Southern Pacific Portraits and Landscapes

Here are a few photos of Southern Pacific trains, mostly during the 8 years of the Southern Pacific Lines system, mostly in action, and mostly chronologically.
Beginning of the SPL Era
TucsonEast1 A westbound intermodal train creeps into Tucson on the morning of February 5, 1988. The mix of power is delightful, very unlike what is typically seen these days. In order, we have: B30-7 No. 7837; SD45T-2R No. 6827; B30-7 No. 7805; GP35 No. 6671; SD45T-2 No. 9164; SD40T-2 No. 8506.  We are about 8 months prior to the SP’s sale to RGI. (Incidentally I did see a Rio Grande unit in the yard that morning but couldn’t get a photo.)
Granite01 A westbound intermodal train rounds a curve below Granite, Colorado on its way up to Tennessee Pass.  Three SD’s are today’s sole power.  (10/6/1992)
JV_1 At a location just south of Buena Vista, Colorado in the Arkansas valley, a westbound freight led by SSW 9651 (GP60) was climbing the long grade towards Tennessee Pass on February 18, 1994. The consist also included GP40M 7124, Kodachrome SD45R 7557, and SD40T-2 8491 in Speed Lettering.
Tucumcari-94 This photo of a westbound train on the Golden State, just west of Tucumcari in May 1994, isn’t exactly the best-composed image ever recorded, but it does show an example of power during the late SPL days.Pictured are (in order) a GP60, B36-7 No. 7762, SD45T-2 No. 9375 (or 9325), an SSW B40-8, and another tunnel motor.  Quite a mix.
SP9742 May 1994 Alamogordo SP No. 9742 leads another GP60 (probably 9753) and a pair of GP40-series locomotives (the third unit is probably GP40M-2 No. 7102) on a westbound Golden State Route train. Here it’s paused in downtown Alamogordo, NM, on 6/04/1994.


In an incredibly-rare movement, a three-pack of brand new SD70M’s was leading a coal train downgrade from the Moffat Tunnel on November 22, 1994.  It’s possible that this was the only time a set of these made the trip to the Colorado coalfields under SP ownership.

See this page for more photos.

SP-GP60s-1994-12-29 Between 1993 and 1996, SP power usually got the duty on the Ansco Ski Train. Here a pair of GP60’s (9752 and 9755) are waiting for departure time at West Portal, AKA the Winter Park ski area. (12/29/1994)



Two views of a pair of SD45T-2 tunnel motors, working as the West Helper out of Tabernash, CO on 12/29/1994.  SSW No. 9401 now wears speed lettering; the unit in traditional paint is SP No. 6850.  They are shoving a D&RGW maintenance-of-way tank car up the 2% grade out of Fraser towards the Moffat Tunnel.  It was as cold as it looks.  Back in the Moffat Road days, entire trains used to freeze to the tracks in this area.  
Hitting Stride  
SP8270_1995 On March 12, 1995, a westbound freight is accelerating out of Tucson led by SD40T-2 No. 8270.  The other power include a Rio Grande tunnel motor (5392) and an MK-rebuilt SD40M-2 (8605) in an SD45 carbody.
SunsetRoute1995 Sunset on the Sunset Route: a drag freight heads west out of Tucson on the evening of 3/13/1995.  Leading is SD45R No. 7552 and repainted tunnel motor No. 8495.
SP9717_9618 Eastbound intermodal train at Tucson on 3/13/1995. This one is led by three SP GP60s and includes a borrowed CSX GE of some kind.
CTRN2 On June 29, 1995 an eastbound coal train was beginning its climb up the grade in Glenwood Canyon. Out of sight at the head end is a trio of new AC4400’s. Nearer at hand, this 4-unit swing helper is blasting out a noxious cloud of diesel smoke as it shoves the long string of new CTRN hoppers. The helper consisted of a pair of D&RGW locomotives, SP SD40R 7354 and SD45T-2 No. 9362.
Glenwood_001 Less than hour after the above shot, this westbound autorack train was rolling into Glenwood Springs and past the historic depot. The power was SP tunnel motor 8568, Rio Grande GP40 3141, and SP GP60 9721. I got video of this, but the battery on the camcorder was expiring and the clip only lasts a few seconds…
Chacra3 We’re on Interstate 70 east of New Castle, Colorado on July 1 1995.  A massive freight was headed east, led by (count ’em) TEN locomotives.  I’m reasonably sure that the cow/calf pair running right behind the leader are just on their way from Grand Junction to Denver for inspections or service.  The rest?  Probably running. The variety here is mind-blowing, and it includes: a SANTA FE Kodachrome unit, an MK-5000 (one of three that SP had built), a couple of SD45R’s, a couple of SD40R’s, an AC4400, a GP40M, and the aforementioned cow/calf set of MP15’s.  To top it off, on the tail end was D&RGW caboose No. 01505.
The Final Year  



Coming and going at La Veta Pass: Two images of the AAPUM (Alamosa to Pueblo Manifest) freight train as it crosses Trinchera Road to the east of Fort Garland, CO on 2/26/1996.


The train was powered by four units in the GP40/GP40M series– Nos. 7135, 7669, 7124, and 7632. It was followed by about thirty covered and open hoppers (perlite and scoria) from Antonito, and was punctuated by D&RGW caboose 01489.

Cotopaxi-081796-02 Dawn has broken but the Arkansas Valley is still in shadow on 8/17/1996.  Five GP40M’s are westbound with a manifest freight at Cotopaxi, CO.  The SPL used four-motor diesels, even older ones, on road freights right up to the very end.
Cotopaxi-081796-06 A going-away shot of the power on a westbound manifest, heavy with CP Rail hoppers at the front end.  Three tunnel motors have a GP60 for company.  The grimy trailing motor is SP No. 8341.
Cotopaxi-081796-14 Westbound boxcar freight, late in the morning of 8/17/1996 at Cotopaxi again.  A new AC4400 leads a pair of decrepit-looking tunnel motors.  Note the copious smoke issuing from the middle unit.
ThreeAC4400s Exactly three weeks before the UP merger, a trio of AC4400’s power a westbound train through Cotopaxi, CO at dawn (8/17/96). 
SP202_102_Coaldale_19960817 SP 202 and 102, both AC4400s, lead an eastbound manifest at Coaldale, CO on 8/17/1996.  The Sangre de Christo mountains loom in the background.
Cotopaxi-36_19960817 SP 357 and another AC4400 lead a westbound manifest at Coaldale, CO on the evening of August 17, 1996. A vicious summer rainstorm is receding in the background and the twilight has become peaceful for this unrepeatable scene.
Post-Merger Illusions  
Ala97001 Three GP60’s and an SD40T-2 are leading a westbound stack train into Alamogordo, NM at dawn on 6/25/1997.  Nine months past the UP merger, the red-and-gray is still very prominent on the Golden State route.  High Desert railroading at its best!
Alamosa1999 Road power for the San Luis Valley turn waits in the Alamosa yard in May 1999.  Two SP GP40M’s bracket a pair of much older D&RGW units (although technically, the GP40M’s were originally built contemporary with D&RGW GP40 No. 3072).  SP, SSW, and D&RGW units continued to see service on this job right up to the end in June 2003.
RearHelp_Rainbow_1999 A pair of AC4400’s (numbers not readable) are pushing on the rear of a westbound CSUX train, in this video image from 9/04/1999.  It was nearly 3 years after the UP merger, but this train was powered entirely by SP AC4400’s.The scene is at Rainbow Cut, in the middle of Plainview siding west of Denver.
SP326-WP-9908-3 Finally: on August 14, 1999 a coal load is seconds from diving into the Moffat Tunnel.  This all-SP-powered train was struggling mightily here, but within moments picked up speed as more of the train got onto the lesser grade within the tunnel.