The Third Purchase

History: The Third Purchase

Adding to the success of their first two purchases, the railroad now purchases four more SD70MACs. Since new government imposed emission levels don't apply to Alaska, the railroad is still able to purchase SD70MC locomotives and also chooses to equip them with head end power (HEP). Production began in the spring of 2007 and the first pair of SD70MACs (nos. 4325 and 4326) arrived in Whittier on 10/24/07. The second pair (nos. 4327 and 4328) arrived in Whittier on ??/??/07.


Here are the first two SD70MACs the day they arrived in Whittier (10/24/07):
4325 4325 4325
4326 4326 4326


Here are photos of the first two SD70MACs being loaded on the Aquatrain barge.

Here are the second two SD70MACs in Blair, Nebraska on 12/9/07 working their way to Alaska.

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Ed Schopperth caught them in Missouri Valley, Iowa on 12/9/07.

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Jody Moore took some photos in Cheyenne, Wyoming
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Paul Duncan caught the units at Tacoma, Washington.
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Deane Motis caught them in the Seattle yard on December 18 and 19.
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The following is anonymous production notes I received:

9/19/07 - All four units are painted and decaled and are going through the last stages of testing, there is a few more things to do to them and then its only pre-delivery inspection and they will be ready to ship. I imagine if the locos don't ship by the end of the week they will most surely be pulled next week. 

9/5/07 - All four of the locos are painted now with the last couple just waiting on decaling. Incidentally, they were supposed to be shippers for August but I didn't think that was going to happen.

8/28/07 - Three out of the four locomotives are painted with the fourth probably in the paint shop by now. All four HEP transformers are installed and will soon be fully tested.

8/8/07 - Well just like last time the four units are taking a long time to go through the shop as the wiring in the back of the loco takes a lot longer than the rest of the unit, but I can tell you as I was walking out to the test department today I noticed the familiar blue and yellow paint scheme....no decals yet but I remember that paint job. The first one is done and out of the paint shop sitting in dept 520 for finishing and decals then it will head out to the test department, should be there by Wednesday at the latest with the next one probably about a week behind it, but the last two are still on the line being wired. Testing on these will likely take about a week and a half to two weeks depending on problems but all four should be ready to ship.

6/27/07 - The first Alaska unit was supposed to deck on the line in the high bay last Friday (6/8/07) but it has yet to be seen, the underframe is being outfitted right now and hopefully should be on the line by the end of the week. As far as I can tell this will be the exact same loco as was delivered before. The only difference is that this one is Tier 1 compliant. I don't think the last ones were. Alaska rail doesn't have to follow the same EPA guidelines as all of the big US Class 1 railroads so they don't have to buy Tier 2 compliant units like the SD70ACE. These will be MACS with the extra HEP outfitting in the rear end.

10/26/06 - The four unit Alaska railroad order has a start date of around April 2007. As far as I can tell they will be SD70MACs. GM EMD still makes the older style locomotives. They should be the same as the last ones (Tier 1). I remember reading somewhere that the Government imposed emission levels don’t apply to Alaska. Since there is no "H" in the designation ( SD70MAC-T1 ) that would lead me to believe that they do not have Head End Power. I really didn't understand their logic last time in designing a unit where you take the power from the back set of motors and send it to the passenger cars. Most HEP equipped units have a separate 8 cylinder diesel engine that supplies the power, using the power from the back truck would halve the horsepower and pulling power of the locomotive. I would imagine that Alaska Railroad just decided to stick with a power car behind the lead unit with a motor and generator in it.

Some Additional Chatter

What is the difference in the 4000s and 4300s? "Horsepower? ratings, tier 0 vs tier 1 emissions, HEP installed on the 4300s different electronics. Internally the 4300s are a completely different locomotive over the original 16. And they are the last SD70MACs built by EMD. At the time of the last 4 EMD didn't offer the MAC only the SD70ACe. But with Alaska being exempt from most Federal laws when it comes to the railroad they were able to order 4 more tier 1 MACs while everyone else was having to buy tier 2 and the start of tier 3 emission locos. "

4000s (4001-4016):
16 total built.
Built for EMD by CR/NS at Altoona, PA in 1999.
4000 HP.
Tier 0 Emissions.
Engines all named for online locations.

4300s (4317-4328):
12 total built.
Built by EMD at London, ON in 2004 and 2007.
4300 HP.
Tier 0 or 1 emissions based on build date.
Engines are not named.
Modified to provide HEP to coaches.
Flared radiator sections.

Both series all have HTCR-II Radial trucks with AC traction motors and one of the most attractive paint scheme in North America.


Page created 10/25/07 and last updated 8/9/17
© 2017 John Combs unless otherwise noted