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The Colorful Southern Pacific

October 15, 2010

Colorful isn’t an adjective associated with the Southern Pacific since the 1950’s, but there was a short period of time some 30 years ago when a handful of SP locomotives were quite colorful.

In the late 1970’s / early 1980’s, the SP flirted with the idea of changing its locomotive colors from scarlet & lark gray to a variation of the classic Daylight colors, red, orange and black.

These experimental paint schemes were applied to SD40E 7342, SD45E 7399, and caboose #1 in the 1981-1982 time frame.

But the very first application of these colors to freight power took place a few years prior, when the SP took delivery of 4 TE70-4S locomotives from Morrison-Knudsen in early 1978.

These 4 units had been re-built from U25B’s that had been retired from the SP. The re-build program was less-than-successful, and no others were ordered by the SP.

All 4 Southern Pacific TE70-4S's power a northbound manifest departing Roseville, CA on June 16, 1980

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