Numbering - Chicago & Eastern Illinois 3100-series
SD40-2 #3155 is on the point in Omaha, Nebraska on November 29,
the C&EI buzzsaw under the cab window. - Jerry Bosanek photo/Todd
& Eastern Illinois (MP) SD40-2 Unit #3155
She began life being
assembled from from a thousand pieces of iron and steel, bit by bit within
the Electro-Motive Division plant in LaGrange, Illinois. A new eagle was
being born (or should we say hatched?).
How much can be said
about just one SD40-2, one typical example of the best power the Missouri
Pacific Railroad had to offer? Let's try to unfold one life story, the
story of C&EI #3155. Let's begin with the beginning.
The EMD assembly
plant in LaGrange, Illinois was the company's only manufacturing facility
for many years. All EMD diesels were built here until the early 1980s.
The London, Ontario plant is the primary plant nowadays. LaGrange still
plays a role, though somewhat dimished, with sub-assembly, painting, and
In early 1974, one-dozen
skeletal Dash 2 forms took shape: starting from the rails up were two
sets of three axled HT-C trucks, the curved fuel tank (capacity?), the
largest bulk of the body was made up of a powerful prime mover based on
the proven 16-cylinder 645E3 power plant. Builders swarmed over the unit
to install wiring, plumbing, fans and vents. After the hood was lowered
over the powerplant, access doors, windows, controls. The biggest milestone
of final assembly is when the 40-2 unit is finally "trucked"
- when the body is lowered onto the wheel assemblies. All came together
into individual diesel-powered locomotives.
Finally a worker riveted
to the side sill a metal tag designating her as number 73748-17, built
in March 1974, 3000 horsepower; high traction C-C trucks; 391,000 pounds
operating weight. The newest and brightest in a steller line of rail power
- she was an EMD SD40-2 class locomotive.
Her initial assignment
wouldn't be far from her birth place, she'd be delivered to Mopac subsidiary
Chicago & Eastern Illinois, as their #3155,
part of the C&EI #3150-63 order which completed her roster (some sources
list C&EI's complete SD40-2 order included units #3139-3163, others
list only the 14 unit order as going to the company). These were the first
new units purchased for the company since MoPac control, the first C-C
power the road would own.
She wouldn't be alone,
as #3155 and her fourteen sister units would join a powerful SD fleet.
The EMD-built SD40-2's put into service by the Missouri Pacific where
the prefered road power of the railroad. They weren't flashy (save for
a very imposing bird of prey on each flank) or even outfitted with dynamic
brakes (the MoPac was a flatlander railroad with low profiles, and the
engineering department chose against the expense of installating DB's).
However these units were easy to maintain, smooth to operate, achieving
high speeds, had lots of traction and plenty of muscle when it was needed.
The Dash 2 became the standard throughout the 1970s and '80s.
Unit #3155 arrived
in time to receive the MoPac's new four-digit numbering that had just
been adopted to accomodate a re-newed roster swelled with the additions
of new SD locomotives and other merged motive power in 1974-75. The 3100-series
was reserved for the SD40-2, representing it's 3000 horse power rating.
She was delivered in standard "Jenks Blue" with 3-inch wide
scotchlite strips and 8-inch numbering. Incidentally, the final unit of
the order, #3163 was delivered in the new large number scheme, unlike
her sisters with the "turbo eagle" on the long hood.
Who was her first
road crew?... What was her initial assigment on the old C&EI? We will
never know, unless those parties involved should confess. We can safely
assume that without ceremony she was inducted into her maiden assignment.
An inconspicious crew van would pull up and dislodge a train crew fresh
for the road... the legendary Engineer and Brakeman... and in the good
old days this would also include the revered Conductor and Flagman who
would man the vermillion red caboose at the end of the long train. The
road crew would have been your average Joes, just doing their job. The
loco's crewmen would grab #3155's railing, climb up the steep steps and
squeeze into the cramped quarters of the gray crew cab (why did the railroads
coat the inside of everything gray?), stow their carry-ons, or "grips"
as they were called and begin checking out the sheets of orders as they
waited and waited upon a favorable signal that their train was clear to
One way to bide time
was to discuss the topics that you'd expect railroaders to discuss during
the wait, pouring coffee from a thermous and sipping the still-warm brew.
Another way was to go through your routines. The Brakeman had his own
ritual. He would duck through the doorway behind the Engineer's seat and
step out on the 2-foot wide decking of the long hood to check things over
- confirm the MU connections weren't loose and open the panel doors to
ready the massive prime mover inside. Meanwhile the engineer took his
place at the Dash 2's control stand, sat on the somewhat stiff vinyl seat
(unfortunately for this road crew, MoPac opted for strict functionality
- not comfort). It can be joked that the crew cab is sort of a haven for
the seasoned railroad man. Here amongst the noise, vibrations and fumes
in the confines of his spartan haven, settled happily on a soon-to-be
worn seat, under the soles of his shoes he feels the rejuvenating vibration
of power at his call, hearing the living-breathing sounds of valves popping,
pumps pumping, and the pulsing rise and fall of a diesel whine, shrill
but throaty at the same time... on this day it is one of the last refuges
where one can flee for the inner self.
Renumbering - Missouri Pacific 3100-series
SD40-2 #3155, in full double eagle dress -
(above and below) at Longview, Texas. -
Like the others in
her group of 14 C&EI units, #3155 was originally delivered with the
C&EI buzzsaw emblem. This emblem was basically a hybrid of both MP
and C&EI's heralds. As things involving railroads tend to do, things
would change. The C&EI had fallen under the flag of the MoPac, and
on October 16, 1976 word got out that
the C&EI would disappear into the parent road and cease to exist as
a seperate identity. At the same time Mopac modified it's own classic
buzzsaw emblem, and the road power gradually reflected this. The fourteen
C&EI 40-2's were under new ownership. One day, and with no ceremony.
#3155 would transform her identity with the application of the newer flying
eagle buzzsaw applied over the C&EI buzzsaw on the cab, a small version
of the billboard-sized white turbo eagle on her flanks. She and seven
others of the 14 became double eagles - engines with two eagles, one on
the cab and one on the long hood.
As I understand it,
this alteration was more or less done on the spot by train crews. A crewman
would lean out the cab window, peel off the adhesive backing and place
the eagle decal right over the old buzzsaw. Thus this unit became emblazoned
with double eagles, one of only a handful on the entire system.
Every locomotive had
it's personality, and train crews had definite preferences. The 40-2 model
was well liked. In fact she was a favorite of the EMD power that the railroads
employeed. She rode good (as good as rail power goes - all give a bumpy
ride more or less and we all know what long bumpy rides can do to a person's
innards), pulled her load well and was easy to maintain.
Over the course of
the following ten years she was fully owned and operated by the Missouri
Pacific system, resplendant in her "double eagles".
The #3155's sister,
MP #3154, made a brief appearance on moving film. Not the big screen mind
you, but in railfan movies assembled for video and issued under the title
"Vignettes of the Missouri Pacific." The grainy footage, shot sometime
between the late '70s to early '80s, shows her on the point waiting with
a northbound, and crossing the diamonds into Neff Yard in Kansas City.
A running joke through the tape the narrator jokes that the MoPac can't
get any respect.
That, in a big way,
We move ahead now.
There would be more changes... and more drastic. With
little ceremony as always, #3155 disappeared into a UP paint shop. She
would never emerge again. Not as the same unit anyway. Her blue livery
and large screaming eagle were gone. She was now another drop in a sea
of armour yellow and harbor mist gray. Of the original 14 units, three
(MP 4152, 4159, 4163) were repainted to UP yellow and gray, with Missouri
Pacific "block-style" lettering, between November 1984 and October
1985. These three were then relettered for the UP between April 1988 and
August 1993. Four years after the UP-MP merger, #3155 underwent her most
dramatic transformation yet, taking on the personae as Union Pacific #4155,
being renumbered into the 4100 series on 2nd
September 1986. This
renumbering program involved UP 4115-4163 in April 1986 through August
1993 (UP 4158, ex MP 3158, was the first, completed on 7 April 1986; UP
4132, ex MP 3132, was the last, completed on 25 August 1993).
As #4155 she would
still see her same crews, assignments and operate in the same general
area for a time, but more and more these engines would be dispersed all
across the nation far from "home" iron.
With UP's locomotive
number series woes with severely crowded being compounded the 1990's by
aquistions of the Southern Pacific and the Rio Grande, it was necessary
for yet another renumbering. This time it occured in November, 2nd, 2000,
and it required only the changing out of number boards: UP #4155 was swapped
for UP #9904, loosing the last numeric vestiges of it's original identity.
Recent records of
course are more complete than tracing back what occured a quarter of a
century ago. We can be sure though, that countless train crews have ridden
inside her cab, through numerous assignments ranging from coast to coast
and border to border. You name it, its a safe bet that the former #3155
hauled it. Refurbishments, repairs, and routine maintanence have kept
her workings running for a long long time, long enough to have travered
on just about every inch of the old Missouri Pacific system and much of
the newer one short of the mountainous regions.
As is happening on
roads everywhere with the early second generation power, as I write this
the SD40-2's are being phased out to be replaced by more modern third
generation offerings such as new EMD-built SD70M. As the years rolled
by, she doubtless would get more moody at times, perhaps coughing a little
bit more greasy black smoke each time her prime mover was turned-over
from cold. More componets needed to be replaced, and a little more rust
etched her thick metallic skin. Still, she had a job to do.
Renumbering - Union Pacific 9900-series
UP 9904 (ex-
#3155) in full colors of the 'Great Yellow Borge' (a.k.a. Union
Pacific R.R.), recently seen at east yard in San Antonio, Texas.
It has been
reported by some sources that UP 9904 had been retired last year.
Interestingly enough, this photo of the #9904 was taken in San Antonio
this past January 2003. Here she is the lead unit on an eastbound
(to Houston) freight.
retains her original snowplow (UP prefers a taller blade), the airhorn
and antennea placement remain the same, though an empty bell bracket
is visible on he "roof-line" of the long hood (with bell
moved under the body). Her dual nose lighting has also been removed
and blanked over. UP-style mars lighting has replaced these, just
above the front coupler lift bar. This group of 40-2's also were
delivered with old-style "car jack" type brake lever (later
deliveries had a brake wheel). The UP never saw it worth the expense
to refit these units with dynamic brakes.
note: According to the photographer who had the chance to get inside
the 9904, "As you open the side doors on the carbody near
the engine start switch, on the lower section near the frame you
can see "C&EI 3155" is still inbedded in the frame."
- Jay Glenewinkel
today, the former C&EI #3155 is spending her days parked on, rather
than plying, the high iron. At least that's what her current status is,
according to one UP source. Her sisters were renumbered into Union Pacific's
9900-series, except for one in the Y800 series after being rebuilt as
an SD38-2R (4/98), five became un-manned "B-units" renumbered
with "B" number prefix; the conversion and renumbering took place in June
through November 1992 (conversion
to trailing-unit-only status includes removal of refrigerators, toilets,
and cab seats).
Many of the
original 1974 C&EI order are now listed as retired, with the first
coming in 1999.
The days of deadline
units are spent waiting on a siding to be sold to another railroad or
traded-in for new power. As you walk close to these outcasts, the smell
of diesel fuel is over-powering from leaky fuel tanks and cannibalized
plumbing. These units all around show the scars of the years, their own
stories to tell and no one but you to whisper it to. You trace a hand
across the side sill of one grimey locomotive, though its dulled metal
you feel you've touched something that's perhaps still alive underneath.
After a very brief period as UP# 9904, our old C&EI SD40-2 was officially
retired by the Union Pacific on the 30th of January, 2002, only 2 months
shy of her 28th birthday.
#9904 (ex-C&EI/MP 3155) at ex-MP Sosan Yard diesel shop, in San Antonio,
Texas on Jan. 29, 2003 - Jay Glenewinkel Photo
So much for "Official"
Union Pacific SD40-2
#9904, the same unit listed as retired, was seen as recently as January
2003 in San Antonio being serviced at the ex-MoPac diesel shop. Later
that same month she was the lead unit on an eastbound to Houston freight
(photo above). To quote a famous phrase, reports of her demise are somewhat
exaggerated, to say the at least. Not too shabby for a dead-line unit!
If you see some inconspicous
SD40-2 flash by a lonely country road crossing, or relegated to a lonely
track for outcasts awaiting their ultimate fate, perhaps you'll think
of the long journey one Dash 2 has traced under her 12 wheels, her prime
mover throbbing with a bass growl the whole way, helping build our country
throughout a change-filled life on the railroad.
And now a final update...
is it the end of the line?
What a difference
12 months can make. The UP 9904 was sold at an auction in North Platte,
Nebraska on December 9, 2003 to an unknown buyer. Her condition is unknown,
but she was seen to be in very bad shape, after apparently being cannibalized.
Several parts were missing and the traction motors were shot. We don't
have an official retirement for her in 2003, but the 9904 (3155) joined
11 other former Mo-Pac SD40-2s that were also sold on the same day.
It is hoped
that these engines that were once the power of the Missouri Pacific
have still been saved from the scrapper and found new rails to call home,
but it seems doubtful.
Strack's UP-exMP Roster
Pacific Diesel Power" by Kevin EuDaly
The MP #3155 was
featured in the 1996 Calendar of the Missouri Pacific Historic Society.
The black and white photo shows her in double eagle scheme trailing
SD40 #3078 after crossing the Baring Cross Bridge at Little Rock, Arkansas
in December 17, 1978.