intake, dynamic brake intake, and rounded blower duct on the left side.
The SD60M is a variant of the first SD60. Many companies own several SD60Ms, but they are somewhat hard to come by. Some companies that own SD60Ms are Conrail (27 units), CSX (10 units), Norfolk & Southern (151 units), and Union Pacific (85-560 units). The design of the SD60M makes it look like a cross between an SD70M and a GE C40-8W (Dash 8). But there are several features that distinguish an SD60M:
1. No wing-shaped air intakes.
2. EMD rounded fuel tanks.
3. Safety cab - Older models have a 3-piece windshield and newer models have a 2-piece windshield.
4. 3-axle trucks of older design.
Along with GE's "GEVO" locomotive series, the EMD SD70M is one of the most common locomotives seen on UP freight trains. Its design is pretty self explanatory. This is similar to another version of the SD70...the SD70MAC. However, its most notable features are:
1. Modern Wide-cab with a two piece windshield.
2. No blower duct on the left side.
3.The air intakes on some SD70Ms are slightly slanted (as the picture shows) - on others, they are not slanted.
4. 3 axle trucks.
The EMD SD70MAC is a visually similar locomotive to the SD70M, but it is rarely seen on ordinary mixed freight trains and under the UP name. BNSF, one of the SD70MAC's main users, owns around 800 of these large locomotives primarily for pulling heavy coal trains. Though similar to the extremely common SD70M, features 3 and 4 distinguish the SD70MAC from the SD70M.
1. Modern wide-cab with a two-piece windshield.
2. Characteristic EMD rounded fuel tanks.
3. Extra air intake on each side for the locomotive's inverters.
4. Rounded blower duct on the left side.
The SD70ACe is one of EMD's newest locomotives. It is quite common, especially under the UP name. Looking closely at the SD70ACe, you can see that it looks somewhat like one of GE's locomotives...but it is actually built by EMD. You can easily tell an SD70ACe by:
1. Very boxy Wide-cab.
2. GE-style angular fuel tanks.
3. Much roof detail.
4. Large cooling air intakes - like those on the SD90MAC and SD9043MAC.
5. Detail on the AC equipment box.
Helpful hint: Look closely at the rear of the locomotive...the air intakes are positioned more towards the middle of the locomotive, not at the very end like on other locomotives. This is a major spotting feature on the SD70ACe - the only other locomotives that have this look are the SD90MAC and SD9043MAC.
The design of the EMD SD9043MAC is based on the SD90MAC. Its spotting features are pretty self-explanatory. its basically an SD90MAC with a smaller engine. It is however, with the older SD80MAC, one of the largest single-engined locomotives produced by EMD. The SD9043MAC is quite common under the UP name, as the picture shows. It has the looks of an SD70ACe, but its spotting features are:
1. EMD style wide cab - the SD70ACe has a more "boxy" looking cab.
2. Roof detail - different from the SD90MAC.
3. Large air intakes positioned more towards the middle.
4. Modern 3-axle trucks.
5. Characteristic EMD rounded fuel tanks.