Railroads & Locomotives Locomotives Central California Traction’s rare genset diesel locomotives

Central California Traction’s rare genset diesel locomotives

By David Lustig | May 14, 2023

Looking for something different? Perhaps in a red? Look no further then Stockton

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from Trains.com brands. Sign-up for email today!

Rare genset diesel locomotives

A man looks inside the engine compartment of a red locomotive
Central California Traction’s General Manager Dave Buccolo inspects one of the line’s Brookville BL20GC genset locomotives. David Lustig

South of Sacramento and north of Modesto lies Stockton, Calif., home to Central California Traction Company and its rare genset diesel locomotives. Built by Brookville Equipment Corp. of Pennsylvania in early 2015, the units, designated BL12CG, are powered by a pair of Cummins prime movers connected to EMD D78 traction motors and produce 1,200 hp. They meet Tier 4 emissions standards. Numbered 1201 and 1202, former CCT General Manager Dave Buccolo had substantial input into their design.

Serving customers in and around the port, CCT interchanges directly with Union Pacific, and BNSF and operates with a trio gensets, and a small group of EMD SW1500s.

A view of the front of a red diesel locomotive as it switches cars in a railroad yard
Genset No. 1201 switches the yard in Stockton, Calif., on April 30, 2016. David Lustig

The 78-mile railroad is itself an interesting historical study, having begun in the late 1900s as an electric interurban operation between Stockton and Sacramento. Eventually, it came under joint ownership of the Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, and Western Pacific railroads. Through mergers and acquisitions, Union Pacific picked up WP and SP; BNSF resulted from a merger of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe.

Currently, CCT operates on two disconnected sections of track: The Central Valley Branch between Stockton and Lodi, and the Port of Stockton, the largest inland port on the West Coast and the third-largest port in California. The 34-foot depth of the Sacramento River allows direct access to and from ocean-going freighters. Port area switching includes Rough & Ready Island, home of a former U.S. Navy facility. The original main line between Lodi and Sacramento is “banked” for possible future use.

Watching and photographing the CCT from parallel public roads is relatively easy and getting good photographs of the railroad in operation is usually not a problem if you’re willing to wait for the trains to come to you.

Two red locomotives pull a train down a rail line lined with small trees.
Genset No. 1201 along with an SW1500 come off Rough and Ready Island, near Stockton, Calif., on April 30, 2016. Dave Lustig

3 thoughts on “Central California Traction’s rare genset diesel locomotives

  1. The great and beloved EMD SW1500 is a 1500 hp (1119 kW) diesel-electric locomotive intended for yard and road switching service and built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division from 1966 to 1974. The SW1500 replaced the SW1200 in the EMD product line. Many railroads (including the CCT) regularly used SW1500s for road freight service. It is similar in appearance to the EMD SW1000 model which has a different engine and has one exhaust stack while the SW1500 has two.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  2. The Brookville BL12CG looks like one of the best 4-axle/B-B diesel-electric road switchers in America!

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  3. A detailed article on the design, advantages, disadvantages and problems that led to the abandonment of this technology by the major RRs would be welcome in Trains.

You must login to submit a comment