Former Santa Fe Geep 30s to be out of work soon

Western Group railroad displacing venerable power with GP40s and 50s
Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
Led by ex-Santa Fe No. 2428, a trio of Southwestern GP30s is serviced at Deming, N.M., prior to a run to Hurley, N.M. Major mechanical work on Southwestern Railroad’s Whitewater Division is performed in the small open-air shop at Hurley.
Art Miller
The large GP30 fleet assembled by The Western Group is living on borrowed time. Four SD40s and five SD50s have been moved from the Southwestern Railroad’s now-shuttered Carlsbad Division and placed service on Southwestern’s Whitewater Division and on the Cimarron Valley Railroad. The move soon will result in the storage and eventual sale of some of the nine turbocharged GP30s now working in southwestern Kansas and southwestern New Mexico.

Currently, the Southwestern’s Whitewater Division is home to five of the venerable beetle-browed units. Southwestern No. 29 was acquired from Phelps-Dodge Copper Co.

Cimarron Valley’s four units: Nos. 20, 3004, 3014, and 3024 — were originally Denver & Rio Grande Western units. They operate on the Cimarron’s three grain-hauling subdivisions that radiate out of Satanta, Kan., 60 miles west of Dodge City, Kan.

Bruce Carswell, a Western Group senior vice president, says the five former Carlsbad Division SD50s have been relocated to the Cimarron Valley routes running west from Dodge City. Four SD40s, also from Carlsbad, N.M., have been assigned to Southwestern’s Whitewater Division and are now working out of Deming, N.M.

“When we acquired the GP30s more than 20 years ago, these units were ideally suited to the [Southwestern's and Cimarron Valley's] trains and track conditions,” Carswell says. Crews found the GP30s to be nimble, quick to accelerate, and ideal for grain elevator and mine switching.

“Trains on both railroads are heavier and longer. The SD40s and SD50s are better suited for today’s operations at Southwestern and Cimarron Valley,” Carswell says.
Carswell says some GP30s on both railroads soon will be stored serviceable and, “if the price is right, will be available for sale. The Western Group has a strong affinity for these classic locomotives and will take care to ensure the units will be delivered in operating condition to new owners.”

Tracking the Cimarron Valley’s GP30s is easy as major highways parallel the railroad’s three subdivisions that radiate out of Satanta. And the towering rail-served grain elevators are easy to locate.

The Whitewater’s operations are more challenging as the railroad spends considerable time in a harsh road-less desert. And Southwestern’s primary customers are copper companies that tightly restrict access.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

  • Previous Day
  • June 13, 2017
  • Next Day
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.
Big Boy

Big Boy

All about the world's biggest locomotive


Learn more about the stories and photos in this months issue

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 54% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today