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

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Southern Pacific U50

3 units delivered

8500 8501 8502
9550 9551 9552
9950 9951 9952
9950 9951 9952
9950 9951 9952
9950 9951 9952

SP U50 #9950 Taylor Yard, Ca. 1977

SP bought only 3 of these double-engined monsters, and never went back for another order. These were the first U50 model, that rode on 4 span bolstered B trucks. Similar units went to the Union Pacific, and they subsequently bought the U50C model.

To clear up a point, these are correctly called U50's, as they were the first, it is wrong to call them U50B's or U50D's.

Each of the two engines provided power to only two of the B trucks, and could be operated independently. They were never totally successful, one reason being the loss of 5000hp should one engine die, then the whole loco had to be taken out of service to be repaired. If that were two locos of 2500hp, and one died, you would only lose 2500hp, ie one unit not both. The U50's were also among the first units placed in storage, in times of power surplus'.

On the SP they gained the nickname 'Baby Huey's' from the cartoon character of the same name.


  • Southern Pacific Historic Diesels, Volume 5, GE U Series Locomotives - by Joe Strapac.

As you can see the list of References is rather slim, so I'll add these:

  • Photographs of SP's U50's appear in the following:
    • SP Dieselization by John Bonds Garmany - pages 347, 357.
    • SP's Blue Streak Merchandiser by Fred Frailey - page 60.

Additional Information on this Page contributed by Bruce Conklin.

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