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Locomotives Dimensions

The following pages illustrate locomotive dimensions that I have obtained either from specifications or online measurement sources, or from directly measuring locomotives myself. Where applicable, these dimensions are also listed in the pages of Locomotive Phases.

GE Locomotives are noticeable for their absence in this list. The reason: while I have been able to obtain extensive mechanical diagrams and/or direct measurements for several EMD, ALCO and MLW locomotives models, I have not been able to do so for any GE locomotives. As a result, all my GE locomotive drawings (as well as several EMD models) are scaled using only basic dimensions obtained from manuals and railroad diagrams, such as length, cab height, wheelbase, truck centers and frame height, with the rest of the dimensions obtained from extensive photo measurements (scaling components against known dimensions) and cross-checking between models. In some cases (such as with early Dash-8 units and the ET44AC) I've overlaid my drawings with those from manuals or catalogs to gauge the overall accuracy. While this method can be almost as good as direct measurements (if I have particularly good photos to work from) I don't list dimensions obtained in this way because the measurement method is indirect.

Drawings with dimensions listed

EMD/GMD Locomotives

MLW Locomotives

Drawing Scale and Measuring

The number listed for the drawings (1:36, 1:18 and so on) ultimately has little meaning on the screen beyond establishing the relative size of the drawings - because different monitors have different pixel resolutions. The drawings are scaled at a fixed pixel-per-inch ratio, and the scale is based on a print resolution of 72 PPI. This is to maintain consistency with other drawings on the web (such as the Railroad Paintshop) which are often scaled based on a 72 PPI resolution. In terms of the actual size of the drawings, the 1:36 and 1:18 series are drawn at 2 and 4 pixels per scale inch respectively, so at a given printing resolution, they are exactly 1:(PPI/2) and 1:(PPI/4) respectively.

Obtaining dimensions from the images

For drawings in which I haven't listed dimensions, given the fixed pixel-per-inch ratio of the drawings, obtaining dimensions from the 1:36 and 1:18 drawings is very simple:

The 1:55 drawings use a more obscure number for the scale - 16.2 pixels per foot - and frankly, many of them (at least the older ones) aren't worth measuring.

To obtain a dimension from within one of the drawings, use a selection tool that displays the selection dimension in pixels, and overlap only one of the two lines to account for the line width. The example below shows a measurement of the first hood door on a 1:18 EMD GP38-2 drawing at 400% zoom. The selection indicates a width of 73 pixels, or a scale width of 18.25". (The door is nominally 18" wide, with a 0.25" gap.)

dimension measuring