Saturday, May 30, 2015

CP Rail SD40-2 Elephant Ears

Learn something new every day! While searching photos of CP Rail SD40-2 units on the Web, I came across a photo of one of them with elephant ears.

Elephant ears were used on steam locomotives to deflect smoke away from the cab. On diesels, they were used by railways that ran trains through tunnels to keep the units cool.

In 1982-83 CP Rail experimented with metal hoods, or elephant ears, on two units: 5639 and 5640.

The idea was to force them to draw air from the bottom of the tunnel, where the air was cooler. That way they wouldn't be in danger of overheating.

Apparently, the idea worked. But the ears created maintenance problems and were removed.

Since I model the early 1990s, there won’t be any elephant ear units on the M & M Sub. But it’s still an interesting idea.

Bob Boudreau's version of an elephant ears unit.

Click here to read an article by Bob Boudreau about how he built an HO scale version of an elephant ears unit.


  1. That's very cool - I had no idea!

    BTW you have the unit numbers mixed up in your post.

  2. Me either . . . I updated the numbers.

  3. Fascinating find. I never knew. Thanks for sharing these. Such a simple idea.