On The Espee: Unique Came in Many Forms

Standardization was an important equipment strategy on many railroads, during the latter part of the 1950s and 1960's. However, Southern Pacific was among the few that did not fully subscribe to that theory. The Espee was more intent on experimenting and finding the right motive power mix for the job at hand, and its diesel purchases underscored the fact. From Fairbanks-Morse Trainmasters in commuter service to dual-engined freight locomotives to 4000-hp hydraulics that whistled in Germam, the SP's locomotive roster was uncommon. Here are some locomotive examples to help illustrate a few of the ways the San Francisco-based railroad's motive power stable was unique.

Photographer Roger Puta caught this trio of Espee "popsicles" in March 1978 leading what appears to be an intermodal train somewhere in California. The orange and red roadsters are Morrison-Knudsen model TE70-4S - 70,000 lbs tractive effort, four-axles and a Sulzer V12 powerplant. One source suggests that the TE70-4S units worked mostly in tandem because they did not work well with locomotives from other builders. The M-K units are just one more example of SP's willingness to experiment in search of the right motive power combination.

XXXX A Photo Review

Bay Area Commuter & Passenger Power

click on image to enlarge

H24-66 3031

Jon Porter photo

GP9 3190

Craig Walker photo

GP40P-2 3199

Craig Walker photo

SDP45 3204

Craig Walker photo

H24-66 #4814

Frank Worsfold photo

PA1 6006

Chuck Zeiler photo

High Horsepower Experimentation

click on image to enlarge

MK5000C 503

R. Craig photo

K-M ML4000 #8799

Craig Walker photo

K-M ML4000 9011

Drew Jacksich photo

C643H 9802

Keith Ardinger photo

DD35 9902

Sid Vaught photo

U50 9950

Leo Munson photo

Need image SP 9001, 9002 or 9003 original Kraus-Maffei ML4000s

SD9 4450 (1 of 2 s/g-equipped)

Douglas G. Walker photo


Craig Walker photo


Format by: R.Craig New: 1 July 2018
Reference sources:
  • Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual (1966-67) by Joseph A. Strapac
  • Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual (1967-68) by Joseph A. Strapac
  • Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual (1968-69) by Joseph A. Strapac
  • Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual (1977-80) by Donald V. Jewell

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