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Kansas City Southern SD40-3

ref2a by Shawn Levy



KCS train M-SHCX (#53) arrives at CSXT Gentilly Yard. It came from KCS West Yard over the New Orleans Public Belt railroad. Previously, #53 traveled via the NS Back Belt (New Orleans Terminal), but due to heavy traffic on the NS, the NOPB began delivering it earlier this year.

Today it has an NOPB crew, and runs as their train NOPB 101. It has 124 cars. The drawbridge it has just crossed is over the Industrial Canal and dates back to 1919. It is called “The L&N Bridge” by train crews. Sometime in 2004 construction is due to begin on new modern drawbridge to replace this one.

Also in the background is the I-10 highrise.

The consist of SHCX was:

KCS 666

KCS 656

KCS 632

All three are SD40-3. KCS had them upgraded to dash three standards a few years ago. The third unit was rebuilt from an SD45. It retains the body, but internally it’s an SD40-3.

The lead unit is somewhat of a celebrity among KCS fans. KCS 666 is called “the demon engine”, “hell on rails” and so forth. It’s said some crews won’t take a train if 666 is the lead unit. ATSF had a C44-9W numbered 666. The railroad got so many letters from “God fearing mid west folks” about the unit number that they renumbered the engine, leaving 666 number in the series vacant.

A few years ago, it was rumored KCS was going to bow to the pressure and renumber their 666. Railfans went to great effort to get a photo of it before that happened. Well it didn’t, and this is the third shot I’ve gotten of 666. The others were in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

By the way 667 & 665 are called “the devils sisters”. Some railroad personnel won’t say 6-6-6 over the radio so they call the engine triple six.


Photo by Shawn Levy