The EMD SD60 is a 3,800 horsepower (2,800 kW), 6-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division. Intended for heavy-duty drag freight or medium-speed freight service. It was introduced in 1984, and production ran until 1995.

Ex-SOO SD60 no. 6014, now owned by Cit (CEFX), at Lincoln, Nebraska in October 2014.
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGM Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
General Motors Diesel (GMD)
Build date1984–1995
Total produced1,144
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), Brazil
Wheel diameter40 in (1,000 mm)
Wheelbase13 ft 7 in (4.14 m)
Length71 ft 2 in (21.69 m)
Width10 ft 3 in (3.12 m)
Height15 ft 7.5 in (4.76 m)
Loco weight368,000 lb (166,922 kg)
Prime moverEMD 16-710G3A
Engine typeV16 diesel
Traction motorsD-87
Performance figures
Maximum speed70 mph (113 km/h)
Power output3,800 hp (2.8 MW) at 900 rpm
Tractive effortStarting: 98,250 lbf (44,570 kgf) @ 25%
Continuous: 100,000 lbf (45,359 kgf) @9.8 mph (15.8 km/h)
OperatorsSee original owners
LocaleNorth America, Brazil
Dispositionmost still in service as of 2016

History and development

The development of the 16-cylinder EMD 50 and 60 series locomotives in the late 1970s and early 1980s was spurred by the introduction of 3,600 horsepower (2,700 kW) 16-cylinder GE B36-7 (B-B) and GE C36-7 (C-C) locomotives by EMD's main competitor General Electric. EMD previously manufactured the 3,600 hp (2,700 kW) 20-cylinder SD45 and SD45-2 locomotives, but they had a reputation for high fuel consumption. In 1980, the SD50 model was added to the EMD Catalog. However, the SD50's electrical reliability was poor and, similarly, the 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) 16-645F engine had poor mechanical reliability, both believed to be largely due to excessive vibration from the 950 maximum rpm of the 645F prime mover. It was time to develop a replacement for the venerable 645 engine which, in its earlier 16-645E form (900 maximum rpm), had proved to be exceptionally reliable. EMD therefore quickly commenced development of the SD60 series, which would eliminate the weaknesses of the SD50. The lessons learned in developing the 645F crankcase and crankshaft (for the earlier 20-645E, and the then-current 16-645F) were incorporated in the replacement, the 710G, first employed in the SD60. Although the carbody and frame are nearly indistinguishable from the earlier SD50, the SD60 featured the new 16-cylinder EMD 710G3A prime mover, AR-11 traction alternator, D-87 traction motors and a microprocessor-based control system that governed various electrical systems within the locomotive (e.g., wheel slip and transition).

The SD60 proved to be more reliable and fuel-efficient than the SD50, but it was not a resounding success in terms of regaining the market share that was lost due to the electrical and mechanical issues that plagued the earlier SD50. The goal was to equal or exceed the reliability of the earlier 645E-powered 3,000 horsepower (2,200 kW) SD40-2, which was an industry standard benchmark for reliability, in the new 710G-powered 3,800 horsepower (2,800 kW) SD60. This goal was largely achieved and the later 710G-powered 4,000 horsepower (3,000 kW) SD70M received what would be the largest single order for new locomotives, a 1,000 unit order from Union Pacific, (numbered UP 4000 through 4999, inclusive).

Norfolk Southern has now retired nearly all of its original SD60 fleet. [1] As an indication of its sound design, many SD60s were re-manufactured by their owners or by subcontractors; 135 such units were rebuilt by Norfolk Southern alone, some of which were acquired on the secondary market from locomotive lessors. These NS conversions, designated SD60E, are reported to be upgraded to include electronic fuel injection, intercooling, "crash-worthy" fuel tanks and other components and features found in late SD70s. The traditional "spartan" cab will also be replaced with a new "crash-worthy" wide cab built to NS specifications, dubbed the “Crescent cab”. Early units were completed at the original SD60's 3,800 HP rating, but all were later uprated to 4,000 HP, thereby becoming for all intents and purposes the equivalent of a late SD70M, but at a fraction of an SD70M's cost.


Several variants of the SD60 were built, including:


This was the original model, and had a conventional hood unit configuration with the 40 Series (spartan) cab first employed on the SD40-2.


The SD60F was ordered and was operated by Canadian National and has a full-width cowl body and crashworthy "safety cab" with a four-piece windshield. CN retired the SD60F in 2017, however a handful were sold off and are still working on a shortline in Minnesota.


The SD60I model has a full-width short hood and features the so-called "WhisperCab" that was insulated from sound and vibration using a system of rubber gaskets. The same cab was later used on EMD's SD70I, SD75I, SD80MAC and SD90MAC locomotives. Only Conrail ordered this model, and all now belong to the Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation.


The SD60M features a "North American safety cab" design and has a full-width short hood. Early models until 1990 featured a three-piece windshield with vertical windows (nicknamed "triclops"), identical to the windshields found on EMD's SD40-2F and F59PH models. Later production from 1991 used two windshield panes that were sloped back, and had a somewhat shorter nose tapered on the sides. Purchasers of this model included Conrail, Union Pacific Railroad, Burlington Northern Railroad and the Soo Line Railroad.


The SD60MAC is similar to the SD60M but is equipped with alternating current traction motors. Although four demonstrator SD60MAC units tested on the Burlington Northern Railroad proved the viability of EMD's AC traction system, all subsequent orders were for the SD70MAC locomotive.


The SD60E is a custom rebuilt SD60 for Norfolk Southern created at the Juniata Shops. So far, only standard SD60s have entered this rebuild program, which began in 2010. The SD60E utilizes a new NS-designed "Crescent" cab with a wide short hood, replacing the "spartan" cab. The name Crescent comes from the Norfolk Southern Crescent Corridor which runs from Louisiana to New Jersey. The upgrade also installs new electronics and upgrades the engine to the 710G3B standard rated at 4000 hp. Norfolk Southern bought additional SD60s from HLCX (Helm Financial Corporation) specifically for the SD60E program with the aim to eventually rebuild 240 SD60Es; however, the project was terminated after 135 units had been completed with focus shifting to AC traction rebuilds of EMD SD70 and GE C44-9W locomotives. Norfolk Southern's remaining inventory of unrebuilt SD60, SD60M and SD60I locomotives were subsequently sold in 2019.[2]

Notable SD60Es include the NS 6920 "Veterans Unit," the NS 6963 "GoRail Unit," and the NS 9-1-1 "Honoring Our First Responders Unit."[3]

Current and original owners

Railroad Qty. Road numbers Notes
Burlington Northern 3 8300-8302 Demonstrators owned by EMD but painted for BN; Now CSXT 8787-8789
Chicago & North Western 55 8001-8055 Built to SOO Line specifications; SOO was unable to take delivery due to financial conditions & the order was passed to C&NW. All units to UP at 1995 merger. 8021 (then UP 5981) wrecked on June 22, 1997 and off the roster. Most sold to HLCX, bought by NS and rebuilt to SD60Es.
Conrail 25 6843-6867 After the 1999 Conrail split; 12 units went to CSX and were renumbered CSXT 8710-8721, 8790; 15 units went to NS and were renumbered NS 6702-6716
CSX Transportation 23 8700-8721-8790 All units acquired from Conrail in 1999, 8790 is former EMDX #1 (first SD60 built)
EMDX 4 1-4 Demonstrators; EMD 1,2,4 to CR 6840-6842; EMD 3 leased to BNSF as replacement for EMD 9041 (used at DOT, Pueblo, CO) EMD 3/9041 is now GMTX 9000.
Kansas City Southern 46 714-759
Norfolk Southern 151 6550-6700 Most SD60s rebuilt to SD60Es; some remaining SD60s retired and sold to other operators or scrapped
Oakway 100 9000-9099 Were on lease to BN/BNSF. 90 now owned by Canadian National as 5400-5489. The NYSW bought 6 in the summer of 2012, They are NYSW 3800-3810(EVENS).
Soo Line 58 6000-6057 SOO 6000-6020 returned to leaser, Capital Finance (CIT Group) Former SOO 6021-6057/CP 6221-6257.
Union Pacific 85 6000-6084 Renumbered UP 2100, 2155-2239 (except UP 6014, wrecked & scrapped)
Canadian National 64 5500-5563 5500-5503 are pre-production SD60F's, originally classified as SD50AF & built as CN 9900-9903. They look like SD50F's, but internally are SD60F's.
Conrail 80 5575-5654 After the 1999 Conrail split; 35 units went to CSX and were renumbered CSXT 8722-8755, 8774; 46 units went to NS and were renumbered NS 6717-6762
Norfolk Southern 46 6717-6762 All units are former Conrail, originally numbered 5577-5653. Some units set to be retired as of summer 2019
CSX Transportation 35 8722-8774 All units are former Conrail, originally numbered 5575-5544. All but one have been sold to LTEX as of Jan. 2019
Burlington Northern 100 1991, 9200-9298 Renumbered BNSF 9200-9299, then renumbered BNSF 8100-8199 in 2007-2008. 14 sold to PRLX & 9 sold to NS as 6807-6815. Remaining renumbered to 1400-1476.
Conrail 75 5500-5574 After the 1999 Conrail split; 30 units went to CSX and were renumbered CSXT 8756-8773, 8775 - 8786; 44 units went to NS and were renumbered NS 6763-6806
Soo Line 5 6058-6062 Former SOO 6058-6062/CP 6258-6262.
Union Pacific 281 6085-6365 Renumbered to 2240-2520 except 6106 (6165, the other under its original number, was renumbered to 2158:2 on January 4, 2018 [4]. 24 rebuilt into EMD SD32ECOs. UP classifies these as SD59MXs. Renumbered 9900-9923. All 24 have been delivered.
Norfolk Southern 44 6763-6806 All units are former Conrail, originally numbered 5501-5574. All units set to be retired as of summer 2019
CSX Transportation 30 8756-8786 All units are former Conrail, originally numbered 5500-5573, All have been sold to LTEX
Carajás Railroad (Vale) 2 601-602 Manufactured by Equipment Villares S. A. (EVSA) in 1991. Last locomotives manufactured by EVSA before the merger with GE Transportation in Brazil, leading to GEVISA.

See also


  1. "Norfolk Southern Diesel Locomotive Roster". www.nsdash9.com. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  2. "NS SD60E Rebuilds". AltoonaWorks.info. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  3. "NS Veterans Unit Announcement". Norfolk Southern Corp. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  4. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locopicture.aspx?id=1426
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