Discussion in 'Trainspotter ID' started by Chessie6459, May 23, 2006.

  1. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    An EMD SD38-2 is a 6-axle diesel locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) beginning in 1972 until 1979. EMD built 83 of these medium road-switchers, which were used in both yard and mainline roles. Part of the EMD Dash 2 line, the SD38-2 was an upgraded SD38 with modular electronic control systems, HT-C trucks, and many other detail improvements. Power was provided by an EMD 645E 16-cylinder engine which could generate 2000 horsepower (1,500 kilowatts). These units were constructed with either 3200 or 4000 U.S. gallon (12,100 L or 15,100 L) fuel tanks and were available with or without dynamic brakes. It shared the same frame as the SD40-2 and SD45-2, which gives the SD38-2 a length of 68 ft 10 in (20.98 meters).
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Interesting factoid for the '38's..

    The GP38, SD38 and their Dash-2 counterparts, unlike other contemporary 3rd-gen EMD diesels (the -35s, 40s and 45s), are not turbocharged. That means the -38's made a really distinctive sound-- Unlike turbocharged units in which the turbos somewhat muffle the sounds of the diesel engine and adds a whine, the normally-aspirated -38s are LOUD. You can hear them coming miles away, with their jackhammer bang-bang-bang-bang diesel rumble. :D

    Since the SD38 (and dash-2) are non-turbocharged, they are not suitable for high-speed road service, which is why these are primarily used for yard/hump duty or for slow-haul high-tonnage trains such as iron ore unit trains.

    The giveaway feature for the -38s (both the Geep and the SD) is the paper air filter box in front of the dynamic brake location.
  3. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think some of the class 1's at the time asked for something new for branch line service to replace aging Gp7s & 9s. For that sort of work they didn't need high horsepower or turbos. I just realized I put this in the wrong thread. This was supposed to be in a Gp38 & 38-2 thread not Sd38.
  5. Summit

    Summit Member

    LongIslandTom wrote:

    "The giveaway feature for the -38s (both the Geep and the SD) is the paper air filter box in front of the dynamic brake location."

    I have to disagree with you on this one...there were -38's built without paper air filters.

    McCloud River in northeastern California had three SD38's (all without paper air filters) and 1 SD38-2. I have pictures of all four on my McCloud Rails website:

    SD38 #36:
    SD38 #37:
    SD38 #38:
    SD38-2 #39:

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV
  6. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Sorry Jeff, I should have been more clear.

    What I should have written is that those paper air filter boxes are unique to the -38s. You see one of those, you know right away it's a -38.

    Before you mention the GP-39s, let me mention I am talking about the full length boxes (I know some of the -39's have a short filter box).
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I would think that as of now, the Sd38 & 38-2 are probably the only fairly modern Sd that doesn't have a turbo, so the four ehaust stacks would also be a good sptting feature.
  8. Summit

    Summit Member

    Tom- Understood!

    Russ- they only had two exhaust stacks, not four. However, that does make a visual difference as compared to the single large stack on a turbocharged unit.

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV

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