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Locomotive Phases - EMD SD38, SD39, SD40, SD45

These phases are based on the SD45 roster compiled by David Thompson, with added details based on what I have observed. I have relabelled Thompson's Phase 2b1 as a variation of Phase 2a (Phase 2a3) since the single change in this phase (U-shaped nose grabirons) actually appeared on some earlier units as well. However, there are still two Phase 2b variations, since I have added a subphase for revised traction motor cable routing that appeared in the middle of Phase 2b.

These phases are very similar to those for the GP38 through GP40.


Phase 1a1 1a2 1a3 1b1 1b2 1c 2a1 2a2 2a3 2b1 2b2 2c 3
Dates 1965-12 -
1966-02 -
1966-03 -
1966-10 -
1967-01 -
1967-06 1967-07 -
1967-11 -
1967-10 -
1968-07 -
1970-02 -
1971-03 -
1971-11 -
Cab sub-base doors Smooth Ribs on conductor's side Ribs on both sides Ribs made full-width (rather than ending before door edges)
Handbrake Short hood Long hood end (SD38, SD39, SD40);
Long hood, engineer's side (SD45)
Rear hood doors (SD45) 1-2-4-1 grouping (same as SD40, with added door) 1-2-2-2-1 grouping (rearmost door on right shortened for handbrake)
Truck brake cylinders Low-mounted 3 low, 1 high All high
Fans Flat center cap Open-top
MU receptacle housing Short, wide, angled side Tall, narrow, angled bottom
End plate Small tabs at bottom steps, end plates do not extend below steps Angled extensions at bottom steps, end plate extends to bottom of pilot Straight edges (as on Dash-2 units)
Footboards Flat plate on side extending behind pilot end plate (as on SD35) Beveled plate on side flush with pilot end plate (as on Dash-2 units)
Fuel tank supports Triangular brace Pentagonal brace (rectangle with angled corner)
Phase 1a1 1a2 1a3 1b1 1b2 1c 2a1 2a2 2a3 2b1 2b2 2c 3
ECAFBElectrical cabinet air filter box, located on the left behind the cab
No (unless subsequently added) Yes
Short hood grabirons Top-mounted, straight Bottom-mounted, U-shaped (appeared on some units starting with Phase 1c)
Radiator intake subscreen Diamond mesh Square wire grid
Rear traction motor cables Split and cross underframe Similar routing to front
Dynamic brake roof vent No (unless subsequently added) Yes (additional side vent on SD45 only)
Blower duct Flat Two horizontal ribs
Front taper on dynamic brake housing Short, angled Longer, nearly straight
Handrail stanchions bottoms not lined up revised front corner handrails (SD38, SD39, SD40);
bottoms lined up (inconsistent on SD45)
Phase 1a1 1a2 1a3 1b1 1b2 1c 2a1 2a2 2a3 2b1 2b2 2c 3

Other details


Sarberenyi, R. EMD's SD45 and SDP45- Original Owners. Retrieved January 2017 from

Unofficial EMD Homepage. (2004). SD40 Order Numbers. Retrieved April 2010 from

Unofficial EMD Homepage. (2006). SD45 Order Numbers. Retrieved April 2010 from

 Copyright © Michael Eby - Last updated 2018-10-31