SN DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES,
AN ALL-TIME ROSTER
The Sacramento Northern used diesel locomotives for over 40 years, from the early days of World War II until it was swallowed in the WP's merger with the Union Pacific. A total of 22 diesels were owned by the SN. They present an interesting variety, with nine major models, plus additional "phases" of two of these models. The variety of locomotives was one of the things that made train watching on the SN so much fun.
The SN's diesel roster underwent an evolution over the years as car weights grew and as business declined. The little GEs of the 1940s and 1950s were proving inadequate by the 1960s. They were replaced with used yard switchers, including several Alcos and a single Baldwin. When the WP decided to purge these increasingly unreliable relics in the early 1970s, they were in turn replaced by surplus EMD engines. By the late 1970s, the SN had shrunk to a fraction of its former self, and only a handful of engines were needed. In the last years before the merger, WP and SN power was interchanged freely, and it became rare to find the few remaining SN engines on home rails.
141: GE 44-TON. Built as San Francisco & Napa Valley 40 in 1942. Jointly owned by SN and SF&NV. Purchased by SN in 1946. Traded in to GE in 1956. Rebuilt and sold to Springfield Terminal Ry. Sold to Claremont-Concord Ry., date unknown. Stripped for parts, the hulk was scrapped in 1997. This locomotive and sister 147 had a "Phase 1b" body, combining the side air intakes and small vents on the hood typical of the earliest 44-tonners with the heavy corner steps typical of all later production.
142: GE 44-TON. Purchased new by SN in 1946. Sold to Chrome Crankshaft in 1970. Resold in 1971 to Anaconda Copper as their 41. Scrapped. Numbers 142-146 were all built on one order and are "Phase 4" locomotives. All the locomotives in this group except 142 had rotating beacons applied to their roofs, probably in early 1963. SN 147 also received a roof beacon at this time. The beacon was required by the city of Chico on all locomotives operating over their streets.
143: GE 44-TON. Purchased new by SN in 1946. Wrecked in 1968. Sold for scrap in 1969 to Associated Metals, Benicia, California.
144: GE 44-TON. Purchased new by SN in 1946. Sold to Chrome Crankshaft in 1971. Resold to Texas Railcar in 1974. Subsequent history unknown.
145: GE 44-TON. Purchased new by SN in 1946. Sold to Chrome Crankshaft in 1971. Resold to Northwest Oklahoma RR. in 1974 as their No. 2 (other sources say No. 7). Resold to Westmac Inc., Newaygo, Mich., post 1980. It next went to Cargil, Inc. at Lima, Ohio about 1984. The engine was sold to Shepard Grain Co. of West Liberty, Ohio in October 1998. It was moved to West Liberty in November 1998 and entered service. The elevator and, more importantly, ex-SN 145, were sold to Champaign Landmark, Inc. in October 2003. The locomotive was sold for scrap in 2008. See our feature REQUIEM FOR SACRAMENTO NORTHERN 145 for further details about this locomotive.
146: GE 44-TON. Purchased new by SN in 1946. Sold to Chrome Crankshaft in 1971. Resold to Northwest Oklahoma RR. in 1974 as their No. 1. Sold to Feather River Railroad Society in 1996. Traded to the Western Railway Museum in 2006.
147: GE 44-TON. Built as San Francisco & Napa Valley 30, 1942. Jointly owned by SN and SF&NV. Purchased by SN in 1957. Sold to Chrome Crankshaft in 1970. Resold to Anaconda Copper. Stripped for parts and scrapped.
201: GE 70-TON. Purchased new by SN in 1955. Sold to locomotive broker Preston W. Duffy in 1967. Resold in 1967 to Sylvite & Canada Division 10. Reported to have been stripped for parts and scrapped.
202: GE 70-TON. Purchased new by SN in 1956. Sold to locomotive broker Preston W. Duffy in 1967. Resold in 1967 to Prescott & Northwestern Ry. as their 25. In 2010 this locomotive was for sale by the P&NW.
301A: EMD F-3A. Built for NYO&W in 1948 as 501. Purchased from Hyman Michaels Co. in 1957. Numbered SN 301 until 1960. Retired in 1971 and exchanged for WP 711 and 712. Traded-in by WP to EMD on a GP-40.
301D: EMD F-3A. Built for NYO&W in 1948 as 502. Purchased from Hyman Michaels Co. in 1957. Numbered SN 302 until 1960. Retired in 1971 and exchanged for WP 711 and 712. Traded-in by WP to EMD on a GP-40.
----: EMD F-3A. Built for NYO&W in 1948 as 503. Purchased from Hyman Michaels Co. in 1957. Leased to WP as 801D (renumbered 926A in 1968) and not regularly used by SN, but may occasionally have operated on the Pittsburg steel trains. Retired in 1970 and exchanged for WP 562 and 584. Traded-in by WP to EMD on a GP-40.
401: EMC SW-1. Built as WP 501. Sold to SN in 1965 (actually delivered in 1966). Sold to Corn Products Co. in 1981. Preserved at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola since 1987. Currently painted in original black "Feather River Route" scheme as WP 501.
402: EMC SW-1. Built as WP 502. Sold to SN in 1965 (transfered in 1966). Donated to California State Railroad Museum in 1983 for preservation. This engine was painted in the Perlman Green scheme until 1999 when the CSRM restored the Zephyr colors in conjunction with Railfair 99.
403: Alco S-2. Former MP 1053 built in 1945. Sold to SN in 1967 through Preston W. Duffy. Scrapped 1972 by Associated Metals, Sacramento.
404: Alco S-2. Former MP 1048 built in 1948. Sold to SN in 1967 through Preston W. Duffy. Retired in 1973 and scrapped by Purdy Company, Sacramento.
405: Alco S-1. Former WP 504 built in 1942. Sold to SN in 1967. Sold to Quincy Railroad as their No. 4 in 1973. Donated to Feather River Railroad Society and at the Portola Museum as of 2005.
406: Alco S-2. Former WP 562 built in 1950. Traded to SN in 1970 in exchange for ex-SN 303. Scrapped in 1974 by Levin Metals, Richmond, California.
407: Baldwin VO-1000. Former WP 584 built in 1945. Traded to SN in 1970 in exchange for ex-SN 303. Scrapped 1973 at Associated Metals, Sacramento.
607: EMC NW-2u. Former UP 1000 built in 1939. Sold to ST&E as their 1000. Traded to WP as their 607 in 1968 for an Alco switcher. Sold to SN in 1973. Donated by the Union Pacific to the Deer Creek Scenic Ry./Heber Creeper Railroad, Heber, Utah. Later sold to the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City, Nevada. At last report it was painted in a snappy blue and silver scheme (the Nevada state colors) saw some excursion duty.
711: EMD GP-7. Former WP 711 built in 1953. Traded to SN in 1971 in exchange for 301A-301D. Sold after the merger by UP for scrap in October 1984 and cut up by Erman Corp. in August 1985.
712: EMD GP-7. Former WP 712 built in 1953. Traded to SN in 1971 in exchange for 301A-301D. Donated to Western Railroad Museum ca. 1985. Traded to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola in 2006.
Information cited in the above list was mainly gleaned from Joseph Strapac's Western Pacific's Diesel Years, Virgil Staff's D-Day on the Western Pacific, and various issues of the Feather River Rail Society's Trainsheet. Full citations for published works are included in our annotated bibliography. Additional notes provided by Robert A. Campbell, Sr. Information on ex-SN 145 was provided by Scott Trostel.