History: The First Purchase
Between May and August of 1997 the Alaska Railroad tested two SD70Ms, the direct current (DC) version of the SD70MAC. In a bold move, the Alaska Railroad Corporation placed an order for production of 16 SD70MACs at $1.9 million each (which included a three year warranty). The first four were delivered in December 1999 and the last one arrived in May 2000. For more information on these 16 SD70MACs, click here.
History: The Second Purchase
From an anonymous Alaska Railroad source, "The contract is signed with EMD on the eight SD70MAC-HEP locomotives and EMD is receiving material for the manufacture of those units. Schedule is for April release in two groups of four. All eight SD70's will be assembled in London, Ontario. EMD is not using satellite shops at present. The Alaska Railroad is tacked onto a 75 unit CSX order. Those eight ARR units will be the last SD70MAC's built as EMD is switching over to a new model locomotive that meets Tier II emissions standards. The ARR didn't want that interim model locomotive as they plan to build it for only a few years before they bring out an H engined locomotive.
"The SD70MAC locomotive numbers have been selected and specified in the contract. They will be 4317 through 4324. This comes about because the horsepower rating of the new ones is 4300 vs. 4000 for the original 16. The ARR did not want to start over with 01 through 08 as that would give SD70MAC's with duplicate final two digits which would make a potential for confusion and even dispatch errors that could affect safety."
Production and Delivery
On March 21, 2004 Chris Blaschuk spotted a very naked SD70MAC #4317 outside the London, Ontario production plant.
Paul Duncan caught the first two SD70MACs at Quebec Street, London, Ontario on April 29, 2004.
Steve Host got some photos just after midnight of SD70MAC numbers 4319 and 4320 at Galt and Campbellville, Ontario on April 30, 2004.
Our first clear photos of the SD70MACs came from Tom Gosser inside EMD's plant!
Chris Wilson caught #4319 with some red Canadian Pacific escorts.
Walter Pfefferle catches #4322 through binoculars.
On May 3, 2004 Craig Konopski catches #4320 heading for home.
Here's a beautiful up close photo of #4320 from John Rice.
Walter Pfefferle catches #4322 eastbound Galt Sub Mile 94.7
John Rice captured #4321 at Thunder Bay
Now John Rice captured nos. 4318 and 4323 at Thunder Bay
As nos. 4319 and 4320 cross British Columbia, Theodore Webster is there to capture them on film.
Theodore Webster catches nos. 4321 and 4322 on BNSF's old yard track 8 in New Westminster, BC
Jason Jongen catches #4324 at Mactier, Ontario
Two of our ladies have arrived in Seattle and Steve Noland was there to catch them
As the final SD70MACs roar across Canada, John Rice is there with his camera
Deane Motis gets photos of our ladies killing time in Harbor Island in Seattle
Steve Noland is still chasing the first two SD70MACs around the Seattle yards
Some nice details shots from Deane Motis
Peter Pittman gets some true railfan photos
Deane Motis provides a few additional photos of nos. 4321 and 4322
The last of our ladies, #4321, makes her way across British Columbia
Steve Noland captures photos of nos. 4321 and 4322
Deane Motis captures #4322 as it utters those famous words, "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up!"
A slew of MACs, ARR related freight and a barge are captured on film by Steve Noland
As clouds and rain move in, Deane Motis snaps a few quick ones of nos. 4318 and 4323
Walter Krol earns the honor of getting the first photographers of the new SD70MACs on Alaska soil.
Steve Noland captures more SD70MACs barging their way onboard to Alaska
Mike Ferguson provides us with the first photo of an SD70MAC in Fairbanks!
Art Chase catches #4320 lending her sisters a hand on the oil train
The final two MACs leave Seattle and Deane Motis is there to bid them farewell
Steve Noland's final photos of the last two SD70MACs leaving Seattle
Kylie Mason caught #4324 at Golden BC in 2004 on it's way to Vancouver BC via the Canadian Pacific Railway
And finally, Art Chase's detailed photos of the new SD70MACs.
Page created 3/30/04 and last updated 10/7/16
© 2004-2016 John Combs unless otherwise noted