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Union Pacific Yard locomotives

Here is an overview of the UPY reporting mark

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In December 1999 the Union Pacific began assigning the reporting mark UPY to their yard locomotives, while continuing to use UP for road locomotives. The goal is to retain 4-digit locomotive numbers, with an order for 1,000 new locomotives having been recently announced.

"For UP, too many engines, not enough numbers, Trains online news wire, Edited by Bill Stephens, Posted 12/22/1999.

"Union Pacific, still in the midst of integrating the locomotive fleets of Chicago & North Western, Denver & Rio Grande Western, Southern Pacific, and Cotton Belt with its own, plus continuing its ambitious, decade-long locomotive-buying spree, is running out of road numbers. And no wonder. With more than 7200 locomotives on the roster and 1000-plus on order, UP is pushing the standard four-digit numbering system to the limit. So tight is the number crunch facing UP that when its 1000-unit General Motors SD70M order was announced in late 1999, the railroad had no unassigned number block large enough to accommodate even the 275 units to be delivered this year, let alone the entire order.

"Too many engines, not enough numbers" is a problem that has plagued the nation's largest railroad for years. In an effort to squeeze its ever-burgeoning fleet into the restrictive four-digit system, UP has been engaged in a juggling act that has seen some units renumbered and then re-renumbered at a dizzying pace. Some models have had their number series changed twice before the painters can even catch up with them, and in at least one instance, two UP locomotives have carried the same number at the same time -- for a day or two, at least.

"In anticipation of the first wave of SD70M deliveries, UP is taking drastic measures. A massive renumbering program that will see at least 3000 units assigned new road numbers --10 times the quantity anticipated when the SD70M order was announced -- is just part of the plan. In an unprecedented move, UP has sought to permanently solve its numbering woes with the acquisition of another reporting mark.

"Adopting a five-digit numbering system would have been an easier way out, but several computer systems, including the North America-wide UMLER file, allow no more than four-digit numbers for locomotives. (The newly proposed Burlington Northern Santa Fe-Canadian National system would have to address this problem, too.) For UP, another reporting mark was the only option. Convincing the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (the agency that controls reporting marks, or "Standard Carrier Alpha Codes") to grant the request for a new mark was no easy task. Many logical choices were already in use by motor carriers, but after several months of negotiation, UP was authorized to take on a second reporting mark: UPY.

"The UPY initials will be applied to nearly 700 units that tend to stay put -- those assigned to yard service, which include MP15's, GP15's, SD38-2 hump engines, and slugs. All other locomotives will be UP. Like all carriers, UP is permitted to retain and use the reporting marks of railroads it has acquired. Accordingly, UP has rights not only to the initials of recently merged roads such as CNW, DRGW, MP, MKT, SP, SSW, and WP, but also to those of long-gone roads like C&EI, T&P, CGW, and M&StL. Many of these marks remain in use for freight cars, but resurrecting them for use on locomotives (instead of UPY) was deemed to be impractical.

"Renumbering 3000 locomotives is a monumental task, and UP expects the program to take at least two years, not to mention an estimated 120,000 adhesive decals. Further, there's far more to renumbering a locomotive than just decals, numberboards, and paint. AEI transponder tags must be replaced with those coded with the locomotive's new reporting marks and number. On-board computer systems, microprocessor controls, event recorders, and Distributed Power computers on each locomotive must be reprogrammed to recognize its new identity. Reporting systems and dispatching computers in the Harriman Dispatch Center must also be changed, along with many internal records and files. UP also is working diligently to prepare notifications and documentation for the many financial parties involved in ownership of the various locomotives, plus submittals to the Surface Transportation Board.

"As part of the renumbering campaign, all locomotives still painted in C&NW, Rio Grande, SP, and Cotton Belt colors will be given UP reporting marks, plus the new road numbers. And, for the first time, UP will "patch" -- applying to locomotives a yellow panel and a large UP shield on the nose, with yellow cab-side panels to accommodate UP initials and new road numbers, in red. Small UP shields will be affixed to the cabsides, but old lettering and logos on the units' hoods will remain untouched, at least for the time being. Thus does UP follow in the steps of rival BNSF, in "cleanly" reidentifying necessary units. Thus a rare, remarkable, and pleasurable policy must succumb, as UP discontinues its practice through several mergers of allowing its "fallen flag" locomotives (and there are still several hundred) to continue operating in full, unaltered regalia until retired or called in for overhaul and repainting. Call it the price of progress."

-- Greg McDonnell (posted 12/22/99) TRAINS is a Registered Trademark of Kalmbach Publishing Co. Copyright © 1996-1999 Kalmbach Publishing Co.

Locomotive Renumbering Project Is Industry's Largest -- From UPOnline -- Tue. Jan 04, 2000 10:09 AM CST

Just before Christmas, a UP hump engine bearing the reporting marks "UPY" rolled out of North Little Rock's paint shop, the first to bear new road marks for low-horsepower units and part of a larger effort to renumber more than 3,000 locomotives.

Recent UP-related mergers and fleet growth are driving the massive project, the largest ever undertaken in the rail industry, says Mike Iden, general director-locomotive engineering and quality.

The effort involves changing the road marks on CNW, DRGW, SP and SSW road units to "UP," he said. All switcher-type units, plus hump engines and GP15s, will be assigned "UPY" reporting marks. Most of these units also will have new road numbers assigned.

When units added through our mergers are shopped for repainting or overhaul, they always get new identities, but the process isn't fast enough for what we are facing," Iden said. The accelerated renumbering is expected to take up to three years.

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) granted UP a one-time, special exemption for the new UPY reporting marks designation, to be applied to about 700 switchers, GP15s and SD38-2s. That, in turn, frees up 673 UP number slots for road units.

Employees soon will begin noticing the changes:

Road units will receive new number boards white numerals on black boards. All rear number boards will be blanked out.

Some will receive cab-side decals, and yellow panels with red numbers. The SP and SSW block letters, along with the CNW ball-and-bar logo, will be covered on the locomotives' noses.

All switchers and low-horsepower units will be retrofitted with UPY marks and feature black numerals on yellow number boards. To visually distinguish them from UP units, highly reflective red-and-white diagonal stripes will be applied to UPY units' noses, making them more visible in yard areas at night, during poor weather and other reduced visibility situations.

The complex renumbering project also requires new AEI tags, creation of new UMLER equipment files, a re-issuance of Form 6180 (Blue Card), reprogrammed onboard computers and event recorders, and filing of amended trust papers with the Surface Transportation Board.

Work will be done at several shops systemwide, with the first priority being 300-plus SD40T-2s and non-dynamic SD40-2s (currently numbered UP 4000-4299) before March 15, 2000, to accommodate the arrival of the first of UP's new SD70Ms (to be numbered UP 4000-4274).

Information on the reporting marks and renumbering project will be made available, probably on the UP Employee website, Iden said. The winter 2000 edition of Info magazine also will provide a comprehensive overview.

-- From UPOnline -- Tue. Jan 04, 2000 10:09 AM CST --

Union Pacific Yard locomotives
Union Pacific (UPY) Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific System
UP Locomotives


Chicago Rail Photographs collection updated 21 April 2019 at 14:24. Photographs and text copyright © 1998-2000 Harold A. Driscoll, All Rights Reserved. Email address is provided exclusively for personal contact, but emphatically not for use for SPAM net.abuse.