GE C40-8/C40-8W Series Locomotives

The GE C40-8 was one of the first 6 axle locomotive to be produced in the Dash 8 line, only behind the C32-8 and C39-8. It included a GE FDL-16 prime mover with 4,000hp. The C40-8 competed with EMD’s SD60 locomotives, and during production, more C40-8’s were being produced than SD60’s. The six axle locomotives of the dash 8 series solidified GE as the lead locomotive builder, which was formerly EMD. The C40-8 and C40-8W were appealing to railroads because they had high horsepower and powerful tractive effort. The C40-8W, being one of the first GE locomotives to utilize the safety cab, proved very successful, as it was one of the first variants of its kind.  These locomotives are equipped with GE 752AG or 752 AH DC traction motors that allowed for 108,600lbs of tractive effort. GE’s traction motors have been known for their reliability and powerful tractive effort that was introduced with the Dash 7 series.

Photo: Ed Wolfe

The C40-8W locomotive is the wide cab variant of the C40-8. This locomotive was very popular among railroads for its six-axle design and reliability. These units were equipped with analog controls, however, the Conrail units, built between 1993-1994, were equipped with GE’s Integrated function Display (IFD), which included the same readouts as the analog gauges, however, the IFD display included End of Train Device (EOT) information, and a distance counter. This locomotive gained popularity quickly as many class 1’s including Conrail, CSX, Union Pacific, and Santa Fe quickly placed their order. Norfolk Southern was one of the only class 1s to not purchase the wide cab version of the locomotive, however, received them later with the Conrail merger. Conrail C40-8W’s included the placement of the headlight above the cab and class lights on the nose. Later Conrail C40-8W’s had a larger radiator similar to the C44-9W series, to allow for increased efficiency and locomotive performance.

Photo: Ed Wolfe

Some variants of the C40-8W locomotive includes the C41-8W, owned by Union Pacific and ATSF. These units were upgraded from C40-8W’s, and were given 4,135 horsepower. Later, GE began producing the C41-8W from the factory for the two railroads. Norfolk Southern was rebuilding C40-8s into Dash 8.5-40CW’s. These locomotives were rebuilt with a RLS cab that met FRA standards. Only a few of these units were built with only one on the active roster, although, the unit is stored.

C41-8W. Photo: Mike Danneman

CSX considered rebuilding its fleet of C40-8W locomotives and contacted GE’s Erie, Pa facility to decide whether it was worth it to rebuild. A few of their C40-8W locomotives were sent to GE for this program which would include new prime movers, updated cab interiors and control stand, installation of Positive Train Control equipment (PTC) and cosmetic repairs. To improve the efficiency and operation of these locomotives, shutters were placed above the radiator to regulate engine temperature more efficiently.

Other variants of the locomotive include the C40-8M which was built by GE’s Canadian division. This unit included a cowl body, and was produced for BC Rail, Canadian National, and Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway. This locomotives’ trucks were also different from other Dash 8’s as they were manufactured with Dofasco trucks. These units also featured the Canadian Safety Cab which included the use of the 4-window design.

C40-8M. Photo: Roger Lalonde


GE C40-8
Build Date: 1987-1992
Total Built: 1000+
Wheel Configuration:C-C
Prime Mover:7FDL-16
Weight: 391,000
Tractive Effort: starting-106,790lbs continuous-92,750

GE C40-8W
Build date:1990-1994
Wheel configuration: C-C
Fuel: 5,000
Prime Mover: 7FDL-16
Max Speed: 70
Horsepower: 4,000
Tractive Effort: 108,600lbs



Railroad                                                                                                                       Quantity

Illinois Central11
Locomotive Management System (LMS) 60
Norfolk Southern154
Union Pacific204
Pan Am Railways6
GE Capital108


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