Indiana and Ohio Railroad No. 9400, still in Southern Pacific colors.

(Nate Beal, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The SD45T-2 is a model of diesel-electric locomotive built by EMD for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Like the later SD40T-2 it is colloquially nicknamed a tunnel motor. 247 total units (including the original EMD/SP joint venture working Prototype) were produced from February 1972 to June 1975, including 84 for SP's subsidiary Cotton Belt. From April 1986 to December 1989, 126 were rebuilt and re-designated as SD45T-2R, including 24 for Cotton Belt.

The SD45T-2 is a variant of the venerable SD45 that featured the "Dash 2" upgrade components such as improved electronics and high traction trucks, with the "T" denoting its cooling system modifications. The intake for radiator cooling air was moved to the walkway level and the cooling fans themselves were under the radiator cores, instead of above. Tunnel motors were built for mountainous areas in the western United States, where SP had previously encountered repeated overheating issues on their SD45s.

The later SD40T-2 looks similar to the SD45T-2. One spotting difference is the longer hood on the SD45T-2 to accommodate the V20 prime mover vs. the V16 used on the SD40T-2. The SD45T-2's cab is further forward on the frame, so there is less "front porch". This mimics the differences between the SD45-2 and the SD40-2. Another spotting difference is the SD45T-2's three fan access doors on each side above the cooling air intake, while the SD40T-2 has two.

Like their SD40T-2, some of SP's SD45T-2 tunnel motors were obtained by Kansas City Southern Railway, Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad, Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, and by the Union Pacific Railroad when it merged the SP in 1996.

Some SD45T-2s were rebuilt and designated to SD45T-3, SD40T-3 and SD40-2T. In addition, some locomotive leasing companies own the SD45 tunnel motor locomotives. They are scattered all over the United States and are an increasingly rare sight.


EMD SD45T-2 vs SD40T-2 radiator fan motor access doors.

(Ken L Whitehead, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Starting in the 1977, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company and the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (also known as the "Cotton Belt Route") had begun rebuilding the majority of their EMD SD45T-2 locomotives into what had become the EMD SD45T-2R. Both railroads had rebuilt a total of 126 of their EMD SD45T-2 locomotives into EMD SD45T-2R locomotives, which left a total of 121 EMD SD45T-2 un-rebuilt and they were all renumbered as 6793-6832, 6834-6868 and 6869-6892.


Southern Pacific EMD SD45T-2 9167 at Tucson, Arizona, c. 1984. Photographer: Craig Garver.

(Craig Garver, Public domain,


Original owners

Railroad Quantity Road Numbers Notes
Southern Pacific 163 9166-9260, 9302-9370 SP 9314 is the rebuild of the wrecked SP 9220. 9340 was wrecked in the 1989 Cajon Pass Runaway and scrapped.
St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) 84 9157-9165, 9261-9301, 9371-9404 SSW 9389 was the 600th "45" Series unit delivered to the Southern Pacific System by EMD and wore Bicentennial colors.
Totals 247

Southern Pacific EMD SD45T-2 9347 at Bayshore Yard, San Francisco, California, December 2, 1976. Photographer unknown. SP 9347 was built in January,

1975, as part of the last order for SP SD45T-2's, 9344-9370, built in January and February, 1975. Another 35 would follow that year for the Cotton Belt.

(Craig Garver, Public domain,



Southern Pacific 6819 (originally 9193) (currently an SD45T-2R) was donated by SP successor Union Pacific Railroad to the California State Railroad Museum in December 2001.


Southern Pacific EMD SD45T-2 9219 at Sparks, Nevada, September 11, 1978. Photographer unknown.

(Craig Garver, Public domain,


EMD SD45T-2 Overview

Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model: SD45T-2
Build date: February 1972 – June 1975
Total produced: 247
Configuration: AAR C-C
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length: 70 ft 8 in (21.54 m)
Fuel capacity: 4,400 US gal (16,700 L; 3,660 imp gal)
Prime mover: EMD 20-645E3
Engine type: V20 diesel engine
Cylinders: 20
Performance figures
Power output: 3,600 hp (2,680 kW)
Nicknames: "tunnel motor"
Disposition: many still in service as of 2010; one donated to California State Railroad Museum


Cotton Belt 9389. Text from the postcard: "Southern Pacific subsidiary, St. Louis Southwestern's new SD45T-2, painted in Bicentennial colors by the builder, EMD, before delivery. The "Spirit of 1776" is shown at Blue Island, IL, May 7, 1975. Photo: Mac Owen Collection." (Audio-Visual Designs, Earlton, NY via W. Lenheim Collection)