|Union Pacific 7681 ES44AC (labeled C45ACCTE by UP) serves as a remote-controlled Distributed Power Unit (DPU) on the KLTG2-23, on Union Pacific's Evanston Subdivision near Emory, Utah.|
For the purpose of this article, we will revolve around the two largest locomotive manufacturers in the United States; General Electric, aka GE, and Electro-Motive Diesel/Division, aka EMD. The products of both companies vary greatly, and each have their own ups and downs. General Electric is known for it’s products of “Standard Cab” and “Safety Cab” diesels. Their locomotives generally are cheaper than EMD’s, and have a service life of 10-20 years, with potential to run longer. EMD locomotives vary in cab designs from type to type, but all serve the same purpose. Although EMD locomotives are more expensive up front than GE, they can last up to 40+ years when given proper maintenance. Both find their place in the modern railroad scene, as they ferry cars from point A to point B, whether that’s across a city, or across a whole continent. This guide doesn’t cover all locomotives built by either company, but focuses on the more dominant freight-hauling ones found throughout the American west.
Electro-Motive Division (of General Motors) is, on average, the easiest to define the different models/ editions of locomotives, with different features characterizing each model. EMD’s are the go-to option when it comes to yard service, with the older models providing the size, and EMD’s ability to provide the continuing life for these engines. That said, all EMD locomotives are, if not were, rated for mainline operations.
|Picture above is a duo of GP60s, which are distinguished by their large radiator fans as well as their turbochargers. Another distinguishing feature is the full-length fuel tanks under the locomotives.|
SD70M (Flared and Non-Flared)
|An SD70ACe is know for the unique "Chopped Nose" cab design, as well as the offset radiator towards the long hood (rear) of the locomotive. Pictured above is UP SD70ACe No. 8641 serving as a DPU on the ZDLCYP-23, pictured in Uintah, Utah.|
General Electric, for some years now, has been the “butt end” of the railfan jokes. Although they are more cheaply made than their EMD counterparts, they still have an extremely dominant presence in the modern railroading landscape. To be fair, have been real competition from their competitors. GE locomotives are primarily assigned to road service, ferrying the revenue trains for the railroad. Following the introduction of the “Safety Cab,” it’s become much harder to identify model-to-model, as all of their locomotives characterized a very similar shape.
AC4400CW/ C40-9W/ C44-9W
I hope this helps everyone with identifying locomotives on their train, knowing this can add fun to the hobby, and allows someone to develop a proper sense of favoritism of one locomotive over another. See you down the line!
- Schon N.
- Schon N.