Railroad Tycoon 3: NA-90D

In my review of Railroad Tycoon 3, I said that the “NA-90D” looks suspiciously like a Dash 9. What I meant by that was that it was obviously a modern, high-horsepower diesel locomotive, but in point of fact it is not, actually a Dash 9 (although “NA-90” does include a “-9”). Amazon delivered Greg McDonnel’s Field Guide to Modern Diesel Locomotives today, and I applied its spotting tips to identify the locomotive:

  • The beveled wide nose with two-piece windshield and five-sided windows confirm an EMD comfort cab, produced between 1991 and 2004, give or take. There isn’t enough detail in the 3D model to tell whether it’s an isolated cab, but this is enough to narrow the field to some variant of SD60, SD70, SD75, SD80MAC or SD90MAC.
  • The flared radiators rule out all but the SD80MAC, SD90MAC series, and late-model SD70Ms.
  • The hood section behind visible behind the radiators (for the dynamic brake equipment) confirm either an SD80MAC, SD90MAC or SD90MAC-H. This is also borne out by the extreme length of the locomotive, although it’s hard to judge in a game.
  • The beveled engine hood distinguishes the SD90MAC-H.

The “NA-90D” appears to be an EMD SD90MAC-H, a 6000HP locomotive of which twenty-two were produced for Union Pacific between 1996 and 1999. On the other hand, there are also some quirks that do not match up:

  • RT3 makes the locomotive available in 1998, which is a year or two late. It would be consistent with the introduction of the SD90MAC-H II, which had higher production than the SD90MAC-H and carries the same engine, but the SD90MAC-H II has two radiator fans instead of three, a boxier nose, and rectangular windows, none of which are present on the NA-90D.
  • The SD90MAC and SD90MAC-H normally display the locomotive number on the nose, below each side of the windshield. The NA-90D has a single number plate on the nose, on the left only. It also has number places above the windshield, which the SD90MAC-H does not sport, but the SD80MAC and SD90MAC-H II do. The NA-90D also has a pair of headlights above the windshield, which no SD90 series locomotives have, but do appear on the SD80MAC.
  • The rear hood on the NA-90D is smooth and beveled, while the SD90MAC-H’s is square with boxy insets. The SD90MAC-H II does have a beveled rear.

The locomotive is definitely closest to an SD90MAC-H, but it appears that the game designers incorporated some elements from other SD80 and SD90 variants, and perhaps took some artistic license of their own. Certainly the paint scheme bears no resemblance to any used by a real railroad.

3 thoughts on “Railroad Tycoon 3: NA-90D

  1. Hmm; interesting. I wonder if the game’s designers incorporated the elements from other engines (and the artistic license) intentionally, or due to having a small stack of reference photos that weren’t all of exactly the same engines….

    How close is that cab to to the cabs on the Caltrain F40PH locomotives?

    (Oh, and I finally saw the “Belmont” locomotive this morning — and, ironically, again this evening as well. Still haven’t seen the “County of Santa Clara”, though.)

  2. The F40’s cab shares design traits in common with other EMD “North American” cabs—they’re all basically variants of the cab originally designed for the FP45 in the late ’60s—but it’s been streamlined and is fairly visually distinctive.

    Here’s a photo of an F40PH alongside an SD70M.

Comments are closed.