DRGW 6-Axle Units

Six-Axle Diesel Purchases
(Excluding SD40T-2s)
Number Range Mfg / Type Qty (Qty of units) Date Purchased
600 – 601 Alco PA1 / PB1 6 1947
5300 – 5304 EMD SD7 5 1953
5305 – 5314 EMD SD9 10 1957
4001 – 4003 Krauss-Maffei ML-4000 3 1961
5315 – 5324 EMD SD45 10 Jan – Feb 1967
5325 – 5340 EMD SD45 16 Mar – May 1968
5501-5517 EMD SD50 17 Aug 1984

drgw253a Alco PB-1 locomotive 600B (6002). Rebuilt as Steam Generator car 253 in 1966 (prime mover removed; radiator panels removed; two boilers installed). The Alco 3-axle trucks were replaced in 1980 with 2-axle EMD Blomberg trucks. Photo from January 1982.
Early SDs
drgw5303_junda 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. Courtesy of Doug Junda.
JNG_EP1 SD45 No. 5315, westbound at East Portal in the Spring of 1968. She is the lowest-numbered SD45. Right behind is No. 5334, a third SD45, and a GP30.
drgw5316 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.
JNG_EP4 SD45 No. 5321, eastbound out of the Moffat Tunnel sometime during the spring of 1968. She is slightly over one year old in this photo.
DRGW5322 No. 5322, in California near end of life. Duane Simmons photo.


drgw5324 No. 5324, seen in California circa 1999. Duane Simmons photo.


UP4741 DRGW5328 Tucumcari 2001-03 SD45 No. 5328 as she appeared after reincarnation as UP 4741. Seen here as an SD40-2, finally rid of her troublesome 20-cylinder prime mover, at Tucumcari in March 2001. Even so she’d be retired by UP about a year later. Going into the CEFX fleet as No. 2791, she was active all over North America at least until 2011.
drgw5334 No. 5334, seen in California near end of life. These beasts looked pretty ragged by end of life. Duane Simmons photo.


sp8684_nee_DRGW5338 SP SD40-2M No. 8684, one of the huge order of rebuilds from SP, actually started out as D&RGW SD45 No. 5338. Seen here in Cali circa 2000,it’s gone on to live a long life post-UP, right into the present day. Duane Simmons photo.


DRGW5501 Sullivans 1-24-99 SD50 No. 5501 was shot at Sullivan’s Curve on Cajon Pass on 1/24/1999, leading a UP train. Note all the SP modifications. (I’m not 100% sure who sent me this photo; probably Clarence Dent.)  NEW PHOTO

After a series of UP renumberings starting in 2001, it was returned to the lessor on June 15 2007, along with all the other remaining SD50s.


UP9846 nee DRGW5502 Deming-2006-09-03

SD50 No. 5502. Top: 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 SPL era working the hills in southern California. (Clarence Dent photo)

Bottom: Here she is, in a grab shot as she races through Deming, NM on a rainy September 3, 2006. Even though patched to UP 9846 now, there were 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.
drgw5507 SD50 No. 5507 is seen on Nov. 20, 1991 at Tunnel One, as the second unit on a loaded coal train. The 5507 was the last SD50 to remain in original D&RGW colors, finally being patched as UP 9851 on August 3, 2005.  Returned to lessor in 2007, it was a survivor, working for various smaller railroads until wrecked while on the SWRR in 2015. UPDATED IMAGE
sp5510 No. 5510, showing the Speed-Lettering treatment that several SD50’s received. Shown in California circa 2000. Duane Simmons photo.


DRGW5350sp5511 SD50 No. 5511.

Top: Actually, that’s tunnel motor No. 5350. However, the third unit in the consist is the 5511. It’s my only photo of it in D&RGW colors. (December 30th, 1991)

Bottom: wearing its Southern Pacific camouflage, is seen in Kansas with a sister SD50. Brad Hoeme photo.
SP5511 was patched to UP 5105 around 12/10/01, then to UP 9855 on 8/15/02.

drgw5512 SD50 No. 5512 — photographed Dec. 1991, when she was on the swing helper set of an eastbound coal train, diving into Tunnel One.

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.

drgw5517 Here’s the back half of SD50 No. 5517. Unfortunately I didn’t get the whole locomotive in this November 1991 shot (though I did get all of number 5395 to the left). You can see the high-mounted bell here, as well as the bundles of cable and piping below the frame.

This unit was repainted into SP colors after the merger, then later received two different UP numbers before being retired.


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