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The EMD SD45 is a six-axle diesel locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division between December, 1965, and December, 1971. Power was provided by an EMD 645E3 twenty-cylinder engine which generated 3,600 HP. This locomotive shared the same common frame with the EMD SD38, EMD SD39, EMD SD40, and EMD SDP40.

A total of 1,260 units were built for American railroads. Following this, the SD45-2 was released as its upgraded replacement. Additional models, like the SD45T-2, featuring the Tunnel Motor design, were released.

SD45s had several teething problems. Reliability was not as high as anticipated, due to the twenty-cylinder prime mover's propensity to break its own crankshaft. Even though it created an extra 600 horsepower (450 kW) from the 16-645 in the SD40, some railroads felt it just wasn't worth it, even after EMD redesigned the block to reduce crankshaft flexing.

Buyers included the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway. (Contrary to what many believe, the SD45 was not a "gas guzzler." It produced more power per unit of fuel than its 3,000 hp (2,240 kW) counterpart, the SD40.) Many SD45s can still be found, some rebuilt with sixteen-cylinder 645s, operating for lease companies. SD45s and SD45-2s owned by Montana Rail Link have maintained their 20 cylinder prime movers. Wisconsin Central used to roster a large fleet of SD45s, but its sale to CN has recently retired the entire fleet, with mass scrappings. Montana Rail Link is now also starting to sell some engines for scrap.

Preserved locomotives Edit

  • Great Northern Railway 400. The first production SD45 named Hustle Muscle. Owned by the Great Northern Railway Historical Society, the unit is operable.
  • Erie Lackawanna 3607/Conrail 3607. St. Louis Museum of Transportation. Restored to EL colors, this unit is a static display.
  • Norfolk & Western 1776. This high hood unit is a static display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
  • Southern Pacific 8800/7457. This locomotive is a static display at the Utah State Railroad Museum.
  • Wisconsin Central 7525. This locomotive is at the Illinois Railway Museum and is operable. It is one of two WC SD45 units to be painted in an Operation Lifesaver scheme.
  • Wisconsin Central 7495. This unit is at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, Minnesota, and is operable. It is the Northern Pacific 3617. Plans call for it to be repainted to its former NP colors.

References Edit

  • Pinkepank, Jerry. Diesel Spotters Guide 2.
  • Diesel Spotter's Guide, Volume 2. Kalmbach, 1994.
  • White, Dr. W. J. How Diesel Electric Locomotives Operate. Peat. 1998.


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