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.
A rare to Lancaster B40-8 leads a pair of EMDs shifting out the previous nights "LTA", Lancaster Turn at Dillerville Yard. None of this exists today having been made into a greenspace for F&M College.
A westbound Conrail TV train is near MP 126.4 on track number two, Ashtabula, Ohio
The high horsepower B40-8s were purchased to power Conrail's high priority TV trains. Here 5060 leads TV22 at McVey PA.
A westbound Conrail TV train behind B40-8 No. 5061 in a view from Berea Tower on August 25, 1991. Doug Davidson photo with permission
The "pocket-piggybacker", TV80W, is uncharacteristically "overpowered" this day. A single unit was often sufficient, but B40-8 5062 is a refreshing change from the "usual stuff" leading the train across the flats in Hinsdale on Sept. 3, 1993.
CR 5063 is seen at Cumberland, MD on 2/25/99.
CR 5063 leading SELA through State Line in Canaan, NY. on Aug. 17, 1996.
CR 5065, 6018 & 6127 are seen at Hagerstown MD on 3/18/98.
CR 5065 is seen at Hagerstown MD 3/18/98.
CR 5065 is seen at Rochester, PA on 4/20/98.
B40-8 5066 has the trail in TV14X at East Chatham, NY. on June 10, 1988. Too early for the "nose art".
Conrail B40-8 5066 is seen leading a westbound TV train across Montezuma Swamp near Fox Ridge, NY
For a short while in the mid 90's, Conrail called their stack trains "Super Vans," giving them an SV symbol. This is SV 20, behind a labor/management B40-8 and unseen SD60I 5567 and C40-8W 6073 rolling 94 stack platforms along with 34 TOFC into the curve at MP 230 late in the day.
Conrail's C40-8 and B36-7s were intended to haul high priority freights. Here a trio runs across the classic (but modified) PRR stone arch bridge at Union Furnace PA.
Conrail 5067 leads an Eastbound stack train near MP 83 ( passing by its' birth place just out of view to the right ~ GE Transportation Systems) on track number one.
ALSE-0 runs siding to main @ CP10 and approaches New Bridge Road, Bergenfield, NJ on a cold February day.. No FATHEADS here!!!
ML-480 makes a run for New Jersey at CP-SK (CP-132)
TV-301 is just East of the village of Cameron.
CR 5068 on BOSE at Washington (depot), MA. on Feb. 27, 1993.
A pair of GE's, 5069 and 5059, lead 112 cars of what looks like SETO through Amtrak's Syracuse station. An Amtrak Turboliner is poking its nose around the freight as it approaches the station.
CR 5070 on TVLA exiting the north portal of the short tunnel just north of the Bear Mountain bridge in Fort Montgomery, NY. on Oct. 22, 1992.
An odd helper set for sure, this ENG move was used to push this hopper train up the west slope due to engine problems on the head end power. I don't know the details of how this unit got wrecked, but it was eventually repaired and survived to become CSX 5955, but has since been retired. Note the EOT being used as there were no working headlights to use as a marker on the 5071. In this scene the ENG has just cut away from the hopper train at MO in Cresson, Pa.
I started driving for JB Hunt in November 1995, a job that took me a lot of places. By that time, JB had become a big user of intermodal, and road drivers were, at that time, often called on to run rail freight to ramps. The network was still developing, and a lot of the runs were really OTR for the truck drivers, as we'd go several hundred miles to a ramp from the customer. In this case, I picked up a load from Dixie Cup in Bowling Green KY, taking it to BNSF at their Cicero ramp at Clyde Yard on the ex BN/CB&Q. The load was going to Portland. I had nothing planned on me, so I went out to Berwyn to wait on my next assignment, figuring I could watch the action while I waited for dispatch. It was a good show. While I was there, this 102 car eastbound showed up behind a solid set of CR power.
B40-8 5072 in TV14X at East Chatham, NY. on June 10, 1988.
Conrail's B40-8s were purchased to do just this, lead TV trains. Here one runs through Birmingham PA on the Pittsburgh Line.
A morning ENIN heads westbound, lead by a GE B40-8 through Cove PA, just west of Harrisburg on the Pittsburgh Line.
CR 5075 and CR 8145 sit at Piqua yard Ft. Wayne, IN in this undated photo. Jay Williams photo, Chris Howe collection
B40-8 5076 in TV14X at East Chatham, NY. on June 10, 1988.
Conrail Dash 8-40B #5076 at Hillside NJ on the Lehigh Line. Exact date unknown.
A dimension special has been put in the clear on the Akron Branch at Hudson, Ohio to let some mainline traffic pass. B40-8 5076 has but one car in tow, EJ&E 6280.
Nocturnal action along the Mon - a soutbound waits on the main while another train passes by in West Elizabeth.
PIME power ests at Meadville, PA. March 1992
PXPI rounds the big curve and passes Rochester Tower before it enters Conway Yard. That lead unit was smoking like an Alco! CR did not generally let their engines get so filthy.
B40-8 5080 leads a westbound over the dormant D&H diamond at Voorheesville NY in 1990.
TV 201 with 104 APL platforms and 2 COFC just because, rolls past the Amtrak station at Dewitt Yard behind a three unit mixed set of a B40-8/GP40-2/B36-7.
B40-8 5083 on TV9X at Huntington, MA. on Aug. 30, 1997.
TV26 Eastbound on the single iron @ Sloatsburg, NY
In the right place at the right time, I'm set up for e/b TV-12 with a trio of B40-8's when TV-11 shows up too with a B40-8/GP40-2/B36-7 set rolling west at the same time. The 5084 would become property of NS as their 4814, then eventually to CSX as their 5976.
Conrail 5086 leads a Westbound TV train at MP125 ( note the broken numberboard ) on track number one.
CR 5086 is on ML-480-Y at Ridgefield Park, NJ 9/1998
INEL-8A heads north near CP-78 on the Conrail Marion Branch on May 28, 1998 with the CR 5087 leading a NS GE, UP EMD, and another CR EMD. Kevin Nelson photo with permission
CR 5088 is on the point of SENS at Ridgefield Park, NJ 4/1997
One of each. A pair of road units, an SD 60I and a C40-8W, sit ready at Park Manor Yard in Chicago, as seen from the Chicago Skyway. Sometimes sitting in Chicago traffic isn't all bad!!
TV 554 passes Bayview behind a pair of 40's-in this case, GE C40-8W and B40-8, trailing 46 Sea Land platforms. They'll go to the D&H at Bison, then on to Jersey, changing to an NYSW crew at Binghamton. The CR power will not run through.
Three new B40-8's in TV14X at East Chatham, NY. on June 10, 1988. Dispatcher was heard on scanner requesting the lead unit to be isolated before tackling the west slope of Washington hill, to see how the 3 "new guys" could handle the train. Photos of the individual units can be found in the GE loco section.
ML 440 rolls through Hunt on the now single track line, a new Rule 261 signal replacing the semaphore that stood approximately where the new light stands. Track 2, which was in worse shape than track 1, has been removed, and track 1 upgraded. The leader on this train is one of the units painted to promote US Savings Bonds. The trailing unit is NS 6189. Behind the power are 17 cars of COFC, and 78 auto racks for Doremus Av.
CSXT B40-8 5953 (CR 5065) rests between assignments along with GP40-2 6145 (ex-B&O 4246) at E.R. Snell in Fairburn, GA on March 6, 2015.