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The EMD MP15DC, MP15AC, And MP15T

The EMD MP15DC, MP15AC, and MP15T were all variants of the builder's final switcher locomotive it manufactured between the mid-1970s and late 1980s. The MP15 series (originally, the Electro-Motive Division simply called the locomotive an MP15 before the arrival of AC traction motors) replaced the SW1500 model and overall it sold relatively well with the three primary differences between the models being that they came equipped with either an alternator (which produced AC power but converted back to direct current), DC traction motors, or turbocharging (which featured an alternator using the same setup as the MP15AC). The model again saw a slight change to its carbody with a bit more bulk and less beveling. Today, given their relatively young age, you can still find many MP15 models operating on both large and small railroads. Additionally, because of their age, none are currently preserved with museums or tourist railroads. However, as the years pass expect this change as there will certainly be at least a few examples preserved.

Throughout the history of Electro-Motive's switcher line the builder saw successful sales, more than could be said for its road-switchers after the 1980s.  From the earliest SC and NW models to the final series presented here, the manufacturer produced thousands of switchers, many of which remain on Class I rosters for light-duty service.  The EMD MP15DC was the first in the MP15 series of switchers the builder produced (it debuted in early 1974) and interestingly, was meant to not only for yard, industrial, and light branch duties but also as a general road switcher (note the image above of a MP15DC leading a CSX freight). The MP15 series was meant to replace the successful SW1500 line but retained the 1,500 horsepower rating. The MP15DC was a bit longer than the earlier SW series at 48-feet and also featured a bulkier and boxier carbody and cab, even more-so than the updated carbodies of the SW1500 and SW1000.  

Still, it retained EMD's classic short frame (48 feet, 8 inches) with a slight tapering of the hood near the cab. The EMD MP15DC was built through 1980 and ultimately sold some 351 units, and turned out to be the best selling model of the series.  Of note, EMD actually considered the MP15DC a true road switcher rather than a switcher. While it carried the look of the latter, internally it was indeed a small road switcher that also offered 62,000 pounds of starting tractive effort and 48,800 pounds continuous (using General Motors' D77 traction motors).  The MP15DC was cataloged with a multiple unit (MU) option (allowing more than one unit on the head-end to be controlled from the lead cab) as well as the ability to operate with dynamic brakes (another feature which EMD would install if requested).   Finaly, the locomotive also utilized Blomberg trucks as had been featured on the SW1504 variant for Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, doing away with AAR and Flexicoil trucks used on the SW1500 and earlier models.

The EMD MP15AC began production in August, 1975 just a year after the MP15DC was released and was meant to be a slight upgrade from the earlier model as its alternating current power was more efficient and allowed it to produce better tractive efforts. It accomplished its use of "AC" power by using an alternator, which then converted the power back to DC, through the use of a silicon rectifier. If one keeps a sharp eye the differences between the AC and DC models are noticeable such as the MP15AC's longer carbody (by a little over a foot) and air-intakes along the lower side of the nose. The EMD MP15AC sold relatively well through the late summer of 1984 with 246 units sold to several different railroads.  The EMD MP15T was essentially a variant of the MP15AC in that it featured a turbocharged prime mover, which was meant to be more fuel efficient (it was also slightly longer than the MP15AC) using only an eight-cylinder version of EMD's 645E prime mover (the other two models featured 12-cylinder 645s). 

EMD MP15DC Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Alcoa Terminal Railroad 7 1 1980
Alton & Southern Railway 1522 1 1980
Arizona Public Service Company 2 1 1977
Bauxite & Northern Railway 15-16 2 1974
Belt Railway Of Chicago 533-536 4 1975-1980
Birmingham Southern Railroad 260-261 2 1976
Brewster Phosphates 18-19 2 1976-1980
Cambria & Indiana Railroad 19-20 2 1975
Chicago & North Western 1302-1316 15 1975
Cities Service Corporation 109 1 1974
Fairfield Works, U.S. Steel 170 1 1976
Genesee & Wyoming 45-46 2 1980
Georgetown Railroad 1011-1012 2 1978-1980
Gulf Oil Company 101 1 1979
Houston Belt & Terminal Railway 60-64 5 1979
Kansas City Southern 4363-4366 4 1975
Kelly's Creek & Northwestern Railroad 1-2 2 1976-1980
Lake Erie, Franklin & Clarion Railway 25-28 4 1976-1979
Louisville & Nashville 5030-5039 10 1975
Manufacturers Railway 251-252, 254 3 1975-1983
Metro Sanitary District Of Greater Chicago 4 1 1983
Minntac Division, U.S. Steel 955-968 14 1976
Missouri Pacific 1356-1392, 1530-1554 62 1974-1982
North Louisiana & Gulf 42-45 4 1975
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie 1574-1598 25 1974-1975
Point Comfort & Northern Railway 11-15 5 1974-1980
Reading 2771-2780 10 1974
Rockdale, Sandow & Southern Railroad 13-15 3 1974
Southern Pacific 2690-2701 12 1974-1975
Southern Railway 2348-2435 88 1977-1982
St. Louis San Francisco Railway (Frisco) 361-365 5 1975
St. Marys Railroad 504-505 2 1974-1976
Swift & Company 1976 1 1976
Tennessee Eastman Company 2 1 1975
Terminal Railway, Alabama State Docks 761, 771-772, 801-802, 821-822 7 1976-1982
Texas & Northern Railway 998-999 2 1975
Texas City Terminal Railway 35-37 3 1982
Union Railroad 10-33 24 1974-1977
W.R. Grace & Company 121-122, 131-132 4 1975-1980

EMD MP15AC Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Eastman Kodak Company 10 1 1981
Electro-Motive (Demo) 115-116 2 1975-1978
Georgetown Railroad 1013 1 1975
Kennecott Copper Corporation 120-122, 701, 704, 906 6 1976-1978
Long Island Rail Road 150-172 23 1977
Louisville & Nashville 4225-4234 10 1978
Milwaukee Road 434-497 64 1975-1976
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy) 56-59 4 1980
Mobil Oil Company 116 1 1978
Rockwell-Hanford Operations 3727-3728 2 1982-1983
Seaboard Coast Line 4000-4019, 4200-4224 45 1977-1978
Southern Railway 2702-2731, 2736-2759 54 1975
Terminal Railway, Alabama State Docks 803 1 1980
Weyerhaeuser G1 1 1980

EMD MP15T Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Dow Chemical Company 957 1 1987
Seaboard System 1200-1241 42 1984-1985

The model was built between October, 1984 and late fall 1987. Few MP15Ts were ever built, as all but one were manufactured for the Seaboard System, which purchased 42 units. Today, these units remain in operation on CSX's system. Places you can find various MP15 models in service today include Union Pacific, Genesee & Wyoming, Norfolk Southern, Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Railway (Crandic), New York & Atlantic Railway, Canadian Pacific/Soo Line, Massena Terminal Railroad, Wisconsin & Southern, BNSF Railway, Alaska Railroad, Union Railroad, Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak, and the Philadelphia Bethlehem & New England.

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