|Amtrak SDP40F 509 waiting for clearance at 18th Street in Chicago, Illinois on an unknown day in August 1979, Kodachrome by Chuck Zeiler. The only E-units I can identify are 444 (in the middle) and 421 (on the right), could not identify the rear-facing E. Number 509 was built June 1973 (c/n 72694-10) and was traded back to EMD for parts use in the construction of F40PH 372. It has skid-mounted steam generators, rumored (but never fully substantiated, track maintenance was also suspect) to have been part of the derailment fault of these particular locomotives. The steam generators themselves were not at fault, but the location of the tanks that supplied the water may have played a role. It was suggested that the location of the tanks inside the rear of the locomotive against the outer walls was a problem when entering a curve at high speed. The water tended to go straight, pulling the rear of the locomotive out of the curve and against the outer rail. This in turn was transmitted to the following car, generally a lightly loaded baggage car, which then derailed. Earlier conclusions focused on the hollow bolster truck, but freight locomotives had used the same truck design without problem. The problem may have disappeared by itself had Amtrak removed the steam generators and replaced them with HEP power plants, as had been the plan from the beginning, but instead most of the SDP40F's were traded back to EMD and scrapped, with components used in the construction of the F40PH's. The bridge in the background is the ICG's Saint Charles Air Line.
For these locomotives to be of any use to Amtrak in the near future, they will have to be turned, and the quickest way at this location would be to wye them through Union Avenue Interlocking, so we are probably looking at a typical 'hurry up and wait' situation until traffic clears.