GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

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GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby Rock » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:32 pm

I am curious if EMD offered a successor to the GP39-2 in its 60-series lineup? They had the GP59, but I am wondering if there was also a 2300-hp variant available to buy. For comparison, GE had both the B23-8 and B32-8 available in its Dash 8 catalog (at least at the very beginning). Was there any mention of the possibility of a GP58 or something similar?
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby RickRackstop » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:02 pm

Except for some passenger locomotives - the F59PH used in commuter service in California and the LIRR's DE/DM, There have been no other applications of the 12-710 engines in 4 axle locomotives which, incidentally is rated at 3000 plus hp. The 2300 hp rating is for a 12-645 EB engine. There have been some ECCO conversions of UP's SD60's and a few BNSF SD45's to use new 12-710 engines, however.
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby Allen Hazen » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:22 pm

The "59" in the model designation makes it sound as if EMD thought of the GP-59 as a successor to the GP-39 in their catalogue. They had also, in 1983-1985, built a few of a GP-49 model: late 645 engine design-- comparable to the 3500/3600 hp 16-645-- rated at 2800 hp (preceded in 1980 by a 2600 hp GP39X).

Since the 16-710 is standardly rated at 4300 hp, EMD could produce a 2000+ hp unit with an 8-710: the configuration (road switcher with a turbocharged 8-cylinder engine) would be that of the GP15T. They are in fact building such units: officially they are ECO "rebuilds," but apparently those for the CP are being built on new frames, so they are as much new units as typical second-generation GPs build with trade-in trucks!
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby MEC407 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:58 am

Rock wrote:Was there any mention of the possibility of a GP58 or something similar?


Not that I'm aware of. And, assuming they were strictly adhering to their own naming convention, a "GP58" would've had a non-turbo 16-710. As has been discussed elsewhere in this forum, EMD has never [to the knowledge of anyone on this site] built a non-turbo 710. If they had, we can safely assume that the 16-cylinder version would've been rated at around 2500-2800 horsepower.

Beginning in 1968, their domestic locomotives ending in "9" all had 12-cylinder engines: the first was the SD39, followed by the GP39, SDL39, GP39-2, GP49, GP59, F59PH, F59PHI, etc. The GP59 is certainly the 60 Series version of the GP39 in terms of following the company's naming convention and filling that particular slot in the lineup, but clearly it's not a direct replacement in terms of horsepower. That is to be expected, considering that the horsepower race was still going on at that point in time.

As far as I can tell, the closest horsepower match for the GP39 during the 60 Series time period would've been the BL20-2, introduced in 1992. At 2000 HP it's not a perfect match, but it's the closest match I can think of. Technically they were rebuilds, but it appears that EMD was ready and willing to market them on a fairly large scale, and might have even offered them as a new-build option if railroads had been really interested (which, as it turns out, they weren't).

Other than that, the next-closest match would have been the 2800 HP GP49, which was part of the 50 Series.
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby Rock » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:27 pm

Those are really interesting points! Thanks for all the info and for confirming that there wasn't any other locomotive as part of the 60 series.

So, if a railroad wanted a roadswitcher around 2300-hp, would they just order a GP59, or would they try to do something like the MKT did in 1984 and buy a GP39-2 with a 645 engine and in the body of a GP59, similar to how the last GP39-2s were built in the body of a GP49? I'm thinking the GP39-2 in the GP59 body would be too much trouble and they would just go with the GP59 and the extra horsepower. But if they did that, perhaps the result would be a GP59 style locomotive with only two radiator fans.

Another thing to consider is that EMD (or GMD) was still building new locomotives with 645 engines in the late 1980s, with the SD40-2Fs for CP Rail... So if a railroad really wanted to have a 645-engine road-switcher to standardize their fleet, I suppose it would have been possible to order something customized like that.

All of this is highly unlikely since low- and medium-horsepower 4-axle roadswitchers were becoming less popular at this time, but it's really interesting to think about what possibilities would have been available and it definitely piques my curiosity.
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby MEC407 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:38 am

Good point about the SD40-2Fs and the late-phase GP39-2s. We (rail enthusiasts and rail historians) often look at locomotive production dates and assume that the manufacturer no longer offered a certain type of locomotive after its last production run, but (prior to EPA "Tier" regulations at least) I believe the end of production for many locomotives was simply due to a lack of customers, rather than the manufacturer saying "you can't buy these anymore." EMD was building GP40-2s and GP38-2s until 1986, which we can safely assume was because there was continued demand for them, even though GP50s were being produced at that time and GP60 demo units had started touring a year earlier. If a customer had come to EMD in '85 or '86 (or maybe even later than that) and said "We want to buy GP39-2s and we're ready to write a check," I can't imagine that EMD would've refused. Sure, EMD might've tried to talk them into a GP49 or GP59, but generally what the customer wants is what the customer gets. Heck, GE was building Universal and Dash 7 locomotives for export LONG after U.S. railroads stopped buying them. It's all about demand. If Burlington Northern had gone to GE in 1988 and said "We want to buy another 100 C30-7s," I betcha GE would've been more than happy to oblige.

Your last paragraph offers what I believe is the most plausible explanation for why EMD didn't produce any 2300 HP roadswitchers during that era: there simply wasn't any demand for them. Even though it was (and is) a fine locomotive, the 39 series occupied a rather awkward space in the EMD lineup. 2300 HP is not a huge leap from the 2000 HP 38 series, and if a customer needed more than 2000 HP they probably also needed more than 2300, so they went with 3000+. It was different on the GE side because GE had a simpler lineup without the "turbo or no turbo" option. With GE you got a turbo whether you wanted one or not. :wink:

(If anyone ever wondered why EMD never built a "GP48" GP38-2 replacement, I think we've answered that question as well!)
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby Allen Hazen » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:04 am

Re: "If Burlington Northern had gone to GE in 1988 and said "We want to buy another 100 C30-7s," I betcha GE would've been more than happy to oblige."
---------I can't remember where I read it, but I think I remember seeing once that Conrail wanted to buy C30-7 in 1985, and that GE persuaded them to take C30-7A instead. Though they did build conventional (16-cylinder engined) C30-7 for Mexican customers into the mid 1980s.
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby JayBee » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:13 pm

Don't forget the reason that railroads switched from buying GP38-2s to buying GP39-2s was for fuel economy reasons. The Santa Fe, BN, and MKT switched, The UP never expanded its own fleet of GP38-2s after the initial purchases. After 1980 only MP bought a significant number of GP38-2s. By the mid '80s a significant number of GP40 types were being down graded to local service.
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby MEC407 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:26 pm

The 39 series is indeed more fuel efficient than the 38 series, per this chart (look for the Hp/Gal/Hr column; higher numbers = better efficiency)... but if railroads really wanted the best bang for the buck, they would've been better off with GE U23Bs or B23-7s, which handily beat the EMD 39 and 38 series in fuel economy.
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby v8interceptor » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:56 pm

Although I haven't come up with anything on line in the way of an official EMD document I have read several sources that state that EMD did design work on and may even have cataloged a 2000 HP 60 series locomotive which would have been called a GP2000. This may have been built on older GP frames like some of the GP20ECO units currently in service or perhaps it would have been completely new from the wheels up. It would have had an 8-710 engine.
I am certain that no demonstrator was built and the BL20-2 project (which did result in the remanufacture of 3 demonstrator units from GP9 cores)may have superceded the concept.
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Re: GP39-2 Successor in 60 Series?

Postby Engineer Spike » Mon May 27, 2013 11:18 pm

It appears that the 2000 HP range did not have a market in the 1985-92 era. Fuel was cheap then. Many lines were still using GP9s. Why pay big $ for a small unit? Spend on new mainline power, and demote older units.

20 years later fuel costs and emissions laws make the old 567 and 645 units obsolete. This is why the major manufacturers have now reentered the low HP market.
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