The Electro-Motive Division's GP35 carried on the success of the GP30
that had ended production in 1963. The GP35 remained in production for
only three years but in that time span sold more than 1,300 examples!
It featured the same prime mover
as the GP30 but offered slightly more horsepower. The reason for the
locomotives success can be attributed to two things: first, by the
mid-1960s railroads were looking to upgrade to more efficient
second-generation locomotives as many first-generation models had more than 20 years of use and wear; and second, many models
built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco), Baldwin, and Fairbanks
Morse had simply either not held their worth or were maintenance
headaches for crews (as such, several new GP35 purchases were the result
of trade-ins). For EMD, the mid-1960s marked its second dominant
period as a locomotive builder selling thousands and thousands examples
of models like the GP35, GP38, GP40, SD40, and their many variants.
Today, numerous GP35s remain in service on regional and shortlines as
well as a small handful which are already preserved.
Its the early days of Burlington Northern although one would hardly know it with this consist as CB&Q GP35 #2532 and GN GP35 #2518 (both already renumbered) hustle a long train of boxcars through Westmont, Illinois on August 29, 1970.
The EMD GP35, which debuted in 1963 and built through 1966, followed the GP30 (which was one of the EMD’s first models of what is commonly referred today as second-generation power, or those diesel locomotives that are clearly defined from early models
with less horsepower and fewer other technological features), and
offered similar characteristics to its predecessor. The company stuck
with the same prime mover, the 16-cylinder model 567D3A. However, horsepower was again bumped up to 2,500. Additionally, EMD continued to use the same model
traction motor, the D57, which output the same effort as the GP40;
60,500 pounds starting and 50,000 pounds continuous. Weight, as well as
length, remained the same; 56 feet and 130 tons.
Perhaps the most significant difference with the GP35 was just in the
overall carbody, with a slightly redesigned and sloped-off cab and
smoother overall body itself (there was no longer the dynamic brake
bulge as with the GP30, giving the roof a clean look). Another
noticeable difference with the GP35 is that the model featured EMD's new Spartan Cab, that was used on all subsequent models until the FRA-mandated Safety Cabs of the early 1990s). It first appeared as early as the GP20, which was the first model
offered exclusively with a low nose and refined somewhat in the GP30
that no longer included the noticeable slant. In any event, the GP35’s
design would become virtually standard on all later EMD models, including the Special Duty (SD) six-axle models; a standard cab followed by a long, clean hood.
Aside from the extra 250 horsepower and rated at 2,500 hp (over
the GP30’s 2,250 hp), the GP35 was equipped with the recently developed
dynamic brake (a system for temporarily employing traction motors as
generators and using the resulting electromotive force to slow the
train), and featured an airtight hood that kept out dust, dirt, and
other particles from reaching internal
components (to cool these critical components the GP35 featured a
single air intake for electrical cooling, with a pressurized cooling
system). The dynamic brake had been offered on models as early as the
FT of 1939. However, as EMD/General Motors improved its traction motor
over the years its dynamic braking became more efficient.
Santa Fe GP35 #2935 and a trio of help cross the Muir Trestle at Martinez, California with a westbound freight during November of 1986. The AT&SF purchased 161 examples of this model in the mid-1960s, originally numbered 1300-1460.
One of EMD’s most successful second-generation Geeps the GP35 was a
perfect fit for railroads looking for moderate power and a locomotive
that was easy to maintain. Companies that ulimately purchased the model
were wide-ranging; the Union Pacific, Reading, Erie Lackawanna, New
York Central, Great Northern, Soo Line, Milwaukee Road, Norfolk &
Western (which ordered their GP35s with high hoods), Chicago & North
Western, Santa Fe, and Rio Grande. In any event,
GP35s still be widely seen across the country and its reliability and
classic EMD ease of maintenance will likely continue to keep the GP35
around on regionals and short lines for years to come.
A pair of Southern Pacific GP35s including #6317 and #6312 appear to be working quite hard with their local freight as it rolls eastbound out of Sparks, Nevada and over the Truckee River during July of 1997.
Some of the places one can still find GP35s in service include
the Lycoming Valley Railroad, Wheeling & Lake Erie, Hudson Bay
Railway, Conway Scenic Railroad, Great Lakes Central, Northern Plains
Railroad, Housatonic Railroad, Webb Asset Management,
Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western, Hartwell Railroad, Alabama
Southern, Goderich-Exeter Railway, Montana Rail Link, Kansas City
Terminal, Kettle Falls International
Railway, Palouse River & Coulee City, Carolina Coastal Railway, and
even BNSF Railway still rosters a few. So, be on the lookout for them
because there are plenty out there!