Western Pacific 2001

1959 EMD GP20

 

Model:  GP20

Prime Mover:  EMD 567D2 - 16 Cylinder Turbocharged

Builder:  Electro-Motive Division

Horsepower:  2000

Built:  November 1959

Operating Weight:  256,890 lbs.

Builder #:  25623

Length:  56 ft. 2 in.

Status:  Operational

Maximum Speed:  65 MPH

 

 

Western Pacific 2001 is arguably one of the most historic, preserved diesel locomotives in the world.  2001 is the first production turbocharged EMD locomotive, the first of thousands of turbocharged EMD diesel locomotives to roll of the assembly line in 1959.  Competitors American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and General Electric were wringing 2500 horsepower out of their new locomotives at a time where the highest horsepower EMD offered out of their Supercharged locomotives was 1800 from the GP18.  In September of 1955, Union Pacific experimented with adding turbochargers to 2 of their 1750 horsepower GP9's and 1 cabless GP9B at the Los Angeles shops.  In 1959, the UP's Omaha shops added turbos to 20 more GP9's making them "Omaha GP20's".  EMD realized that to remain competitive, they too would have to adopt turbo charging for their next series of locomotives, and the GP20 was added to EMD's catalog.

 

Thanks in part to EMD's sales claims that the new GP20 would reduce scheduled maintenance time by 60% and increase freight speeds with a 2 for 3 replacement of older power, Western Pacific purchased 6 units numbered 2001-2006 in 1959 at a cost of $212,793.  Our 2001 was the first production GP20 built, and EMD showed it off around the country before releasing it to the WP.  Following the success of the original 6, WP again ordered 4 more units, numbered 2007-2010 in mid 1960 to replace several ailing FT freight engines.  EMD allowed a $17,000 credit towards each of the last 4 GP20's with the trade-in of 4 retired FT's.  All of WP's GP20's were delivered with large "Pyle National" singe bulb headlights, dynamic brakes, and dual controls, so the locomotives could be operated from either side of the cab.  This eliminated the need to turn the locomotive at the end of a run so that the short hood end was leading; now engineers could operate from either side of the cab and still end up on the right hand side of the track to see signals.

 

Following the 1982 merger of Union Pacific with the Western Pacific, UP began retiring WP's fleet of older locomotives soon after the merger.  Recognizing the historical importance of 2001, UP donated the engine in 1985 to the fledgling Feather River Rail Society who ran the locomotive for several years around the property hauling train loads of guests.  In the late 1980's, the 2001 was looking and feeling a little worn out due to it's heavy use on the WP.  FRRS volunteers restored the 2001 and gave her a brand new DuPont Imron paint job of her as delivered silver and orange paint with black chevron stripes, completing her in time to return to home rails and a public debut at "Railfair '91" in Sacramento at the California State Railroad Museum. 

 

Today, the 2001 is one of the most popular exhibits at the museum due to its attractive paint, unique history, and the fact that it is kept polished and in mainline condition.  WP 2001 is also routinely approved by both Union Pacific and Amtrak to lead special Amtrak charter excursions.  She often leaves the property heading up special museum trains joined by sister WPRM engine, GP7 707, on the Union Pacific's former Western Pacific lines for display at various railroad festivals as an ambassador to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum and a tribute to the "Willing People" of the Western Pacific Railroad, past & present.

 

*For a more in depth history of Western Pacific GP20's, visit Mike Hawkin's WP Information site HERE.

 

Brand new Western Pacific 2001 poses for the EMD Company Photographer in November 1959.

WP 2001 and sister GP20 2009 spotting industries, at an unknown location on the WP in the late 1960's

WP 2001 returns to the "Feather River Route" at the head end of the "Feather River Express" charter train returning passengers from the 2010 "Portola Railroad Days" in August of 2010.  Three former California Zephyr cars also make up the special train. (last three cars)

WP 2001 at rest between assignments at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.

WP 2001 returned to its home rails of the Western Pacific to assist Golden Gate Railroad Museum move from its long time home in San Francisco to the Niles Canyon Railway in Sunol, California in February 2006.  2001 was photographed by rail enthusiast Ryan Martin at 2am moving through South San Francisco in the pre-dawn hours of February 25, 2006 in this breathtaking shot.

WP 2001 returns for the first time in 21 years to the former Western Pacific's system locomotive shop in Stockton, California during the Golden Gate Railroad Museum move in February of 2006 for a quick servicing and inspection with running mates WP 707 and WP 925-C.  Former WP employees in Stockton yard were overjoyed to see WP power return, if just for the night.