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Born of the 1960s, Union Pacific’s “35 Trio” – the Electro-Motive GP35, DD35, and DD35A – are now ready for Train Simulator serviceUnion Pacific’s “35 Trio” – the versatile Electro-Motive GP35 and its two big-power sisters, the dual-diesel DD35 and DD35A – are now ready for Train Simulator service! Perfect for hauling heavy or priority tonnage on Train Simulator’s famed Sherman Hill route (as well as Cajon Pass), the UP EMD trio represent the latest superb workmanship of Dovetail Games’ partner programme member DTM (Digital Train Model).Available at the Steam Store, this new diesel super power trio pack also includes a period-appropriate selection of UP freight rolling stock including a 40-boxcar, covered- and open-top hoppers, TOFC equipment, and a CA-4 class caboose.
When the GP35 debuted in the fall of 1963, the locomotive was introduced as the latest in Electro-Motive’s extraordinarily successful line of four-axle (B-B) “Geep” road-switchers. It was the immediate successor of the EMD GP30 (948 units built) and like its predecessor, again employed EMD’s time-proven 16-cylinder, 567-series diesel power plant, this time uprated to 2,500 horsepower. The GP35, in fact, had design links to both the past and the future: It proved to be the last of EMD’s primary Geep models to employ the famed 567-series engine (the GP40 of 1966 would introduce EMD’s 645-series power plant), yet was the first EMD road-switcher to employ the “Spartan cab” styling that would become EMD’s standard road-switcher design for decades to follow. Electro-Motive envisioned the GP35 as a versatile and marketable locomotive, and it proved to be just that – by 1966 EMD had sold more than 1,300 GP35s to 38 railroads.
From the standard building blocks of the GP35 design – and at the request of the Union Pacific – there soon would emerged two remarkable “double-diesel” sisters, the cabless DD35 and cab-equipped DD35A. Union Pacific, of course, had long held a devotion to massive locomotives, dating back to its 4-12-2 “Union Pacific” type steam locomotives of 1926. In the steam era, UP’s “big power” culminated with its 25 4-8-8-4s “Big Boys” built by American Locomotive Works (Alco) in the years 1941-1945. When the steam era came to a close and standard diesels such as Electro-Motive’s F-units dominated much of North America’s main lines, Union Pacific’s appetite for super power initially turned to the gas-turbine-electric. Working with Alco and General Electric, the railroad, beginning in the early 1950s, would bring to its main lines three classes of gas-turbines that culminated in the extraordinary GE 8,500-horspower “Big Blow” GTELs.
In 1962 Union Pacific, looking to define it motive power needs for the coming decade, undertook a motive power study which reconfirmed its belief in super power. UP then put out a request to the three major U. S. locomotive builders – Electro-Motive, General Electric, and Alco – for diesel designs that would deliver 15,000 horsepower in three-unit sets (e.g., 5,000 horses per unit). Alco and GE’s responses were similar in concept: UP’s per-unit horsepower requirement would be achieved with paired diesel powerplants riding in a carbody atop span bolstered trucks forming a B-B+B-B wheel arrangements (an arrangement UP’s earliest turbines had used). GE’s model – the U50 – was rated at 5,000 horsepower; Alco’s offering – the C855 – housed two 2,750-horsrpower V-16s and thus was rated at 5,500 horses. Three of the GE or Alco giants lashed together thus would also satisfy UP’s desired 15,000 (or more) horsepower per set.
Electro-Motive presented a different idea. EMD proposed creating a new four-axle “D-type” version of its Flexicoil truck design and placing two 2,500-horsepower 567-series V-16 engines (which is two say two of the power plants as employed singly in the GP35) in a shared carbody to create a 5,000-horsepower locomotive. But rather than lashing together three of the D-D units – soon to become the DD35 model – EMD would meet the 15,000-horsepower-per-set requirement with a four-unit lash-up that consisted of standard 2,500-horsepower GP35s on each end, with a pair of DD35s between. With an eye toward selling the GP35-DD35 tandems to not only Union Pacific but other big western railroads, EMD constructed a four-unit, red-and-white GP35/DD35 demonstrator set which it sent on a U. S. barnstorming tour.
As a direct result of its 1962 motive power study, in 1963-64 UP acquired 23 of GE’s U50s (all cab-equipped), a lone cab-booster-cab three-unit set of Alco’s C855, and 27 cabless EMD DD35s accompanied by 24 EMD GP35s. Among the GP35 and DD35 units UP acquired were the ex-EMD demonstrator set. Southern Pacific also sampled the U50 and EMD DD35, ordering three of each, but did not buy additional examples. Union Pacific proved well satisfied with EMD’s dual diesels, but desiring the flexibility to use big diesels without GP35 mates, returned to EMD and placed an order for more of dual-diesels, this time to be equipped with operating cabs and designated DD35A..
When new and throughout the 1960s, Union Pacific utilized its GP35 and DD35/DD35A locomotives primarily in priority and manifest freight duty and did so across much of its expansive route system. Both the GP35 and DD35 models suffered from some electrical reliability issues. One of the problems with the dual diesels, in particular, was the proximity of the units’ internal sandboxes to their electrical cabinets, which resulted in grit making its way into the locomotive’s electrical gear. Union Pacific addressed this issue by relocating the dual diesels’ sandboxes to the units’ side walkways. The operating careers of the DD35 and DD35A on the Union Pacific proved to last roughly a decade and a half, with the final examples of each type being retired in 1981. The GP35, being a standard and more versatile locomotive, endured longer. The last of Union Pacific’s original roster of GP35 was retired in 1985, while GP35s the UP had inherited with the merger of Western Pacific actually served into the early 1990s.
Available now in a single DLC pack, the DTM Union Pacific Electro-Motive GP35, DD35, and DD35A are each highly authentic and detailed recreations of these notable diesel locomotives. Dressed in several livery variations worn by the units throughout their UP service careers, the dual diesels also are provided in “as built” condition and with the UP-applied external sandbox configuration. To put the UP’s “35 Trio” and accompanying rolling stock to work, the pack also features a selection of challenging new career scenario for the Sherman Hill route. – Gary Dolzall
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