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  1. #1

    Names for Locomotives

    We were discussing the fact that most airplanes have a name, like C5A "Galaxy"

    or C141 "Starlifter" and so on. Why is it not that EMD or GE does not give

    names to their Diesel locomotives. I know some of them have had names given after

    the fact, example.....F7A "Covered Wagon" and so on. I wonder what some of

    the imaginations on this Forum can come up with as there are probably names I am not

    aware of, thanks !


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Island of Misfit Toy Trains, So-Fla
    EMD BL-2 Ugly Duckling

    Well... ALCo RSD-15 were known as 'Alligators' due to their long low short hood and front porch. Similarly... the Baldwin RF-15 was known as a 'Shark' due to the pointed nose; Baldwin also had a 'Centipede'. Fairbanks Morse H24-66 was known as the 'Trainmaster' & H20-66 was the 'Baby Trainmaster'. EMD Gas Turbines were known as 'Big Blows'... SD40-T2 were 'Tunnel Motors'.

    Of course... steamers had names associated with their wheel configuration... 4-8-8-4 'Big Boy' for instance.
    Last edited by Calzephyr; July 6th, 2010 at 12:27 PM.
    Grandpa "Joe",
    Burlington Rio Grande & Pacific
    A fictitious precursor to the
    BN merger and Amtrak

    Zephyrs Through the Rockies.

    Rail Images Album:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    NE Ohio
    Alco RS-3 "Holy Smoker"
    Western Maryland. Taking over the world, one N scale layout at a time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Tenino, Washington
    Like already stated a lot of steamers had names that were assioated with their wheel arrangement, such as the 4-6-0 ten wheeler, 2-10-0 decapod and 4-4-0 eight wheeler. Then of corse steamers had names assioated with the wheel arrangement but not caused bu the arrangement, like the 4-4-2 Atlantic, the 2-8-0 condeys 4-8-4 northerns and the 2-8-2 mikados.

    The naming of locomotives seem to go the way of the dodo for the most part with the advent of diesel. Although some kept general names like anything that was a "GP" unit was usually referred to as "Jeeps" although this is usually specific to early gp's like the 7's and 9's. Their was other diesel nick names, but pretty mug as diesel evolved and changed the names went away.

    Northern Pacific, Tacoma Division, 4th subdivision "the prarie line" (still in planning stages)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Sugar Land, Texas, United States
    Blog Entries
    Now its all technical jargon describing the process like GenSet, Gevo, MAC and ACe.

    And then there is the GE Genesis that Amtrak uses. Very few call them by their model names P32AC-DM, P40DC, and P42DC.
    Russell Straw, Sugar Land Route

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    D&H Rocky Mountain Division

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    D&H Rocky Mountain Division

    GE: Class GRF-23, Class GRF-30, Class GRF-33

    - -

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Bucyrus Ohio
    Guys,Railfan nick names doesn't apply in the 1:1 world..

    The term Geep was unofficially used by EMD employees..After all their was a directive from upper management forbidding the use of "Geep" for the GP7..

    To GE those (say) U25Bs are U25Bs...To the operation and shopmen they were(say) 2500s.

    This lingo was left over from the steam era.

    Summerset Ry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    NW PA
    There's a difference here between what the manufacturers 'want' them to be called and the acquired nicknames over the years.

    The "Genesis" for the P40/42 series is an assigned nickname that stuck. "Evo's" for the current series is similar. The "DASH" series was a convoluted earlier attempt by GE to put a name on a model. FM had the "Trainmaster", Alco put the "Century" on a whole series. I'm not sure that EMD ever did?

    Locomotive manufacturers seem to be a relatively unimaginative lot compared to aircraft. Railfans have certainly never had touble coming up with names though. I always liked "Toasters" for AEM7's.

    The generally-accepted wheel arrangement names for steamers never seem to appear much in manufacturer lingos.

    What's more fun is that going back to the days of the telegraph, some manufacturers of geared steam locomotives would arrive at a 'code word' for a combination of weight, drivers, fuel, etc. for a particular configuration. Climax and Heisler both did that.

    See this table: Catalog Of The Climax Patent Geared Locomotive

    That shows the difference between a "Cash" and "Cecil". But I've never, ever, ever heard of these codewords sticking to the locomotive beyond the telegraphy shorthand.

    I have wondered, however, if this is where it started - assigning 'names' by the manufacturer to refer to a specific model of something, specifically to save customer charges on telegraph and to prevent confusion. If you think texting is wierd on abstract and obscure abbreviations, Climax and Heisler both had a 'codebook' of one word abbreviations for part inquries, shipping, etc. printed right in their catalogs. Other than "Climb" for an 15-ton Class A, most of the nicknames are pretty laughable. But a Climax model 'Climb', yeah, not bad....

    "Gumbo Advance Cecil" might translate out as "Please respond immediately" "on the availbility of repairs" "24-ton Class B Climax".
    Last edited by randgust; July 6th, 2010 at 02:27 PM.

    N Scale Kits:Randgust Home Terminal
    Logging Prototype: Wheeler & Dusenbury / Hickory Valley Railroad
    Albuquerque Third District in N Scale

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Milan - Italy
    I know I can't count for every Railroads, but here my little contribution for the Friendly Espee!

    Well, I've a text file where, during the time I've collected some nicks.
    Contents is not mine, I've just "cut&copy" when I've found around.
    __________________________________________________ ___
    - ALCo's model RSD-15 (DL600B). Last SP #'s SSW5150-5159, SP3100-3102.That long low snout is the reason for the name. Familiar name
    "Gators"Alcohaulic - ALCo C-643 aka C-643DH aka DH643. ALCo's hydraulic drive, last SP #s SP9800-9802Baby Gator applied to the RSD-12
    Baby Boats -
    GE B23-7 evidently more usually applied to B30-7's, I've seen it applied to U18B's on the East Coast. A general term for General Electric's model B30-7s, although it was used sometimes on the B23-7s and B36-7s. Back in the 1960s when General Electric introduced its Universal Series of locomotives (U25B, U28B, U30C, U33Cs etc.). Because of the "U" in each model, they were generally referred to as "U-Boats"
    U-33-C sometimes called "Bat wings" .
    When GE locomotives evolved into the "B" model series, railfans called them "Baby boats.
    "Baby Huey - GE U50 from the cartoon character of the same name.
    Bell ringers
    - Sometimes called F7s.
    Bricks -
    GP 35's.
    Buffalo -
    ALCo C-630 from the side profile. last SP #'s SP314-3153
    - SD9's but not SD7's, but maybe for someone yes.
    Covered Wagons -
    generally applied to any F Unit.
    - SW1500 diesel switchers, also seen Curds, but I suspect a typo. SP#2450-#2689
    Flares - EMD SD45's aka Flared aka Flare. due to their radiators which flared outward at an angle from the top of the hood.
    Flying Nuns
    - U33Cs
    Huff & Puff -
    EMD SD9E's 4450 and 4451 that retained their steam generators for backup passenger service when rebuilt to SD9E's.These two SD9Es still retained.
    The names "Mike & Ike"were also used for SP #4450-4451
    Half Widow
    - This was the nickname given to GP9 SP3611, due to its half scarlet/grey paint, and half black widow.
    - Baldwin AS-616 cab-booster-booster sets.Sets of AS-616s with cab and booster units were used in Northern California between Roseville and Oakland, and on Oregon branches as well.
    John Deere's -
    ALCo's model RSD-5 (last SP #'s SP2850-2885).
    - Krauss Maffei ML4000 hydraulic locomotives, from being manufactured in Germany.
    Mates - TEBU's Seaboard call their road slugs Mates. The "other" name for the 1600-series TEBU (Tractive Effort Booster Unit) road slugs (SP1600-16013).
    Also called "Red Bird" and "Popsicle"
    Orange Bird -
    aka Red Bird aka Yellow Bird the second hood unit painted in Daylight colors (after SSW GP7) went through numerous repaints, but was originally more orange than red.
    The four Morrison Knudsen model TE70-4S locomotives (SP7030-7033) re-engined U25B's with Sulzer engines. The red and orange colors used remind many of a frozen "Popcicle". Were painted in a variation of the Daylight scheme, but more pastel in shade.
    Queen Mary
    - EMD E2A SP's oldest diesel loco. SP's E7A SP6017, originally a EMD model E2A
    - A term given to SP F7B's that were rebuilt to Rotary Snow Plow units. Numbered in the MofW 8200-number series, the retain the prime movers to supply electric power for the rotaries, but do not have traction motors.
    Sport Model
    - GP40P-2 Passenger units steam gen. equipped GP40P-2's with a longer frame to allow for the steam gen. short fuel/water tanks, and flared rear radiators ala SD45's. Presumably nicknamed because they were smaller, and hence "sportier" than the SDP45s also used on the Peninsula commutes.
    Torpedo Boats
    - GP9 Passenger units. Equipped non-dynamic GP9's with extra large fuel/water tanks, that forced the air reservoirs onto the roof, looked like torpedo tubes. The four SP's Torpedo Boats were purchased new by the SP as 5622 - 5625.
    Train Masters -
    Fairbanks-Morse H24-66 Train Masters (please note it is two words)
    Tunnel Motors
    - SD40T-2 and 45T-2 given the grills enable to see across
    __________________________________________________ ___

    Antelopes -
    usually Sacramento built 4-8-2 Mountains, maybe ALCo 4-8-2's as well.
    Big Dec(k)s
    - SP's 3700 series 2-10-2's.
    Little Dec(k)s -
    SP's 3600 series 2-10-2's.Note: While the term "decapod" was generally used to describe a 2-10-0 steam locomotive, SP men used the term "Decks" to describe their 2-10-2 steam locomotives. Elsewhere a 2-10-2 was called a "Santa Fe" type, SP employees wouldn't call their 2-10-2s a "Santa Fe" name.
    Hogs - 2-8-0's Consolidations
    Mexican Mallets - 2-6-0's as they were very popular on the trackage in the El Centro California area and the line through Mexico from Calexico to near Yuma. see Valley Mallets.
    Mud Hens -
    SP's AC1, 2 and 3 Cab Forwards.
    Also the term "Wamp" was used for these engines.
    - Portland Division enginemen called the 5200-series Baldwin B-units "Mules" instead of "calves."
    Stuttering Dec(k)s
    - The SP 5000-numbered 4-10-2's (aka "Southern Pacific" types) received the term "Stuttering Deck" due to their off-beat, 3-cylinder exhaust sound.
    Valley Mallets
    - 2-6-0's used in the flat San Joaquin Valley, could haul long trains on the flat. see Mexican Mallets.
    - GS-2 thru 5 - S.P. engineman - anecdotally - use the term 'Yellowjacket' to refer to 'Daylight' painted GS locomotives. I don't believe that they were ever referred to a 'Daylight' engines at the time by SP enginemen.
    Whiskey Two-Bits
    - Old class E-8 4-4-0s. this refers to the sound they made due to their valve arrangement.
    __________________________________________________ __
    Freigth cars Nicknames

    The "Urban Guerilla" nickname was applied to Southern Pacific cabooses from the C-50-9 class of cars delivered in 1980. These lacked side windows, except for those found on the bay window structures.

    The Vert-a-Pac was born out of the SP's mechanical dept. in conjunction with GM.
    They were built specifically to transport the Chevy Vega model. This earned them the nickname Vegamobiles to some.

    SP Stac-Pak car: containers that hold three layers of automobiles. Called "Joe".
    __________________________________________________ ___
    "Subs" heavyweights - The Subs fall within Southern Pacific's classification of 72-IC-1 through -3.The cars were purchased in the 1920s specifically for use on the commutes, and called "Suburban" coaches, or nicknamed "Subs".
    __________________________________________________ ___
    personal recollections from various railfan magazines & forums
    SP REVIEW magazine #23
    __________________________________________________ ___

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