|T h e U n o f f i c i a l S k i T r a i n P a g e|
Locomotives and Head-End Power
Over the years the Ski Train ran behind a variety of locomotives. During the Rio Grande era (pre- 1992), black-and-gold GP40s were the norm, although the F9 trio was the power on occasion prior to 1983 (during the 1984 season, they were the sole power). After the re-equipping of the train in 1987/8, three GP40s were commonplace. Rio Grande tunnel motors (SD40T-2) made frequent appearances circa 1989-91.
Once the Southern Pacific identity was selected to replace the Rio Grande name, locomotives were more commonly in SP's red-and-gray. In 1993 a pair of GP40Ms was typical. The following season it ran with whatever was available, including tunnel motors. By the 1994/95 season, however, it was usual practice to use a pair of GP60s in SP or SSW paint. This remained the norm up until the UP-SP merger in 1996.
The 1996/97 season saw a return to almost-exclusively Rio Grande power for the first time in years, as the train was usually powered by a pair of D&RGW GP60s. They even did the honors for some of the summer runs later that year.
During the 1998 and 1999 seasons, leased Amtrak F40PH locomotives were the usual power on the train. Since they have head-end power (HEP) capability, the power car was not necessary when they were on the train. There were performance problems with these units at times, however-- the train stalled or went very slow on several occasions during the 1998 season, so additional units had to be tacked on for more horsepower. Subsequently the train used a third unit for additional power, and performance improved radically.
In 2000 the Ski Train acquired three F40PH locomotives on a lease-to-buy arrangement. These were repainted to match the train, and went into service in December.
Once the Ski Train acquired three F40's of its own, the power car was
no longer needed, and was effectively retired. It was sold in 2006 to the
leaving Denver in September.
Page and contents Copyright James R. Griffin, except as noted. All rights reserved.