Union Pacific Locomotive Roster

Highlights for 1998

The motive power fleet of the Union Pacific Railroad became very diversified with the mergers of C&NW in 1995 and SP/SSW/D&RGW in 1996. An observer at trackside could only find the great variety of yellow and gray (and yellow and green, gray and scarlet, and black and orange) locomotives confusing, at best.

As of December 31, 1998, the UP motive power fleet consisted of 6,999 locomotives. Not included in this total were the eight remaining former C&NW not assigned UP numbers (of 144 units at merger); 209 remaining former SP units not assigned UP numbers (of 297 units at merger); and four remaining former D&RGW units not assigned UP numbers (of 31 units at merger).

In early September 1997, following the September 1996 UP-SP merger, UP finalized its locomotive fleet numbering plan that fully integrates the diversity of three railroads into a single fleet. To do so required the renumbering of several of UP's existing locomotives.

New deliveries (359 units)

10 C44AC UP 7000-7009 (ex GECX 4000-4009)
37 C44AC UP 7101-7137
36 C44/60AC UP 7300-7335
45 C60AC UP 7510-7554
9 GP38-2 UP 2381-2389 (leased from LLP)
2 GP38-2 UP 2418, 2419 (leased from Helm, rebuilt from GP38s)
50 GP38-2 UP 2527-2541, 2545, 2546, 2549-2552, 2554, 2556-2565, 2567, 2568, 2572-2575, 2577-2588 (leased from Helm, rebuilt from GP40s)
1 GP38-3 UP 2417 (leased from Helm, rebuilt from a GP38)
3 GP38-3 UP 2523, 2524, 2526 (leased from Helm, rebuilt from GP40s)
6 SD38-2R UP 2825-2829, 2836 (rebuilt from former MP SD40-2s)
2 SD40-2 UP 4733, 4734
13 SD40-2T UP 4794-4831 (rebuilt from former SP SD45T-2s)
13 SD90AC UP 8500-8514
130 SD9043AC UP 8179-8308
2 SW1500 UP 1030, 1031 (leased from Helm)


During mid June to mid July 1998, UP received its first SD90ACs. Numbered as UP 8508-8511, these four units are the first production examples of the newest locomotive technology from EMD. Previously, eight pre-production SD90ACs, built in 1996 and 1997 and numbered as UP 8500-8507, had been testing at EMD's LaGrange plant, and on both UP and on the AAR test track near Pueblo, Colorado. UP 8501-8504 were sent to VMV Enterprises in Paducah, Kentucky, in early June 1998 to be reconfigured to match the production version, with UP 8500 coming to VMV from LaGrange in September. UP 8501, 8503, and 8504 were released from VMV and delivered to UP during October, with UP 8500 and 8502 remaining at VMV for additional testing. In late December 1998, all of the SD90MAC-H units operating on Union Pacific (which UP calls SD90ACs) were recalled by EMD for further design improvements.


During July 1998, UP retired the last remaining 44 SW10s. These little 1200 horsepower workhorses served UP well, from their initial construction in 1980 to 1982, but have been found to be under powered and too light for the switching UP is now doing. Although the last SW10 was officially retired on 15 July 1998, several apparently continued operating for as long as another two weeks. The remaining units were sold in July 1998, many as part of three large groups. Ten units were sold to Connell Finance and 16 units were sold to the David J. Joseph Co., the largest metal salvage dealer in the nation, and some of those have been resold. The third group of SW10s, 15 units, were sold to Ferrocarril Mexicano (FerroMex), the successful bidder for the concession to operate the former FNM Ferrocarril del Pacifico. Only UP 96 (ex-UP 1243) remains in service, as part of the historical collection, assigned to passenger service at Cheyenne, Wyoming. (For the complete SW10 story, see "Union Pacific Switchers and Slugs" by Don Strack, published by Withers Publishing, 1995)


UP 1298 and 1299, the two natural gas switchers built by MK Rail in 1994, and leased to UP for service in the Los Angeles area, were returned to Motive Power Industries as successor to MK Rail. The lease period was from July 1994 to July 1998. Both units were retired on 1 July 1998.


In January and February 1998, the railroad accepted delivery of the last of 45 GP38-3s (18 former GP38s in the 2400-2417 series and 27 former GP40s in the 2500-2526 series). To fill a continuing need for medium range, 2,000 horsepower units, arrangements have been made for 81 additional GP38-2s.

These units are being furnished by both Helm Financial (70 units) and Locomotive Leasing Partners, the joint venture between EMD and GATX (11 units). The 70 units coming from Helm are in two groups: UP 2418-2425 and UP 2527-2588. To serve as the core units for the group of 62 GP38-2s in the 2527-2588 group, Helm will be using 32 of the 37 GP40s in the 850-887 series, which have been under lease to UP since 1989. The remaining units include 27 units that UP sold to Helm in May 1998, including 12 former MKT GP40s, 11 of which were in the 582-597 group (including the two that had already been renumbered to the new 800-811 series), 13 former D&RGW GP40s, and two former C&NW GP40s. The last three units were already owned by Helm: D&RGW GP40 3067, purchased from SP prior to the UP merger, and the former Soo Line 2058 and 2059, purchased from Canadian Pacific.

In the UP 2418-2425 group, the core units for the three delivered units (of eight units planned) are former GP38s and GP38ACs, including two UP (former MKT) units, GP38 1979 and GP38AC 1995, sold to Helm by UP in May 1998 The third unit is a former NS unit already owned by Helm. The core units for the other five units in the series were not yet available at press time. The work to convert these GP38s and GP38ACs to GP38-2s is being done by Motive Power Industries of Boise, Idaho.

The 11 units being furnished by LLP are being converted from GP38s and GP40s already owned by both EMD and GATX, with the rebuilding to GP38-2s being completed by Alstom (formerly GEC Alsthom) of Montreal, and by VMV Enterprises of Paducah, Kentucky.


In a move to get its higher horsepower, six-axle road units out of switching service and back on the mainline, in April 1995, UP purchased six former Chicago & Illinois Midland SD38-2s, numbering the new units in the 2800-2805 series. The purchase of these units allowed UP to re-assign six former MP SD40-2s back to road service. Also in 1995, the merger with C&NW brought C&NW's 10 SD38-2s to the switching fleet. The merger with SP in 1996 brought another six SD38-2s to the roster, bringing the total to 22 units. Studies showed that still more six-axle switching power was needed. To fill this need, 12 former MP SD40-2s have been rebuilt with 2000 horsepower, non-turbocharged engines replacing their original 3000 horsepower turbocharged engines. The work was completed between July 1997 and July 1998 by the road's Jenks Shops in at North Little Rock, Arkansas, with the units being numbered in the 2816-2823 and 2825-2829 series. UP 2824 is a former McCloud Railway SD38-2 purchased second hand, in exchange for five SW10s.

3000-horsepower SD45s

Union Pacific has begun rebuilding many of its current locomotives to improve their reliability. In addition to the SD38-2Rs mentioned above, the railroad has started a program to rebuild some of its fleet of 20 cylinder SD45 locomotives. At the end of 1997, the lease period on a 38-unit group of former SP SD45T-2s came to an end. The lease was extended on a monthly basis until a decision could be reached about the future of the railroad's large fleet of 332 units that are equipped with EMD's 20 cylinder engine. Negotiations were completed between UP and Locomotive Leasing Partners, the joint venture between EMD and GATX, for their purchase and lease back to UP of a group of 40 SD45T-2s, including the 38 units in the lease-expired group, plus two additional units already owned by UP. Beginning in late August 1998, the 40 units were moved to VMV Enterprises in Paducah, Kentucky, to be modified by the replacement of their 20 cylinder, 3600 and 3200 HP engines with 16 cylinder, 3000 HP engines. The rebuild effort includes a general re-qualification of all other components on each locomotive, repairs as required, and application of Union Pacific's standard yellow and gray paint. The first group of SD45T-2s to be completed in this effort, which will extend into 1999, is to be numbered as UP 4794-4831, the same numbers assigned to these same units had they simply been repainted from Southern Pacific to Union Pacific. The first to be completed were UP 4801 and 4808, delivered to UP on 10 November 1998. In a related side note, UP 4794, the former SP 6854, was repainted on 24 March 1998, as the first former SP SD45T-2 to receive UP paint. This unit was to retain its 20 cylinder engine until sometime in late January 1999, when it too will be rebuilt with a 3000 HP 16 cylinder engine.

A second group of rebuilt SD45s will be coming during 1999. This group of 33 locomotives, numbered as UP 4733-4765, will also be re-equipped with 3000 HP, 16 cylinder engines. This group is being rebuilt by National Railway Equipment at both its Dixmoor, Illinois, facility near Chicago, and at its former Precision National facility in Mount Vernon, Illinois The core units for this group will be coming from several SD45s that NRE has been acquiring over the past several years. These units will retain their original SD45 appearance.

Repainted Locomotives

The mergers with C&NW in April 1995 and SP in September 1996 brought two fleets of locomotives to Union Pacific, all of which will need to be repainted to UP's standard yellow and gray paint scheme. Of the 2,700 total locomotives that need to be repainted, 481 have been completed. The first former C&NW unit was completed in mid June 1995, with 298 units completed of the 625 former C&NW units needing UP paint. The total SP fleet requiring repainting includes 1,647 former SP units, 298 former SSW units, and 130 former D&RGW units. Of those numbers, 152 former SP units have been completed, along with 18 former SSW units, and 13 former D&RGW units. The first former SP unit was completed in December 1996, as was the first former SSW unit. The first former D&RGW unit to receive yellow and gray was completed in May 1997. The specific road numbers of these first examples can be found in the general notes section of each group within the roster.