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The GE (General Electric) C36-8 (Dash 8-36C, C36-S7, or simply "Dash 8") is a type of six-axle, 16-cylinder, 3,600hp diesel locomotive built in March 1983. Only one was built: GECX 607, a testbed for the development of the Dash 8 program (colloquially dubbed as the "Super 7" line, but not to be confused for the rebuild line of the same name).
C36-8 Demo

GECX #607 during its heyday. During its early stages of testing and demonstration, it served as the basis or prototype for the C39-8 and subsequent 12-cylinder C32-8. Years later, it was rebuilt into a coal sludge-powered C39-8, but was eventually upgraded to Dash 9 specs and became the sole C39-9 in existence.

The unit never saw any actual service, but rather served as the basis for the early stages of the Dash 8 line alongside B36-8 #606. Although the only one of its kind, the unit marked a groundbreaking moment for GE, as the Dash 8 line gave way for GE's earned prominence in the locomotive industry as the top builder ahead of rival EMD since 1987.

HistoryEdit

What was originally intended as an enhanced, microprocessor-equipped successor to the slow-selling C36-7, the C36-8 was a small stepping stone for GE's rise to the top in the 1980's. Although the success of the Dash 7 line marked GE's rise to fame during the early 1980's recession, the line was slowly dwindling behind EMD's revitalized "50 Series" line; which was previously flawed and suffered sluggish sales in contrast to its precedessor, that debuted years prior to the Dash 8 line. Though, not long after the line officially began production in January 1984, EMD launched the "60 Series" line, which opted to rebound EMD's dominance in the locomotive market. To compete with EMD's otherwise flawed "50 Series" microprocessor-equipped diesels, GE initially opted to perfect the concept by launching the "Dash 8" line before EMD could fully rebound and retake the throne between 1982-1983 with their subsequent "60 Series" line. However, the success of the Dash 8 line didn't fully gain much attention until GE uprated the C36-8 to 3,900hp while eventually offering a 12-cylinder, 3,200hp variant. A few months later, Conrail (CR) and Norfolk Southern (NS) opted to participate in testing and field evaluation, and in January 1984, GE outshopped a pair of C39-8 testbeds leased to Norfolk Southern. Part of the 18-unit order of builder-owned, pre-production Dash 8's supplied to several railroads for long-term evaluation, NS 8550-8551 were similar in appearance to GECX 607, but dressed in full NS paint. In September 1984, the final group of pre-production testbeds, 10 Conrail C32-8's, were released from Erie. Although the C36-8 was still offered in GE's catalog, the unit never generated orders, and was merely a fad. However, GECX 607 marked a transitional phase that began the "horsepower race" between GE and EMD, for railroads began craving high-horsepower diesels to assign to their long and heavy trains which began increasing in size each day, and the demand for fuel efficiency by reducing the operating costs of locomotives was also on the rise as a result of the subsequent energy crises.

As the years past, GECX 607 sat in GE's Erie plant with the rest of the company test fleet, and was often paired with B36-8 606, C36-7 #505, and a number of aging ALCO/MLW Century Series units whom served as the basis for GE's subsequent Super 7 rebuild program. Not long after the debut of the C40-8, the unit was eventually converted into a coal sludge-fueled C39-8 (C39-8CF). Not long after, it was rebuilt and upgraded to Dash 9 specs following the launch of the subsequent line in 1993, and became the sole C39-9 built. The unit is now currently stored at GE's Erie, PA facility, and continues to serve as a test unit. Despite not having served in general revenue service, GECX 607 (GECX 899) has since found its way across Norfolk Southern's system and has served in lease service.

SpecificationsEdit

Model C32-8 C36-8 C39-8
Production Dates 1984 1983 1984-1987
Total Built 10 1 161
Length 67' 11" 70' 8" 70' 8"
Wheel Arrangement C-C C-C C-C
Engine (Prime-mover) 7FDL-12 7FDL-16 7FDL-16
Horsepower 3,200 (3,150) 3,600 3,900
Alternator GMG187 GMG187 GMG187
Traction Motors 752 752 752
Weight x 1,000lbs. 389.5 N/A 389-420

GalleryEdit

SourcesEdit

http://www.amazon.com/Locomotives-Modern-Diesel-Electric-Reference/dp/1554078962

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