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EMD "F45"/"FP45" Locomotives


Last revised: February 15, 2024

By: Adam Burns

The F45 was the freight variant of the FP45, Electro-Motive's first model featuring the cowl styling.  Manufactured at the Santa Fe's request, the FP45 was designed as both a dual service locomotive while also offering a simplified full-width carbody.

Only two railroads ultimately purchased the model; the AT&SF and Milwaukee Road.  Following cessation of passenger operations both lines had their steam generators removed and regeared for freight service.

The F45 was designed as a freight-only locomotive, lacking steam generators and mounted on a shorter frame.  Again, only two buyers purchased the model; Great Northern/Burlington Northern and the Santa Fe.

The F45s saw around twenty years of service on the GN, and successor Burlington Northern, before being retired or sold in the mid-1980s.  Following a rebuild during the 1980s, Santa Fe's remained in use for another decade.

Today, a few F45s, and their unmistakable cowling, are still around.  To see one in action be sure to visit the Southern California Railway Museum in Perris (formerly the Orange Empire Railway Museum), which has restored Santa Fe FP45 #108 to operating condition.

Additionally, the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, Montana has cosmetically restored a former AT&SF F45 as Great Northern #441 for use as hotel living quarters.  Finally former Santa Fe #5989 is preserved with hopes of restoring the unit into the "Kodachrome" livery.

Santa Fe F45's with the eastbound hotshot, "Super C," at Summit, California (Cajon Pass). Date not recorded, but most likely taken in the early 1970s. American-Rails.com collection.


The F9/E9 closed the book on EMD's traditional streamlined passenger models.  These final examples featuring the classic "bull dog" nose streamlining - manufactured between 1953/1954-1964 - saw only lukewarm sales as railroads moved away from dedicated passenger service.

However, some lines continued to take great pride in their remaining trains, even amid monetary losses to do so.  One such company was the Santa Fe. 

As Brian Solomon notes in his book, "EMD Locomotives," during the mid-1960s the AT&SF approached Electro-Motive about constructing a dual-service locomotive to continue handling its transcontinental trains, notably the Super Chief.

Based from the builder's burly 20-cylinder SD45, the so-called FP45 was essentially an SDP45 wrapped in a full length "cowl" carbody and equipped with a high efficiency steam generator.

In his book, "The Contemporary Diesel Spotters Guide," author Louis Marre notes this new configuration utilized a standard road-switcher frame, upon which was placed a "cowling."  It differed significantly from the earlier E and F series where the carbody was part of the entire structural frame.

The cowl design reduced air resistance and allowed for troubleshooting and minor maintenance while the locomotive was in operation.  It also improved safety by allowing crew members to access different locomotives while in service via access doors from the front nose and rear of the carbody, which opened to walkways.

2753923o4273462378528689209278.jpgSanta Fe F45 #5900 is blue-flagged at Clovis, New Mexico, circa 1982. Mike Bledsoe photo. American-Rails.com collection.

The "F" in FP45 stood for "full cowl width" while the "P" indicated the locomotive carried a steam generator for passenger service.  However, as a dual service model it was also capable of operating in high speed freight service. 

The Santa Fe went on to acquire 9 examples (#100-108) in December, 1967, clad in the company's classic "Warbonnet" livery of red, silver, and yellow.  These units also became famous for leading the railroad's high priority "Super C" freights. 

In addition, the Milwaukee Road placed an order the following year for five examples (#1-5), which led their regional Hiawathas.  After Amtrak took over most intercity passenger services on May 1, 1971 both railroads had the steam generators removed and placed the locomotives in general pool service on freight assignments.

Santa Fe FP45 #105, circa 1969. American-Rails.com collection.

In an interesting case where a passenger design inspired a freight variant, Santa Fe went back to EMD in 1968 requesting a freight-only version of the cowl carbody.

Between June and August, 1968 EMD delivered 40 units to AT&SF of what was dubbed the "F45."  The model was identical to the FP45 except it lacked the high-capacity steam generator and, as a result, rode on a shorter frame.

The Great Northern liked the freight model and order a small fleet of its own, purchasing 14 examples in 1969.  Following the Burlington Northern merger in 1970 the new conglomerate went back to EMD and purchased 32 more between July, 1970 and May, 1971.

The Santa Fe's F45s were adorned in the railroad's dark blue freight livery while the GN's fleet featured the railroad's late era "Big Sky Blue" livery.  The following BN examples were adorned in the railroad's standard "Cascade Green" scheme.

Data Sheet and Specifications


Entered Production6/1968 (Santa Fe #1900)
Years Produced6/1968 - 5/1971
Engine BuilderGM
Length (F45)67' 5 ½"
Length (FP45)72' 4"*
Steam Generator (FP45)Vapor-Clarkson (AR4125)
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)14' 8 ¾"
Width (FP45)10' 8 5/8"
Width (F45)10' 8"
Weight360,000 Lbs
Fuel Capacity3,200 Gallons
Air CompressorGardner-Denver
Air Compressor ModelWBO
Air Brake ManufacturerWestinghouse
Air Brake Schedule26L
Truck TypeFlexicoil
Truck Wheelbase13' 7"
Wheel Size40"
Traction MotorsD77 (6), GM
Primary GeneratorD32, GM
Auxiliary GeneratorDelco (A8102)
MU (Multiple-Unit)Yes
Dynamic BrakesYes
Gear Ratio62:15
Tractive Effort (Starting)90,000 Lbs at 25%
Tractive Effort (Continuous)82,100 Lbs at 16.1 mph
Top Speed65 mph - 90 mph

* Milwaukee Road FP45s were 70' 8" in length.

Production Rosters


Total Built = 86

Owner Road Numbers Serial Numbers Order Number Date Built
Santa Fe 1900-1919 34036-34055 7105 6/1968
Santa Fe 1920-1939 34056-34075 7114 6/1968-8/1968
Great Northern 427-432 34736-34741 7151 5/1969-6/1969
Great Northern 433-440 35110-35117 5750 8/1969
Burlington Northern 6614-6625 36341-36352 5762 7/1970-9/1970
Burlington Northern 6626-6645 37166-37185 5774 4/1971-5/1971


Total Built = 14

Owner Road Numbers Serial Numbers Order Number Date Built
Santa Fe 100-108 33189-33197 5731 12/1967
Milwaukee Road 1-5 34158-34162 7121 12/1968

85819817616515561857289708.jpgMilwaukee Road FP45 #5 leads one of Union Pacific's "City" streamliners through David Junction, Illinois in May, 1969. Fred Byerly photo. American-Rails.com collection.

The powerful F45s, sporting 3,600 horsepower behind EMD's brawny 20-cylinder model 645E3 prime mover, were rugged locomotives that performed well for many years.

After their stints on the Santa Fe and Burlington Northern, a number of F45s found work on short lines and regionals such as Montana Rail Link; Utah Railway; New York, Susquehanna & Western; Wisconsin Central; Wisconsin & Southern; leasing services; and even the ill-fated Transcisco Tours excursions.

As late as 2008-2009, both New York, Susquehanna & Western and Montana Rail Link continued using F45s in freight service. 

20384273528635728689287634798038.jpgMilwaukee Road FP45s #5 and #2 are moving through the railroad's large yard and shops in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, circa 1972. Photographer unknown. American-Rails.com collection.


  • Foster, Gerald. A Field Guide To Trains. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
  • Hayden, Bob. Diesel Locomotives: Cyclopedia, Volume 2 (Model Railroader). Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1980.
  • Marre, Louis A. Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, A Guide To Diesels Built Before 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Marre, Louis A. and Pinkepank, Jerry A. Contemporary Diesel Spotter's Guide, The: A Comprehensive Reference Manual To Locomotives Since 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1989.
  • Marre, Louis A. Contemporary Diesel Spotter's Guide, The: A Comprehensive Reference Manual To Locomotives Since 1972, Including Rebuilding, Upgrading, And Leasing Programs (2nd Edition).  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Solomon, Brian.  EMD Locomotives.  Minneapolis: MBI Publishing Company, 2006.


Wes Barris's SteamLocomotive.com is simply the best web resource on the study of steam locomotives. 

It is difficult to truly articulate just how much material can be found at this website. 

It is quite staggering and a must visit!