TS18: The Biggest U-Boat.
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
Union Pacific’s leviathan and memorable General Electric U50 is coming soon to Train Simulator!
One of the biggest and most distinctive diesel locomotives ever to serve on the railroads of North America is coming soon to Train Simulator through the craftsmanship of DTM – Union Pacific’s leviathan General Electric U50.
Born of Union Pacific’s early 1960s call for three-unit, 15,000-horsepower locomotive sets (which is to say 5,000 horsepower per unit), the GE U50 was quite unlike any diesel that had come before, or would come after. Stretching more than 83-feet long yet with a stub nose, standing over 16-feet tall, weighing more than half-a-million pounds, and riding on eight powered axles in a bolstered B+B-B+B wheel arrangement, the U50 was simply massive and most assuredly remarkable.
As a young boy, traveling on vacation with my family across the American West, I had the experience of making an acquaintance with this biggest of all GE “U-Boats,” even managing to garner an invitation from a friendly Union Pacific engineer to climb into the cab of UP U50 No. 36. As it would turn out, my stay in the cab of Union Pacific 36 included a meet with a fast-moving UP freight headed by another duo of U50s – and a railroading memory never to be forgotten.
And now, the extraordinary experience of this biggest of all GE U-boats will soon come to Train Simulator. For all intents and purposes, the Union Pacific U50 was two of General Electric’s landmark U25Bs rolled into one locomotive. And the big beasts, like their contemporary UP super-power diesels (the DD35 and DD35A from Electro-Motive and C855 from Alco) were meant for one purpose – to haul massive amounts of tonnage at speed across the countless miles of Union Pacific’s western main lines. In three groups between October 1963 and September 1965, the Union Pacific purchased a total of 23 U50s which wore UP road numbers 31-53. Among the interesting features of the U50s, which were powered by twin GE 16-cylinder, 2,500-horsepower FDL-series powerplants, was that the units rode on reconditioned truck and bolster assemblies from UP's retired 4500-horsepower “GTEL” gas-turbines. The Southern Pacific, which sampled the U50 with a three-unit order in 1964, was the only other buyer of the U50.
Over their careers, the Union Pacific’s U50s roamed much of the traditional main lines of the UP but were most at home working across the plains of Nebraska and Kansas, and up and over Wyoming’s Sherman Hill westward into Utah. Between 1969 and 1971, the original U50s were joined on the Union Pacific by the six-axle, 5,000-horsepower U50C of which UP owned 40 examples. The Union Pacific began retirements of its high-mileage U50s in 1973 and the last of the U50s formally left the roster in April 1977. Southern Pacific’s trio of U50s, which had become regular denizens of heavy transfer work to and from West Colton Yard and around Los Angeles in Southern California, were also retired in the mid-to-late-1970s.
DTM’s upcoming U50 will capture in exacting detail the features, and the experience, of the big U-boat. The U50 will be wear the “Dependable Transportation” version of Union Pacific’s time-honored livery and will be provided in both clean and snow-dressed variations. The pack will also include a superb selection of freight rolling stock, including Union Pacific’s S-40-16 stock car (loaded and empty); a Pacific Fruit Express R-70-12 refrigerator car; UP F-70-11 bulkhead flatcar (empty and with three loads); and Union Pacific’s CA-7 caboose (with operable marker lights and full interior). Four career scenarios included with the DLC and featuring the U50 at work on the Sherman Hill route (route available separately) have been created by High Iron Simulations.
Masterfully and authentically developed by DTM, the unforgettable “biggest U-boat,” the Union Pacific U50, is coming soon to Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
Union Pacific’s General Electric U50 was one of the biggest and most distinctive diesel locomotives ever to serve on the railroads of America and, through the craftsmanship of DTM, the diesel is soon coming to Train Simulator! Stretching more than 83-feet-long and weighing more than half-a-million pounds, UP U50 No. 53 stands under the nights at Cheyenne, Wyoming (above and below). Among the distinctive features of the U50 was its eight powered axles riding in a bolstered B+B-B+B wheel arrangement, its stub nose, and its large screened air intakes positioned fore and aft. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall. Dressed in a fresh Wyoming snow, Union Pacific GE U50 No. 50 is rolling east and meets a westbound freight at Hermosa (above), then moments later emerges from Hermosa Tunnel (below) on the Train Simulator Sherman Hill route. The upcoming U50 from DTM will wear the “Dependable Transportation” edition of UP’s famed yellow, gray, and red livery and be provided in both clean and snow-dressed versions. Note: Screenshots depict content still in development. Rolling west on Sherman Hill’s Track 3, Union Pacific U50 No. 36 nears Dale (above), then moments later, in an engineer’s eye view, meets an eastbound freight (below). Equipped with an early version of GE’s standard control stand and with its stub-nose, the big U50 offers a unique in-cab operating experience. Coming up from Denver via the Greely line, UP U50 No. 36 swings through the wye at Speer, Wyoming (above), then rolls west on Sherman Hill’s low-gradient Track 3 (below). The 5,000-horsepower U50’s B-type trucks and long bolsters had previously served under Union Pacific’s 4,500-horsepower “GTEL” gas-turbine locomotives. Joining the Union Pacific GE U50 in the upcoming pack from DTM will be a superb and highly authentic collection of appropriate freight rolling stock, including loaded and empty versions of UP’s Union Pacific’s S-40-16 stock car (above) and a classic Pacific Fruit Express R-70-12 refrigerator car (below). Also included in the upcoming Union Pacific U50 DLC will be UP’s F-70-11 bulkhead flatcar provided empty and with three types of loads (above), and Union Pacific’s famed CA-7 caboose (below) featuring operable marker lights and full interior. Union Pacific diesel super-power in the form of the “biggest U-boat” – General Electric’s extraordinary and leviathan U50 – is coming soon to Train Simulator!*