USA Trains Rio Grande models vs the Rio Grande prototype

EMD trainman Jun 17, 2010

  1. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Since how I love USA Trains and Rio Grande, I thought I would share some info which compares how close USA Trains got to the actual real thing. Since how I model in Rio Grande, that will be the only railroad I will be making comparisons with.
     
  2. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA history SD40-2 Rio Grande 5378,5379 & 5380

    The EMD SD40-2 locomotives were Rio Grande's biggest success story, especially after they were retrofited with turbos, thus given them the true model designation of SD40-2T. They were also better known and nick named "tunnel motors". I own 3 USA SD40-2 Rio Grande locomotives and run them as a triple header, #5378, #5379 and #5380.

    USA Trainswas suppose to produce 2 more numbers later on, #5381 and #5382, but that never happened. USA Trains captured the Rio Grande SD40-2 for the most part, but still needs some details done to it so it will look more like a SD40-2T.

    Lets take a look at the history of the real locomotives in the numbers I have. Rio Grande bought EMD SD40-2 #5378 new in 1977, it was later repainted to Southern Pacific paint scheme after the Southern Pacific merger. In 2002 is was repainted again to Union Pacific colors as Union Pacific bought Rio Grande in 1988. Then it was renumbered to #8577. It was the repainted again to Western Pacific paint scheme in February 2007. By March 2007 is was to worn out for repairs and the engine was removed to become a gen set.

    Rio Grande SD40-2 #5379 was also bought new in 1977, in 1999 it was repainted to Union Pacific paint scheme and was renumbered to #4063. Then it was renumbered again to #8635 in 2000. In January 2004 it was sold to GECX railroad who kept the #8635. It was resold again in a uknown time period to HLCX Railroad who then renumbered it to #6145, It still resides with that railroad as far as I know.

    Rio Grande SD40-2 #5380 was bought new in 1977. It was repainted to Southern Pacific paint scheme after the merger, but the original number was kept. In 1999, it was repaint to Union Pacific colors and renumbered ro #4064, then it was runumbered again to #8634 in 2000. It was sold to HLCX railroad and renumbered to #6146 where it still resides today as far as I know. HLCX stands for Helm Leasing Company. GECX stands for GE Transportaion systems.

    Picture #1 My USA Rio Grande SD40-2 #5378
    Picture #2 My USA Rio Grande SD40-2 #5379
    Picture #3 My USA Rio Grande SD40-2 #5380
     

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  3. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    History on USA Rio Grande SD-70 #5508 & Heritage

    Hi, today we are going to research some history. I own a Heritage Series USA SD-70MAC locomotive in the Heritage series and a SD-70MAC in the regular Rio Grande paint scheme also from USA Trains. Looking at Rio Grandes history first you will know they they never really bought any SD-70MACS because Rio Grande was bought by Union Pacific in 1988 and was in long financial troubles before then, hindering the purchase of much needed locomotives to replace those wore out SD40-2 Locomotives. The newest EMD SD model that Rio Grande owned was the SD-50. So USA Trains made a compromise and used the locomotive numbers from Rio Grande SD-50 roster to put on their SD-70MACS. I own a USA SD-70MAC Rio Grande #5508. In real life Rio Grande #5508 was a EMD SD-50 Bought new in 1984. By August 2001 it was repainted to the Union Pacific colors after the buy out and re-numbered to #9852. In June of 2007 Union Pacific retired the locomotive, unknown if it was sold for scrap or sold to a leasing company such as HLCX

    My Rio Grande Heritage series #1989 is also a USA SD-70MAC. In real life the Rio Grande Heritage series was actually a SD-70ACe. Union Pacific painted this in what they called a heritage paint shceme and numbered it for the year it was painted and commmorated.

    Picture #1 Is my USA SD-70MAC with Rio Grande SD-50 number 5508
    Picture #2 Is my USA SD-70MAC in the Rio Grande Heritage series
    Picture #3 Is My USA SD-70MAC and Heritage Series lashed up on a dedicated 55ft hopper and 55ft tank car train all of which are USA trains too.
     

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  4. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Need to add corrected information on the Rio Grande SD40T-2's.

    From a friend that worked on the units:

    The following from a friend, who worked on the DRGW T-Motors:
    A non turboed sd of that size would make it a sd38. sd 40 are all turboed.
    Tunnel units were for the design that came from the SP design and EMD for the cooling system.

    The following from Rio Grande Diesels, V2, Joseph Strapac:
    Based on the SD45T-2, of which only the Southern Pacific owned.
    The ultimate solution, however, was to emulate General electric practice and build a radiator system with walkway level intake, pusher fans, and radiator cores on the roof.
    See page 103 RGD V2.

    First order of DRGW T-Motors, 15 units, #5341-5355
    Delivered 1974.

    Second order, 18 units, #5356-5373
    Delivered July/August 1975.

    Third order, 12 units, #5374-5385
    Delivered January 1977

    Fourth order, 12 units, #5386-5397
    Delivered 1978

    Fifth, and final order, 16 units, #5398-5413
    Ordered 1978, Delivered March 1980

    As of 1984, the Rio Grande rostered 73 units, totaling 219,000 horsepower.

    From Don Strack's Utah Rails website, UtahRails.net Home Page

    D&RGW 5378 was renumbered to SP 5378 (with D&RGW reporting mark on cab side); renumbered to UP 8577 on 16 April 2002.

    D&RGW 5379 was renumbered to UP 4063 on 27 April 1999; renumbered to UP 8633 on 27 May 2000; retired by UP on 13 October 2003.

    D&RGW 5380 was renumbered to SP 5380 in May 1994 (with D&RGW reporting mark on cab side); renumbered to UP 4064 on 6 August 1999; renumbered to UP 8634 on 9 May 2000; retired by UP on 13 October 2003.


    Complete roster information can be found here:
    Rio Grande Diesel Roster, Part 3

    Updated as new information becomes available.
     
  5. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Keith, Thanx for that valuable info and corrections. I'm still learning about Rio Grande railroad.
     
  6. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    The EMD SD-40/2 Locomotives were huge success stories for many railroads. Even with the BN they were the big bombers in the days before the SD70's. It wasn't uncommon for a line of SD40's to be hauling Intermodal, Locals, Coal or even Inspection Trains (I have a photo of one with 2 coaches using their own HEP).
     
  7. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA Trains GP-30 Rio Grande locomotive

    USA Trains has wonderfully captured the design of the EMD GP-30 locomotive. However for the Rio Grande railroad there was a mistake on which logo to use. The Rio Grande GP-30 did not originally use the "Large" Rio Grande speed lettering.

    I own USA Trains #3014 and #3017 Rio Grande GP-30 locomotives. The original prototypes were bought in 1963. Rio Grande #3014 was involved in a heavy derailment in Crater Colorado in 1968 and was rebuilt by EMD corp. When this one unit was rebuilt it was repainted with the "Large" Rio Grande speed lettering which is how USA Trains probably got confused when they researched the locomotives. Rio Grande locomotive ended up being sold in 1996 to Cimarron Valley Railroad in which they bought 4 GP-30 Rio Grande units total. Rio Grande #3017 was sold to Metro East in 1996. So for as much bad things you here about the GP-30, they sure had a long carreer on the Rio Grande railroad.
     

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  8. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA Trains Rio Grande NW-2

    For some unknown reason, Rio Grande only owned 1 EMD NW-2 switcher locomotive. In Rio Grande's early era they used all EMD locomotives for road locomotives, but when it came to switching locomotives they used Alco units until EMD came out with the SW1200 which finally pursuaded Rio Grande to buy EMD switching locomotives too.

    The prototype Rio Grande NW-2 #100 was purchased in 1941 and was originally #7000. It was renumbered to what everyone knows as #100 in September 1941, so it didn't wear the #7000 for long. It was sold in 1968to Great Lakes Steel Factory and then sold again at a unknown point in time to East Camden and Highland Railroad and it was repainted and renumbered to #62

    The USA Trains version captures the Rio Grande NW-2 after it was renumbered to #100 which I think was the best choice of paint schemes to use and is the one everyone would know best. When USA Trains first intorduced the NW-2 locomotive in 1996, they offered a Rio Grande calf unti also in the begining. But in real life Rio Grande did not have a calf unit to go with it's NW-2, so USA Trains gave the calf unit the number #100a, then eventually USA Trains dropped the Rio Grande calf units and quit making them, they are hard to find today.

    The USA Trains NW-2 locomotives are only capable of moving 4 to 6 average size cars at one time as they have no traction control like the regular locomotives have.
     

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  9. Bryan Smith

    Bryan Smith New Member

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    Did Rio Grande own GE diesel from prototype???? Like U25b from aristo and 44 tonner from usa trains?? I know rio grande own alot of EMD diesel. I like my aristo SD45 Rio Grande no.5319
     
  10. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    The Rio Grande was primarily EMD power.
    However, they did have the following NON EMD equipment:

    #38 - GE 44 Ton Purchased 1941
    #39-43 - GE 44 Ton Purchased 1942

    #50 - Davenport 30 Ton, Narrow gauge Purchased 1963

    #66-74 - Baldwin VO-660 Purchased 1941

    #101-104 - ALCo S-2 Purchased 1941
    #105-114 - ALCo S-2 Purchased 1943
    #115-119 - ALCo S-2 Purchased 1944

    #120-123 - Fairbanks-Morse H15-44 Purchased 1948
    #150-152 - Fairbanks-Morse H15-44 Purchased 1948

    #4001-4003 - Krauss Maffei ML-4000 Purchased 1961

    #5200-5204 - ALCO RS-3 Purchased 1951

    #6001-6013 - ALCo PA-1, 4 units, 6001, 6001, 6011, 6013 Purchased 1947
    #6002-6012 - ALCo PB-1, 2 units, 6002, 6012 Purchased 1947


    According to Rio Grande Diesels, Vol 1, Strapac, Joseph
     
  11. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    Out of all my research, the only railroad that was "ALCO" heavy was Spokane, Portland and Seattle. Rio Grande was definetly Pro EMD.
     
  12. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Like Keith said, Rio Grande never bought any mainline road GE locomotives. GE was forever giving Rio Grande demonstrators, but Rio Grande never bought any such as the U25B. Rio Grande loved how the EMD diesels performed. GE thought they had a sure sale when EMD made the GP-35 and Rio Grande had nothing but problems with those. Everyone thought the GP-30 was bad, but Rio Grande used those for a long time actually. It was the GP-35 that was the worst and Rio Grande did not have those for long, EMD jumped right in and gave Rio Grande full trade in value just to keep GE out. I'm not a GE fan at all and don't really care for the Dash 8 or 9 locomotives altough many engineers love them. I'll take a SD-70MAC or SD-70ACe any day over the GE dash units.
     
  13. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Thats because the SD40-2T was a huge success story for Rio Grande among other road names. It was the bullet proof prime mover engine that made this one so great. Sorta like what the slant 6 did for Chrysler back in the day, you couldn't kill it, it would run forever with low maintenance and the fuel mileage was good.

    Norfolk Southern knew that the SD40-2 was a great locomotive, but most of them wore out chassis wise and parts were getting scarce. However they came up with a brilliant idea. They took the SD-50 which had the best chassis build of all the EMD units made, but the prime mover engine was unreliable, always needing maintenance and didn't get good fuel economy., then they stripped it down, rebuilt it with new on board technology. Then they took the prime mover engine from the SD40-2 locomotives rebuilt those and put them into the SD-50 locomotives. They are speculating they can get another 20 trouble free years of operation. They then dubbed it as a EMD model SD-40E. There were 25 of these rebuilt as a SD-40E by Norfolk Southern to be used as helper units in ALtoone, PA. The last one built was on display at Conrail Days. You can see pictures of it in my photo album under the heading Conrail Days, just click the photo album link in my signature.
     
  14. Bryan Smith

    Bryan Smith New Member

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    That i wonder to know about Rio grande never own the GE U boat.!
     
  15. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Nope, Rio Grande never owned a U boat of any model. Although Aristocraft does make a U25B with the Rio Grande name on it, it's just a fantasy locomotive, never happened. There are many fantasy locomotives out there such as the USA Trains SD-70MAC with the Rio Grande name, Rio Grande was long gone when this loco came out. The newest SD model that Rio Grande owned was the SD-50 and they didn't buy many of them.
     
  16. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    Or the Boston & Maine GP40. Let me explain, I know someone who uses the dynamic brake fan switch cover. Not real. B&M Never had dynamic braking.
     
  17. Bryan Smith

    Bryan Smith New Member

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    I know Rock Island,Missouri Pacific,MKT and Chicago & NorthWestern Rebuilt any old Locomotive of Bladwin, ALCO F-M into EMD powered.

    Some GP35 have old Alco Trucks "B-Type" from FA-1,RS-3
     
  18. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    Santa Fe's CF series which was F-Unit frames with custom road bodies built for them. Stuff like that always fascinates me. I once saw a picture long ago of an ALCO FA in service in south america and she had her old Alco Guts ripped out and in place was an EMD F9 Engine and fans up top. Frankensteined, Yes, but she looked beatutiful.

    But EMD has shown us something. China may control our world's economies and production. But thanks to ElectroMotive Division.... We, as America, Control the world's locomotives. That new Chinese bullet train is supposedly running an EMD Prime Mover.
     
  19. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Rio Grande did the same thing back in the day. Rio Grande had bought EMD model FT locomotives which were the first generation F units. But when they bought the F-3, F-5 and F-9 locomotives, the FT units were still going. Well the problem was that the FT units could NOT be lashed up with the newer F3, F5 or F9 because of the gear ratio in the trucks. So Rio Grande did put newer trucks with motors and gears so they could be used and lashed up with any locomotive.

    The GP-35 was not one of EMDs best locomotives, but on the other hand many railroads are still using EMD GP-9 locomotives almost 50 years later.
     
  20. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    #6001-6013 - ALCo PA-1, 4 units, 6001, 6001, 6011, 6013 Purchased 1947
    #6002-6012 - ALCo PB-1, 2 units, 6002, 6012 Purchased 1947

    The above Alco PA PB by far were the worst unreliable locomotives that Rio Grande owned. Rio Grande tried using these on the California Zephyr, but as they got old, they were prone to break downs, many of them. They were eventuall replaced by the F7 ABBA units. As a matter of fact there is a Rio Grande F7A unit that headed the California Zephyr at the Colorado Museum in which Keith belongs in which that particular F7 unit was the last Rio Grande F unit to pull that train and is the only F7 unit left in the world. Anyway, back to the Alco PA, Rio Grande got arid of all those units except for one and used it for mail service, then eventually it became so unreliable that a F unit had to be lash one the the PA in case it broke down. Eventually the Rio Grande mail train was disbanned.

    Comparing the USA Trains PA PB to the real prototype, USA Trains did a good job capturing the paint scheme. The only thing that I could see not correct is that the USA Trains Alco PA and PB units are 12 wheel drive. You say, but the Alco PA PB had 12 wheels and you would be right, but on the real thing of those 12 wheels only 8 of them were actual drive wheels. The center axle in each truck was a non drive axle and was just there for weight. The Alco PA PB was definately the most under powered and over weight locomotive built. What made it so unreliable was the Alco 4 stroke engine where everyone else was using a 2 stroke engine. Once you shut off that 4 stroke prime mover engine, you were done until it cooled down and then you could restart it, if you didn't wait you would get the old, knock knock knock knock sound in the motor.
     

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