BN GP39 rebuild question

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  • Member since
    November 2008
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BN GP39 rebuild question
Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, May 17, 2021 4:58 AM

Noticed tonight that the two Nickel Plate GP30's that entered the program were rebuilt with Spartan cabs thirty years ago. Anyone know the reason for that?

Several other 2nd hand GP30's in the program were also rebuilt in this way, but they were high hood units. Those with low hoods retained their factory cab and low nose, with apparently at least these two exceptions.

I thought that perhaps N&W may have rebuilt these with high short hoods after the merger, but I see at least two preserved ex NKP GP30's with their low nose intact. So I'm assuming that possibility is a dead end to explain this?

Did NKP perhaps buy just some of their GP30's with high hoods for a steam generator (I thought only N&W and SOU had high hood GP30's)? Or had these perhaps been damaged or cannibalized by Norfolk Southern or another party before being acquired as GP39 cores, necessitating the installation of a new nose and cab?

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Posted by M636C on Monday, May 17, 2021 5:35 AM

It is possible that the cabs of some locomotives needed rust repairs or had suffered minor damage that made it simpler to add a new cab.

I know that while most ICG GP8 and GP10 rebuilds used the original cab, a few had new spartan cabs in the original location. I know some of these were ex UP GP9Bs but I think some normal units got them. The later GP11s all had new cabs with shorter noses, of course.

Perhaps the new cabs were avaialable in the shop when the rebuild started....


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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, May 17, 2021 4:05 PM

It sounds silly, but I'm now wondering if it perhaps was basically a mistake. 

Looking at Google's cache of the roster page for the EMD rebuilt GP39E's at the excellent (And now apparently offline) Burlington Northern roster at, shows these two rebuilds as BN BN 2761 and BN 2762.

What's interesting is that they're immediately followed by 18 units of Southern Railway heritage. Did some manager back in La Grange just assume that NS equaled high hoods, and ordered 20 Spartan cabs and low noses to equip the entire 2749-2768 block of rebuilt ex NS GP30's with?

The other 9 low nose GP30 cores of GN and CB&Q heritage that EMD utilized retained their classic GP30 appearance (Most of the GP39E's were built from GP35 cores).

Of course, M636C may have nailed this. Perhaps Burlington Northern had simply kept up the cabs of their GP30's better than Norfolk Southern had.

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, May 17, 2021 4:14 PM

Here is a good reference as well.

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