Burlington Northern Santa Fe 6731, EMD SD40-2, September 27, 2007.

(terry cantrell, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The EMD SD40-2 is a 3,000-horsepower (2,200 kW) C-C diesel-electric locomotive built by EMD from 1972 to 1989.

The SD40-2 was introduced in January 1972 as part of EMD's Dash 2 series, competing against the GE U30C and the ALCO Century 630. Although higher-horsepower locomotives were available, including EMD's own SD45-2, the reliability and versatility of the 3,000-horsepower (2,200 kW) SD40-2 made it one of the best-selling models in EMD's history, edged out only by the GP9, and was the standard of the industry for several decades after its introduction. The SD40-2 was an improvement over the SD40, with modular electronic control systems similar to those of the experimental DDA40X.

Peak production of the SD40-2 was in the mid-1970s. Sales of the SD40-2 began to diminish after 1981 due to the oil crisis, increased competition from GE's Dash-7 series and the introduction of the EMD SD50, which was available concurrently to late SD40-2 production. The last SD40-2 delivered to a United States railroad was built in July 1984, with production continuing for railroads in Canada until 1988, Mexico until February 1986, and Brazil until October 1989.

The SD40-2 has seen service in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Guinea. To suit export country specifications, General Motors designed the JT26CW-SS (British Rail Class 59) for Great Britain, the GT26CW-2 for Yugoslavia, South Korea, Iran, Morocco, Peru and Pakistan, while the GT26CU-2 went to Zimbabwe and Brazil. Various customizations led Algeria to receive their version of a SD40-2, known as GT26HCW-2.


Appearance and spotting features

As the SD38, SD39, SD40, and SD45 shared a common frame, so too did the SD38-2, SD40-2, and SD45-2. It was 3 ft (0.91 m) longer than the previous models, giving a length of 68 ft 10 in (20.98 m) over the coupler pulling faces. The SD38-2 and SD40-2 shared the same basic superstructure, since they used the same 16-645 engine (in Roots-blown and turbocharged form respectively); the long hood was 18 inches (457 mm) longer than the SD38 and SD40, but since the increase in frame length was even greater, the SD38-2 and SD40-2 had even larger front and rear "porches" than the earlier models. These empty areas at front and rear are spotting features to identify the Dash 2 models of both units. The SD40-2 can be distinguished from the SD38-2 by its three roof-mounted radiator fans instead of two, and a single large exhaust stack instead of two smaller stacks.

The increase in the frame length between the preceding 40 Series and the 40-2 Series six-axle locomotives was made to accommodate the new HT-C truck design, in which the traction motors all face the same direction, making the trucks longer. After a series of derailments involving Amtrak SDP40F units that were equipped with "hollow bolster" HT-C trucks, applied only to the SDP40F, Conrail ordered the SD40-2 units and several orders of SD50s with the older Flexicoil trucks, but the HT-C truck was vindicated and it ultimately went under most 40 Series, 50 Series and 60 Series six-axle locomotives, and this truck is still found under many remanufactured locomotives.

Some SD45 and SD45-2 units have been modified by replacing their 20-cylinder engine with the 16-cylinder removed from scrapped SD40-2 units; this was common on Union Pacific and possibly other railroads. In many cases these are identified by the owner as SD40-3, SD40M-2 or some such. Confusingly, what appears to be an SD45 is labeled as an SD40-2. 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-2s (Informally: T for tunnel motor; the actual EMD designation is "SD40-2 With Cooling System Modification", as stated on this model's EMD manuals) bought by the former Southern Pacific, and Denver and Rio Grande Western railroads; now operated by Union Pacific. The SD45 tunnel motor equivalent, the SD45T-2 model, was also utilized by Southern Pacific. Many tunnel motors were rebuilt and sold second-hand to a handful of American shortlines including, Bessemer and Lake Erie, Illinois Railway and Missouri and Northern Arkansas, as well as Canadian shortline Goderich-Exeter Railway. There is the SD40-2W (W for the 4-Window Safety Cab) bought and operated by the Canadian National railway. High-nosed versions of the SD40-2 were bought by Norfolk & Western, & Southern Railway. These units are now operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway (Resulting merger of N&W and Southern Railway). A narrow gauge version produced for Ferrovia Central Atlantico in Brazil is the BB40-2.

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 BN decided that it was 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.


SD40-2 production variations


NS 3204, an example of a SD40-2 built with a high short hood. (MeRyan, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


NS 3408, which rides on Flexicoil C trucks. (Railfan Jack at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Ohio Central Railroad System 5855 was built with an extended rear deck. (KLWhitehead, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Additional specifications

Main generator: AR10 alternator
Traction motors: 6 × D77/78 DC
Standard gearing: 62:15
Maximum speed with 62:15 gearing: 65 mph (105 km/h)
Continuous TE with 62:15 gearing: 83100 lb

A CSXT SD40-2 waiting in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. (The original uploader was TVSRR at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Original owners

American SD40-2 orders

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 187 5020-5192, 5200-5213 Almost all in service with BNSF Railway, however BNSF 6351, was wrecked and scrapped at Gunter, Texas in 2004.
Burlington Northern Railroad 835 6325–6334, 6348–6373, 6376–6385, 6700–6836, 6840–6847, 6850–6851, 6900–6928, 6950, 7000–7291, 7800–7940, 8000–8181 Most now in service with BNSF Railway and leasing firms, 7167-7205, 7206-7235, & 8074-8089 were the only SD40-2s built by General Motors Diesel as exports to the United States, when EMD LaGrange IL plant was overloaded with orders. EMD sent the three orders to GMD London, Ontario. Burlington Northern 7149 and 7890 were LNG test units modified by energy conversions. Several units wrecked, sold, retired, or scrapped.
Burlington Northern Railroad (Colorado and Southern Railway) 27 900-925 980-996 All of them went to BN, renumbered 6348-6373 6850-6950
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, 6847 donated and restored at the Illinois Railway Museum.
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, Mississippi on February 6, 1994
Kansas City Southern Railway 46 637-692 637 was the very first SD40-2 constructed in January 1972.
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 191 1259–1278, 3554–3613, 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. Order based on Burlington Northern specifications for Pooling Service.
Missouri Pacific Railroad 306 790–838, 3139–3321, 6020–6073 Most now in service with Union Pacific Railroad. 790–838 & 3139–3321 lack dynamic brakes. 6020–6073 were based on Burlington Northern specifications for Pooling Services. Considered the heaviest SD40-2s ever built.
Oneida and Western Railroad 8 9950–9957 Not an actual railroad - purchased on Louisville & Nashville specifications. Later became BC Rail 743-750, 749 is now GECX 749
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 10 4790–4799 Delivered without dynamic brakes. Later became Illinois Central Gulf 6040-6049. Rebuilt with dynamic brakes by EMD. 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 Merged in Burlington Northern in 1980, numbered BN 6840-6847, same numbers in BNSF. Now in service with the BNSF Railway
Soo Line Railroad 57 757–789, 6600–6623 Most now in service with the Canadian Pacific Railway. 6623 is the last SD40-2 built in the United States.
Southern Railway 128 3201–3328 Some sold to Canadian Pacific Railway. All other units rebuilt with low short hood; 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. 3105 donated to RailGiants Train Museum along with a boxcar and a bay-window caboose and now sits on UP 4014's former spot.
Southern Pacific Railroad 229 8230–8299, 8300–8329, 8327–8341, 8350–8371, 8377–8391, 8489–8573 Model EMD SD40T-2. To Union Pacific, all retired. 8278 was destroyed and scrapped in the San Bernardino train disaster.
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad 73 5341–5413 Model EMD SD40T-2. To Union Pacific, all retired. 5371 Preserved at the Utah State Railway Museum at Ogden Utah. 5401(UP 9871) is preserved at the Colorado Railroad museum.
St. Louis Southwestern Railway 10 8322–8326, 8372–8376 Model EMD SD40T-2

Canadian SD40-2 orders

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Algoma Central Railway 6 183–188 Remaining units became WC 6002-6006 after the Wisconsin Central took over the Algoma Central. Later in service with Canadian National Railway. All retired.
British Columbia Railway 17 751–767 Purchased after complications arose from safety concerns on a recent order of MLW M630Ws. 767 is the last SD40-2 built in Canada in July 1985.
Canadian Pacific Railway 486 5565-5879, 5900-6069, 9000-9024, 5560(:2), 5583(:2), 5584(:2), 5693(:2) Units 9000-9024 are GMD SD40-2F. Some sold to leasing firms. Four additional new units were built to replace wrecked units.
Canadian National Railway 123 5241–5363 Model SD40-2W. Several were delivered without dynamic brakes. These units have the Canadian Safety Cab with 4 windows.
Ontario Northland Railway 8 1730–1737 These are the only SD40-2s built by GMD London without dynamic brakes.
Quebec, North Shore and Labrador Railway 44 221–264 Four engines now serve the short-line Wellsboro & Corning Railroad in northern Pennsylvania, hauling sand cars to support Marcellus shale hydraulic fracturing in the region.

Export SD40-2 orders

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Chemin de Fer Boké (Guinea) 3 107–109 Meter gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in)
Estrada de Ferro Carajás (Brazil) 29 401–429 Constructed by Equipamentos Villares S.A. (EVSA) and built to Irish Gauge (1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)) specifications. 429 is the very last SD40-2 constructed in October 1989.
Ferrocarriles Unidos del Sureste (Mexico) 4 601–604 The only SD40-2s in México without dynamic brakes.
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (Mexico) 103 8700–8798, 13001–13004 13004 is the last SD40-2 built for México in February 1986.
RFFSA (Brazil) 36 3711–3747 The only SD40-2s constructed in Europe for a Brazilian customer in Irish Gauge (1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)) by Material y Construcciones S.A. (MACOSA).
Mauritania Railway 21 CC101–CC121 SDL40-2 variant for operating in high temperatures.

Colorado Pacific Railroad EMD SD40-2 east of Eads, Colorado, March 2024.

(Jeffrey Beall, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)




Main article: EMD SD40T-2

A variant of the SD40-2 was created for several western railroads for extended periods in tunnels and snow sheds. Originally purchased by Southern Pacific and Rio Grande railroads, these were transferred to the Union Pacific Railroad in 1996. They have since found their way into the used locomotive market and many have been sold to regional railroads around the U.S.


British Rail Class 59

Another variant of the SD40-2 was created for Foster Yeoman, a British quarrying and aggregates company, which features a unique body design specifically for the European railway markets. Designated as Class 59 the initial production batch of four locomotives entered service in 1986.


Rock Island EMD SD40-2 4799 at Denver, Colorado, January 6, 1974. Photographer: Bruce Black.

Oh what a day Bruce Black was having on a bitterly cold January 4! Rock Island has bought a single order of ten SD40-2's built the previous month, and here's

one of them on the first trip west to Denver. Along with eighteen GE U30C's that were built in October to December,

these are the only six-axle power the Rock Island ever owned, and the heaviest. Actually, too heavy.

(Craig Garver, Public domain, https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalrailartist/50874005906/)



The GMD SD40-2(W) is a Canadian-market version of the SD40-2 diesel-electric locomotive, built for the Canadian National Railway (CN) by the Diesel Division of General Motors of Canada Ltd. (formerly General Motors Diesel) of London, Ontario; 123 were constructed between May 1975 and December 1980.



The EMD SD40-2F was a locomotive operated by Canadian Pacific Railway. It is essentially an SD40-2 with a full cowl hood. CP was the only buyer, buying 25 units, numbered 9000-9024. Most have been scrapped, but 10 were sold to the Central Maine and Quebec Railway. When CP acquired CMQ in 2020, the 10 SD40-2Fs became CP's once again. One unit was rebuilt to a hydrogen fuel cell locomotive in 2021-2022.



A number of SD40-2s have been rebuilt into other models. Some of the most unusual are the meter gauge BB40-2s 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, often built for GE Capital in Poland using EMD's manufacturing drawings and specifications. An outgrowth of this may be GE Transportation's second-sourcing of EMD repair parts.

The unusually troublesome SD50 have also been rebuilt into the equivalent of SD40-2s, rather than scrapping them. The 645F block and crankshaft are inherently good designs (indeed, the lessons learned with the 645F became part of the 710G); lowering the rating from 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) at 950 rpm to 3,000 horsepower (2,200 kW) at 900 rpm solved the mechanical and electrical reliability issues.



Union Pacific has rebuilt 486 of their SD40-2's into SD40N's at their Jenk's shop. These units received a microprocessor control system to increase adhesion, control options, and extend the life of the locomotive.



The Dash 3 suffix is not part of any official lineup, and is a loose designation for rebuilt Dash 2 series EMDs. One example of an SD40-3 rebuild program is the one conducted by CSX. It started in 2010 with 10 units upgraded and numbered 4000-4009; in 2011, 20 units went through the program and were numbered 4010-4029 and in 2012 another 20 units followed and were numbered 4030-4049. CSXT 4040-4049 are painted in the new CSX "RAILCAR LOGO" paint scheme. CSX plans to rebuild 300 locomotives (CSXT 4000-4399). The plan has been to have the new units serve an additional 30 years and cost far less than brand new locomotives. The new cabs can withstand crashes better, have new heating and air-conditioning systems, a new control stand, including visual displays, a modern WABCO braking controller, and modernized starting systems. The engine retains the original 3,000 horsepower (2,240 kW) rating, with rated tractive power increased to 130,000 lb (58,970 kg) from the former 86,000 lb (39,010 kg) rating.



The SD22ECO is an EMD SD40-2 or similar, repowered with an EMD 8-710-ECO engine. The resulting locomotive is rated at 2,150 horsepower (1,600 kW), and meets EPA Tier II emissions regulations.



The SD30C-ECO is an EMD SD40-2 re-powered with an EMD 12-710 prime mover. The locomotive is rated at 3,000 horsepower (2,200 kW) and meets EPA Tier 0 emissions regulations. A similar rebuild, the SD40E3 was carried out by CSX in early 2017.


A CSX ET23DCM (SD23T4) locomotive in Worcester, MA.

(4300streetcar, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The ET23DCM is an EMD SD40-2 rebuilt by Wabtec, and repowered with a GE Evolution Series Inline 6 cylinder prime mover. This locomotive meets the EPA Tier 4 emission standards. CSX has ordered 15 locomotives, and Wabtec constructed one demonstrator locomotive.



Union Pacific donated SD40-2 9950 to Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow, California in 2004. 9950 was built in 1980 for the Missouri Pacific as their 3320.

In June 2009, Union Pacific had donated 3028 (former Chicago & North Western 6847) to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. The unit still wears its original factory paint from when it was built for the CNW in March, 1974. CNW 6847 was patched by UP in February, 2003, to UP 3028, and retired in December, 2008. The locomotive has since had its UP patches removed, and CNW herald and numbers restored.

In 2014, Union Pacific traded SD40-2C 3105 and other equipment to the RailGiants Train Museum at Fairplex in Pomona, California for 4-8-8-4 Union Pacific 4014 "Big Boy", which UP restored to operational status in 2019. Locomotive 3105 was originally built in 1979 as Missouri Pacific 6027, and one of the few that the Missouri Pacific ordered with dynamic braking. This is the only operational locomotive in the museum.

In the Fall of 2018, Canadian Pacific donated SD40-2 5903 to the Canadian Railway Museum in Delson, Quebec, making it the first SD40-2 to be preserved in Canada.

In June 2020, Norfolk Southern donated SD40-2 6162 to the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. 6162 was originally built for the Norfolk and Western in 1978 as N&W 6162.

In 2022, Dieselmotive of California saved Milwaukee Road SD40-2 156 from scrap and had it moved to the Oklahoma Railway Museum. Built as Milwaukee Road 3026 in 1972, the locomotive was one of 90 SD40-2s on the MILW roster, outnumbering all other diesel models. Later renumbered as MILW 156, it was painted as Milwaukee Road's Bicentennial unit in 1975 for the two-year celebration that began the following year. It wore that paint job for just a few years before being repainted back into MILW orange and black. It ended up in New England in the 2010s. The museum plans to restore the locomotive back into its Bicentennial paint scheme, as well as make it fully operational again.



Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builders: GM Electro-Motive Division (EMD), General Motors Diesel (GMD), Material y Construcciones S.A. (MACOSA), Equipamentos Villares S.A. (EVSA)
Model: SD40-2
Build date: January 1972 – October 1989
Total produced: 3,982
​• AAR C-C
• UIC Co′Co′
• Commonwealth Co-Co
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge; 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), Brazil; 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) meter gauge, Guinea and Brazil
Driver diameter: 40 in (1,016 mm)
Wheelbase: 43 ft 6 in (13.26 m) between bolsters; 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m) between axles in each truck
Length: 68 ft 10 in (20.98 m) over the coupler pulling faces
Width: 10 ft 3+1⁄8 in (3.13 m) over the grab irons
Height: 15 ft 7+1⁄8 in (4.75 m)
Locomotive weight: 368,000 lb (167,000 kg) or 184 tons (164 long tons; 167 t)
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 3,200–4,000 US gal (12,000–15,000 L; 2,700–3,300 imp gal)
Prime mover: EMD 16-645E3
Engine type: V16 diesel engine
Aspiration: turbocharged
Cylinders: 16
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 65 mph (105 km/h)
Power output: 3,000 hp (2,240 kW)
Tractive effort Starting: 115,000 lbf (52,163 kgf) @31.5%
Tractive effort Continuous: 82,100 lbf (37,240 kgf) @11 mph (18 km/h)
Operators: Various
Locale: North America, Mexico, Brazil, Guinea, Mauritania