The EMD FP45 is a cowl unit type of C-C diesel locomotive produced in the United States by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD). It was produced beginning in 1967 at the request of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, which did not want its prestigious Super Chief/El Capitan and other passenger trains pulled by freight style hood unit locomotives, which have external walkways.

Santa Fe #98, now renumbered to Santa Fe #108 as of October 2018
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGeneral Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Build date1967-1968
Total produced14
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheelbase45 ft 0 in (13.72 m)
Length72 ft 4 in (22.05 m)
Prime moverEMD 645E3
Engine typeV20 Diesel
Performance figures
Power output3,600 hp (2,680 kW)
OperatorsSanta Fe, Milwaukee Road, and BNSF
Localewestern United States
Dispositionseveral preserved in museums, two were wrecked and one sold to Wisconsin Central

History and development

The EMD SDP45 was a good passenger locomotive, but to the Santa Fe Railway it did not look the part. EMD therefore designed a lightweight "cowl" body to cover the locomotive, though it did not, as in earlier cab units, provide any structural strength, which remained in the frame. The cowl provided sleeker looks, better aerodynamics at speed, and allowed the crew to enter the engine compartment en route for diagnostics and maintenance. Final drive gear ratio for passenger service was 59:18.


Santa Fe purchased nine of the locomotives (road numbers 100 through 108), and the Milwaukee Road bought five for its passenger service (road numbers 1 through 5). The Milwaukee Road units were delivered without Dynamic Braking. Reportedly, Illinois Central Railroad was considering an order for five FP45s as well (EMD order #5742, serial #s 34952-34956), but canceled it. Such low production was feasible and profitable for EMD since the locomotive was fundamentally just a re-clothed SDP45. Power, as in the SDP45, was from a V20 645E3 engine (or prime mover) developing 3,600 hp (2,680 kW).


The locomotives were delivered painted in the Santa Fe's famous Warbonnet colors, in exactly the same style as the railroad's F units and GE U30CG. When Amtrak took over passenger service, the FP45s were reassigned to freight service, particularly Santa Fe's Super C high-speed intermodal run. Seven units were repainted from their original red and silver Warbonnet scheme to the standard blue and yellow freight scheme, while two units were painted into the blue and yellow warbonnet. Their steam generators were removed and they were permanently assigned to the freight pool. All Santa Fe SDFP45s except for #5995 were repainted in the Southern Pacific Santa Fe (SPSF) merger paint and then repainted in the blue and yellow warbonnet scheme after the merger denial. In June 1989, two of the units, #5992 and #5998, were repainted once more in a modified version of the Warbonnet scheme (this time, displaying Santa Fe in large, red letters "billboard"-style across the side, a livery previously worn by the GE U28CG) and re-designated as #101 and #102. The units reentered service on July 4 as part of the new "Super Fleet" the first Santa Fe units to be so decorated for freight service. The six remaining units were thereafter similarly repainted and renumbered to 100-107. In 1990 with the purchase of the EMD GP60Ms the units were renumbered back in to the 5990s and were then renumbered again to 90-93 and 95-98 and remained in the Warbonnet scheme until their retirement in the late 1990s, after some 30 years of service. The units purchased by the Milwaukee Road were painted to the Milwaukee's orange and black scheme after Amtrak took over passenger service.


A freight-only derivative, the EMD F45, was sold in greater numbers (86) to Santa Fe, the Great Northern Railway, and the Burlington Northern Railroad. Amtrak bought a similar passenger locomotive based on the 3,000 hp (2,240 kW) SD40-2, the SDP40F. The last two F45's in service were on the Montana Rail Link in the northern United States and were taken out of service in late 2006.


Between April 1980 and December 1982, Santa Fe's San Bernardino shops rebuilt eight FP45s 5940-5943, 5945-5948. They emerged as 5990-5993, 5995-5998, and were redesignated SDFP45s. The 5944 was wreck retired in September 1981 on account of a wreck at Toland, Texas. Electrically they were upgraded to SD45-2 standards. Mechanically, they were re-geared from 59:18 to 60:17, reducing their top speed from 89 to 83 mph (143 to 134 km/h).

In the late 1980s Santa Fe again re-geared them - this time to 62:15 for 71 mph (114 km/h).


Milwaukee Road's FP45s were all sold for scrap in 1981 and 1984. One of Santa Fe's SDFP45 No. 96 was wrecked in 1994 on Cajon Pass. While No. 91 was sold to the Wisconsin Central in January 1995, becoming their #6652 and the rest stayed in service right up until the BNSF merger in 1996, and were retired shortly after the merger.


Those that were not wrecked in service, or sold to other railroads, are on display in museums:

See also


  • Moran, Miles (1975). "And Passenger Service Too". Railroad Modeler. 5 (8): 40–47.
  • Duke, Donald (1997). Santa Fe: The Railroad Gateway to the American West, Volume Two. San Marino, CA: Golden West Books. ISBN 0-87095-110-6.
  • Graham-White, Sean (2002). Electro-Motive Division's Classic Cowl Units - A Color Pictorial. La Mirada, CA: Four Ways West. ISBN 1-885614-53-5.
  • "5700 Order Numbers". The UNofficial EMD Homepage. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
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