EMD - GP, SD, SW, F, and MP Series

Electro-Motive Diesel supplied a large fleet of locomotives to Conrail and its predecessors. These locomotives ranged from the few SW1 switchers dating from the 1940s to the unique to Conrail SD80MAC.

EMD Based Test Bed Q1

Conrail 006 (later renumbered to Q1) was a test bed unit designed to test prime movers being worked on at the Juniata shops in Altoona PA. It was created from an SD45, CR 6097, nee-EL 3632, which wore the EL's bicentennial paint. Q1 survived through the end of the Conrail era and still serves NS at Juniata.

EMD E Units

Conrail inherited its E unit fleet from the Penn Central and Erie Lackawanna. While the EL used its E's in midwestern freight service, Conrail quickly discontinued this practice and reduced it's E unit usage to commuter service in the east and executive service on the Office Car Special.

EMD F Units

Conrail inherited a small fleet of operable F units on day one. These railfan favorites did not last long, as most were traded in to EMD for new GP38-2s. Only two, 1648 and 1792 were painted blue, and neither of these wore the Conrail "canopener" logo.


The Penn Central provided 18 operating EMD FL9's to Conrail's roster in April, 1976.  CR maintained their PC number series as 5000-5028.  

Built between October 1956 and November 1960 for the New Haven, EMD designed the FL9's to operate in passenger service as electrics through use of a third rail shoe or operate more efficiently as a diesel-electric.  The FL9 sported an unusual B-A1A wheel arrangement to support an additional steam boiler and to meet the Park Avenue Viaduct weight restrictions. The FL9's traveled from Grand Central Station to Boston, Springfield and other non-electrified destinations without a need to change engines in New Haven.

EMD GP15-1

The GP15-1 was a somewhat unique locomotive. It was offered by EMD as a competitor not to another manufacturer's product line, but to railroads own rebuilding of older Geeps. Conrail's fleet of 100 of these lightweight road switchers arrived numbered in the 1600 series in 1979.

These units could be found system wide in use in their intended role as light road switchers working various locals both singly and in multiple unit lashups.


Conrail received four GP-18's from the Lehigh Valley to join the April, 1976 roster as CR series 7496-7499.  The 1,800hp GP-9 replacements, built between December 1959 and November 1963, were powered by EMD's normally aspirated 567D1 16 cylinder prime mover.


Penn Central provided 13 of the ex-NYC's 15 original GP-20's to Conrail in April, 1976.  They retained their PC number series as 2100-2112.  Built between November 1959 and April 1962, the GP-20 produced 2,000hp through it's turbocharged 567D2 prime mover.


In the late 1950's the horsepower race was very heated and with the introduction of the 2500hp U25B from General Electric in 1960, EMD was caught short. It took 2 years to play catch-up and the result was the GP30.

Conrail units came from two predecessors that bought or inherited the 2250hp units. Reading ordered 20 units (5501-5520) from EMD in 1962 which became Conrail units 2168-2187. A total of 62 units from NYC and PRR were inherited by Penn Central (2188-2249) and became Conrail units 2188-2249.

The GP30 saw service into the early 1990's throughout the system. The final unit was retired in 1993.


Conrail received a large fleet of EMD's GP-35 from the Penn Central, Erie Lackawanna, and the Reading Company.  Between July 1963 and January 1966, EMD and General Motors Diesel built the GP-35 with their 2,500hp 567D3A 16 cylinder prime mover.  CR retained PC's GP-35 number series as 2250-2399 and RDG's as 3620-3656, but reassigned EL's 2551-2586 numbers to CR 3657-3692.


Penn Central GP38 road switchers were turned over to Conrail and became part of the CR 7600-7939 series. Conrail's impressive fleet of EMD GP-38's could be found almost anywhere, from yard and local duty to hauling mainline freights.

Built between January 1966 and December 1971, Penn Central's 270 2,000hp 16 cylinder-powered units were assigned series 2010-2014 (CR reassigned to 7670-7674) and 7675-7939.  Of PRSL's original order of 15 GP38's, Conrail's inherited 10 units were reassigned from PRSL 2000-2009 to CR series 7660-7669. 

For more information about CR 7635, Conrail's GP35 turned GP38, read the "Conrail Rebuilt a GP35 into a GP38" Conrail Fact.

EMD GP38-2

The most populated series on the EMD side of the CR roster were the 223 GP38-2's inherited from Penn Central. Conrail also purchased 115 brand new GP38-2's between 1977 and 1979. The entire roster filled the 7940 to 8281 block. The four-axle units churned out 2,000hp and were regulars in all types of service.

Equipped with plows on both ends, several were cleared for use at the PP&L Strawberry Ridge, PA power plant (8040 and 8064) and others were equipped with bi-directional cab arrangements (8154 and 8162). The PC GP38-2s were built without anti-climbers. Conrail's 8163 froward order included the anti-climbers. A small handful of other subtle differences can be found when comparing the different orders such as the fuel spout revision, nose ventilation lovers, an additional latch to the control compartment door, etc.


Conrail inherited 4 EMD GP38AC's from the Lehigh Valley (LV 310 - 313), assigning them series 7656-7659.

Built between February 1970 and December 1971, EMD's GP38AC included an AR10 alternator instead of the normal generator.


Conrail's GP-40's came from Penn Central where they were assigned CR series 3000-3274. By 1995, Conrail retired and sold off all their GP-40's except one (CR 3264).

EMD GP40-2

The 3000hp GP40-2 came to Conrail from two sources, the Reading and new from EMD. The inherited units were some of the last units purchased by the Reading, while the new units were some of Conrail's first motive power purchases.

These high horsepower (at the time) locomotives were originally used heavily on TV and other high priority light trains. Over time they found their way into various other uses, from Road Railers to mineral trains, to local service toward the end of Big Blue.


EMD built 13 GP40P's for CNJ in October 1968.  On longer frames than the standard GP40 to accomodate a steam generator, the GP40P's produced the same 3,000hp from the EMD 645E3 16-cylinder prime mover. CNJ assigned the GP40P's number series 3671-3683.

Originally paid for by NJDOT, CNJ used the GP40P's for passenger service to the Raritan Valley Line and the North Jersey Coast Line.  In April, 1976, Conrail continued to use the GP40P's in commuter service under contract to NJDOT until 1979, when NJ Transit was created. Conrail continued operating the GP40P's under contract to NJ Transit until the end of 1982.

CNJ colors remained, with only an NJDOT renumbering, until the fall of 1978 when NJDOT's dark blue, gray and red stripe was commonly seen on both the GP40P's and the E-8A's.  In the last years of CR's contract with NJ Transit of mid-1981 through 1982, white and silver paint schemes of NJ Transit replaced the NJDOT dark blue.

EMD GP7 and GP9

Conrail inherited EMD GP7's from the Penn Central(252), Reading Company(17), Erie Lackawanna(71), and the Jersey Central(13).  CR placed the units in series 5600-5999.

Built between October 1949 and May 1954, EMD powered it's first hood unit with their 16-cylinder supercharged 567B prime mover.


Conrail's GP9 fleet was inherited from the Penn Central with over 300 units, while the Erie Lackawanna and the Lehigh Valley each brought 6 units to the roster.  CR placed the GP9's in series 7000-7512.

Built between January, 1954 and December, 1959, the GP9 produced 1,750hp through EMD's 16-cylinder supercharged 567C prime mover.

EMD GP8 and GP10 Rebuilds

The Conrail GP8 and GP10 fleet originally began their lives as EMD GP7 and GP9's built for a variety of roads in the early fifties. Conrail, with hundreds of units lined up in graveyards and in dire need for reliable power decided to begin a GP rebuild program.

The railroad selected the Illinois Central Gulf RR's Paducah, KY shop to perform the work in 1976. At Paducah, the short hood high noses were chopped for better visibilty and the control stands were set up for the new short hood lead operation. The prime movers were overhauled and all former GP7's received the 567BC while the GP9's received 567C's. Air filter work was also performed, outfitting the new Geeps with Dynacell paper air filters.

Nine GP8 units were turned out during the third quarter of 1976 wearing new CR paint and road numbers 5720-5728. Sixteen GP10's were released as well sporting CR paint and numbered 7560-7575.

By 1978, Conrail desired more from the rebuild program and selected another 39 GP7's to be rebuilt. This program was not as extensive as the original consisting of only mechanical and electrical work. The dynamic brakes were removed, and the control stand remained setup for long hood forward operation. Paducah was not the only shop contracted this time around. The work was split between Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific's Silvis, IL shop, Morrison Knudsen's Boise, ID shop and ICG Paducah. The units were returned to Conrail during the third quarter of 1978 wearing 5400 series CR road numbers. The 1976 batch (5720-5728) were subsequently renumbered 5400-5408.

59 GP9's were also sent out for rebuilding in 1978 split between Paducah, Morrison Knudsen and Precision National Corporation in Mount Vernon, IL. This was the first rebuilding program PNC had undertaken and after the 6th unit, Conrail terminated the PNC contract due to quality and delivery issues. The remainder of PNC's contract was given to Paducah for completion. The same work, electrical and mechanical, was done and by early 1979 Morrison Knudsen turned out 17 units (7513-7529), PNC 6 (7530-7537) and 36 from Paducah (7545-7597). Road numbers 7532, 7536, 7538-7544, 5414-5427 were never used.

The GP8's lasted well into the 1990's and though most all were stored in the mid 80's, all but 1 were reactivated in 1987 when a batch of GP38-2's went off lease. The units were again returned to storage until 1989 when less than a dozen were reactivated again to make up for the loss of 10 MP15's that were returned to their lessor. This was the last active group until April 11, 1991 when the entire class was retired.


Conrail received 10 EMD MP15DC's that were under lease to the Reading Company.  Conrail reassigned them from RDG series 2771-2780 to CR 9621-9630.

The former RDG units were built in 1974 with power provided by EMD's supercharged V12 645 prime mover producing 1,500hp.

Conrail returned these reliable switchers to EMD at the end of their lease.


Conrail inherited EMD NW-2's from the Penn Central(102), Erie Lackawanna(31), Lehigh Valley(6) and the Central Railroad of New Jersey(2).  CR assigned the NW-2's to series 9151-9296.

Built from February 1939 to December 1949, EMD's 12-cylinder 567-powered switcher produced 1,000hp. 


Conrail received 52 EMD SD35's to their roster in April, 1976.  The Penn Central provided 40 units in series 6000-6039. and the Central Railroad of New Jersey provided 12 units in series 6040-6051.

EMD's SD35, built between June 1964 and January 1966 produced 2,500hp by an EMD 567D3A 16-cylinder prime mover. 


The SD38 quickly became Conrail's favorite for hump and yard duty at locations such as Stanley Yard in Toledo, OH, Allentown (PA) yard, Oak Island Yard in Newark, NJ and Elkhart, IN. The fleet of 35 units (nearly half of all SD38's built, with Conrail now owning the most) were inherited from the Penn Central and were typically paired with MT4 and MT6 slugs. Conrail 6925 through 6959 were built in May of 1970. The non-turbocharged locomotives were capable of 2,000hp and carried a 4,000 gallon fuel tank.


Conrail inherited its 118 SD40s from Penn Central and the CNJ. These 3000hp units were powerful and reliable, and without a doubt led to Conrail's eventual purchase of its fleet of the upgraded SD40-2. All of Conrail's SD40s were retired, sold or rebuilt into SD40-2Rs by 1994.

EMD SD40-2

Numbered 6358-6524, Conrail's SD40-2s were found system wide heading up trains of all varieties as well as working on helpers over the famous Horseshoe Curve on the Pittsburgh Line.

Conrail acquired its SD40-2 fleet new from EMD in 1977, 78 and 79.

Conrail's SD40-2s had a feature unique to the road, the substitution of EMD's older Flexicoil trucks in place of the newly developed (and mistakenly believed to be flawed) HTC trucks that were delivered to all other SD40-2 owners.

EMD SD40-2R Rebuilds

In 1993 Conrail began rebuilding 40 SD40's to the improved Dash-2 specifications, and renumbered them into the 6960 -6999 series. 30 of the units were rebuilt from Conrail's own SD40's, while 10 additional SD40's were of former Kansas City Southern heritage purchased from PAC Rail leasing. The 3,000hp units have individual subtleties to them such as the type of handbrake and placement, air horn type and cab vent. The units were then leased to Conrail from PACRail.


Conrail inherited a fleet of 174 SD-45’s from the Reading 6100-6104 (5), the Erie Lackawanna 6066-6099 (34), and the Penn Central 6105-6239 (135). Built between December 1965 and December 1971, these 20-cylinder six-axle units produced 3,600hp using EMD’s 645E3 prime mover.

EMD SD45-2

EMD produced over 100 of these monsters and CR was one of four railroads to roster them, 13 to be exact. Adopted from the Erie Lackawanna, these locomotives featured dual control stands, cab mounted air horns, low profile fans, and though not officially mentioned in Conrails' Locomotive Data books, some were cleared for operation in third rail territory. The railroad also defined the entire class as being equipped with snowplows on both ends with the exception of 6664. While at one point this may have been the case several photographs have proven this not entirely true.


Conrail had 135 "fightin fifties" numbered 6700 through 6834 and built from 1983 through 1986. Conrail's fleet of SD50s (the second largest in the country) was delivered with a number of variations from "stock" EMD units.

Conrail's first three orders (delivered in 1983, 84 and 85) all came equipped with EMD's older Flexicoil truck instead ot the standard, at the time, HTC-II truck. This was because of Conrail's irroneously blaming the HTC truck for a number of derailments involving AMTRAK units. It turned out not to be the fault of the truck, and the last order that arrived in 1986 was delivered with the standard EMD trucks.

The second two orders (6779-6834) were also delivered with a large 4500gal fuel tank, as opposed to the 4000gal tank on the previous two orders.

For a more indepth analysis of the Conrail SD50, visit the CRCYC.


In 1985 Conrail bought the three EMD demonstrators from EMD, and later went back to the well 4 years later, in 1989, for another 25 standard cab units. The demonstrators were numbered 6840, 6841, and 6842, while the later order was numbered from 6843 through 6867.


The SD60I (Isolated) "Whispercab" was essentially an SD60M with an improved "isolated" cab (hence the "I") that was designed to minimize noise inside the cab and reduce vibration providing a better working environment for Train & Engine service employees. Conrail purchased its SD60Is as "kits" from EMD, who did not have the production capacity to meet the order at the time. These kits were assembled by the Juniata shops in Altoona. Conrail's SD60Is were numbered from 5575 through 5654, and one exception, 5544. CR 5544 was the first unit designed with the new cab and became the standard for subsequent orders.

The SD60I's are identical to the SD60M's with only a few spotting features telling them apart, the rubber nose seam and reverse mounted nose door.

From my own personal experience, the SD60I is the premier model for sound quality. In notch 8 with the amps in the red, crews can talk at a normal level without having to scream. These cabs are infact so quiet, it's common to have to open the window on occasion to make sure the horn still works!

The units were built with a 2 piece front windshield and 4 piece side windows without sun visors. The side windows are built on an easy slide track design and combined with the tinted glass provide superior crew comfort.


SD60M's fit the bill for new power in 1992 when Conrail ordered 74 SD60M's. Within the SD60M class is one main spotting difference; marker lights. 5500-5514 were built with FRA flush mounted marker lights until a study done within Conrail declared the protruding lights caused a safety concern. Subsequently, the remaining order, 5515-5574 were recessed.

The units were built with a 2 piece front windshield and 4 piece side windows without sun visors. The side windows are built on an easy slide track design and combined with the tinted glass provide superior crew comfort. Conrail's SD60Ms were numbered in the 5500-5574 series, with one exception: 5544.


Conrail inherited two SD-7's from the Penn Central, assigning them to 6998 and 6999.  EMD's original Special Duty series "SD" locomotive was built between February 1952 and November 1953.  The V-16 567B-powered units produced 1,500hp.


Conrail placed additional orders for SD80MACs but due to the pending takeover by Norfolk Southern and CSX the order was changed. Norfolk Southern, not wanting to take the plunge into AC power, changed the order to standard cab SD70's built to NS specification. The 4,000hp locomotives were numbered 2557 - 2580, in sequence with NS's own SD70's.

They were assembled and painted at the Juniata Locomotive Shop between July and October 1998 in traditional Conrail paint.


Conrail placed additional orders for SD80MACs, however due to the pending takeover by Norfolk Southern and CSX the order was changed. CSX opted out of the SD80MAC order in favor of SD70MAC's built to CSX specifications. The 4,000hp locomotives were numbered 4130 - 4144, assembled and painted at the Juniata Locomotive Shop between March and May 1998 in the white face paint scheme as found on the SD80MAC's.


In the late 1980's General Electric was winning the horsepower war and the new locomotive orders from railroads. EMD was once again behind in technology and revenue. EMD began working on the SD80 series which would achieve 5000hp from a 20 cylinder 710G prime mover, the first 20 cylinder engine since the SD45/SD45-2 locomotive line.

Conrail began to take delivery of a 28 unit order rostered the first units in January 1996. Under agreement with EMD, the 28 units would be built by EMD and finished at the Juniata Shops in Altoona, PA. Conrail numbered these units 4100-4127.

In 1997, Conrail purchased the EMD demonstrator units, EMDX 8000 and 8001 and an order for 108 more units was placed but was ultimately reduced to 28 units. The order was changed with the split of Conrail making the 30 units owned by Conrail the only SD80MACs produced. The demonstrators were added to the roster as 4128 and 4129.

When Conrail was split up, CSX received 13 units and Norfolk Southern the remaining 17 units, all of which are still in active service.


Conrail inherited 25 SD-9's from the Penn Central, assigning them to 6900 and 6924.  The SD-9 was built between January 1954 and June 1959.  The V-16 567C-powered units produced 1,750hp.


Conrail inherited 32 SDP45s from the Erie Lackawanna, reassigning their EL series 3635-3668 to CR 6667-6699.

Built from May, 1969 through August, 1970 for the EL, EMD added a longer frame for concrete ballast aft of the radiators and a larger fuel tank for greater range.  EMD's turbocharged V20 20-645-E3 prime mover produced 3,600hp.

As EL was under control of the N&W when the original series 3635-3653 was ordered, Conrail returned them in 1984 to the Norfolk Southern.  EL's second order series 3654-3668 were returned to their lessor on January, 1984


EMD's early switcher offering, a 600 horsepower unit was first offered in 1939. Conrail inherited almost 200 of these units from PC, RDG, CNJ and LV. They were some of the earliest 'victims' of retirements, all being gone from the roster by 1984. While a large number of them were scrapped, some went to Amtrak while others found new life on some Conrail lines that were created during the early 1980's line abandonments.

EMD SW1001

Conrail inherited its rare SW1001 fleet from the Reading. These 1000hp switchers were commonly found on the ex-Reading branches in eastern Pennsylvania and throughout the eastern end of the system.

Because of their common use in cab signaled territory, a number were outfitted with cab signal and or LSL equipment.
Cab Signal Equipped Units: 2100, 2101, 2102-2106
LSL (Locomotive Speed Limiter) Equipped Units: 2102-2106

EMD SW1500

Probably the most well known switcher from the Conrail roster, the 121 EMD SW1500's were a 1,500 horsepower variation offered by EMD. Inherited from the PC, RDG, IHB and IU, all but five (which were retired and sold in 1982-1984) made it from 1976 to 1996 when a few were retired and sold off to regionals and/or shortlines.

During the split in 1999, CSX and NS both got their share of this popular EMD switcher.

CSX has since traded theirs to LLPX in exchange for higher horsepower road units.  As of 2012, NS retired all of this venerable switcher except 2120 and 2121, which were rebuilt by NS to RP14BD Genset.

EMD SW7, SW9 & SW1200

The SW7 was EMD's 1,000 horsepower switcher option in the 1950's. Conrail inherited many of these SW7's and they appeared in scattered number blocks in the 8836 to 9098 range and were of NYC, EL, CNJ, IHB, LV, CR&I, P&E and PRR origins. All of these units were removed from the Conrail roster by the early 1990's although many remain in service throughout the country on shortlines and industrials.

The SW9 was a 1,200 horsepower offering from EMD at the same time as the SW7, and at first glance appears almost identical in outward appearance, but it has less louvers on the hood doors. Again Conrail inherited these units from a variety of original owners (LV, EL, CNJ, PRR, NYC) and had them scattered in the 8922 to 9141 number range. During the great switcher purge of the late 1980's and early 1990's, these too were removed from the CR roster, although many also see service elsewhere to this day.

The SW1200 was also a 1,200 horsepower locomotive from EMD, purchased by CR predecessors RDG, DL&W (EL), New Haven (later PC) and PRR (later PC). These units occupied the 9315 to 9382 number block on Conrail. CR 9301 to 9319 (ex Reading 2701 to 2719) are of note as they were rebuilt by EMD from Baldwin switchers and are rated as only 1,000 horsepower. All the others are pure 1,200 hp SW1200's. Some of these saw service much later into Conrail, not being retired until 1995, and almost alll work for other railroads and industrials.

EMD SW8 Series

The EMD SW8 was introduced as a medium horsepower switcher built on the same frame as an SW7. It was purchased by Conrail predecessors Chicago River & Indiana (2 units, later NYC/PC), Erie Lackawanna (11 units), Lehigh Valley (27 units) and New York Central (28 units). Eighteen of the former LV units were built with dynamic braking, the only Conrail SW8's with this feature, although they were removed by Conrail. A few of Conrail's SW8's also received radiator cooling fans from retired EMD E8's, making an odd appearance to the long hood! Numbered in the 8600 to 8627 and 8664 to 8700 ranges, all of these units were retired by the early 1990's although many continue to see service on shortlines and industrials throughout the country.


A 900 horsepower offering using the 567C engine from EMD, the SW900 was built from 1954 to 1965. Conrail acquired two groups when it was formed in 1976. The first had numbers in the 8628 to 8663 and consisted of former PC, LV and Raritan River (acquired in 1980) units, while the second group were former Reading units in the 8701 to 8721 block. The former RDG units were rebuilt by EMD from older switchers, the 8701 to 8715 rebuilt from VO660's and the 8716 to 8721 rebuilt from SW's. Removed from the CR roster by 1995, many are still in use on industrials within the US and Canada.

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