Built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in April 1971, 3170 was the first of 159 SD40 and SD40-2 units eventually rostered by the Southern, and she served for nearly forty years before being retired. Recognizing 3170’s historical significance, Norfolk Southern, successor to Southern Railway, set aside the unit for preservation, while most sister locomotives were either converted to other uses or scrapped.In 2015, NS returned the 3170 to service and repainted it in its original Southern Railway "Tuxedo" (black, light gray and gold) paint scheme. 3170 has spent the past year as the diesel escort for 21st Century Steam excursions and on display in special appearances across the NS system, as well as in regular freight service.SD40 locomotives were the most popular freight haulers of their era. They replaced the so-called “first generation” diesel locomotives that themselves displaced steam locomotives in the 1940s and 1950s. 3170 is believed to be one of only four SD40 locomotives preserved, out of approximately 1,268 built. Each is powered by a 3,000 horsepower 645-series General Motors engine.
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