TS20: Southern Heritage
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
Now available for Train Simulator is the “High Hood,” 3,500-horsepower Electro-Motive GP50 in Norfolk Southern livery!
The 3,500-horsepower Electro-Motive GP50, in unique “high-hood” configuration and wearing distinctive Norfolk Southern livery, is ready to go to work hauling Train Simulator tonnage!
The GP50 was the production successor to Electro-Motive’s successful GP40-2 and the precursor to EMD’s GP60, the latter of which helped introduce Electro-Motive’s new 710-series power plant and “60-Series” locomotives. As such, the GP50 represented the final technology push for Electro-Motive’s widely used 645-series V-16 turbocharged engine.
When, in 1980, the Southern Railway placed a large order for Electro-Motive’s high-horsepower, four-axle (B-B) GP50, it came as something of a surprise to train-watchers. Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, the Southern had focused its high-horsepower diesel purchases on six-axle (C-C) models such as the EMD SD45, SD40, and SD40-2, while opting for non-turbocharged, fuel-efficient four-axle diesels such as the versatile GP38-2.
But, with a growing appetite for powerful and swift motive power, especially to handle the railroad’s expanding intermodal traffic, Southern Railway purchased 70 GP50s in 1980. This robust purchase followed the railroad’s trial and purchase (in 1978) of three experimental GP40Xs which were used by EMD as testbeds for a number of components which would make their way into the builder’s “50-Series” locomotives. Satisfied with its initial purchase, Southern then followed up with another 20-unit purchase of GP50s in 1981.
The Southern Railway GP50s were built to the railroad’s rather unique specifications of the era – the “long hood” was considered “front,” and the short-hood was “high” (full height). That said, the units were equipped with Southern’s bi-directional control stand and could be regularly found leading trains with either end leading. The Southern GP50s were built with 70:17 gearing, 3,500-gallon fuel tanks, and weighed 270,000 pounds.
Southern originally employed its GP50s (road numbers 7003-7092) on priority intermodal and manifest freights, working system-wide and often in matched sets. Even as the new GP50s arrived for Southern Railway service, the merger of Southern and Norfolk & Western into today’s Norfolk Southern was just around the corner (the merger was completed in 1982). NS continued to use the GP50s in priorities services, including on the railroad’s RoadRailers but, as typical for most locomotives, with age the veteran GP50s took up secondary duties, in many cases taking over for retired GP30 and GP35 diesels. In turn, the time for retirement of the GP50s arrived circa 2015, although 28 of the retired locomotives have since been employed in Norfolk Southern’s innovative GP33ECO locomotive rebuild program.
Sandwiched as it was between the long-lived GP40-2 and EMD’s upcoming “60-Series” diesels, the EMD GP50 was predestined to be a transitional model and teething issues with the 3,500-horsepower 645F3 power plant further stilted its potential appeal. Nonetheless, the GP50 recorded a five-year production run (1980-1985) and 278 units were constructed for five buyers. Southern Railway was, far and away, the purchaser of the largest fleet of GP50s with its total of 90 units. Santa Fe, Chicago & North Western, Missouri Pacific, and Burlington Northern (Frisco) were the other buyers.
Now available for Train Simulator, the Norfolk Southern GP50 in “high hood” configuration is the creation of Travel By Train. Modeled with authentic details and operating controls, the Norfolk Southern GP50 DLC includes a trio of scenarios for the Norfolk Southern N-Line route (route available separately). And the EMD diesel is also ideal for use on a variety of additional Train Simulator route serving as potent “run-through” pooled power! – Gary Dolzall
The 3,500-horsepower Electro-Motive GP50, in unique “high-hood” configuration and wearing distinctive Norfolk Southern livery, is ready to go to work hauling Train Simulator tonnage! In 1980-81, the Southern Railway purchased 90 of the high-horsepower, four-axle EMD diesels which, with the 1982 merger of Southern and Norfolk & Western, then went to work for Norfolk Southern. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
Electro-Motive produced the 3,500-horsepower GP50 from 1980 through 1985 and five customers purchased a total of 278 units. Powered by EMD’s 645-series V-16 turbocharged engine, the Southern GP50s were built with 70:17 gearing, 3,500-gallon fuel tanks, and weighed 270,000 pounds. Note: Screenshots depict content while in development.
In unique “high hood” configuration and wearing Norfolk Southern’s distinctive livery, NS 7003 rides the Spencer shops’ turntable as dawn breaks on the Norfolk Southern N-Line route.
*While the long-hood end was technically considered the “front” of the NS GP50s, the units were equipped with bidirectional control stands and frequently operated with either end leading. NS GP50 7018 and a sister are handling switching duty at Gold Hill Quarry.
At work on the Train Simulator Norfolk Southern N-Line route, a pair of NS GP50s have tonnage in tow (above and below). The GP50 DLC includes three scenarios for the captivating North Carolina branch line (route available separately).
Originally purchased for priority services, with age the NS GP50s found themselves working secondary duties including branch line and local tasks. Such is the case as NS GP50 7003 and 7092 work the Norfolk Southern N-Line route (above and below).
The 3,500-horsepower Electro-Motive GP50, in unique “high-hood” configuration and wearing distinctive Norfolk Southern livery, is ready to go to work – and as created by Travel By Train, the powerful Train Simulator GP50 is available now at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores!
Screenshots and images displayed in this article may depict content that is still in development. The licensed brands may not have been approved by their respective owner and some artwork may still be pending approval.
TS20: Southern Heritage