EMD's Dual Purpose SDP (Part 2)

EL #3638 wearing Bicentennial colors at Marion, OH (possibility)-- (photographer unknown/ChuckZeiler)

Electro-Motive Division of GMC produced five different dual-purpose SDP models between August 1964 and June 1970: SDP45, SDP40, SDP38, SDP35 and SDP28. The entire SDP production was delivered to Class 1 mainline railroads, including those shipped to Korea.

Merger activity during the next two decades was strong and saw the names of SDP owners change. Names such as Atlantic Coast Line, Great Northern, Louisville & Nashville, National de Mexico/FNM, Seaboard Air Line gave way to new Class 1 operators, including Burlington Northern, Conrail, Seaboard System, and CSX plus regional railroads FerroMex and FXE. By that time most SDPs were getting long-in-the-tooth and faced retirement. Only a few of the dual-purpose SDPs found a place in the second-hand market, after retirement from mainline service, and it was not surprising, given the limited production. By 1990, most domestic EMD SDPs had been already converted to a SD40-2 or variant.

EL #3638 Photo Note: Some Erie-Lackawanna fans were quick to point-out the omission of EL's SD45Ms 3635-3653 from last month's part 1 profile. Although EL's elongated freight motors lacked a steam generator, they provided the requisite platform to hang a 5000-gallon fuel tank in place of a standard 4000-gallon. Thus, it is fitting to include them in this discusion given their multiple ownership (EL > Conrail > NS).

Photo Roster of Second-hand SDPs
CGFX #3093 at Birmingham, Alabama on 3 January 2007
(William Davis, Jr. photo)
Fresjly painted CR SD45M #6676 at West Detroit engine facilities
(R.Craig photo)
Gardendale RR #9043 at St. Louis, Missouri on 15 August 2012
(Mark Mautner photo)
Kansas City Southern SD22ECO #2600 at xxxxxxx on xxxxxxx xxxx
(Dave Hawkins photo)
Montana Rail Link SDP40-2XR #290 at Almira, Washington in 2016 
(Ted Curphey photo)
Respondek SD38M-2 #11 at Squaw Creek Southern on 26 April 2008
(Joe Vittitoe photo)
Southwest Portland Cement SDP35 #411 at Mojave Northern on 1 February 2020
(Charles Freericks photo)
* * * Notes & credits * * *


  • BN 1972 Motive Annual by F. Hol Wagner
  • Extra 2200 South Locomotive Newsletter
  • EMD Order Numbers at TrainWeb.com
  • KCS 2011 roster by FL "Dutch" Schultz
  • RRPicturesArchives.net
  • William Davis, Jr.

Original upload: 1 August 2020

Additional Contributions: Michael Richmond

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