Bio EditThe GE (General Electric) Dash 8 Series (also known as Dash-8 or simply "-8"; trademarked "DASH 8"), is a series or line of six-axle and four-axle diesel locomotives produced by General Electric from 1984 to 1993 (aside from the Genesis series being produced prior to said time; from 1993 to around 2001).
The series is an upgrade and successor to the preceding (yet short-lived) Dash 7 series, which followed the Universal Series ("U-Boats"), and is also the successor to the experimental "Super 7" line or series of preproduction testbeds, which was the original name before the "DASH 8" trademark was coined by GE. The line proved to be successful and innovative by meeting demands with railroads by providing greater horsepower outputs (even higher than preceding models), more reliable tractive effort, much more advanced cooling systems, as well as incorporating modern, high-tech technology implemented within the models of diesel locomotives. Hence, they were some of the first diesels to be equipped with revolutionary high-tech microprocessor controls, and to introduce a revolutionary concept: the "American Safety Cab", which has since become today's modern "standard cab" or "conventional cab" used on every current model of major motive power beginning with the C40-8W.
GE's Dash 8 Series is often considered to be the locomotive line which dominated over EMD in terms of sales and production by most train and railroad enthusiasts, because of its high-tech design and increased horsepower output proving to be capable of replacing most older or aging EMD road diesels such as the GP35 and SD40. The Dash 8 Series was replaced with the even more high-tech Dash 9 and its AC-traction AC4400CW counter-part in GE's catalog; though, the Dash 8 line in-turn served as an inspirational development phase for both locomotive models because of successful sales, rapid production, and innovative technology.
They are most commonly used on various North American Class I railroads (most notably CSX, Norfolk Southern, and CN). Foreign variants (such as the Australian C40-8 and the subsequent Brazilian narrow-gauge variant) are in use internationally as well.
Many are still currently in service, though most have since been retired or side-lined for spare use.
There are several versions of the Dash 8 locomotive.
C36-8- Standard-cab; six-axle; 3,600hp (Part of experimental "Super 7" Series; only one built).
C39-8- Standard-cab; six axle; 3,900hp (Part of experimental "Super 7" Series testbed project).
C40-8- Standard-cab; six axle; 4,000hp
C41-8- Standard-cab; six-axle; 4,125hp (only three built and demonstrated on the CNW, though some later-production C40-8's were rated with an additional 125hp output).
C40-8W- Wide-cab ("Safety-cab"); six axle; 4,000hp
C41-8W- Union Pacific upgraded version of the C40-8W with an additional 4,125 horsepower rating.
C44-8W- CSX upgraded version of the C40-8W.
B32-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 3,200hp (excluding its "E" or "enhanced" variant delivered exclusively to Norfolk Southern).
B36-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 3,600hp (only one built).
B39-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 3,900hp
B40-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 4,000hp
B40-8W- Safety-cab; four-axle; 4,000hp
BB40-8- Combined four-axle (B-B+B-B) narrow-gauge Latin American version of the C40-8.
P32-8BWH- Safety-cab; four-axle; 3,200hp (Head-end power for passenger service.)
AMD-103 (or P40DC 'Genesis'/Dash 8-40P)- Streamlined/cowl, four axles, 4,000 horsepower, (part of the GE Genesis line).
C40-8M- Canadian Safety cab and body cowling; trucks built by Dofasco, 4000hp. Purchased by BC Rail, Canadian National, and QNSL; (the QNSL units were sold in 2011. The CN and BC Rail units continue to operate as of 2015).
IdentificationEditThere is often a confusion between each version of the Dash 8. Here is an example of how to identify each model from within the line:
- Standard-cab versions are often confused for wide-cab versions.
- "B" means "Bo-Bo", which means "four-axle".
- "C" means "Co-Co", which would mean "six-axle".
- "W" means "wide-hood", or cab.
- The horsepower rating is often labelled as two digit numbers: "40" and so forth, hence: C40-8W.
- "8" or "-8" meaning or referring to the locomotive line.
- "-" dash (hyphen) meaning, "Dash" (for both EMD and GE).
The trucks or bogies are often confused for a Dash 9, despite being easy to distinguish. Six-axle Dash 8 models (such as the C40-8 ) utilize GE's "Adirondack" truck, axle, or bogey design, while subsequent four-axle models (such as the B40-8 ) utilize GE's "FB2" truck.
The GE Dash 8 Series is also considered or regarded as to be one of the last classic locomotive lines produced by GE, as well as being one of the first to be dubbed as being part of their "new-generation" modern locomotive lines.
The name "Dash 8" originates from the decade in which the series was first introduced (being the 1980's), as with its predecessor and successor: the Dash 7 line having been introduced in the 1970's, while the Dash 9 line was introduced in the 1990's.
Round-cab ("hunch-back" or "hump-back") Dash 8 units were the original pre-production, experimental, testbed Super 7 units (only said units became renamed once the Dash 8 project became under-way), while the modern, slanted-cab ("Spartan-cab") units are the official production models; other than models part of the redeveloped Super 7 rebuild line consisting of said cab style (like the C30-S7 and B23-7R). The only exception being NS' fleet of C39-8's, which weren't built to modern specs until the C39-8E was delivered.
Conrail assigned all 10 of their testbed C32-8 units prior to their retirement and export to Brazil for their exclusive "Ballast Express" trains which often delivered ballast (and occasionally other goods and freight) through their "Boston Line".
Both Union Pacific and CSX received upgraded versions of the C40-8W with 4,125hp and 4,400hp specifications, to which they began as earlier, preproduction versions of the Dash 9 before the official debut of said succeeding model.
All three of the original experimental C41-8 units owned by the CNW have since survived long after the UP merger of 1995 and lasted in secondary service with said owner, but now currently reside in general revenue service with CN (Canadian National) as a result of an auction in 2010-2011, which continued briefly in 2014.