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Norfolk Soutern SD70ACe #1070.
Photo by Jacob Boslet

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The EMD/Progress Rail SD70ACe is a type of six-axle, 4,300hp AC-traction diesel locomotive which was first introduced in 2004, and has been in production since 2005. The model is still currently in production as EMD's primary long-haul domestic locomotive.


The EMD SD70ACe was born out of necessity, with EPA Tier 2 regulations off in the distance EMD had to design a new locomotive to meet these standards. The SD70ACe has been a good-selling locomotive. Union Pacific was the locomotives' first production customer, and now rosters 500+ Units. BNSF rosters 400+ SD70ACe's. NS,CSX,CN,KCS,MRL and A&M roster SD70ACe's. EMD had a 30 unit SD70ACe order from CN, but the order has been cancelled. CN has since purchased four EMD SD70ACe-P6 Demos. Also Tacoma Rail now operates two SD70ACe-P4's leased from EMD. The EMD SD70ACe is set to change drastically with Tier 4 kicking in in 2015. A report showed that EMD would not have a Tier 4 lin haul locomotive until mid-2017.


  • A&M (QTY:3) #'s 70-72. Ex-EMDX 1201-1203.
  • BNSF: (QTY:450) #'s 8750-8799, 9000-9049, 9050-9158, 9160-9399.
  • CN: (QTY:4) 3's 8100-8103 Ex-EMD SD70ACe-P6 Demos #1206,1208,1209,1210.
  • CSX: (QTY:20) #'s 4831-4850. These were preproduction SD70ACe's built in 2004.
  • FXE: (QTY:97) #'s 4000-4096.
  • KCS: (QTY:178) #'s 3997-4174. 3997-3999 are ex EMDX Demos. 4060-4099 are KCSM. 
  • MRL (QTY:18) #'s 4300-4315, 4400-4403. 4400-4401 built July 2013. 4402-4403 Built December 2013.
  • NS (QTY:175) #'s 1000-1174. 1065-1074 are adorned in NS Heritage paint. 
  • QNS&L (QTY:23) #'s 501-523.
  • UP (QTY:515) #'s 8309-8823. Anything after 8823 are now SD70AH (heavier version SD70ACe).
  • Tacoma Rail (QTY:2) #'s 7000-7001. These are Ex-EMDX 1211-1212. Both are SD70ACe-P4's.


  • SD70ACe: Regular SD70ACe. (One traction inverter per truck.)
  • SD70AC-P4:SD70ACe with four powered axles. B1-1B truck arrangement. The two axles nearest to the fuel tank are unpowered.
  • SD70ACe-P6:SD70ACe with individual axle control, one inverter per axle.(All axles powered.)
  • SD70ACe/45 produced by EMD plant in Brazil (broad guage). It has three radiator fans on top roof since it uses the same carbody of the SD80ACe developed to EMD Canada to Vale mining in Brazil.


Although a successful type of locomotive, the EMD SD70ACe has experienced numerous flaws, primarily with the cab. Despite having a unique design, the actual design often made maintaining the wiring and accessing the microprocessor components difficult for railroad employees at first. BNSF has relegated its 70 non-IsoCab SD70ACe's to trailing unit only status.


The main way of distinguishing an SD70ACe from an SD70M-2 is by box on the left side of each unit, with a SD70ACe having louvered vents, and on the SD70M-2 these are plated over.

IMG 9527 edited

A photo to show one of the main spotting features between an SD70ACe and SD70M-2. Original photo credit: Terry Cantrell.


  • Many railroads have purchased the SD70ACe, while Union Pacific (UP) and BNSF have the largest fleets.
  • The SD70ACe was the last type of production diesel locomotive produced by EMD under GM's ownership, and the first under CAT/Progress Rail. 
  • The EMD SD70ACe (as well as the actual SD70 Series) was also the last type of diesel locomotive to be built in EMD's LaGrange, Illinois plant, as well as the last to be built in their London, Ontario shops, and the first to be built or manufactured in their Muncie, Indiana facility.
  • As of 2012, EMD recently experimented with several attempts in developing a B1-1B-trucked version of the SD70ACe known as the SD70ACe-P4, which is meant to serve as a competition against GE's popular A1A-trucked ES44C4 primarily ordered by BNSF.
  • Both UP and NS have specially-painted "heritage units" or SD70ACe units which are painted in commemorative schemes which are meant to designate former railroads which they purchased or operate over former trackage. (Such as the NS having trackage over former PRR rails, as well as the UP's purchase of the SP.)
  • The locomotive's design actually originates from modern GE freight diesel locomotives. Such as having radiator "fins" or "wings", a large radiator cabinet placed on one side, and airtanks placed on another.
  • 2012 actually marked the 20th anniversary of the SD70 Series, and the introduction of the SD70ACe-P4 was used to celebrate the event.
  • Several foreign versions also exist as well.
  • To celebrate the opening of CAT/EMD's Muncie, Indiana facility, EMD painted EMDX #1201; an SD70ACe, in a unique CAT scheme.
  • The SD70ACe was also the first type of locomotive to use the once-exclusive Nathan K5LLA horn, which is a 1L chime variant of the original K5LA.
  • Earlier KCS (Kansas City Southern) SD70ACe units owned by the railroad were painted in the railroad's generic grey with yellow stripes scheme, and were some of the last locomotives on the railroad's roster to be painted in such scheme before the classic or vintage-esque "Belle" scheme was eventually developed (later units were also some of the first to actually receive the "Belle" scheme on their roster as well; ironically).



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