Building the 2250, the Future of Green Locomotives


A Short History

The KLWX 2250 began life as an EMD GP38 that was built in June of 1966 for the Norfolk Southern Railroad (original) as unit #2002. In 1974 it was acquired by the Southern Railroad and rebuilt as CRN 2881. CRN stands for Carolina Northwestern which was a subsidiary of Southern. When the Southern Railroad became the Norfolk Southern the engine was repainted and put into service as CRN 2881. The 2881 would later be acquired by the Gulf & Ohio Railroad from the NS and served on the Wiregrass Central Railroad in Enterprise, Alabama. The unit was later retired and shipped to KLW to be repowered as a low emissions/high efficiency single engine locomotive. The remanufacturing process was completed in 2011 and the locomotive was renumbered as the KLWX 2250. Below is the story of how this locomotive was reinvented from a relic of railroad history into a state of the art product, setting the standard for low emissions/high efficiency repowers. 

Starting the Repower Process.

To create our repowered locomotive, we had to take the 2881 and strip it down to its frame. The next step was to sandblast the frame and carbody sections. The short hood was refabricated from a high-hood to low-hood configuration.

Fabricating the Radiator

With the new MTU engine that would be placed on the frame, a new radiator would be needed for proper cooling. This necessitated the construction of a new radiator support structure that created the "wings" on the long hood end. 

Installing the Bearing Adapter

An adapter was required to carry the load of the armature of the AR10 alternator, which converted it to a "two bearing" alternator.*  After receiving the bearing adapter, the alternator assembly was installed into the frame of the locomotive. 

*Design-patent pending

AR10 Bearing Adapter Arriving 2.jpg

Installing the Engine and Gearbox

The next step was to assemble the engine and reduction gear gearbox together onto the skid. Before these components were installed, a pan was built into the frame of the locomotive where the MTU engine would be placed. Ballast was also added to the frame because the MTU engine is half the weight of the original EMD engine. After these steps were completed, the MTU engine and ZF gearbox were lifted with a crane and then lowered and attached to the frame of the locomotive  

Installing the Geislinger Coupling

Once the engine and gearbox were installed, the Geislinger Coupling was installed to attach the gearbox to the AR10 generator, allowing the engine to drive the wheels. The coupling acts as an alignment control component made of advanced composites and offers many advantages. The coupling is extremely low in mass, is maintenance free with no wear or corrosion, and has been designed to compensate for radial, axial, and angular misalignments between the gearbox and the alternator/generator. This versatility allows the coupling to connect resiliently mounted engines to power trains and/or compensate for misalignments in virtually any other application. Because of the coupling's low mass and excellent sound insulation characteristics, it is possible to economically design low noise installations that were formerly prohibitively expensive. 

Fabricating the Cab

After the installation of the motor and gearbox, the cab had to be fabricated. The cab was custom built and is much different than the original. 

Priming and Painting

Now that all of the power and electrical components were installed and the engine was performing smoothly, it was time to add a new coat of paint to the 2250 to make the outside as new as the inside.

The Finished Product


After 4 years of hard work and dedication by the K.L.W. team, the 2250 was finally finished. The locomotive has made numerous trips around the South East and continues to impress everywhere it travels. With fuel savings that can exceed 30% compared to the original GP38 that was built in the 60's, the KLWX 2250 is an EPA compliant powerhouse that is a prime example of what the future of the North American Railroad will look like.