Identifying External Differences On Similar North American Locomotives

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Blacknred81, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    So thought this could be a good thread for those interested, basically pointing out some basic identification features on locomotives here in North America that are very similar in appearance but have small changes that set them apart.

    1st up are a few common EMD Geeps...

    EMD GP30
    GP30's are pretty easy to identify compared to other GP models, since EMD went to GM's Automotive Styling Center to help design the locomotive. This leaves the GP30 with its distinct "Hump" profile, as well as a rounded Cab.
    [​IMG]

    EMD GP35
    The GP35 was the 1st of EMD's locos that featured their signature Spartan Cab, which lasted up until the 1990's with the SD70. The most common identifying feature of a GP35 was the rear fans, which there were 3, but the middle one was smaller. It was also shorter than later models.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD GP38-2
    Compared to the GP35, EMD's GP38-2 had only 2 large fans on the rear of the long hood, they share the same frame as a GP40-2.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD GP40-2
    Compared to a GP38-2, the GP40-2 has 3 rear fans. Compared to the GP35, they are all the same size.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD GP50
    GP50's also shared a same frame as a GP38 and GP40. Only major visual differences I could find are the larger, more defined rear radiator intakes. However, sometimes a GP50 can be hard to identify from a GP40, depending on the model and year built.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD GP60
    For the most part, compared to other GP models, the GP60s came mostly equipped with angled dynamic brake blisters, however, some early model GP60's came with more rounded versions found on other GP models.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD GP15-1
    Compared to other GP models, the GP15-1 can easily be identified by its rear radiator section, which is similar to SD40T-2 and SD45T-2 tunnel motors, which has earn the locomotive the nickname "Baby Tunnel Motors" The similar GP15AC and GP15T also share this feature.
    [​IMG]

    Another pair of similar locomotives are GE's Dash 9 models and AC400CW models.

    For the most part a Dash 9 and an AC4400CW share the same basic shape, there is however 1 major difference between the two, which is located behind the cab on the left side of the locomotive. The Dash 9 only has the A/C unit located there, while the AC4400CW has a large cabinet located behind the cab, which is where the AC inverter equipment was located on the locomotive, which also moved the A/C unit below the cab.

    GE Dash 9
    [​IMG]

    GE AC4400CW
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot for putting this together. I still have some problems telling the different GPs apart and this helped a lot! :)
     
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  3. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    Round #2, this time looking at a few more modern locomotives.

    GE's AC4400's and AC6000's vs ES44's and ET44's

    GE AC4400CW
    [​IMG]

    GE AC6000CW
    Compared to the AC44, the AC6000CW has a larger Rear Radiator section, with parts of it extending past the rear walkway.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    GE ES44
    Compared to the AC4400's, the ES44's have a slightly larger rear radiator, but not as large as the AC6000's. It has also been slightly reprofiled.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    GE ET44
    The ET44's are GE's latest mainline freight locomotives, catering to the strict Tier IV emission regulations. Similar to the AC44 vs the AC6000, the ET44 boasts a larger radiator compared to the ES44's, with 4 screens all the same size and angle.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD SD70 series

    SD70
    The standard SD70, its the only one equipped with EMD's Spartan Cab.
    [​IMG]

    SD70M
    The SD70M was a variant of the standard SD70, equipped with a North American Safety Cab. Some later models came with angled rear radiators.
    [​IMG]

    Comparison of the 3 types of SD70M's rostered by the Union Pacific
    [​IMG]

    SD70I
    The SD70I was the same as the SD70M, except it was equipped with EMD's whisper cab, which can be identified by the noticeable seam on the nose of the loco.
    [​IMG]

    SD70MAC
    The SD70MAC was an AC version of the SD70, it is slightly longer than the SD70M, as well as featuring an angled blower bulge behind the cab on the conductor side.
    [​IMG]

    SD70ACe
    The SD70ACe has a few notable changes when compared to earlier SD70 models, taking some design features from the SD80 and SD90MACs. This includes a notched nose, a redone radiator section, and moving the dynamic brakes to the rear of the locomotive (Noted by the large vent an the end of the long hood).
    [​IMG]

    SD70M-2
    The SD70M-2 used the same basic carbody as the SD70ACe,however since the SD70M-2 is DC powered, it lacks the vents on the left side of the locomotive behind the cab for the AC inverters, instead an electrical cabinet is located here.
    [​IMG]

    SD70ACe-T4
    The Tier IV compliant version of the SD70ACe, it has a good amount of changes to the carbody of the locomotive, this includes a redesigned radiator section, as well as the mid part of the roofline is now flush to the rear of the locomotive.
    [​IMG]

    EMD SD80MAC vs SD90MAC

    The SD80MAC and SD90MACs are basically the same, the only major exterior detail that can distinguish the 2 is the rear sand box, as the SD80MAC's doesn't go all the way to the top of the locomotive. Some later SD90MACs were also equipped with a notched nose.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  4. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

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    If I may offer a suggestion, would you consider covering the different F-units (specifically F2 vs F3 vs F7)? I know it may be a bit off-topic as for now we'll only have an F7 in-game, but I would appreciate your style of guide for distinguishing them:)
     
  5. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    Ill do what I can, but early research may make a few a little hard to identify.
     
  6. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    EMD F-Units

    EMD FT
    The original F-Unit, the FT was easily identified by its side portholes, in which 4 of them exist on the side positioned very close to each other.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD F2
    Compared to the original FT, the F2's had only 3 side portholes evenly spaced out on the side of the locomotive. One way to identify an F2 from an F3 was the front numberboards, which were smaller than the F3, however, as shown with the Rock Island Unit, some railroads had them changed to the larger boards.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD F3
    This is where identification gets a little tricky, between an F2 and F3, the F3's only came with the larger numberboards. Between an F3 and F7, the F3's were the only locos equipped with Chicken Wire style that came on most units. However, a late F3 and an early F7 can be extremely hard to identify from one another.

    -Early F3
    [​IMG]

    -Later F3
    [​IMG]

    EMD F7
    The only real difference I see from most F3's from most F7's is the dynamic brake fan at the top of the locomotive, As described from someone else on another site:

    -"Perhaps the best spotting feature is the dynamic brake fan/grid opening. The F3 had 2 longitudinal screened panels on the roof behind the cab for the dynamic brake cooling. The F7s had a 36 inch fan housing the same as the ones in the back for the radiator."

    Compare the top of this Santa Fe F7 to the F3 above, and you can see the difference in the Dynamic brake fan (The 1st Fan behind the cab on the roof)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD FP7
    The FP7 was a special passenger variant of the F7. The locomotive was 4ft longer for larger water tanks for the steam generator. The extra space was added behind the 1st porthole, increasing the distance between it and the 1st side carbody filter grille.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD F9
    The F9 was easily identifiable from an F7 due to an extra side carbody filter grille being added in front of the 1st porthole.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD FP9
    The FP9 was essentially the same thing as the FP7 was for the F7, a slightly longer loco for passenger service. Identification is the same with the extra space being added behind the 1st porthole.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EMD FL9
    The EMD FL9 was a duel mode locomotive, being able to run on diesel and electric power. Some early models were equipped with a pantograph due to long gaps of the 3rd rails in Grand Central Terminals complex track work, though all units used retractable 3rd Rail shoes. They can be identified by their unusual truck arrangement, a B-A1A arrangement. The larger rear truck was necessary due to the large steam boiler that these locos carried.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  7. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot for taking my suggestion to heart. Very interesting to read and really helpful :D
     
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  8. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    Next Up is the comparison with the SD38s,SD39s,SD40s and SD45s and their Dash 2 counterparts. The SD38,SD39,SD40 and SD45 all share the same frame, as the SD38-2, SD40-2, and SD45-2 did as well.

    Dash 2 differences
    So the main telling point between a Dash 2 and a standard model for these locomotive were usually the trucks, as the Dash 2 models were equipped with dampening struts, and were usually the HT-C style trucks vs the older Fexcoils that were used before EMD rolled out the Dash 2 models. These trucks also resulted in a larger frame, with an extra 3 feet being added to the Dash 2 models.
    [​IMG]

    SD38/SD38-2
    The 1st entry is the SD38 and SD38-2. They topped about 2000hp. They had 2 rear radiator fans and 2 fans above the Dynamic Brake Blister (If Equipped)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    UP SD38-2 vs a SD40-2 and SD40N.
    [​IMG]

    SD39
    The SD39 was an interesting loco, as it used a smaller prime mover compared to the SD38 and the SD40, using a 12 cylinder variant of EMD's 645 engine that was turbocharged (SD38s and SD40s used 16 cylinder prime movers). So it had the most unused space on the frame. Only notable difference I see between a SD38 and a SD39 is the box area located in front of the Dynamic Brake Blister on the roof is missing on the SD39. No SD39-2 models were produced, though some railroad upgraded SD39 to Dash 2 standards, and some SD40-2 have been reclassified as an SD39-2.
    [​IMG]

    SDL39
    The SDL39 was also an interesting model, easily identified by their very short length. Only 10 were built and all went to the Milwaukee Road, which later went to the SOO line, then to the Wisconsin Central. After the CN bought out the WC, the 9 remaining SDL39s went to Chile, where they still work today.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    SD40/SD40-2
    One of the most successful and well know locomotive designs in the US. The SD40 and SD40-2 had 3 rear fans when compared to the 2 on the SD38. The Large porches on the front and rear of the loco make the SD40-2 stand out from its non Dash 2 cousin.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    SD40T-2
    The Tunnel Motor Variant of the SD40-2, can be easily identified by its modified rear radiator section, ordered only by the Southern Pacific, Cotton Belt, and the Rio Grande railroad.
    [​IMG]

    SD40-2W
    These were SD40-2s built by GMD, they were equipped with the Canadian Style Wide Cab and 4 piece windscreen. All 123 were ordered by Canadian National
    [​IMG]

    SD40-2F
    Full Car Body version of the SD40-2, though unlike the SD40-2W, had a 3 piece windscreen equipped. Only 25 were produced for Canadian Pacific, though some later ended up with the Central Maine & Quebec.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    SD45
    Unlike the rest of the locomotives on this list, the standard version of the SD45 actually had its carbody changed with the Dash-2 upgrades. the SD45 had flared rear radiators and kept the 3 rear radiator fans the SD40's had.
    [​IMG]

    SD45X
    The SD45X was an experimental SD45 built by EMD, it boasted a whopping 4200HP (200hp short of todays locomotives), though only 6 entered service (7 total built), all with the Southern Pacific. They had 4 rear radiator fans and 2 flared rear radiator grills compared to the 3 on the SD45. Outside of 9503, they were both different sizes. They also carried the Dash 2 Upgrades like the HTC trucks.
    [​IMG]

    A standard SP SD45 compared to a SP SD45X
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    SD45-2
    The SD45-2 had its long hood changed with the Dash 2 upgrades as the rear radiators were no longer flared out. They still stand out from an SD40-2 by having a longer long hood, thus lacking the "Porches" that the SD40-2 is well known for.
    [​IMG]

    SD45T-2
    Like its cousin the SD40T-2, the SD45T-2 was a variant of the SD45-2 with the Cooling System Modifications, however these units were exclusive to the Southern Pacific and subsidiary Cotton Belt. They are identified from an SD40T-2 by the rear fan access doors, which the SD45T-2 had 3 of them compared to the 2 on the SD40T-2.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. fanta1682002

    fanta1682002 Well-Known Member

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    VERY GOOD USA TRAIN PHOTO
     
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  10. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    Excellent and valuable work . A real keeper.
     
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  11. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    Should be pinned.

    (because there are a lot of newbies who may not know things the OP with his extensive fund assumes are just common knowledge, he might want to add a couple of basics like the difference between GPs and SDs, or GE Bs and Cs)
     
  12. driverwoods#1787

    driverwoods#1787 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent Work and speaking of Passenger Locomotives you can do SEPTA AEM-7 & ALP-44M LIRR DM30AC & DE30AC and the Amtrak Genesis locomotives.
     
  13. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    Now for the F45, FP45, SDP40F/SDF40-2, and the F40C

    So the F45 and FP45 were based off the SD45, so they use the earlier Felxcoil trucks (As mentioned above) The FP45 was longer than the F45, due to it having the steam generator, which was added to the rear of the locomotive.

    F45
    ATSF_5932_TV780805S2614u.jpg

    FP45
    1e7727bd45242d2218dc3bca008c45a4.jpg

    For the SDP40F, this locomotive was based off of the FP45, and an SD40-2, because of this it uses the Dash-2 HTC trucks (Instead of the Flexcoils that the F45 and FP45 used), since these were used only by Amtrak, the lacked any front steps or railings. The steam boiler area was also larger than the FP45's.

    SDP40F
    7ffc74215379128008506faaa8d27fd8.jpg

    After they were retired by Amtrak, they were traded to the Santa Fe railroad for some CF7's and SSB1200. When they were modified for freight use, they had steps and railings added to the front of the locomotive, the nose also became notched for improved boarding access, making them stand out from Santa Fe's F45 and FP45s.

    SDF40-2
    97a2c9cc0a30b54610d873323adbaaf6.jpg

    An oddball standout is the F40C, the F40C was based off of the SDP40F, but was significantly shorter (68 ft 10 in (20.98 m) vs 72 ft 4 in (22.0 m)). Aside from that, the locos had stainless steel panels installed on the side of the locomotives.

    F40C
    1908.jpg

    Probably not, I'm not familiar with any of them except for the Genesis models.
     
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  14. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    One fun fact about the F45, 1 has since been retired, it has now been remodeled into a Lodge at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex Montana.
    258-40628v0_20130707.jpg
    GN441liv5.jpg
    Amtrak_night1.jpg
    GN441plan1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  15. fizpix

    fizpix Well-Known Member

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    What's the difference between the dash locomotives like the dash 9 and dash 8
     
  16. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    Well, starting off, we have to look the GE U-Boats/Universal Series(Which I might cover later.)
    More specifically the U36C

    U36C
    [​IMG]

    Now in comparison to the Dash 7's that replaced the Universal Series, we'll look at the C36-7.
    From the U36C to the C36-7, GE added bigger battery boxes and re-profiled the rear grills on the C36 over the U36. One note is that compared to the rest of the Dash 7 series, is that the C36-7 had a large box and added grills behind the cab for the dynamic brakes. The B-B trucked units lacked a grill behind the cab.

    C36-7
    [​IMG]

    C30-7
    [​IMG]

    B36-7
    [​IMG]

    B30-7 (Note BN had 5 cabless B30-7's classified as B30-7a)
    [​IMG]

    B23-7
    [​IMG]

    One standout of the Dash 7 models however, was the BQ23-7, which was equipped with a boxy cab, designed to be a crew quarters. Another unique feature is that they rode on EMD Blomberg trucks from trade ins.

    BQ23-7
    [​IMG]

    For the Dash 8's we'll start with the C39-8, C32-9 and B32-8.

    These locos had a unique hump profile behind the cab, the rear radiator section was reprofiled again, being larger than the Dash 7, as well as more angular. The cabs of these units were not well liked, and were eventually redone on the other Dash 8 models, some C39-8 had the new cabs and were listed as C39-8E's.

    C39-8
    [​IMG]

    C32-8
    [​IMG]

    B32-8
    [​IMG]


    When the new cabs were introduced, they changed the roof profile of the cab to be flush with the hump that was on the C39-8, the rear radiator section was reprofiled again, now the upper side vents were angled out.

    C40-8
    [​IMG]

    B39-8
    [​IMG]

    B40-8
    [​IMG]


    The C40-8W and B40-8W were models that were equipped with the NA widecabs, and were the 1st GE models to feature it.

    C40-8W
    [​IMG]

    B40-8W
    [​IMG]

    A passenger variant was also made for Amtrak, these units were based on the B40-8W. Outside of being only owned by Amtrak, they also had a much smaller fuel tank. These units were classified as a P32-8BWH or a Dash 8-32BWH.

    P32-8BWH
    [​IMG]

    For CSX, they ended up with pre-production models of the Dash 9, which still used the Dash 8 carbody as a base, The only change from a C40-8W to the C44-8Ws was a longer carbody to house the newer Dash 9 components.

    C44-8W
    [​IMG]

    When the Dash 9's eventually came out, they had a few distinct features that set them apart from the Dash 8's. 1st the Dash 9's received new "HiAd" trucks, the rear radiator was reprofiled (again), they had 6 boarding steps (Vs 5 on the Dash 8's) and the fuel tank had 2 beveled edges compared to the dash 8's one. The C40-9s that were solely owned by Norfolk Southern could be identified by their AC units on top of the cab, earning the nickname "Tophats".

    C40-9
    [​IMG]

    C40-9W
    [​IMG]

    C44-9W
    [​IMG]
     
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