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The EMD GP40-2 is a 4-axle diesel road switcher locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division as part of its Dash 2 line between April 1972 and December 1986. The locomotive's power is provided by an EMD 645E3 16-cylinder engine which generates 3,000 horsepower (2.24 MW).

EMD GP40-2
A pair of EMD GP40-2 coupled back-to-back for use in remote control switching operations - Tampa, Florida.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division
General Motors Diesel (GMD)
Model GP40-2
Build date 1972 - 1986
Total produced 1,143
 • AAR B-B
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Prime mover EMD 645E3
Aspiration Turbocharged
Cylinders 16
Performance figures
Power output 3,000 hp (2.24 MW)



Standard GP40-2 production totalled 861 units, with 817 built for U.S. railroads, and 44 for Mexican railroads. In addition, three GP40P-2s, passenger versions of the GP40-2, were built for Southern Pacific in 1974, and 279 GP40-2L(W) and GP40-2(W) units, equipped with wide-nosed cabs, were built by General Motors Diesel (GMD), for Canadian National and GO Transit between 1974 and 1976. Of the CN units, 233 were built with a taller and lighter frame to allow for a larger fuel tank. These units were officially classified GP40-2L but are commonly referred to as GP40-2L(W). The balance of CN's fleet, 35 units, and the 11 unit GO Transit fleet, used standard frames and smaller fuel tanks; they are often referred to as GP40-2(W) but are classified as GP40-2. Total production of the GP40-2 and its variations totalled 1,143 units.

Although the GP40-2 was a sales success, it sold fewer units than the earlier GP40 and the contemporary GP38-2 and SD40-2 models. The popularity of high-horsepower 4-axle diesels began to decline with the GP40-2, with 6-axle models gaining in popularity for their superior low-speed lugging performance.


Like the SD40-2 the GP40-2 has a reputation for reliability, and many are still in use. Changes such as the modular electronics system improved reliability over the GP40. Their high power-per-axle rating suited them to high-speed service rather than low-speed drag freights.

With the usual 62:15 gearing (65-70 mph maximum) EMD rated the GP40-2 at 55,400 lb continuous tractive effort; for compatibility with other units, most (all?) had the PF21 module that reduced horsepower below 23 mph, bringing the minimum continuous speed down to 11 mph.

Spotting featuresEdit

The GP40-2 car body retains the high "spartan" lines of other EMD locomotives of the same era, with a beveled nose and an angular, slant-roof cab. There are three large radiator fans at the rear of the hood and a single fan in the middle for the dynamic brakes (if equipped). The radiator intakes are smaller than those of the later GP50, and the walkways lack the end "porches" of the 6-axle SD40-2.[1]

The GP40-2 can be distinguished from the earlier GP40 by the oval-shaped water-level sight glass at the right rear of the long hood; bolted (rather than hinged) battery boxes ahead of the cab; lengthened walkway blower duct; and various minor cosmetic differences in the front air intake and rear hood doors.[2] A number of GP40-2s also came with the new Blomberg M-type trucks, with single-clasp brakes, rubber pads replacing the central leaf springs and a shock strut over each axle.


A number of minor changes were made to GP40-2s throughout their production run:

  • Phase 1: 1972-1976—chickenwire radiator intakes, 81-inch short hood, older steps, bolted front battery boxes, bolted cab side panel
  • Phase 2a: 1977-early 1979—corrugated radiator intakes, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) clean-cab modifications, which necessitated an 88" long low short hood, notched stepwells, new battery box hinges.
  • Phase 2b: early 1979-late 1979—welded cab side panel
  • Phase 2c: late 1979-1981—EMD "Q-fans" and exhaust silencer.
  • Phase 3: 1984-1986—new large blower duct, hinged front battery boxes, straight frame profile

Original buyersEdit

Owner Quantity Numbers Notes
Atlanta and West Point Rail Road 1 733 to Seaboard System Railroad to CSX
Alaska Railroad 10 3000, 3007–3015 3000 renumbered to 3006
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 218 4100–4162, 1977, GM50, 4185–4256, 4287–4311, 4322–4351, 4422–4447 Chessie System paint to CSX
Boston and Maine Railroad 18 300–317
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 95 4165–4184, 4267–4281, 4372–4421 Chessie System paint to CSX
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico 29 1008–1036
Conrail 129 3275–3403 To CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway, #3275-3279 ex-Reading Company
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad 37 3094–3130 All to Union Pacific Railroad.
U.S. Department of Transportation 1 003
Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad 20 406–425 to Grand Trunk Western Railroad 6406–6425.
Florida East Coast Railway 24 411–434 433–434 were last built
Georgia Railroad 2 755–756 to Seaboard System Railroad to CSX
Kansas City Southern Railway 4 796–799
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 17 6600–6616 Family Lines Paint, to Seaboard System Railroad to CSX
Reading Company 5 3671–3675
Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad 7 141–147 to CSX
St. Louis – San Francisco Railway (“Frisco”) 25 750–774 to Burlington Northern 3040–3064
St. Louis Southwestern Railway (“Cotton Belt”) 56 7248–7273, 7628–7657
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 25 1636–1656. 6617–6621 6617–6621 Family Lines paint; all to Seaboard System Railroad now CSX
Ferrocarril Sonora-Baja California 15 2104–2112, 2309–2314
Southern Pacific Transportation Company 68 7240–7247, 7608–7627, 7658–7677, 7940–7959
Texas, Oklahoma and Eastern Railroad 3 D15–D16, D20
Western Maryland Railway 35 4257–4261,4312–4321, 4352–4371 Chessie System paint to CSX
Western Pacific Railroad 15 3545–3559
Western Railway of Alabama 1 708 to Seaboard System Railroad to CSX

Units built by General Motors Diesel, CanadaEdit

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Canadian National Railway 268 CN 9400–9667, 9668–9677 CN 9400–9632 are GP40-2L, 9633–9677 are GP40-2W.
CN 9668–9677 are former GO Transit units purchased in 1991.
GO Transit 11 GO 700–710 Ten to CN 9668–9677 in 1991. One (703) to Miami Tri-Rail, later sold to Aberdeen, Carolina & Western #703.
Total 279


UP (ex SP) GP40P-2 #1375 in San Antonio, Tx January 2007
Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Southern Pacific Transportation Company 3 3197-3199
renumbered to 7600,7601 & 7602. 7601 and 7602 went to UP as 1373 & 1375. 7600 went to IHB as 4010
Total 3


The GP40M-2 is a loose designation, being used to cover both upgrades of pre-Dash 2 units to Dash 2 spec.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Company. ISBN 0-89024-026-4. , p. 67
  2. ^ Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Company. ISBN 0-89024-026-4. , p. 61

External linksEdit