A CN Ex-IC SD70.

The  Electro Motive Division (EMD) SD70 is a type of 4,000hp six-axle diesel locomotive that has a few variants. Nearly all are still in service with their original purchasers.

History of SD70Edit

After the initial success of the SD70's introduction, EMD planned on developing a revolutionary type of "safety cab" for the FRA's (Federal Railroad Association) "North American Safety Cab" program which would provide safer durability during head-on collisions. The EMD SD70M was first introduced as the DC-traction model using this cab, interestingly though, NS order their SD70's with standard cabs, after the introduction of the Wide Cab. Conrail (under NS direction) ordered 24 units just prior to the split. IC also ordered 40 SD70's in two orders in1995 and 1999.

Although the SD70M was successful at first, it began to experience several technical issues with its microprocessor control system during early demonstration test runs. But after several successful demonstrations with the NYS&W, SP and Union Pacific railroads NYS&W ordered 3 SD70M's, and SP ordered 25 SD70M's built in 1994. The SD70M was somewhat of a sleeper in EMD's catalog until, in 1999, Union Pacific ordered 1,000 SD70M's from EMD. This was the largest domestic locomotive order in history.

2017: NS has begun a rebuilding program in conjunction with EMD to turn SD70's into wide-cab, AC-traction road units. These new rebuilds will be called SD70ACC's and feature an SD70ACe style cab. Two units were shipped to Muncie and have yet to emerge. These two will test the viability of the program before NS proceeds to rebuild the other 77 SD70's.


The SD70I was Canadian National's WhisperCab version of the SD70M. Only 26 of these units were built. 

Who ordered What?Edit

CN has 26 SD70I's (the only ones built) and holds ownership of the 40 Ex-IC standard cab SD70's. 

UP has over 1,500 SD70M's on its roster. Two have been retired. #4687 and #4855. 

NYS&W had 3 SD70M's on its roster, in July 2014 NS picked up the trio. 

NS has 71 SD70M's, in two phases 13 (original 10 plus 3 Ex-NYSW units bought 2014) were built in Phase 1 and 58 were Phase 2. As well as 79 standard cab SD70's 55 of which were ordered by NS while the other 24 are Ex-Conrail.

CSX has 25 SD70M's on its roster due to a large motive power swap in the 1990's, where CSX gave GMTX about 50 Geeps and switchers, for high horsepower units, the EMDX demonstrator were sold to CSX along with the Three GP60 demos.


A diagram showing the features and revealing the differences between the later "Phase 2" SD70M versus the original SD70M.


An EMD GP70 was offered, but, generated no orders. Union Pacific, CSX, Southern Pacific, and Canadian National were the original customers to purchase the SD70M (aside from its counter-parts), while Ontario Northland Railway (ONR), Norfolk Southern, NYSW, and several Latin American railways and railroads were the later customers.

The UP also ordered the largest amount of SD70M units, with having a total of 1,000 in the first order and another 500 (including flared-radiator units) in another, making the order the largest in EMD history.

UP #2001 and UP #2002 were painted in special schemes to commemorate the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from 2001 to 2002. These units still retain their schemes, but are slated to be repainted soon.

As of early 2013, BNSF has been in the process of retiring their fleets of former ATSF (Santa Fe) SD75M's, many of these are at NRE Silvis, IL in storage awaiting their fates. However, due to an extreme power shortage in late 2013/early 2014, some of these ex. ATSF units have returned to service on BNSF.