New colors adorn local locomotives

Courier photo by John Waters These recently repainted locomotives owned by the Colorado Pacific Rio Grande Railroad can often be seen in the railroad yard in Alamosa.

ALAMOSA — The Colorado Pacific Rio Grande Railroad has recently repainted 10 locomotives that now adorn the engines with a motif that includes the company logo which includes a graphic comprised of mountains, water, and farmland that includes grains.

According to Matt Prince with the railroad, it has purchased 10 of the locomotives from BNSF Railway. Prince added the locomotives are SD-70 MAC's. The paint job also includes the name of the railroad owner Stefan Soloviev.

The SD-70 MAC's were built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in 2002. Many of the locomotives produced by GM were bought by BNSF and 28 were bought by the Alaska Railroad. According to that railroad, the SD-MAC name is comprised of, SD, which refers to Special Duty, and MAC translates to M for modified cab and AC for Alternating Current traction motors.

Between 1993 and 2003, over 1,500 locomotives were built for five railroads across North America. The Alaska Railroad terms the locomotives as the "backbone," of daily train operations. Founded in 1922, the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors had a long and storied history in the production of these workhorses. In 2005, the business was sold to Greenbrier Equity and Berkshire Partners. In 2010, the business was bought by Progress Rail a division of Caterpillar Inc.

The Colorado Pacific Rio Grande is a 150-mile line that serves Alamosa, Huerfano, Costilla, Conejos, and Rio Grande counties with 12 stations along its route. In Alamosa, the line splits, with one branch extending south to Antonito, and the other continuing northeast to South Fork. The railroad was bought last in bankruptcy proceedings by Soloviev of New York.


According to Prince, several of the locomotives will go to the Colorado Pacific Railroad in Eads, which is also owned by Soloviev.

"The locomotives are definitely an upgrade for us," said Prince.

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