Equipped with plows on both ends, several were cleared for use at the PP&L Strawberry Ridge, PA power plant (8040-8064) and others were equipped with bi-directional cab arrangements (8154-8162). The PC GP38-2's were built without anti-climbers while the Conrail ordered units, 8163 forward, were. 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.
In 1999, the fleet was divided between Norfolk Southern and CSX. Those assigned to NS were renumbered into the 5257-5393 series, while CSX allocated units became 2717-2814.