Favorite Locos...?

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Favorite Locos...?
Posted by GaryWF59 on Saturday, May 29, 2010 2:05 PM

Perhaps this has been covered before but I was curious what some of your favorite locomotives are from the different eras of design/operation. I love watching engines do their work, the power and the grace that they have is breathtaking!

For me:


Norfolk & Western J1 (as immortalized by O. Winston Link!)

UP 4-8-8-4 (the "Big Boy")



Genesis P42



GG1 (in PRR colors with the 'cat's whiskers'!)


All these engines, when I see them, quicken my pulse a little and make me look a little longer... I am curious to see what others like Smile

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Posted by Bob-Fryml on Saturday, May 29, 2010 8:14 PM

RhB 413 and her "Crocodile Class" sisters built in the late 1920s for Switzerland's Rhaetische Bahn meter gauge railway.  With its "C-C" motion work flailing away at speed, I've never seen a better looking electric engine working anywhere.

Although I'm not a big "teakettle" fancier, anytime I see standard gauge mainline steam locomotives at speed, my surrounding world stops and I'm only aware of a magnificent machine's living and breathing existance.  I could say the same about watching an eastbound "Silverton Mixed" as it works its way into downtown Durango, Colorado.  Oh and such experiences have a way of touching non-railfans alike.

One fall morning, about 35-years ago, my young wife and I were about to leave Durango, Colo. when off in the distance I heard a steam whistle blowing for a set of road crossings.  Finding the nearest one in advance of the approaching train, I pulled over, parked, and insisted that she stand with me at trackside as the train passed.  After that religious moment, when a "mudhen" and a long set of "varnish" made its way passed us, she turned to me and said, "Robert, I never really understood what your fascination with trains was all about.  But I think I do now." 

Any loaded grain train, set of heavy coal buckets, but especially a heavy mixed-merchandise freight train, struggling up a long grade with exclusively 4-cycle power in charge, is a total auditory delight. 

And my head will always turn whenever I hear normally aspirated power loading up with a cut of cars.    

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Posted by enr2099 on Saturday, May 29, 2010 11:24 PM


Tyler W. CN hog
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Posted by soilredneck on Sunday, May 30, 2010 10:18 AM

The operating folks on this forum will cringe, but my favorite is the original high hood U-25B.  The carbody design was something "different" and the bark from the exhaust was great sounding. (I know, only when the would run.)  Next favorite is any non-turbocharged EMD.  They also sound good under load at higher throttle settings.

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Posted by rdgk1se3019 on Monday, May 31, 2010 2:29 PM



SD40-2 and SD45





General Electric;




Reading Co.

I-10sa 2-8-0 and K1se 2-10-2

Norfolk & Western

Y6b 2-8-8-2






Boxcabs, Bi-Polar


Jack-shaft Boxcabs, Twin unit motor generator sets of 1948 ( four trucked E-unit styled )

Reading Co.

Multiple unit commuter cars.

Dennis Blank Jr.

CEO,COO,CFO,CMO,Bossman,Slavedriver,Engineer,Trackforeman,Grunt. Birdsboro & Reading Railroad

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Posted by matt c on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 5:15 PM


My favorite is New York Central Mohawks. When my dad was a boy he got to ride in the cab of 3016. 3016 was his favorite because on the front number plate the 6 was crooked. He took several pictures and shared several memories of this loco with me. I cherise this since he passed away in 2006.
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Posted by oldnewoldie on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 5:34 PM

I thought I was a diesel fanatic but once I got into the Shays I was hooked. I love to watch them operate and never get bored. I have also been hooked with the Big Boy and the Challenger, what a change. Still love my diesels and counting.

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Posted by loadmaster747 on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 7:47 PM

For me, ANY steam locomotive still in operation is among my favorites, like CP's 2816 and SP4449 which I was able to see in operation in the Chicago area in the past few years.

Diesel, I have to go with EMD Fs in Santa Fe warbonnet paint, and Burlington's stainless steel-clad E5s for passenger hauling.  For freight, GE's U30s and EMD's GP7/GP9s on the mainline and SW-series for switching duties along with GE's 44-tonners in the yards.

Electric, I have a soft spot for EP5s and "Little Joes", as well as the classic Electroliners (OK, I know Electroliners aren't really 'locomotives', but I like 'em anyway).  Having never seen a GG1 in operation, I don't feel qualified to comment except to say they look good standing still, but better in PRR paint than Conrail or Amtrak.

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Posted by kencompton on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 7:52 PM

Anything SP!  Especially SD9's.

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Posted by wrawroacx on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 8:15 PM

My top 5 favorite.

1. SD70ACe

2. SD70M-2

3. ES44's

4. AC6000's

5. AC4400's

Tom My Videos - http://www.youtube.com/user/MrWrawroacx
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Posted by Phileksa on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 8:47 PM

My favoritist locomotive of all time has to be the EMD E8.  It's body styling is much more refined than the E7, it's longer than any F, and it just looks sooooooo gooooooood in front of a streamliner.  Unfortunately, this locomotive was one of the legacy "carbody" designs {I like to think of them as "unibodies"} where the locomotive had to be cut apart to take out it's engines.  As the modern "hood" unit was already available at the time of it's ... dare I say "release?" ... it proved to be a dismal failure as far as marketing went.  Only a handful of E8s were ever made, but at least they were ordered to head up streamliners.

 But as far as the sleekest locomotives ever constructed, I don't think anything really beats the E8s.

 My modern favs are the SD80MACs and SD90MACs, but I must also admit a real weakness for anything Très Grande Vitesse, as well. Smile

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Posted by Acela026 on Thursday, June 03, 2010 7:05 AM

I  would love to see any of these locomotives running;


PRR's T-1 (designed by Raymond Lowey, so it has to be cool!)

Pensy's Turbine Locomotive

And NW's Y6a


EMD's E-8, in Burlington (Stainless Steel) or Atlantic Coast Line Livery

ALCO's PA-1, with the D&H Paint scheme (Unfortunatly there is only 1 left!)

and GE's 44-Tonner


GG1 (in PRR colors with the 'cat's whiskers'!)

                              My favorite electric loco too!

Mikwaukee Roads Bi-polar                                                                                                     

and the Acela Express (No surprise there I'm sure!)

I note your join date and number of posts, and I would like to say, Welcome to the Trains.com community GaryWF59! 


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Posted by Phileksa on Thursday, June 03, 2010 12:28 PM

Of the steam locomotives, the Shays are my favorites, too.  I think they came too late in the game to play a major role, but if they had appeared around the time of Tom Thumb and the Rocket, they would have really taken off, and the familiar engines we know and love today would have all been usurped by massive Shays, instead. Laugh

 Even so, I still understand why steam was so easily usurped in itself, and I also understand why my fav never really took off.  Down for every day it was run, a steam locomotive really is a maintenance headache, and having to cut up a locomotive like the E8 to do major work on them really made things much harder than they really needed to be. Sigh

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Posted by UP 4-12-2 on Thursday, June 03, 2010 12:42 PM

In steam, I have to prefer the N&W Y-6B.  The whistle and booming exhaust do kinda set it apart from the others for me.

In diesel, I always liked the big Alco Centuries--most models--but they were unreliable.

For a reliable diesel, for me the choice is simple:  SD40-2


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Posted by WSOR 3801 on Thursday, June 03, 2010 2:20 PM

Unfortunately, this locomotive was one of the legacy "carbody" designs {I like to think of them as "unibodies"} where the locomotive had to be cut apart to take out it's engines.  As the modern "hood" unit was already available at the time of it's ... dare I say "release?" ... it proved to be a dismal failure as far as marketing went.  Only a handful of E8s were ever made, but at least they were ordered to head up streamliners.


No cutting to take out the engines.  Unbolt a roof hatch, and lift it out. 

E-units were purpose-built units.  It's just that their purpose (hauling passenger trains) was in decline when built.  E8s could be ordered with 2 steam generators in the back, useful for backup or if the train was big enough to consume that much for heating or A/C (Santa Fe comes to mind with steam-operated A/C), and had the fuel and water capacity to go for a ways. 

GP7s and 9s could be had with steam generators, but there was only so much room available, and the tanks were smaller.  Add dynamic brakes to the mix, and you wouldn't be going far without needing to refill tanks. At least when passenger service ended, you still had an engine useful for other jobs. 

E-units also had more horsepower, and with 2 prime movers on board, if one failed, it was usually possible to limp in to the next terminal.  

Mike WSOR engineer | HO scale since 1988 | Visit our club www.WCGandyDancers.com

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Posted by wenatchee on Friday, June 04, 2010 12:29 AM

For me, first with the Diesels:

EMD SD40-2 and/or SD45's

EMD SD70's in BN Colors

Any EMD GP's


Lima 4-8-4's

Challengers and Yellowstones

Anything Geared


GN and Milw. Box Cabs and Milw. Little Joe's (what do you expect from a guy who lives in WA. State?Whistling

www.greatnortherntech.com-Train photos and more!
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Posted by UP 4-12-2 on Friday, June 04, 2010 8:06 AM



ALCO's PA-1, with the D&H Paint scheme (Unfortunatly there is only 1 left!)


Actually, there are more Alco PA's remaining than just one.

The Smithsonian Institute has one that is undergoing restoration.

Doyle McCormack has one he is restoring to the appearance of a Nickel Plate "Bluebird" PA

Mexico has at least one in a museum, and it may still be fully operable.  It appears on more than one video, after restoration to a Southern Pacific-inspired paint scheme.


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Posted by sd40luver on Friday, June 04, 2010 1:50 PM

Any EMD / GMD Dash 2 series.








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Posted by THEKINGOFDISTRUCTION on Friday, June 04, 2010 8:03 PM

 For me I really don't have a favorite locomotive, but in this case I'll say all of Union Pacific's giant double diesels, SD90MAC-H, AC6000CW, and the turbines.

 For steam it's the 4-8-8-4 Big Boys, 2-6-6-6 Alleghenys, All challengers, and the DM&IR Yellowstones. To point other thing out I'm also new here.

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Posted by Tugboat Tony on Sunday, June 06, 2010 11:59 AM

Locomotive development peeked with the SD40-2.  Far and away my favorite locomotive.

Steam is dead for a reason... but I would love to operate a CNW H-1 class or a Missabe yellowstone

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Posted by baberuth73 on Sunday, June 06, 2010 8:38 PM

Aw, you guys come on and man up. It's okay to admit that the C39-8 is your favorite diesel. Now, don't you feel better?

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Posted by LWales on Sunday, June 06, 2010 11:10 PM

I'll keep my lists of favorites that I've seen operating. I'd like to be able to include Milwaukee Road Little Joes, Pennsy GG1s, CB&Q Northerns and C&NW Baby Trainmasters--but I'm not quite old enough.


A couple of trips down to the Arkansas & Missouri will make you a fan of their fleet of Alco C420s very quickly--especially when I had the chance to ride the cab of one on the Fort Smith Turn from Springdale down to Ft. Smith and back.

Around northern Illinois these days I'm happy shooting the ICE/DME fleet of SD40-2s and I do like the lines of the BNSF SD70ACe's wearing the swoosh scheme.


A chance at a mainline excursion behind the Nickel Plate 765 will have me trying to be in place for that. I think it is one of the best looking steam locos ever--alive or dead.

I do like the Milwaukee Road 261 also, glad that it will be back in service in the near future.


I'm not much of a juice freak, but the Iowa Traction out in Mason City, IA is about the neatest thing running. Watching the two-man crew go about their work using those ancient 'motors' is really cool. I might have to try and swing out that way later this summer to take in the action.

Lance W.

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Posted by cr6479 on Monday, June 07, 2010 12:14 AM












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Posted by bigduke76 on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 12:13 AM

 if you want to see an espee SD-9 in operation, go visit ely. NV.  my wife & i rode behind theirs just last week.  -big duke

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Posted by CRSD50 on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:57 PM

I'm mainly a Diesel fan, but have a few faves among all types...


SD50 (as my screen name implies).  - I just like the way they look and love watching them at work.

SD80MAC - alas, only got to see them at work on the Boston Line a few times.

DD40X - The Centennials were just plain cool!

 Also have a sentimental spot for yard switchers.



UP Big Boys, Challengers

NYC Niagaras, Mohawks, and of course, Hudsons

D&H Challengers

 Berkshires (any RR)



I'm not really an electric fan, but always admired the GG1.  Also admire the Acela Express. 



UP 8500 HP Big Blow turbines!


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Posted by TPWRY on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 8:51 PM

SD40-2's, SD9's, SD45T-2's, pretty much any standard cab EMD's and bout the only widecabs are the SD60M/I's

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Posted by uphogger on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 11:36 PM

Most of my experience of late is all on F40PH-2 locomotives, but I've run SD40-2's, Geeps of all classes, various SD's, GE's in Dash-8, -9 and AC varieties, and a few EMD switch engines (MP-15's mostly).  I like the SD40-2.  It is a no-nonsense locomotive that does what you tell it to, without some computer trying to out-think you.  My favorite locomotives were usually those pieces of foreign power that are better maintained than those of the Omaha Duck Club.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Friday, June 18, 2010 9:02 AM


Aw, you guys come on and man up. It's okay to admit that the C39-8 is your favorite diesel. Now, don't you feel better?

OK, I'll admit that the C39-8 is YOUR favorite diesel.  Mine is the JNR DD13 class diesel-hydraulic.

(IMHO, most North American diesel-electrics resemble portable gensets on wheels, or art-deco furniture vans.)

I'll also admit that my favorite catenary motor is JNR's ED16 class, and that the Kiso Forest Railway Baldwin-built 0-4-2T is my favorite steamer.  But then, I'm biased...


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Posted by bubbajustin on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 4:31 PM

My favorite locomotives would have to be:


CB&Q 4-8-4 “Northerns”

Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy


EMD: SD70MThumbs Up




GE Transportation: ES44AC or DC (I like them both)

Dash 9

Dash 8












The road to to success is always under construction. _____________________________________________________________________________ When the going gets tough, the tough use duct tape.

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Posted by Ulrich on Thursday, July 01, 2010 2:44 PM

SD40-2 and anything built by MLW..

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