Indiana Rail Road is in the process of replacing its core motive power. The backbone of its road fleet since 2008 has been 10 former CEFX SD9043MACs that replaced a group of leased SD60s. EMD’s 4,300-hp SD9043MAC, introduced in 1995, is a unique model designed to accept a larger 6,000-hp H engine being developed by EMD at the time. Ultimately, no SD9043MACs were retrofitted with the larger engine, but a few power-hungry customers did purchase the design. Three customers, CIT leasing, Canadian Pacific, and Union Pacific, acquired the model, buying 40, 61, and 309 units, respectively.
Other than a handful of SD9043MACs operating in work train service on Canadian Pacific in Canada, Indiana Rail Road has been the largest operator of as-built SD9043MACs in North America for some time. With the lease on those units expiring at the end of last year, the company initially sourced 10 former CSX C40-8Ws earlier in 2022 as replacement power. After delivery, the railroad’s mechanical forces determined the replacement power was in far worse shape than anticipated. The company extended the lease on the SD9043MACs and went back to the used market, finding 10 former Norfolk Southern SD70Ms that would suit its needs.
Setup, renumbering, and painting of the new SD70Ms is being done in-house, with the units assigned the 7001-7010 number series. As of late spring, only two SD9043MACs have been removed from service, with two to four SD70Ms in service at any given time. The rest are still undergoing setup, painting and minor mechanical work. There is speculation that the final locomotive, No. 7010, may be repainted into a different scheme than the other nine.
Time is running out for the last short line operating un-rebuilt SD9043MACs in North America, and the chances of any remaining in service in 2024 is slim.