May 26th, 2013


The ever expanding fleet

Click for larger image
I finished the latest addition to the lego train empire last night. Well, technically early this morning. She is a 1952 EMD SD7. This was EMD's first six-axel diesel-electric locomotive. At 1,500 HP it's a wee beastie compared to the latest model in the "Special Duty" family -- the 6,000 HP SD90MAC. But, at 180 tons with six axels, the SD7 is only 4 tons lighter than the iconic 3,000 HP SD40-2 (the "hero" locomotive in Unstoppable) and turns out 75,000 lbs of tractive effort (vs. the SD40-2's 82,000 lbs). The difference is the SD40's turbocharged engine, which yields more power at higher speeds than the SD7.

The model locomotive is prototypical but ahistorical: all the parts are in the right place, but the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad never owned one. While the New Haven did have some four-axel EMDs, they were much more of an ALCO shop.

Of the 188 SD7s produced in 1952-53, at least three are still working in daily service. It gives me a certain delight to see old gear still proving its worth. At 60 and counting, I think the SD7 wins.

Click for larger image
The current roster, less a new EMD GP9, SW1500 and the above SD7