Smaller locomotives often use mechanical transmissions instead of diesel-electric drive systems typically used in larger locomotives. This paper discusses how Model Based Design was used to develop the complete drive train control system for a 24 ton sugar cane locomotive. A complete MATLAB Simulink machine model was built to fully test and verify the shift control logic, traction control, vehicle speed limiting, and braking control for this locomotive application before it was commissioned. The model included the engine, torque converter, planetary transmission, drive line, and steel on steel driving surface. Simulation was used to debug all control code and test and refine control strategies so that the initial field commissioning in remote Australia was executed very quickly with minimal engineering support required. The Caterpillar approach to plant modeling with proprietary library of Simulink component models will also be discussed in this paper since it enabled the rapid construction of an accurate locomotive plant model.