Locomotive Survivors

Shortly after the UP/WP/MP merger was approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission on October 20, 1982, and the United States Supreme Court rejected legal action by various western railroads to delay the merger, the final day of WP's existence as a separate entity in the railroad world was December 22, 1982. On that date, UP operating policies officially began to influence everyday operations on the WP.

One of the first noticeable changes to occur was a majority of the WP's first and early second generation locomotive’s being placed out of service and sent into "temporary" storage during February 1983. As locomotives were removed from service exhaust stacks were capped, and all fans and radiator grids were covered there-by “winterizing” the units. Initially this power was stored at Stockton, California, then Oroville, Portola, and finally Salt Lake City, Utah. Replacement power was in the form of EMD SD40-2’s for mainline service, GP30’s for branchline work and SW10’s for yard service. Most of the WP second-generation power continued to work over much of the new UP System, some of it, after repainting, in UP colors.

Initially very few of WP’s units went to scrap, with the exception of the U30B’s and GP20’s. The bulk of WP’s locomotive fleet remained in active service for many years on both the UP as well as other railroad operations.

SW9’s

WP’s small switch engine fleet made it past merger day with only one casualty, SW9 604, which was sold to Pielet Brothers in McCook, Illinois. As it turns out, however, the 604 provided extended life to another historic locomotive as it gave up its main generator to UP E9A 951 after the venerable E-unit suffered a generator failure during a California Operation Lifesaver trip. Of the remaining ex-WP SW9’s, only one other was sold. WP 602 was sold to Western Cooperative Fertilizer in Calgary, Alberta Canada where it replaced an aging ALCo as a plant switcher. The other four SW9’s were all sent through UP’s Omaha shop and rebuilt into SW10’s; the last SW10’s built by UP.

NW2’s

Both of WP’s last NW2’s survived past merger day but were soon disposed of by donation; 607 to the Heber Creeper Scenic Railroad in Utah, the 608 to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California.

SW1500’s

As for WP’s three SW1500’s, 1501 through 1503; all three remained in service on the UP. While they carried their original numbers onto the UP roster, they were renumbered 1315, 1316 and 1317 respectively. Later they would be renumbered again to y1041, y1042, y1043. In October 2011 y1041 and 1043 were declared surplus, the 1042 having been retired in 2009. The 1041 was sold at auction, the 1043 was donated to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California.

GP7’s

Several of the high-hood road switchers made it to the active UP roster after the merger and many were even repainted. However, mechanical failures were quick to come and the Geeps were soon stored or sold. 701, 703, 704 705, 706 and 710 were sold to Mountain Diesel Transportation in July, 1987. The six units were moved from their storage place at Ogden to the Great Western Railway in Loveland, Colorado during the first week of September, 1987. Four of the units were retained by MDT while two were resold to the Great Western. Five of the GP7's found homes in various California railroad museums, including four at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California.

GP9’s

Six Western Pacific GP9’s made it past merger day but only four were repainted into UP yellow; they were renumbered 300, 304, 306 and 308. In a rather unprecedented move for the UP, all four were pulled from service and sold as operational units. Normally UP would have stripped the locomotives of useable parts and sold what was left, as-is, where-is. Precision National bought the four units and resold them to Iowa Interstate where they operated in UP paint and UP numbers. Only one GP9 (number 728) was sent to scrap by UP and one (727) was donated to the City of Elko, Nevada along with a WP steel caboose. Two of the GP9's, 725 and 731, are at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California.

GP20’s

Nine of WP’s GP20’s made it to the UP roster, but only one made it into UP colors and a UP number (488), that being ex-WP 2009. All of the others were stored unserviceable at Salt Lake City for removal of traction motors and other useable parts prior to being placed on the bid list for disposition. The 488 didn’t last too long after returning to home rails from UP’s paint shop and was subsequently sold for scrap to St. Louis Auto Shredding. The first production GP20 produced by EMD, WP 2001, was donated to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California where it has been restored to operational condition.

GP35s

WP’s small fleet of GP35’s numbered 3001-3022, were all rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen for WP except for the following: 3007 which was wrecked by BN at Seattle on October 8, 1977; 3011 and 3016, which were wrecked by the WP at Floka, Nevada on March 28, 1970; and 3021 which was wrecked by BN at Bend, Oregon on July 16, 1971. Of the 18 units rebuilt by M-K, 17 made it to UP. After rebuilding, WP wrecked 3018 at Deeth, Nevada on September 12, 1980 (along with U23B 2259). Although the 3018 was retired prior to the merger, due to a clerical error UP left a renumbering slot open for it (number 796) even though there was no unit to fill the slot. The 17 remaining GP35’s were kept in service including WP 3014 and WP 3020, wrecked by the WP in Reno, Nevada in a runaway on July 27, 1982.

GP40s and GP40-2s

The backbone of Western Pacific’s fleet consisted of 59 GP40’s and GP40-2’s, although that number had been reduced to 56 by merger day due to three WP retirements: 3505 wrecked at Floka, Nevada on March 28, 1970; and 3527 and 3540 (the latter was former bicentennial unit 1976), both wrecked at Hayward, California on April 9, 1980. The first two groups of GP40’s ordered by WP, 3501-3516, were rebuilt by Morrison-Knudsen for WP in 1980 and all except for 3505 remained in service on the UP.

The third and fourth order for GP40’s were delivered during 1970 and 1971 carrying numbers 3517 through 3544. It was this group of units that saw the most movement in terms of different operators since merger day.

WP’s GP40-2’s, numbered 3545 through 3559, were all renumbered and repainted into UP yellow, some with Missouri Pacific markings, some with Union Pacific markings.

U23Bs

Of the 13 U23B’s that made the merger, all were stored unserviceable at North Little Rock, Arkansas waiting for their lease to expire on September 1, 1987. After expiration of the lease the units were returned to lessor (First Security Bank of Utah) who sold them to GE for scrap, were they were rebuilt into the new Super 7 series of GE locomotives.

U30Bs

These 19 units were built as WP 751-769 in 1967-1969. WP 765 was wrecked in 1971 and the remaining 18 units were renumbered to WP 3051-3069 in 1972. As built they were equipped with GE traction motors, mounted in trade-in EMD trucks. All 18 units remaining at the time of the merger were removed from service and stored in February 1983, first at Stockton, California, then at Portola, California, and later at Salt Lake City, Utah. In September 1983 they were sent to Omaha, Nebraska, stripped of usable parts and retired. Only one remains today, the 3051 at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California.

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