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The EMD SD40-2 is a diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division between January 1972 and February 1986; 3,957 examples were built, and every class 1 railroad in North America has operated this locomotive. Part of the EMD Dash 2 line, the SD40-2 was an upgraded SD40 with modular electronic control systems, HT-C trucks, and many other detail improvements. The SD40-2 is one of the best-selling diesel locomotive models of all time. BNSF, CSXT, Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific operate some of the largest fleets of the type.

The SD40-2 was not the most powerful locomotive type even when introduced; EMD's SD45 and SD45-2 delivered , as did GE Transportation Systems' U36B/C and MLW's M636. However, the SD40-2 was significantly more reliable and economical than the higher-powered units, the latter becoming increasingly important with the oil crises of the 1970s.

The British Rail Class 59 was derived from the SD40-2.

Appearance and spotting features

Just as the SD38, SD39, SD40, and SD45 shared a common frame, so too did the SD38-2, SD40-2, and SD45-2. It was longer than the previous models, giving an overall locomotive length of over the coupler pulling faces. The SD38-2 and SD40-2 shared the same basic superstructure, since they both used the same 16-645E3 engine (in naturally aspirated and turbocharged form respectively); the long hood was longer than the SD38 and SD40, but since the increase in frame length was even greater, the SD38-2 and SD40-2 were left with even larger front and rear "porches" than the earlier models. These empty areas at front and rear are distinctive spotting features to identify the Dash 2 models of both units. The SD40-2 can be distinguished from the SD38-2 by having three roof-mounted radiator fans instead of two. Another distinguishing feature of the SD40-2 as compared to the SD40 is the SD40-2's trucks (HT-C truck), which have shock absorbers on the outside of middle axle. However, this is not true of the former Conrail SD40-2s. After a rash of derailments involving Amtrak SDP40F units that were equipped with HT-C trucks, Conrail ordered the SD40-2 units and several orders of SD50s with the older flexicoil trucks.

As of 2008, some SD45 units have been modified by replacing their 20 cylinder engine with the 16 cylinder removed from otherwise scrapped SD40-2 units. This was common practice for units owned by Union Pacific and possibly other owners. In many cases these are identified by the owner as SD40-2, SD40M-2 or some other such means. Confusion is created when what appears to be an SD45 is labeled as an SD40-2.

Also, some older SD40-2 units used in low-power modes such as yard switching or hump service have been de-turbocharged, resulting in the mechanical equivalent of a SD38-2. Units so modified may or may not be re-labeled.

There are several variations of the SD40-2. Such as the SD40T-2's (T for tunnel motor) bought by fallen flags: Southern Pacific, and Denver and Rio Grande Western; now operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. There is the SD40-2W (W for the 4-Window Safety Cab) bought and operated by the Canadian National railway. There were high-nosed versions of the SD40-2 bought by fallen flags: Norfolk & Western, & Southern Railway. These units are now operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway (Resulting merger of N&W and The Southern Railway). There are even some narrow gauge versions around the world called BB40-2's.

Three cabless SD40-2Bs were also rebuilt from standard SD40-2s by the Burlington Northern Railroad in the early 1980s. The units had been in collisions and it was decided that it would be more economical to rebuild them without cabs. Canadian Pacific also owns a few SD40-2Bs. These were created by welding metal plates over the cab windows of many of its ex-Norfolk Southern and some of its original SD40-2s.

Additional specifications

Main generator: AR10 alternator
Traction motors: 6 × D77/78 DC
Standard gearing: 62:15

Original Owners

Americanmarker SD40-2 orders
Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 187 5020-5192, 5200-5213 Most now in service with BNSF Railway
Burlington Northern Railroad 779 900-925, 930-961, 980, 996, 6325-6385, 6700-6799, 6824-6836, 6917-6928, 7000-7291, 7832-7940, 8000-8181 Most now in service with BNSF Railway
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 20 7600-7619 Now in service with CSX Transportation
Chicago and North Western Railway 135 6801-6935 Most now in service with Union Pacific Railroad
Conrail 167 6358-6524 Equipped with flexicoil trucks. Now renumbered and in service with CSX, Norfolk Southern, or leasing firms
Clinchfield Railroad 5 8127-8129, 8131-8132 Family Lines Paint, to Seaboard System, now in service with CSX Transportation
Illinois Central Gulf Railroad 4 6030-6033 6031 was converted into 6200, 6033 was destroyed in a collision in Flora, Mississippimarker on February 6, 1994
Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation 7 101-107
Kansas City Southern Railway 46 637-692 637 was first EMD SD40-2 built
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 191 1259-1278, 3554-3612, 8000-8039, 8067-8086, 8095-8126, 8133-8162 8000s units delivered in Family Lines paint; all to Seaboard System, now in service with CSX Transportation
Milwaukee Road 90 21-30, 171-209, 3000-3040 Now in service among several various railroads
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad 37 600-636 Most now in service with Union Pacific Railroad
Missouri Pacific Railroad 306 790-838, 3139-3321, 6020-6073 Most without dynamic brakes, some still in service with Union Pacific Railroad, others in service with Canadian National Railway.
Norfolk and Western Railway 162 1625-1652, 6073-6207 Some are High hood units. Now in service with the Norfolk Southern Railway
Oneida and Western Railroad 8 9950-9957 Later became BC Rail 743-750, 749 is now GECX 749
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 10 4790-4799 Later became Illinois Central Gulf 6040-6049. Six are in service with Wisconsin and Southern Railroad
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 36 8040-8066, 8087-8094, 8130 Delivered in Family Lines Paint, to Seaboard System, now in service with CSX Transportation
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway 8 950-957 Now in service with the BNSF Railway
Soo Line Railroad 57 757-789, 6600-6623 Most now in service with the Canadian Pacific Railway
Southern Railway 128 3201-3328 High hood units; now in service with Norfolk Southern Railway
Union Pacific Railroad 686 3123-3239, 3243-3304, 3335-3399, 3410-3583, 3609-3808, 8000-8002, 8035-8099 Several have been renumbered and others retired to leasers. 3200-3410 delivered with snoot noses.
Canadianmarker SD40-2 orders
Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Algoma Central Railway 6 183-188
BC Rail 17 751-767
Canadian Pacific Railway 484 5560, 5565-5879, 5900-6069
Canadian National Railway 123 5241-5363 These units had the Canadian Safety Cab with 4 windows and were classified as SD40-2W
Ontario Northland Railway 8 1730-1737
Quebec, North Shore and Labrador Railway 44 221-264
Export SD40-2 orders
Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Boke Project (Guineamarker) 3 107-109
Ferrocarriles Unidos del Sureste (Mexico) 4 601-604
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México 103 8700-8798, 13001-13004


A number of SD40-2s have been rebuilt into other models. Some of the most unusual are the narrow gauge BB40-2 for use in Brazil.

Conversely, several other models of EMD locomotive have sometimes been rebuilt to SD40-2 standards, including the SD40, SD45 and SD45-2. Normally this consists of electrical upgrades (-2) and replacing the 20 cylinder prime mover with a 16 cylinder version from a scrapped or damaged unit.


The SD22ECO is an EMD SD40-2 or similar, repowered with an EMD 8-710-ECO engine. The resulting locomotive is rated at , and meets EPA Tier II emissions regulations.


The Union Pacific donated 3028 - former Chicago & North Western 6847 - to the Illinois Railway Museummarker in Union, Illinoismarker in June 2009. The locomotive has since been restored to its former CNW livery.


Foot notes

  2. IRM acquires an EMD SD40-2


See also

External links

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