Find out what made Tom's list of favorite diesel locomotives
Get the newest photos, videos, stories and more.
Learn about Trains Art Director Tom Danneman’s favorite Burlington Northern Railroad Company diesel locomotives, presented in no particular order. The story of Burlington Northern has been told many times, and in many ways, but it still feels like BN never got the recognition it deserved. The story always seemed like it was about the railroads BN swallowed. Admittedly, popular railroads such as Great Northern; Northern Pacific; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Spokane, Portland & Seattle; and later St. Louis-San Francisco were relegated to history. Because of that, however, BN inherited a variety of locomotives. On March 2, 1970, the new railroad amalgamated nearly 2,000 locomotives from all four of the major American locomotive builders, American Locomotive Company, Baldwin Locomotive Works, Electro-Motive Division, and General Electric, with countless models, making Burlington Northern one of the more exciting railroads to follow. What do you think?
1. SD60M Three-window cab
Why? Finally moving on from SD40-2s, Oakways, and LMXs. BN’s first comfort cabs which were adorned in BN’s “whiteface” scheme.
Why? Six axle cowls. My favorite locomotive.
Nos. 9850-9855; 6394-6399
Why? Former Great Northern passenger locomotives equipped with steam generator.
Why? Variety. 3100-3109 ordered by Frisco. 3110-3162 wore tiger-stripe scheme, last five delivered with extended-length cab.
5. F9-2 A and B unit
Nos. BN-1 and BN-2
Why? They’re F units, that’s why. Rebuilt for executive service from F9s with GP38-2 innards.
Why? Caterpillar-re-engined SD40-2 with interesting nonstandard features.
Why? Caterpillar-re-engined GP20 with unique angled cab with original sloped nose.
Nos. 5000-5141; 5500-5599
Why? They looked cool. They sounded cool. They were cool.
9. GP39M With original GP30 carbody
Nos. 2750-2758; 2800-2834
Why? Modernized locomotive with classic body lines.
10. SD60M Two-window cab
Nos. 9250-9298; 1991
Why? Second variation of SD60Ms. No. 1991 painted red, white, and blue in support of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf in a scheme that shames current commemorative offerings.