Spotlight on EMD SD9s

by Deane Motis & Others

Great Northern #596 still wears the road's original colors at Minneapolis, Minnesota on 7 September 1969 (photographer unknown / Deane Motis collection)

Even though EMD's first-generation four-axle and six-axle freight haulers were both powered by the venerable V16-567 powerplant, the railroad industry was more partial to the four-motor geep. During the 7.5 years both models were produced (2/1952 to 6/1959), orders for six-axle units nearly reached 700; in contrast, railroads purchased more than 6300 GP7/9s. - a ratio of 9 to 1.

The SD9 had a starting tractive force of 91,000 lb, which was 42 percent greater than a four-motor geep. The TE differential, which represented a substantial savings in long-term operating costs, caught the attention of more than a couple of first-time buyers.

Production of the SD9 drew to a close in June 1959, with 515 units placed in service on class one, short line and industrial railroads. Interestingly none of the SD9s (nor SD7s) were purchased by Canadian railroads. Yet, more than 40 of 567C-powered model were bought by foreign users. A production roster has been provided. Additionally, a technical data sheet can be reached by using this link.


Original SD9 Owners

Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay

A hostler readies a pair "Bay Line" SD9s at Panama City, FL.

Ron Plazotta(**) photo April 1973

Baltimore & Ohio

With morning work completed, B&O #1835 stands idle at Willard, Ohio.

R. Craig photo 16 August 1964

Central of Georgia

Southern CoG subsidiary purchased five SD9s; #205 shown at Atlanta, Georgia.

Blythe Gabriel photo 8 / Dean Motis collection

Chicago Burlington & Quincy

Burlington's 12-year-old #338 stands idle at Denver Colorado .

Photographer unknown(**) October 1965

CB&Q/ Colorado & Southern

C&S relied heavily on both of EMD's first-generation SD models.

Ed Fulcomer at Cheyenne WY photo, 7 September 1968/ Deane Motis coll.

Chicago & Illinois Midland

C&IM had fewest miles (100) of any SD9 owner; #50 shown at Springfield, IL.

John Stubblefield(**) photo 25 April 1967

Chicago & North Western

C&NW #1703 was equipped with D/B and steam generator, at Proviso, Chicago.

Chuck Zeiler photo 9 January 1966

Chicago & North Western

C&NW #6614 (ex-#1724) received a chopped nose in 1971 and had d/b removed.

Jim Jeffery photo at Des Moines, Iowa, February 1974 (Ralph Back collection)

Denver & Rio Grande Western

Rio Grande's SD9s were sure-footed climbers, #5310 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Deane Motis photo 4 September 1983

Duluth Missabe & Iron Range

DM&IR SD9s were classy looking and well maintained, #139 Proctor, MN.

Deane Motis 10 December 1977

Electro-Motive Division

SD9 Demonstrator #5591 at Denver Colorado.

(A search is underway)

Elgin Joliet & Eastern

The #601, one of three SD9s bought new by EJ&E, rests at Joliet, Illinois.

Joe Brockmeyer photo, 31 May 1970 (**)

Great Northern

GN #584 wears an interim economy paint scheme at Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jim Siedl photo, November 1966

Milwaukee Road

A late 1950s renumbering saw Milwaukee SD9 2226 become the #532.

Greg MacGregor photo at Bellingham WA, 14 April 1973 / Dean Motis collection

Nickel Plate

NKP sampled six-motors from all 1st-gen builders, including #340 from EMD.

The Garys photo February 1965 / Deane Motis collection

Pennsylvania

Built in 1958, #6916 served 3 owners (PRR, PC and Conrail) in its 25-years.

R. Craig photo at Northwood, Ohio, 14 October 1969

Reserve Mininge

The #1224 at age 36 was sold to E&LS in 1992; retirement came 10 years later.

Tom Wilson photo at Green Bay WI, 6 April 1991 / Deane Motis collection

SOO Line

Ordered by WC, the SD9 was delivered to merger partner SOO as 2381.

Ralph Back photo at Shoreham Yard, Minneapolis, 4 July 1976

Southern Pacific

Loco built as Espee 5418 and later re-built to SD9E 4406, shown at Mojave, CA.

Deane Motis photo, 12 September 1988

Southern Pacific

SP #4418 wears uniform of proposed Espee and Santa Fe merger at Mojave, CA. Eleven SP SD9Rs were painted in the SPSF scheme - 4327, 4345, 4347, 4354, 4363, 4372, 4375, 4377, 4381, 4418, and 4420.

Steve Gartner photo(**) 5 October 1986
Chilean Exploration

Six-motor #L13 sports a home-made nose treatment.

Larry Russsell photo / Deane Motis collection, May 1980

Korean National Railway

Twelve-year-old #5017 delivers oil to an industrial user on Taegu's out-skirts.

12 May 1969

General Information

  • Here is link to the SD9 Second-Hand Owners profile (available 1 December)
  • Here is an active link to the SD7 photo essay

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blank(**) - R. Craig photo collection

* * * SD9 Production Roster * * *

*****************
Railroad Road No. Bldr Nmbr Bldr Date Notes
Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay 503 & 504 21046, 21047 1/56 --
505 24062 4/58 --
Baltimore & Ohio 765 & 766 20121 & 20122 12/54 Re-#d B&O 1831 & 1832 < ex-B&O 7405 & 7405
767-771 20124-20128 11/53 Re-#d to B&O 1833-1837 < ex-B&O 7406-7411
772 20123 12/54 Re-#d to B&O 1838 < ex-B&O 7412
773 & 774 20451 & 20452 4/55 Re-#d to B&O 1839 & 1840 < ex-B&O 7413 & 7414
Central of Georgia 202-207 20445-20450 3-6/55 --
Chicago Burlington & Quincy 325-344 18984-19003 5-10/53 Steam-generator equipped
345-374 20555-20584 6-10/55 --
430-439 23609--23618 10/57 --
440-459 23619--23638 8-10/57 --
CB&Q / Colorado & Southern 820-830 22403-22313 12/56-1/57 --
831-835 25011-25015 4/59 --
836-842 25156-25162 4/59 --
Chicago & Illinois Midland 50-54 20691-20695 11/55 --
Chicago & North Western 1701 & 1702 19506 & 19507 5/54 --
1703-1707 19498-19502 5/54 --
1708-1710 19503-19505 5/54 --
1721-1724 20687-20690 10-11/55 --
Several units equipped with steam generators
Denver & Rio Grande Western 5305-5314 22808-22817 7/57 --
Duluth Missabe & Iron Range 101-109 21727-21735 3-4/56 --
110 20655 7/55 Ex-EMD Demonstrator #5591
111-130 23099-23118 1-3/57 #129 & 130 s/g equipped
131-157 23911-23937 2-4/58 --
158 24487 4/58 --
159-174 25259-25274 4-5/59 --
EMD 5591 20655 7/55 Demonstrator; sold to DM&IR 110
Elgin Joliet & Eastern 600-602 23120-23122 3/57 --
Great Northern 573-578 19340-19345 2/54 --
579-583 21247-21251 5/56 --
584-589 22486-22491 1/57 --
590-597 24092-24099 4/58 --
598 & 599 24100 & 24101 4/58 --
Milwaukee Road 2224-2237 18769-18782 -1-2/54 Re-#d to xxxxxx
Nickel Plate 340-359 23155-23174 3-4/57 --
Pennsylvania 7600-7624 24167-24191 11/57-1/58 --
Reserve Mining 1220-1222 19989-19991 6/55 --
1223 & 1224 21066 & 22417 5, 12/56 --
1225 25436 6/59 --
SOO Line 2381 20120 12/54 Ordered by Wisconsin Central (original)
Southern Pacific 5340-5371 19428-19460 3-5/54 Steam-generator equipped
5372-5386 20223-20237 1-5/55 Steam-generator equipped
5387-5417 19928-19958 2-4/54 --
5418-5423 19983-19988 4/55 --
5424-5444 20202-20222 1-5/55 --
5449-5493 21274-21288 1-5/56 --
Export Locomotives
Chile Exploration 901-903 21484-21486 3/56 --
904 & 905 21562 & 21563 3/56 --
Korean National 5001-5020 23481-23500 5-7/57 Ex-KNR 101-120
50201-5029 23897-23905 10/57 Ex-KNR 121-129
Venezuela (Orinoco Mining) 1011-1014 21942-21945 5/56 --
1015-1017 23400-23402 5/57 --
1018-1020 24574-24576 5/58 --
Reference sources:
  • Diesel Demonstrators by Karl Erk (Edited by JC Smith and John Scala).
  • Diesels of the Southern Railway by Paul K. Withers
  • Extra 2200 South Locomotive Newsletter (Issue 5 and 18)
  • Great Northern by Joseph Shine
  • Locomotives of the Rio Grande by Colorado Railroad Museum
  • Our GM Scrapbook by Kalmbach Publishing Co.
  • Pennsy Power II Alvin F. Staufer and Bert Pennyback
  • Southern Paciic Review 1980 and 1952 to 1982 by Joseph A. Strapac
  • The Milwaukee Road by Frederick W. Hyde
  • Union Pacific Motive Power Review 1968-1977 by F. Hol Wangeer & James Watson
  • Utah Rails.net (Don Strack website)

    Additions/corrections provided by: Ralph Back

    Formatted by: R. Craig

    New: 1 November 2022 / Revised 21 November 2022

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