Transportation Test Center: Working for Safer Railroading

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Sans road grime, new General Electric-built #001 wears its as-built colors at the test center in 1971. (Photographer unknown / R. Craig Rutherford collection)

Simply stated, the mandate of the U.S. Government-owned Transportation Test Center has been (and continues to be) conducting research and performaning tests on railroad locomotives, passenger cars, equipment and associated technologies that are intended to make railroading safer. The challenges it confronted have been many, and they were never simple. Located on a 30,00-acre site northeast of Pubelo, Colorado the facility was constructed during the early 1970s, with actual locomotive testing beginning in 1972. Although the site was not secret at the time, growing interest in the new facility coincided with the arrival of several medium-horsepower ex-military units, as well as a high-horsepower General Electric-built U30C #001 late that same year. A large portion of the complex site is equipped with overhead catenary for testing high-speed electric vehicles.

TTC's multi-purpose mission has been covered many times in the hobby press and discussed on internet-based forums. The purpose of this profile is not to reiterate what has been said previously, but to focus more on the agency's diverse roster of past and present locomotives that have played and continue to play a role in achieving a safer railroad industry.

It should be noted that the federal government-owned research and test facility is operated by the American Assoication of Railroads. The property is not accessible by the public without prior authorization.

New: 1 October 2021 Photos by:
AAR Mark: TTCI Prepared by: R. Craig

* * * Photo Gallery * * *

New: 1 July 2022 Formatted by: R. Craig

DOT #001 (GE U30C)

Built in 1971, the six-axle GE worked at TTCI for more than four decades. After retirement, the 3000-hp DOT #001 was donated to the Pueblo RR Museum, as seen in this March 2020 image. (Craig Walker photo)

AAR #2000 (EMD GP40-3)

American Association of Railroads GP40-3 #2000 is one of the few pieces equipment owned by the organization. (Gales of November photo taken on 14 January 2011 with permission)

DOT #8003 (RSD1)

Given the large surplus of Army RSD1s, it made sense to transfer a few (#012, 015 & 8003) to the Pueblo Test Center. (Kim Piersol collection)

DOT #1813 (EMD MRS-1)

After a stint in the Army, 1813 was transferred to the Test Center and later sold to Heber valley (Bon French photo on 4 January 2019)


Featuring a new 265H engine, this loco spent several months at the Test Center. (Ben Helsel photo on 25 Januarry 2012)

TTCI #2001 (GP40-2)

EMD-built #2001 sports a very patriotic r/w/b scheme quite reminesent of the Bi-Centennial years (Joseph Blackwell photo on 2 June 2011).

Haz Mat Training

Hazardous material spill and fire fighter training are important components of TTCI's mission. (Randy Allard photo in October 2014)

Crash Worthiness Tests

TTCI has used a modified ex-SP SD45T-2 #9309 tunnel motor to evaluate locomotive front-end crash worthiness. (SD45X photo in April 2008)

EMD Export (GT42AC)

After spending several weeks at the TTCI, this six-axle Bangladesh Rails locomotive is ready to be shipped home. (SD45X photo in November 2021)

AAR #110 (Track Load Test Vehicle)

An ex-SD45X, rolling lab 110's retractable center axle applies controlled force and measures rail resistance to derailment. (R. Craig photo in February 1992).

Grumann Aircraft (TLRV)

One of the more unusual test units was this Tracked Levitation Research Vehicle (Craig Walker photo on 9 March 2000).

Self-propelled TGV #219

Track conformance inspection is another important FRA safety responsibility; a fleet of Track Geometry Vehicles helps acoomplish that mission.

Reference Sources:
  • RR Pictures Archives. Net
  • TDS Rosters
  • Train

(Note: Not all of the above photographs were taken at the TTCI site; some equipment photography took place while it was in transit or testing on various railroads, and at the Pueblo Museum.)

* * * TTC Roster * * *

Road No. Bldr & Model Bldr No. Date Notes
001 GE U30C 38090 6/1971 Built for the Department of Transportation
003 EMD GP40-2 786143 11/1978 Re-#d to 2001
004 EMD GP10 - - Ex-?
005 EMD GP10 - - Ex-?
006 EMD GP10 - - Ex-?
011 Alco RSD-1 69570 11/1942 Re-#d from 8004; originally built for War Department
012 Alco RSD-1 69566 1/1943 Re-#d from 8009; originally built for War Department
013 Alco RSD-1 69427 1/1943 Re-d# from DOT 8011; originally built for War Department
014 Alco RSD-1 70637 11/1942 Re-#d from 8016; originally built for War Department
015 Alco RSD-1 70637 11/1942 Re-#d from 8018; originally built for War Department
203 EMD GP40-2 38500 9/71 Ex-CSX 6595 < nee B&O 4020
232 EMD F40PH 77701-3 1/77 Ex-Amtrak 232
1813 EMD MRS-1 15778 4/52 Sold to Heber Valley 1813; nee US Army 1813
2000 EMD GP40-3 30999 -12/66 Ex-D&RGW 3055
2001 EMD GP40-2 786143 11/1978 Re-#d from 003
DFTR 2002 EMD SD45T-2 72601-27 572/ Unit features a SD70MAC cab; ex-Southern Pacific 6808 < nee SP 9235
DFTR 2003 EMD SD45T-2 73621-8 9/73 Unit features a SD70MAC cab; ex-Southern Pacific 9309
8003 Alco RSD-1 69568 11/1942 Originally built for War Department
8025 Alco RSD-1 70646 12/1942 Originally built for War Department
8027 Alco RSD-1 70648 12/1942 Originally built for War Department
8031 Alco RSD-1 70652 12/1942 Built originally for War Department
8670 Alco RSD-1 69568 3/1945 Built originally for War Department
T-16 Amtrak -- 1967 Ex-Amtrak Metroliner car reconfigured to be a High-Spreed Research Car
* * * Misc. Units * * *
EMD 91 EMD SD90MAC-H 976804-2 6/98 Long-Time TTCI resident
EMD 218 EMD SDP40F 72694-10 6/73 Part-time visitor; ex-Amtrak 509
Reference Sources:
  • Trains Magazine (November 2009)
  • A Look Inside The Transportation Test Center (by Nathan Holmes - internet)

    Thanks to the following contributors:

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