California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific 'Elephant Eared' SD45

12 units modified *

9001 L 9069 9105 L 9105a «- Rounded Shrouds
9001 R 9105 R
8827 8834 8912 L 8937 8984 9013 9044 9088 L 9110 «- Angled Shrouds
8912 R 9088 R

One interesting modification to SP SD45's, was the testing of the 'Tunnel Motor Radiator' theory. This involved EMD fitting sheet metal 'shrouds', to 3 SD45's, and SP copying the idea, and fitting it to a further 9 units. The EMD shrouds had rounded tops, the SP ones being angular, these shrouds soon gained the nickname 'Elephant Ears'. Similar but to a different design 'Elephant Ears', were also fitted initially to the GP40X's, but were later removed, as were the SD45 ones, once the SD45T-2's were delivered, (circa 1974), due to complaints by personel banging their heads once too often on them...

Rounded EMD 'shrouds' fitted to SP 9001, 9069 and 9105.

Angular SP 'shrouds' fitted to SP 8827, 8834, 8912, 8937, 8984, 9013, 9044, 9088, and 9110.

* quite a few sources give SSW 9058 as also having shrouds, we have photographic evidence that 9088 has them, but 9088 has never been listed in 'those' sources - a typo maybe???? Or was there 13 units modified...

'Elephant Ears were also fitted to the GP40X's as delivered.

Another snippet of info SD45X #9500, also had 'Elephant Ears' for a very short time in 1971.

A vaguely similar arrangement, was the 'baffles' fitted to some SP B30-7's and SSW B36-7's. Although these were used for 'noise-suppression' so the books say...

For information on modeling the angled shrouds, see here: Southern Pacific Elephant Ear SD45 Model Info Page

In some circles, these units are referred to as SD45T-1's. However, using this 'moniker' will result in swift visit from the SP Prototype Police to 'point out' the error of your ways...

See also the SP SD45R Info page for References.


  • Trains Magazine Jan. 1993 Page 54 - History of the SD45 with proto photo of SP#8927.
  • Railfan & Railroad May 1993 Page 47 - History of the SD45 Part #1.
  • Railfan & Railroad Jun. 1993 Page 57 - History of the SD45 Part #2 - with Roster.
  • Railfan & Railroad Jul. 1993 Page 46 - History of the SD45 Part #3.
  • Diesel Locomotive Cyc #2 Page 2 - Photo of two SD45's with Espee applied Elephant ears.
  • Diesel Data Series Book 1 - EMD's SD45 Hundman Publishing by David Peck - Plans, Photo's, Rosters, Variations.

Additional information supplied by Bruce Conklin.

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Thursday, September 27, 2001