Seaboard Air Line Railroad EMD SDP35 No. 1114 on display at Hamlet, North Carolina on June 2, 2023.

SAL purchased 20 SDP35 locomotives from EMD in 1964 to replace their E4 and E6 passenger diesels. As the railroad was unsure

of the future of passenger trains, they wanted dual-purpose units in case passenger trains finally did cease operation.

(Seaboarder3023, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



 Power was provided by an EMD 567D3A 16-cylinder engine which generated 2,500 horsepower (1.9 MW). Essentially this locomotive was an EMD SD35 equipped with a steam generator, located in the extended long hood end, for passenger use. 35 examples of this locomotive model were built for American railroads.


Louisville & Nashville SDP35 No. 1296 leads a long freight at an unknown location in February 1980.

(Photo by Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, Railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



With its older E-units reaching the end of their serviceable lives, Seaboard Air Line asked EMD for a passenger version of the SD35 that could double as a freight unit, especially if passenger trains continued to be discontinued. EMD came up with the SDP35, and SAL placed an order, trading in E4 and E6 units. The first of SAL's new SDP35s was delivered in summer 1964. Eventually the SDP35 wound up going to four railroads: SAL (20, numbered 1100–1119), Atlantic Coast Line (1, numbered 550), Louisville and Nashville (4, numbered 1700–1703) and Union Pacific (10, numbered 1400–1409).

The SD35 and SDP35 were so similar that EMD published a single operator's manual to cover both.

Although SAL successfully used the SDP35 in high-speed passenger service as well as on expedited freight and piggyback trains, Union Pacific found it unsuitable and relegated its entire fleet to freight service while its famous yellow E-units continued to handle passengers. With the July 1, 1967 Seaboard Coast Line merger, SAL units received passenger numbers 601-620 and also served SCL in both high-speed freight service and on passenger trains. With the arrival of Amtrak, SCL renumbered them into the freight series and numbers 1951–1970. Later in their SCL years, they were renumbered again and assigned into the heavy yard duty and assigned 4500-series numbers. ACL's lone unit was renumbered 1099 when the line acquired former MKT E8s. At the SCL merger, it was assigned number 600 and then later received SCL number 1950.

Louisville & Nashville's four SDP35s (1700–1703), ordered in spring 1964 to replace aging E and F units in passenger service, were completed and delivered without steam generation equipment installed, after approval of several passenger train cancellations from government regulatory agencies during the locomotives' assembly, leaving L&N with a surplus of passenger locomotives. After delivery L&N assigned the SDP35s to general freight service, installing radio control locomotive equipment in the steam generator compartment and using the engines in locotrol service until 1969. In 1966, when the EMD 645 prime mover superseded the EMD 567, the SDP35 was replaced in EMD's catalog by the EMD SDP40.


Original owners

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Seaboard Air Line Railroad 20 1100–1119
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 1 550
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 4 1700–1703
Union Pacific Railroad 10 1400–1409
Total 35

Union Pacific EMD SDP35 No. 1408 near Valley, Nebraska.

(Photo by Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, Railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model: SDP35
Build date: July 1964 – September 1965
Total produced: 35
​• AAR C-C
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Prime mover: EMD 567D3A
Engine type: V16 diesel
Cylinders: 16
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 95 mph (153 km/h)
Power output: 2,500 hp (1.9 MW)


SCL SDP35 618 with Train 34, the Silver Comet at Birmingham, AL in February 1968.

(Roger Puta Collection, courtesy Marty Bernard from U.S.A., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)