Denver & Rio Grande Western


EMD 6-Axle Models (other than SD40T-2)

Quick Index
Tunnel Motors
Other 6-Axle Models
Cabooses and Maint-Of-Way Equipment
Rolling Stock
Scenery, Sites, Plant
D&RGW System Maps
Topical Articles
GP40 and GP40-2 Detailed Modifications Over Time

Detailed photos of Rio Grande equipment

CSDU Unit Train

Swing Helpers

The Rio Grande Now

Locomotives on the Denver Deadline

Caboose Walk-around Photos

Other Links
My Ski Train page
My Rio Grande Zephyr Tribute
1981 Locomotive Roster-- Including vital statistics (with subsequent additions)
1985 Locomotive Roster
From the office of the Chief Mechanical Officer
[Back to the Front Door]

First-Generation SD Units

Number Range Date Purchased Comments
SD7: 5300 - 5304 1953 1,500 HP. All delivered in black with yellow striping, sometimes referred to as the "Bumblebee" scheme. All units retired Nov 1991.
SD9: 5305 - 5314 1957 1,750 HP. All delivered with Aspen Gold carbody striping.
All units except 5305 retired Oct - Nov 1991.
5305 received chop-nose rebuild after wreck in 1972. Retired Dec 1992; later to CC&RG Railway. Scrapped Sept 2012.
Courtesy of Doug Junda: photo of SD7 No. 5303, parked at Burnham opposite the shop, i.e. on the dead line.  This first-generation 6-motor unit was built in 1953.  Here it wears its second and last-ever D&RGW paint scheme.


Number Range Date Purchased Comments
5315 - 5324 Jan - Feb 1967 All SD45s delivered in the small "Flying Rio Grande" scheme.
5325 - 5340 Mar - May 1968 All SD45s delivered in the small "Flying Rio Grande" scheme.
SD45 No. 5315, westbound at East Portal in Spring 1968.  She is the lowest-numbered SD45.
SD45 No. 5316, seen at Coal Creek on 4/08/1984. It's splicing two pairs of tunnel motors, the five of which are leading the CSDPU train.  Unfortunately I have misplaced the negative to this photo, leaving only this deep scan of the print to work with.  The unit wears the small (original) Rio Grande herald.
SD45 No. 5321, eastbound out of the Moffat Tunnel sometime during Spring 1968.  She is slightly over one year old in this photo.


Number Range Date Purchased Comments
5501-5517 Aug 1984 Many features differed from standard D&RGW practice, due to being built to Chessie specs.

SD50 No. 5502.  Sometime around 1995, this Grande unit leads an Espee piggyback train on the Tehachapi loop, CA. Notice the extremely grimy appearance. The SD50s spent much of the SP era working the hills in southern California. (Clarence Dent photo)

The 5502 was patched to UP5096 on 7/27/01, and renumbered UP9846 (6/11/02).

Here she is, in a grab shot as she races through Deming, NM on a rainy September 3, 2006.  Not many units left showing any Rio Grande paint in 2006, so this was a nice surprise.  Emphasis on "surprise"- I barely had time to get the camera out of my lap!

 Four views of SD50 No. 5503, taken by Bryan Flint in Seger, TX (dead center between Houston, Austin, and Waco) on August 2, 2003.  Although taken some years after the UP merger, these photos show several interesting features to good effect.

Essentially, this unit is unchanged from its SPL modifications circa 1995, as follows:

  • Low nose Pyle light has been removed and blanked, as well as the class lights, with little cosmetic effort.
  • Addition of ditch lights, mounted above the deck line.
  • Horn has been removed from the cab to the middle of the long hood.
  • Blanked-out rear number boards.

What is also still visible are most of the Chessie options which came on these units as delivered:

  • Bell mounted high on the right side of the long hood.
  • "Mail Slot" battery box cover, visible in the third image.
  • Jumbo plow, larger than most other Rio Grande models (except for the three GP60s).

Distinctive Rio Grande items include:

  • The plow merely looks black.  Under all that grime is a standard coat of Grande gold.
  • Small unit numbers at rear edge of the long hood.  This practice began with the tunnel motors, which had no rear number boards.  Rio Grande continued it with the SD50 series, even though there was a lighted number board just around the corner.

The 5503 was renumbered to UP 9849 on 13 April 2005

Top: SD50 No. 5506, November 19, 1990, on the departure track at North Yard (Denver).

Bottom: Here it is during the late Southern Pacific era (circa 1995), working in California along with fellow SD50 No. 5514, which had been repainted in SP colors by then. (Clarence Dent photo.)

The 5506 was repainted as UP 5100 on Sept. 4, 2001.  

SD50 No. 5507 is seen on Nov. 20, 1991 at Tunnel One, as the fourth unit from the front of a loaded coal train.  This unit is featured in my Detailed Photos section.

The 5507 was the last SD50 to remain in original D&RGW colors, finally being patched as UP 9851 on August 3, 2005.

SD50 No. 5511, wearing its Southern Pacific camouflage, is seen in Kansas with a sister SD50. Brad Hoeme photo.
This unit is the third unit back in this photo.

SP5511 was patched to UP 5105 around 12/10/01, then to UP 9855 on 8/15/02.  

SD50 No. 5512 -- photographed Dec. 1991,  She was on the swing helper set of an eastbound coal train, and is diving into Tunnel One.  This unit is featured in my Detailed Photos section.

The 5512 was repainted as Union Pacific No. 5106.  

SD50 No. 5515 is seen on June 29, 1995 leading a four unit swing helper on an eastbound coal train at Glenwood Springs, CO. 

Top image: approaching and passing the depot.

Bottom: passing by and throttling up as they hit the canyon grade.  You can see the engineer's silhouette in this shot.

The 5515 was repainted as UP 5109 on Oct. 3, 2001.  




? 1998 - 2005, James R. Griffin.  All rights reserved.