EMD GP15-1

The EMD GP15-1 is a 4-axle switcher diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division between June 1976 and March 1982. Intended to provide an alternative to the rebuilding programs that many railroads were applying to their early road switchers, it is generally employed as a yard switcher or light road switcher. This locomotive is powered by a 12-cylinder EMD 645E engine, which generates 1,500 hp (1,119 kW). The GP15-1 uses a 50-foot-9-inch (15.47 m) frame, has a wheelbase of 29 ft 9 in (9.07 m) and has a length over couplers of 54 ft 11 in (16.74 m). A total of 310 units were built for American railroads. A number of GP15-1s remain in service today for yard work and light road duty. The radiator section is similar to those found on the EMD SD40T-2 and EMD SD45T-2 "tunnel motors," leading some observers to incorrectly identify the units as such or as GP15Ts, and giving them the nickname "baby tunnel motors".

EMD GP15-1
Union Pacific Yard (UPY) 742, a GP15-1 idles in Union Pacific's Global 1 intermodal yard in Chicago, IL.
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGeneral Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Build dateJune 1976 March 1982
Total produced310
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length54 ft 11 in (16.74 m)
Loco weight246,000 lb (111,600 kg)
Fuel capacity2,400 imp gal (11,000 l; 2,900 US gal)
Prime moverEMD 645E
Engine typeV12 2-stroke diesel
AspirationRoots blower
Displacement7,740 cu in (126.8 L)
Cylinder size9.1 in × 10 in (231 mm × 254 mm)
Transmissiondiesel electric
Loco brakeStraight air
Train brakes26-L air
Performance figures
Power output1,500 hp (1,100 kW)
Tractive effort47,000 lbf (210 kN)
LocaleUnited States

Original Owners

Missouri Pacific Railroad

The Missouri Pacific Railroad purchased more units than the other three buyers combined. For spotting purposes, the MP models have a number of visually distinguishing features, though not all were applied consistently to the MP units:

  • The MP units have a grab iron ladder mounted on both sides of the long hood end;
  • MP's initial order of GP15-1s rode on Blomberg M trucks rather than the more common Blomberg B (all subsequent units were delivered with Blomberg B trucks) and, while the standard Blomberg B truck carries two brake shoes per wheel, many MP units were equipped with only a single brake shoe per wheel;
  • #1555#1574 were outfitted with the standard 81" nose, while the remaining units (all built in December 1976 or later) came with an 88" nose;

Complete list

Railroad Quantity Notes
Chicago and North Western Railway 25 Most in service with Union Pacific Railroad
Conrail 100 #1600-1699
Some in service with CSX Transportation
All retired by Norfolk Southern Railway
Missouri Pacific Railroad 160 Most in service with Union Pacific Railroad
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway 25 #100-124 Most are in service with BNSF Railway. Some traded to GMTX for GP38-2's

See also


  • "GP15-1 specification page". GATX Rail Locomotive Group. Archived from the original on April 8, 2005. Retrieved June 25, 2005.
  • "The History of EMD Diesel Engines". Pacific Southwest Railway Museum. Archived from the original on July 22, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2005.
  • Marre, Louis A. & Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1989). The Contemporary Diesel Spotter's Guide. Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Books. ISBN 0-89024-088-4. LCCN 88083625. OCLC 19959644.

Further reading

  • Sperandeo, Andy. "The EMD GP15-1: EMD's down-sized road switcher." Model Railroader, January 1990, 110115.
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