Railroads & Locomotives Locomotives What happened to EMD’s Triclops locomotives?

What happened to EMD’s Triclops locomotives?

By Chris Guss | April 20, 2023

Once limited to a few railroads, the second-hand market has spread these unique locomotives far and wide

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EMD’s Triclops locomotives

four yellow EMDs
EMD’s Triclops locomotives: Four SD60Ms, all with the three-piece windshields, power a Wisconsin & Southern train near Rondout, Ill. Chris Guss

At the beginning of the comfort cab revolution in the United States, EMD constructed its first “North American cab” SD60M for customer Union Pacific. Numbered 6085, it was a similar design to what Canadian National had been using for years, with one visual difference. The new cab featured three front windows instead of the four-window design on CN’s orders.

Nicknamed “triclops“ by railfans, this design would only last for a handful of years beginning in 1988 and would be replaced by EMD’s refined design that used a two-piece windshield on future comfort cab-equipped freight locomotive orders. Only four EMD models — the passenger F59PH and freight SD40-2F, SD60M, and SD60MAC — were so equipped, and only one model, the SD60M, would continue to be built with a North American cab with two windshields. It should be noted the successor to the F59PH, the F59PHI, also had three front windshields, but uses a significantly different design and never carried the triclops moniker.

All 73 F59PH passenger locomotives were built for two customers, GO Transit and Metrolink, while 25 SD40-2Fs went to Canadian Pacific, and 240 three-piece windshield SD60Ms were built for Union Pacific, Soo Line, and Burlington Northern. The four SD60MACs were test beds for EMD and never sold.

While some of these unique locomotives found new homes years ago, many of Union Pacific’s large group of 185 three-piece windshields SD60Ms have been entering the second-hand market recently, increasing the number of railroads operating them. With the exception of Soo Line and Burlington Northern SD60Ms, all freight and passenger railroads still roster some of their original purchases today, with BN’s and Soo Lines units folding into BNSF’s and CP’s rosters, respectively. Also of note, the North Carolina Department of Transportation converted five of its F59PHs into unpowered cab control cars for push-pull service.

Current owners of three-piece windshield EMDs:


  • GO Transit
  • Metra
  • Metropolitan Transportation Network-EXO (Montreal)
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Trinity Railway Express


  • BNSF
  • Buffalo & Pittsburgh
  • Canadian Pacific
  • CIT Rail
  • Fort Worth & Western
  • Hudson Bay Railway
  • Illinois Railnet
  • Kaw River Railroad
  • Larry’s Truck Electric Service
  • National Railway Equipment
  • Southwestern Railroad
  • Stillwater Central
  • Union Pacific
  • Wisconsin & Southern


  • Canadian Pacific

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