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Southern Railway's Unique Locomotive: GP38-2 No. 5000

Southern Railway’s GP38-2 No. 5000: A Journey Through Time and Technology

The Southern Railway GP38-2 No. 5000, a remarkable locomotive with a storied past, stands today as a testament to the ingenuity and progress of American railroad history. Built in 1972, this diesel-electric engine heralded the start of a new era in rail transportation.

The Historical Significance of GP38-2 No. 5000

GP38-2 No. 5000 was the pioneer unit out of 257 GP38-2 locomotives purchased by Southern Railway. It boasted a robust 2,000 horsepower, setting it apart in terms of power and performance. Uniquely, Southern Railway deviated from the norm by having all 257 locomotives built with high short hoods, contrasting with the factory default of low short hoods. This distinctive feature not only marked the GP38-2 No. 5000 but also its entire class, highlighting Southern Railway’s commitment to customization and safety.

Retirement and Revival

After serving diligently, No. 5000 was retired in 2016. In a strategic exchange, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVMR) traded another GP38-2, the Southern Railway 5033, to acquire this iconic locomotive. This acquisition was driven by TVRM’s dedication to preserving railway heritage. Today, the GP38-2 No. 5000 is not just a static exhibit; it is operational and can be seen traversing the tracks of TVRM, adorned once again in its original Southern Railway paint scheme, as it was when new.

Locomotive Specifications

  • Locomotive: Southern Railway 5000
  • Type: Diesel-Electric
  • Operators: Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
  • Model: GP38-2
  • Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division
  • Date Built: 1972
  • Weight: 250,000 lb
  • Prime Mover: EMD 16-645E
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Horsepower: 2,000 hp
  • Status: Operational

Reader Queries Answered

Q1: What makes the GP38-2 No. 5000 unique in design compared to other locomotives?

A1: The high short hoods of all 257 GP38-2 units, including No. 5000, set them apart, showcasing Southern Railway’s unique approach to locomotive design for enhanced crew safety.

Q2: How did TVRM come to acquire the GP38-2 No. 5000?

A2: TVRM acquired the GP38-2 No. 5000 in 2016 through a trade, exchanging another GP38-2 locomotive, the Southern Railway 5033, recognizing its significant historical value.

Q3: Can the public view or ride the GP38-2 No. 5000 today?

A3: Yes, the GP38-2 No. 5000 is operational and part of TVRM’s active fleet. It can be viewed and experienced in operation, offering a unique glimpse into railroading history.

Support the Legacy of Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: Your donation today can make a world of difference in preserving the rich heritage and continued success of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM). Donate now and be a part of our journey as we steam ahead into a promising future.