Locomotive Geometry Part 2; Wisconsin & Southern’s Electro-Motive diesels

Locomotive study.
Detailed study of an EMD’s rear hood shows radiator air-intakes, engine compartment doors, handrails, and the engine water level sight-glass that helps distinguish Dash-2 models from their earlier counterparts. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.

Finding static locomotives in nice light offers an opportunity to make studies of the equipment. Wisconsin & Southern operated a fleet of clean, well-maintained second-hand General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) diesels. These were representative of the classic models built at La Grange, Illinois, during the mid-20th century and dressed in a handsome red and silver livery. For me they were prime examples of GM’s finest American diesels, yet at the time I was photographing them, these locomotives were past their prime and harked back to an earlier era. General Motors locomotives, even their more utilitarian models, were characterized by well-balanced aesthetic designs, while their classic postwar streamlined locomotives are icons of American railroading. These images are a small selection focused on the locomotives.

GP9 from rail level
Wisconsin & Southern GP9 4491 was leading a train on the line to Prairie du Chein; the crew had tied down the locomotive, so the lights are on but there’s nobody home. This low view at a grade crossing captures the long hood with ditch-lights and headlights blaring. Exposed with a Nikon F3T and f1.8 105mm lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film. Key to making this image was ability to detach the F3T’s viewing prism, thus allowing a view ‘from the hip’ (or in this case from ‘the rail’).
Wisconsin & Southern GP9 study.
Detail of Wisconsin & Southern GP9 4491 showing the battery box door and company logo. Nikon F3T and f1.8 105mm lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film
WSOR_SD40-2_Janesville_WI_Jul2005_©Brian Solomon
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2s are ‘blue flagged’ at the Janesville, Wisconsin roundhouse. The SD40-2 was the most common locomotive of the 1970s, a powerful, reliable 3,000 hp six-motor freight hauler, and in their day, one of the best-liked engines by crews. Although in their prime they were so common as to be barely worth a second glance, today they are American classics. Exposed with a Nikon F3T and Nikkor f1.8 105mm lens on Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.

 

Locomotives at rest.
SD40-2s in light and shade. Clean balanced design was among the admirable external characteristics of EMD diesels. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film
Locomotive truck detail
The initials ‘EMD’ was General Motors’ signature on its locomotives.
HT-C truck detail
Detailed view of EMD’s very successful HT-C truck ‘High-Traction’ with ‘C’ for three-motors that was standard equipment on its SD40-2.
WSOR_E9_detail_Jul2005_Brian_Solomon_444120©Brian Solomon
Wisconsin & Southern operated former Milwaukee Road streamlined E9s on its business train.
Model E9 was EMD’s last E-unit. This nose detail of Wisconsin & Southern E9 10C shows the engine’s dual headlight arrangement, the top headlight is an oscilating light, the bottom light is fixed. While oscillating lights are commonly known as ‘Mars light’, in this situation both headlights are Mars products. Among the classic EMD equipment on this locomotive are the grab irons and nose-door handle. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.
Model E9 was EMD’s last E-unit. This nose detail of Wisconsin & Southern E9 10C shows the engine’s dual headlight arrangement, the top headlight is an oscillating light, the bottom light is fixed. While oscillating lights are commonly known as ‘Mars light’, in this situation both headlights are Mars products. Among the classic EMD equipment on this locomotive are the grab irons and nose-door handle. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.
SD40-2s at work.
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2s at work: a freight growls over a highway crossing at Avalon, Wisconsin on August 20, 2011. Canon EOS-3 with f2.8 24mm lens on Fuji Provia 100F slide film.
Not a 'pure' EMD creation; Wisconsin & Southerns' 'SD20s' were a hybrid model built by Illinois Central Gulf at Paducah, Kentucky using the core of a former Union Pacific cab-less SD24. Wisconsin & Southern 2051 displays a patriotic sticker in 2002.
Not a ‘pure’ EMD creation; Wisconsin & Southern ‘SD20s’ were a hybrid models built by Illinois Central Gulf at Paducah, Kentucky. This one was originally a Union Pacific cab-less SD24. Wisconsin & Southern 2051 displays a patriotic sticker in 2002.

See: Locomotive Geometry Part 1

Also, for more information on EMD’s see my book EMD Locomotives.

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