General Electric (GE) is one of the world's leading conglomerates. Their locomotive building business consisted mainly of industrial units and components for other manufacturers. This changed when they entered the road locomotive business with 1959's U25B. From that time on, GE has supplied locomotives to railroads around the world, and Conrail and its predecessors were no different. CR inherited a fleet of GE's "U-boats", and purchased numerous dash 7 and dash 8 models new.
Conrail's only 44-Tonner was a former PC/PRR unit.
During the 1970's, EMD was turning out a very successful and reliable Dash-2 line (GP38-2, GP40-2, SD40-2). General Electric, in an effort to gain lost ground, introduced an improved Dash-7 line which proved to be a huge improvement over the earlier U-Boats. Between 1977 and 1979, Conrail purchased 141 of the twelve-cylinder 2,250hp B23-7's. They continued on to new owners, NS and CSX, in 1999.
The GE B23-7R was a manufactuer rebuild program that took older units and rebuilt them to Dash-7 standards. Conrail's B23-7Rs came from its acquisition of the Monongahela. All were modified by the Juniata Shops in the second half of 1993 to 3000hp units, making them B30-7R's.
Purchased by Conrail to power its hotshot piggyback trains, these sixty units spent many years doing just that. Built in 1983, with 3,600 horsepower and GE's floating bolster trucks, the fleet survived (minus four or five units due to wrecks) right until the split in 1999. While the remaining 55 or 56 units saw brief service on CSX and NS, their new claim to fame is in Brazil, where 44 have been rebuilt into BB36-7's featuring a four foot frame addition on each end of the locomotive to clear and extra two axle truck for narrow gauge EFVM.
GE's Dash 8 line was a much improved design over the previous Dash 7 line, which ended on Conrail with the C30-7A. Microprocessors in the Dash 8 line increased efficiency while boosting tractive effort. For the first time, GE units could monitor and diagnose themselves, which reduced downtime.
Built in May and June of 1988, Conrail purchased 30 of the B40-8's, numbered in the 5060 - 5089 series. Built with a 16 cylinder, turbocharged prime mover under the hood, these 4,000hp units were designed for light weight, high speed, and time sensitive intermodal service. 30 former CR/PC GP9's were traded in as part of the deal. (CR 7003, 7017, 7037, 7039, 7043, 7073, 7074, 7086, 7091, 7116, 7141, 7250, 7259, 7312, 7310, 7331, 7332, 7349, 7355, 7359, 7468, 7382, 7383, 7389, 7393, 7405, 7426, 7444, 7469, 7471.)
The original factory-installed, small single grab iron on the nose of the unit, also found on the C39-8 model, was intended for use when crossing between locomotives. They were replaced however, sometime in 1991 when Conrail opted for the upside down "L" grabs due to safety concerns and difficulty boarding the locomotives from the ground, account the higher walkway.
Conrail selected the B40-8 class to pull not only its hottest trains, but also to promote its Labor Management program in 1988. A large 'Working Together for Safety, Service, and Success' decal was applied to the short hood nose of each locomotive. The program encouraged workplace safety through Labor - Management cooperation and promoted the premier relationship Conrail enjoyed with its workforce. The program had seven primary committees, (one for each operating division) and another for all of Conrail's shops. These seven committees were comprised of 60 subcommittees, which were populated by union and management personnel.
In 1999, the fleet was divided between Norfolk Southern and CSX. Those assigned to NS were renumbered into the 4800 - 4817 series, while CSX allocated units became 5950 - 5961. The 18 units that went to Norfolk Southern were later transferred to CSXT 5962-5979.
The C30-7's were built for Conrail in November 1977 as an improvement to GE's prior U boat line (U30C, U33C, U36C), and marked the dawn of a new era on Conrail as being the first new six axle power on the railroad. With more than 700 built, only 10 of the 3,000hp, 16-cylinder locomotive were purchased by Conrail, assigned to the 6600 - 6609 series.
The units were equipped with an anti-climber, a two-strap cab signal box on the conductor side walkway behind the cab, blanked short hood headlight casing, short hood plow, and standard marker lights. The C30-7's weren't the most popular with Conrail people. Senior management requested a series of tests be performed between the C30-7 and SD40-2 to determine the efficiency of the C30-7. The test candidates were identified with a sizeable white star located below the cab road number as well as 'TEST UNIT' under the model designation.
Conrail 6600 - 6604 were retired on May 3, 1991 but later reactivated in 1992 and 1993 when they were pressed into the Conrail lease fleet. The 5 units joined former ATSF C30-7's that were traded in for B40-8's. The units were repainted straight Conrail blue and were lettered CRL. Conrail's original 10 C30-7's were finally retired from the roster for the last time by September 1995.
GE built 50 C30-7A's for Conrail in 1984. A variant of the C30-7, this 12-cylinder version produced the same 3,000hp as the C30-7 V16. Conrail assigned them CR series 6550-6599.
Built in 1984 as the first -8 series of locomotives from GE, all ten of this model only saw service initially on Conrail. Numbered 6610 to 6619, they were orphans in both the railroad world and on CR. Rated at 3,150 horsepower and carrying 3,900 gallons of fuel, they spent most of their careers in the Boston-Selkirk world on the former B&A until 1997 when all ten were painted into gray and black Ballast Express paint for dedicated ballast trains. Of note are the following: 6612 was involved in an accident in Philadelphia in 1988 and emerged from Juniata with the cab and nose from former GE B40-8 demo #808; 6615 and 6616 both wore Quality paint before being painted gray in 1997; and gray 6619 was involved in a wreck in 1998 or 1999 and emerged wearing fresh Quality blue immediately before being transferred to NS. Upon the split in 1999, six went to NS (8543-8548) and four to CSX (7476-7479). After the lease expired, CSX chose not to lease then again but NS picked up all ten for a brief period and renumbered them all (8460:1-8469). When NS retired them, one unit (6616) was leased by RMDI (BDLX) to Junction City Mining in Talbottom, GA while the others sat in RMDI's lot rusting away. The former 6616 managed to escape the US and at last report (9/2006) was in green and yellow as Ferronorte 9339 in Brazil.
In 1985, Conrail purchased 25 3,750hp C36-7's and assigned them to the 6620-6644 series. The C36-7's were built in June of 1985 on the same frame as the C30-7, and weren't a popular model among railroads. Two units (6620, 6621) were actually assigned Ballast Express service lettering, however, the rest of the fleet could often times be found hauling the stone and only a small handful ever received Conrail Quality paint.
Conrail's C39-8 fleet is almost physically identical to the earlier C32-8 model. These units are interesting to follow. The factory painted units sport a very non-Conrail style road number and are easy to tell apart. GE's cab side numbers are tall and skinny, while the CR version are more symmetric. The front of the locomotive also wore "CONRAIL" on the lower third of the nose until it was re-applied by Conrail on the top, above the single grab iron. Sometime in 1991 shop forces began removing the single, horizontal mounted nose grab iron and replacing it with 2 upside down "L" irons to better accommodate mounting and dismounting the unit.
The fleet spent very little time on CR between 1993 and 1997 as the company placed them in an active lease service spending 1993 on Southern Pacific and again in 1996.
The Conrail C40 series units are numbered 6025 - 6049, in sequence after the C39-8's. Some physical changes took place including the recessed sand filler hatch and vertically mounted headlight on the rear of the locomotive. The short hood end also sported the high "CONRAIL" application and single horizontal mount grab iron which was replaced with the upside down "L" irons like the C39 sisters. The C40's were also adorned with a metal GE builders plate on both sides of the locomotive's short hood end.
Other differences include the air resevoir location on the right side of the unit, enlarged equipment blower intake, elimination of the dynamic brake grids extending above the roofline, and a squared cab versus the rounded C39-8 cab.
The Conrail C40-8W, a new generation in crew comfort locomotives. They were the first units bought new equipped with air conditioning, and the last units to come from the factory without ditch lights. The C40-8W's, numbered 6050 through 6285, began the era of grade crossing safety in the 1990's. 6110-6112 and 6114-6119 were equipped with strobe lights while 6113 was equipped with a strobe light and at one point had two sets of ditch lights mounted on the short hood end.
The "Comfort Cabs" sported the new reflective white frame stripe and nose lettering. The second order, beginning with 6100 wore the companies new CQI, Continuous Quality Improvement scheme. 6050-6149 were painted solid Blue from the factory, while the remaining units were given black anti-skid nose panels on the short hood end
The locomotive was built with the standard 2 piece front windshield and a 3 piece side window without sun visors. The side windows are among the largest, however, only the center pane can be opened.
Conrail inherited 77 units from Penn Central, 12 from Lehigh Valley, and 10 new, assigning them to series CR 2700-2798.
Conrail inherited 19 of the 2,200hp GE's from Penn Central and numbered them in series 6700-6718.
Conrail inherited 179 2,500hp U25B's from the Penn Central and the Erie Lackawanna, assigning them to CR series 2500-2685.
Conrail's U25C locomotives were some of the first units to recieve the "Blue Dress" paint scheme. Conrail assigned them to series CR 6500-6519 then renumbered them in 1979 into the 6800-6819 series to make way for the arriving order of SD-40-2's
CR owned only 2 units of this model. They were numbered 2822 & 2823.
Conrail inherited 15 U28C's from the Penn Central. Built for the PRR in 1960, the 2,800hp U28C's were assigned to New York and placed in CR series 6520-6534.
Conrail owned 60 of this 3,000 horsepower dynamic brake equipped model from GE. All were of New York Central heritage and Penn Central ownership and were built between December of 1966 and December of 1967. The last of the fleet was retired in 1983 and while a number of units were scrapped, several managed to escape to serve on various shortlines, some of which may still exist.
Conrail inherited 10 U30C's from the Penn Central and the Reading Company. The 3,000hp U30C's were assigned CR series 6535-6539 and 6579-6583.
Conrail inherited 123 U33B's from the Penn Central. The U33B's were powered with FDL-16 prime movers, producing 3,300hp. CR assigned them number series 2858-2970.
Conrail inherited 24 U33C's from Penn Central and 15 from the Erie Lackawanna. Conrail assigned them to series CR 6540-6578 then renumbered them to 6845-6882.
Once established in 1966, NJDOT became responsible
for maintaining NJ rail passenger service.
NJDOT contracted Conrail to operate NJ commuter lines from Conrail’s
formation in April 1976 until 1979, when the Public Transportation Act created
NJ Transit. Passenger service continued
under contract by NJ Transit with Conrail from 1979 until the end of 1982. On January 1, 1983 NJ Transit assumed
passenger operations from Conrail.
NJDOTs pre-Conrail rail purchases included 13 EMD-GP-40Ps for CNJ in 1968, and 32 GE U34CHs for EL, and push-pull suitable
Comet I Class coaches for their Hoboken lines in 1970.
Originally built for the Auto Train Corporation in 1974, they were never delivered, being sold instead to Conrail in 1976. They saw service in all capacities on Conrail and all four were retired in 1991 and traded in to GE.
Built for the Erie Lackawanna as their 3316 to 3328, these thirteen 3,600 6-axle locomotives became Conrail 6587 to 6599. In November of 1979 they were renumbered to 6884 to 6896 in order to make room for more new C30-7A's. All were retired in December 1987 and returned to the lessor and are presumed scrapped.