Locomotive Notes

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on June 19, 2024.

Diesel Locomotives

(listed alphabetically)

Alco versus EMD -- An article by Albert Churella about why Alco failed and why EMD succeeded. (originally published in the Harvard Business History Review; copyright 1995 by President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Baldwin Diesel Electric Locomotive Specification -- A PDF of a 1949 Baldwin bulletin giving specifications of their 1500- and 2000-horsepower road-switcher diesel-electric locomotives. (PDF; 10 pages; 8MB)

BLH RS4TC -- Information about the 74 Davenport RS4TC locomotives built for the U. S. military in 1953-1955.

Diesel Traction in U.S.A. -- A PDF file (8MB) of a 16-page article in the March 1961 issue of the British magazine "Diesel Railway Traction." This was scanned from a chemical photocopy of the article that I've had for many, many years. The photocopy was reversed, with white letters on a black background.

The Evolution of the Diesel Locomotive in the United States -- A excellent article by Benn Coifman (of RailFonts.com) about the development of diesel locomotives in America. (Used with permission.)

FRA Rules -- Information and dates about the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements for footboards, running boards, contrasting colors, and locomotive identification.

General Electric Large Centercabs -- Information about the 19 large centercab locomotives built by GE in 1937-1945.

GE 44-Ton Specification -- A PDF of a May 1947 GE specification for their 44-ton switching locomotive.

LocoNotes FAQ -- A collection of answers and comments about how to obtain important locomotive information, including frame numbers, serial numbers, and builder dates.

Locomotive Trucks -- Information about the style and design of locomotive trucks.

Locomotive Model Designations -- Information about model designations on locomotives.

MU Connections -- Information about multiple unit connections on diesel locomotives. More work is needed to document the variations of MU connections on the front of cab units.

Plymouth Locomotives -- Information about the small industrial locomotives built by the J. D. Fate Company of Plymouth, Ohio, from 1912 to 1919, then by the Fate-Root-Heath Company from 1919 to 1999.

Power, The horsepower requirements of Diesel Locomotives -- A PDF of a booklet published by EMD in the late 1940s, describing the horsepower requirements of Diesel locomotives. (PDF; 14 pages; 5.4MB)

Pull, The tractive effort of Diesel Locomotives -- A PDF of a booklet published by EMD in the late 1940s, describing tractive effort of Diesel locomotives. (PDF; 12 pages; 5MB)

Silvis Shops -- Brief historical notes about the former Rock Island shops at Silvis, Illinois.

SP's GRIP Rebuild Programs -- A brief narrative of Southern Pacific's locomotive rebuild programs, or "Why SP never had an SD45E."

Utah Railway SD50S 6061 measurements -- Measurements of one of Utah Railway's five SD50S locomotives that were built in Australia.

War Production Board -- Information compiled for several sources, about the WWII-era War Production Board and it effect on railroad locomotive production.

Wheels and Axles of Diesel Locomotives -- A PDF of a booklet published by EMD in the late 1940s, describing wheels and axles used for Diesel locomotives. (PDF; 15 pages; 4.9MB)

EMD Locomotives

Information about the history of Electro Motive Corporation (EMC), Electro Motive Division of General Motors (EMD), and the most recent Electro Motive Diesel, Inc., along with its informally named operation in Canada, Electro Motive Canada Company (EMCC).

EMD History Timeline -- A chronological history of Electro-Motive

Wikipedia article about Electro Motive Diesel, formerly Electro Motive Division of General Motors.

Dick Dilworth and the EMD GP7 -- The story of how the EMD GP7 was designed, by EMD's Dick Dilworth (from The Dilworth Story, by Franklin M. Reck, Copyright 1954 by Electro-Motive Division, General Motors Corporation, pages 94-99)

The Dilworth Story -- An on-line version at Archive.org of the biography of Dick Dilworth, EMD's chief engineer and designer, by Franklin Reck.

EMD Model Designations -- A 4-page PDF showing EMD model designations, taken from EMD publications.

EMD Early GP Locomotives -- Commentary on the development of EMD's GP locomotives, by locomotive historian Scott Chatfield.

EMD In North Salt Lake -- Information about EMD's facility in North Salt Lake, Utah, five miles north of Salt Lake City, occupied by EMD from 1955 to 1965, then by GE from 1971 to today.

EMD's Cleveland Plant No. 3 -- Information about EMD's plant in Cleveland, Ohio, known as Plant No. 3. It was in a former U. S. Navy plant built during World War II and operated by GM's Cleveland Diesel Engine Division until the end of the war, at which time it was sold to GM. The site was used by GM for its subsidiaries as late as the early 1970s.

Max Ephriam -- An article from the Chicago Tribune in August 1995 about Max Ephriam, retired EMD Chief Engineer.

EMD and Alfred P. Sloan, 1955 -- Notes from the testimony of Alfred P. Sloan in December 1955, in front of the Senate Subcommittee On Antitrust And Monopoly.

EMD Builder Plates -- A summary of the styles of metal plates that EMC/EMD used on it locomotives, from 1939 to after 1988.

EMD Specifications -- PDF files of drawings included in EMD locomotive specification books.

EMD Notes -- Miscellaneous notes about EMD and its products.

EMD F5 -- Notes about the unofficial F5 locomotive, a locomotive model with a mix of late F3 components and early F7 components, and whether or not D&RGW owned an F5 locomotive.

EMD's FG9 Locomotive -- An article about EMD's FG9 gasifier free-pistion locomotive of 1959, and UP's involvement in the project. (Includes a photo and an illustration of the planned UP unit)

EMC's FT Locomotive -- A discussion of EMC's FT locomotive by Wallace Abbey, former EMD employee.

EMD FT and FS Locomotives on D&RGW -- Information about D&RGW's FS and FT locomotives.

EMD's First SD24 -- Information about the first SD24 from EMD.

EMD's HT-C Truck -- A PDF file of the original ASME paper from 1972, presented at the ASME-IEEE Joint Conference in March 1972; describing the development and design of the HT-C truck first used in large numbers on EMD's Dash 2 line in 1972.

EMD's 567, History and Development (PDF; 85 pages; 36.1MB) -- A 1951 history of the development of EMD's 567 diesel engine, by E. W. Kettering, Chief Engineer at Electro-Motive Division, General Motors Corporation. Presented at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Atlantic City, New Jersey, November 29, 1951.

Additional information on the author of the technical paper: Eugene W. Kettering, son of Charles F. Kettering, joined Winton Engine in 1930. He moved to Detroit in 1936, and was a central figure in the development of the 567 and the Detroit Diesel 6-71. He moved to EMD in 1938, became Chief Engineer at EMD in 1948, then Director of Research in 1955 and subsequently Research Assistant to the General Manager in 1958. He resigned from EMD in 1959 to manage the Kettering family's interests in the various foundations established by Charles F. Kettering. Eugene Kettering passed away in 1969. (Preston Cook, posted to Railway Preservation News, June 29, 2013)

In 1930, Eugene W. Kettering joined General Motors as a research engineer, and he became a leading figure in the in the evolution of the modern diesel locomotive. After nearly 30 years with General Motors, Eugene Kettering retired and he and his wife, Virginia, devoted their energies to a wide range of philanthropic activities. When the Air Force Museum Foundation was created in 1960 to fund the building of a new Air Force Museum, Kettering continued his family's interest in aviation and became the foundation's first chairman. He actively assisted in raising funds to construct the Air Force Museum, which opened in 1971. Kettering supported the museum in many other ways, including the long-term loan of 558 model airplanes from his personal collection in 1962. The models on display give visitors a sense of the technological growth of aviation in a glance. (National Museum of the Air Force; reference furnished via a message to the Railway Preservation News by "Steve", June 29, 2013)

EMD MP15 Rosters -- Rosters of all MP15DC, MP15AC, and MP15T locomotives, as compiled by Rob Sarberenyi.

SD40-2 and SD40T-2 measurements -- Measurements I have taken of some EMD SD40-2s and SD40T-2s.

First 48-inch Radiator Fan on GP9s -- Information about when EMD first used their 48-inch radiator fans, replacing the previous 36-inch design.

EMD Articles By Preston Cook

Winton 201A Diesel Engine -- A article originally done as a PowerPoint presentation for use at railfan gatherings.

EMD's 567 Diesel Engine -- An article about the development of EMD's 567 series diesel engine.

EMD Technical Publications -- An article that documents the various publications EMD produced to support its locomotive production.

USS Atlanta's Winton Engine -- An article about the Winton diesel engine used on-board the USS Atlanta; includes history of Winton diesel engines.

EMD FT Article -- A PDF of the articles in the October, November and December 1989 issues of Railfan & Railroad magazine. (PDF; 46 pages; 43MB)

Bruce Kelly wrote about Preston Cook's article on October 15, 2014: "No discussion about the FT would be complete without mention of Preston Cook's three-part article in the October, November, and December 1989 issues of Railfan & Railroad, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the FT's debut and demonstrator tour. The series earned Cook the David P. Morgan Article Award from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. A former EMD employee himself, Cook had an enormous body of research material at his fingertips during production of that multi-part story, and it showed throughout the more than 50 pages of story, photos, diagrams, maps, and rosters.

Online Resources

The Unofficial EMD Page -- The most complete resource of information about EMD locomotives, including searching by serial number, order number, model, railroad, and year built.

The Diesel Shop -- An amazing resource for all locomotives builders and locomotive models. Includes rosters for most railroads, and an excellent "Builder Data" section.

Andre Kristopans GM Data -- Index page for Andre Kristopans' GM Locomotive Serial Numbers Page.

Locomotive Builder Lists -- Information about the builder lists compiled by Robert Lehmuth, listing all locomotive builders (steam, diesel and otherwise).

GE Moser List -- Information about an internal General Electric document informally known as the Moser list, which includes 1523 pages of locomotive serial numbers and owners of locomotives built by GE between 1894 and 1985. The list is neither complete nor does it show all of the original owners.

Other resorces are available using online search engines (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc.)

Steam Locomotives

Brief summary histories of U. S. steam locomotive builders

Steam Dummies In Utah -- Information about the steam motors used on some of Utah's early street railways.

Strong's Locomotive -- Information about what was known as Strong's Freak, and the major reason for the collapse of the Hinkley Locomotive Works in 1889.

Western Railfan Publications

Western Railfan Publications -- An informal commentary about the rise and fall of print-to-paper railfan publications.

Roster Geeks

Roster Geeks Online -- A brief narrative of the online community of locomotive roster keepers "geeks."