SD40-2 Pool Power

TGIrwy Apr 17, 2020

  1. TGIrwy

    TGIrwy New Member

    Hi pals, just created an account here. Looks like a good place to pick some brains! I have a question about the roster I’m developing for my future layout.

    I’m modeling a freelanced road set in the early 1980s that operates entirely in Texas between D/FW and the Gulf Coast. About 90% of my roster will be 4-axle units, the bulk being GP40s/40-2s, as TOFC and short, speedy freights make up a significant amount of traffic. Because virtually all of the route is relatively flat, all of these units were delivered without dynamic brakes.

    The question I have is about some SD40-2s I would like to include. I’m wanting to represent about a dozen of these units (the only 6-axle power on the road) as if they were bought as pool power for some Burlington Northern unit coal trains originating in the Powder River Basin and terminating on a couple of power plants along my railroad. My question is, if these SD40-2s were built as pool power, would everything on them be virtually identical to BN’s units other than the paint? For example: units ordered 1975 and after on my roster were all delivered with roof mounted air conditioners. Would my SD40-2s likely have these too or would it be more likely that they were carbon copies of BN’s even down to the smallest detail? All my other units weren’t delivered with any type of snowplow either. Would the pool power SDs have these though?

    Sorry, that was a little long winded haha. Hopefully my questions make sense, and I’m looking forward to learning something!
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  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Well, that's up to the manager of your railroad. No doubt the BN has some requirements for pool power, but they won't forbid air conditioning (for example). No railroad is going to voluntarily buy snowplow pilots for south Texas duty, no matter how silly a BN middle manager they deal with.

    As for BN, they weren't that homogenous themselves. Remember, they had just merged with the Frisco and painted their power green.
    TGIrwy likes this.
  3. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

    My prototype answer: If they were BN units in Powder River coal service, they would look like the rest of the BN fleet. The Powder River basin gets snow, so they would have plows and no AC.

    My modeler answer: If you are already proto-freelancing, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Build it the way that will make you happy!
    TGIrwy likes this.
  4. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

    I'd say with plows, as BN coal trains seemed to get whatever as the lead power, wasn't always BN, but with AC units as that is standard for your RR.

    MP ordered an order of SD40-2s, believe they rostered them as SD40-2Cs, and like you, MP typically didn't order units with dynamic brakes, however these units got dynamics and were built to run with UP and DRGW coal trains on Tennessee Pass
    TGIrwy likes this.

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Well, another thing about that is will the pool power be a leader or trailing units. That also may make a difference in whether the specs met BN's or not as well.
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  6. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    SD40-2 locos MKT 600–636 and MP 6020–6073 were ordered based on BN specifications for pooling service, so you might want to use those units as a guide for your road's locos.

    Two examples:

    MKT 616:


    MP 6073:

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  7. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

    For pooled power in the 80s, SD40-2s in coal service as noted earlier were bought in configurations similar to BN units. There are other examples of pooled service units being bought or modified to a pooled road's specs.

    When Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA started receiving shipment of coal from Utah in 1968, D&RGW and UP (a short 90 mi jog on ATSF as well, but no share in the trainset consist) shared the haul. A trainset was bought somewhat in proportion to each road's haul mileage, so the D&RGW bought 5 cars due to the short haul from the mine to SLC, UT. UP had a much greater haul length, and bought most of the rest of the trainset--80 cars. The regionally-famous "Coalliner" cars were bought in this respect. The power were new SD45s. D&RGW bought some new SD45s and had them painted with the large stacked Rio Grander heralds for advertising purposes, the first of any D&RGW units to receive the stacked heralds. UP and D&RGW bought SD45s dedicated to this service. The D&RGW also had UP cab signal systems installed, to be lead-qualified on UP mainlines west of SLC. UP had their Kaiser service SD45s regeared to match the D&RGW's for better slow pulling power unlike the rest of their SD45 fleet for high-priority service. Externally, the D&RGW units were basically identical to the rest of the D&RGW fleet, other than the large heralds. Some photos on the 'net I found to show this unique operation are below.
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