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Western Railroad Discussion > SD is the new GP?


Date: 08/12/19 01:47
SD is the new GP?
Author: Evan_Werkema

About 30 years ago, equipped with a new driver's license but a short leash, I used to putter around Albuquerque, NM looking for something, anything, to photograph along Santa Fe's sleepy "northern main line."  Once in a while, I would stumble onto the yard job that worked industries south of town, including the Albuquerque Metals scrapyard on a spur that crossed 2nd St. north of Rio Bravo Blvd.  The spur and scrapyard have been at that location since at least the mid-60's, when 1000 hp Baldwin switchers were the standard yard power in Albuquerque. I've never seen a photo to confirm that it happened, but I can easily imagine a blue and yellow VO1000 working this job, burbling across 2nd with a few gons of scrap in tow.  By the time I came on the scene in the late 80's and early 90's, the yard power around Albuquerque was almost exclusively 4-axle EMD stuff with 2000 or more horsepower: GP20's, 30's, 35's, 38's, or 39-2's.  The 38's and 39's were never the pride of the fleet even when they were new, but the 20's, 30's, and 35's at least had begun life as premier, main line road power, and were busted down to these assignments as bigger stuff took over the high-speed, high-priority, long-distance traffic.

1) July 10, 1989: GP35 2953 approaches the 2nd St. crossing with the Albuquerque Metals scrap piles and cranes in the background.  The crossing at this time was protected with crossbucks, supplemented with fusees like the one at lower right tossed out by the switch crew.

2) June 12, 1990: GP39-2 3678 crosses 2nd with the main line to the left.

3) We didn't know the term "shoving platform" in 1990, but that's how Ce-9 class waycar 999579 was being used this day.  Time was growing short for standard cupola cabooses on Santa Fe, and this particular example would be off the roster by the end of the year.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 02:59 by Evan_Werkema.








Date: 08/12/19 03:01
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: Evan_Werkema

Last week, I was back in the Duke City revisiting some of my old haunts when I again stumbled across the yard job switching Albuquerque Metals.  The work that was presumably once performed by 1000 hp Baldwin switchers in the 60's and 2000+ hp Geeps in the 90's was now being done by a 3800 hp Cascade Green SD60M!

4) BNSF 1457, built in 1991 for far grander exploits than this, picks its way carefully over rails that we can only assume have ties under them.

5-6) The 2nd St. crossing now has gates and lights, the scrapyard has gates and fencing, and the freight cars and locomotives have graffiti, but the job at least still merits a "shoving platform" in the person of Ce-11 class 999794.

Railroads have been demoting older road power to more menial tasks for over a century, at least since the days when the 4-4-0's were eclipsed by larger engines, and we (which is to say, I) really ought to be used to it by now.  Still, I wonder if the fans who knew Albuquerque in the Baldwin switcher days found the sight of a GP35 road switcher on this job anywhere near as jarring as I did seeing a 6-axle widenose bruiser on it.








Date: 08/12/19 05:46
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: Hookdragkick

Adding a crossing there was the best thing the company did for that job. Crews got tired of trying to stop traffic or get ran over by drivers who refused to stop. The track to the far left services DPC Industries Inc.



Date: 08/12/19 06:11
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: CM80-46

Great pics of “ off the mainline “ railroading. I wonder if they keep the fuel tank level at a minimum so the unit doesn’t sink or possibly derail. Surprised they don’t utilize empty cars to reach into light rail spurs to place and retrieve customers cars. Once a unit the size of an SD60 rolls rail on track as your pics show its will take a sizable crane to re-rail it. Would the railroad be responsible to rebuild the track? If BNSF refused I can see the scrapyard getting a lawyer, asking the question,” didnt you you have a smaller, lighter weight locomotive to switch the loads-empties on my clients privite rail spur?  I would bet that the crew is always on pins and needles when they venture into these poorly maintained spurs to do switching.
Can the railroad refuse service until some rehab is performed on poor privite trackage?
Again, thank you for the then and now pictures.
CM80.46



Date: 08/12/19 07:28
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: GBW309

My son manages a shredding operation in Illinois.  CP rail delivers the cars  outside of the fence and the scrap processor  does their own switching with a GE 60 tonner.  Their track is in better shape than what is shown but CP rail still refused to venture into the facility.  

Dave



Date: 08/12/19 07:50
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: crackerjackhoghead

CM80-46 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great pics of “ off the mainline “
> railroading. I wonder if they keep the fuel tank
> level at a minimum so the unit doesn’t sink or
> possibly derail. Surprised they don’t utilize
> empty cars to reach into light rail spurs to place
> and retrieve customers cars.

Although a 6 axle unit is heavier, it actually has a lighter axle loading than a geep.
 



Date: 08/12/19 09:03
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: arizonaBNSF

Very nice shots, interesting to see how things have changed at that spot in 30 years.

I watched them switch that spot last August when I was passing through ABQ. When I was there they were using a blue & yellow SD40-2 (BNSF 1608 I believe) and it was quite fun watching a big unit like that move over that awful track. 



Date: 08/12/19 09:15
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: santafe199

Evan_Werkema Wrote: > ...  built in 1991 for far grander exploits than this ...

I remember when these units were still 'out there on the horizon'. There was a lot of hoop-lah about them. For a long time on our bulletin board in Missoula there was a xerox copy of some magazine page (maybe Railway Quarterly?) showing one of the new wide cab 60s. Some MRL joker had scribbled: "Last seen at Jones Jct (E of Billings) heading this way." I was less than year past promotion to locomotive engineer and was looking forwad to running one of these new beasts. I finally got my chance with a triclops cab and was less-than-enthused after the trip was done. The cab comfort level was nil. And as I recall user appreciation of the new "desktop" automatic brake~independant brake~throttle arrangement was not exactly a runaway success according to most of the hoggers I talked to...

Lance



Date: 08/12/19 12:53
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: Kimball

Great B-4 after!
Is axle loading the real factor in rolling rail or otherwise damaging track?  I would think the load applied by the whole truck would be more important???



Date: 08/12/19 12:55
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: PHall

BNSF has had a four axle unit shortage for years. So the jobs that "have" to have a four axle unit because of trackage or other concerns usually get them
and the jobs that can get by with a six axle unit get whatever they get.
The fact that BNSF is willing to spend money rebuilding their EMD four axle units just shows how much they need them.



Date: 08/12/19 13:20
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: callum_out

The issue isn't so much axle loading as it is wheelbase on trackage as shown in the "reclaimation" yard
(used to be a junk yard but we've progressed).

Out



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 15:19 by callum_out.



Date: 08/12/19 15:06
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: skinem

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> BNSF has had a four axle unit shortage for years.
> So the jobs that "have" to have a four axle unit
> because of trackage or other concerns usually get
> them
> and the jobs that can get by with a six axle unit
> get whatever they get.
> The fact that BNSF is willing to spend money
> rebuilding their EMD four axle units just shows
> how much they need them.
How else are they (BNSF) going to get them if they don't rebuild them? Not many places to buy 'em new nowadays.



Date: 08/12/19 15:48
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: 2720

The SDs have also become new SWs!!

Mike



Date: 08/12/19 16:49
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: PHall

skinem Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> PHall Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > BNSF has had a four axle unit shortage for
> years.
> > So the jobs that "have" to have a four axle
> unit
> > because of trackage or other concerns usually
> get
> > them
> > and the jobs that can get by with a six axle
> unit
> > get whatever they get.
> > The fact that BNSF is willing to spend money
> > rebuilding their EMD four axle units just shows
> > how much they need them.
> How else are they (BNSF) going to get them if they
> don't rebuild them? Not many places to buy 'em new
> nowadays.

Do like UP and get rent-a-wrecks from Larry's Truck & Electric.



Date: 08/12/19 16:55
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: SD45X

More like the kids nowadays cry if they run long hood forwards. Ok, TWO GPs for a four car train local.


Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> BNSF has had a four axle unit shortage for years.
> So the jobs that "have" to have a four axle unit
> because of trackage or other concerns usually get
> them
> and the jobs that can get by with a six axle unit
> get whatever they get.
> The fact that BNSF is willing to spend money
> rebuilding their EMD four axle units just shows
> how much they need them.



Date: 08/12/19 17:36
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: skinem

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> skinem Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > PHall Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > BNSF has had a four axle unit shortage for
> > years.
> > > So the jobs that "have" to have a four axle
> > unit
> > > because of trackage or other concerns usually
> > get
> > > them
> > > and the jobs that can get by with a six axle
> > unit
> > > get whatever they get.
> > > The fact that BNSF is willing to spend money
> > > rebuilding their EMD four axle units just
> shows
> > > how much they need them.
> > How else are they (BNSF) going to get them if
> they
> > don't rebuild them? Not many places to buy 'em
> new
> > nowadays.
>
> Do like UP and get rent-a-wrecks from Larry's
> Truck & Electric.
 They've already got some of the FURBIES the UP let go back.



Date: 08/12/19 17:38
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: skinem

SD45X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> More like the kids nowadays cry if they run long
> hood forwards. Ok, TWO GPs for a four car train
> local.
>
>
> Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > BNSF has had a four axle unit shortage for
> years.
> > So the jobs that "have" to have a four axle
> unit
> > because of trackage or other concerns usually
> get
> > them
> > and the jobs that can get by with a six axle
> unit
> > get whatever they get.
> > The fact that BNSF is willing to spend money
> > rebuilding their EMD four axle units just shows
> > how much they need them.
No kid here...and despise running long hood forward. 



Date: 08/12/19 19:23
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: jgilmore

Yes, I would find that jarring too. In fact, I was just at that same spot a few weeks ago and was hoping to see some switching but nothing happened as luck would have it. As I looked down that trackage I never would have imagined any six-motor unit navigating back there, but as you say the SD is the new GP. Seen other places where SD's are switching trackage you wouldn't think possible. Out by me, Lubbock and Western uses several SD's on some seriously wobbly ex-SF trackage, the branches to Levelland and Brownfield and their industry spurs, but the train consists are heavy so they must feel the extra traction is worth the super slow speeds and risk of derailment. Cool shots...

JG



Date: 08/13/19 14:05
Re: SD is the new GP?
Author: SantaFeRuss

Evan, nice then and now Albuquerque stuff. Thanks for sharing with us! I heard recently Albuquerque gets a pig train from Belen powered by two Santa Fe painted GP39-2 locomotives. That's pretty cool

SantaFeRuss



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