GP-35 Survivors

Wrecked WP 3014
Ryan Ballard Photo.

WP’s small fleet of GP35’s numbered 3001-3022, were all rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen for WP except for the following: 3007 which was wrecked by BN at Seattle on October 8, 1977; 3011 and 3016, which were wrecked by the WP at Floka, Nevada on March 28, 1970; and 3021 which was wrecked by BN at Bend, Oregon on July 16, 1971. Of the 18 units rebuilt by M-K, 17 made it to UP. After rebuilding, WP wrecked 3018 at Deeth, Nevada on September 12, 1980 (along with U23B 2259). Although the 3018 was retired prior to the merger, due to a clerical error UP left a renumbering slot open for it (number 796) even though there was no unit to fill the slot. The 17 remaining GP35’s all remained service including WP 3014 and WP 3020, wrecked by the WP in Reno, Nevada in a runaway on July 27, 1982. Both units were sent to Salt Lake City after the merger for eventual repair on a low priority basis. 3014 was the first to be released, on June 4, 1985, as UP 793 after receiving the long hood from UP 744. 3020 took longer to repair. After receiving a new long hood from retired UP GP35 763, a new cab from wreck-damaged MoPac GP38-2 2031 and trucks from a retired UP GP30B, 3020 was released from Salt Lake shops in January 1987 as UP 798, nearly five years after it was wrecked.

UP 744 with WP hood.
Kermit Geary Photo.

During March 1984 all of the remaining ex-WP GP35s were gathered from around the UP system and reassigned back to former WP tracks in California. At that time only four had been repainted to yellow, the rest were painted at North Platte prior to being moved to California. The GP35s were needed because of the high failure rates of the UP GP30s that had been assigned there to replace the ex-WP GP9s.

WP’s original operating lease on the units expired on January 1, 1993 after which they were returned to the leasing company. After expiration of the lease UP retained nine units (UP 782, 785, 786 788, 789, 791, 793, 797, 798) on a one year operating lease. Two units (UP 789 and 797) were retained only through April 5, 1993 and returned to the owner/lessor. The other units were retained due to a motive power shortage for local and branch line service that was made worse in August due to service disruptions caused by flooding along the Missouri River. The units were assigned to local service in the Little Rock, Arkansas area.

All of the former WP units have been vacated from UP’s roster and went to work for other railroads.