• What is the "E" in C39-8E etc?

  • Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.
Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: AMTK84, MEC407

  by U-Haul
Why are websites, people etc. adding a E to C39-8E and B39-8E? Also, why call locomotives C41-8, C41-8W , and C42-8? They might have been built with more than 4,000 HP, but its offical model type is C40-8.

Str Trek 40th Anniversary

  by Allen Hazen
I can say something about the "E" from memory. I think when the designs so designated (one radiator fan instead of two, cab that looks disturbingly similar to an EMD "Spartan" cab) were introduced (1987) GE said that the E was for "enhanced" in its press releases.
As for C-41 and C-42... GE has been quite sloppy in what it puts on builder's plates, so I don't know if these units came from the factory labelled as C40 or with the higher numbers. Certainly they were referred to as C41 (etc) at the time (1993, maybe 1992), but I'm not sure whether that designation came from GE, from the railroads, or just from the press.
While we're at it: is a C42-8 the same thing, or at least the same power rating, as a C41-8? As I recall, it was announced that an order of C40-8 for C&NW was being built at a 4200hp rating (I think it was actually a bit less and the designation was "rounded upward"), and that this order was the only one of units called C42-8. UP and ATSF got C41-8W in 1993; I think they are rated at 4135 hp. Are they really different from the C&NW units?
And, just to complicate things, CSX 9000-9002 (the first three of the units that are variously called C44-8W and C44-9W) were announced, before they were built, as being 4500 hp. Were they originally built to a bit higher hp than that subsequently settled as standard for Dash-9, or had 4500 turned into 4400 (or 4390) by the time they left Erie?

  by trainiac
Allen's right--E is for enhanced, and it was added to distinguish later Dash-8's from earlier versions of the same horsepower. Only three early B39-8's (ATSF 7400-7402) were built before the design was refined into the B39-8E (sometimes just called B39-8 as well) and B40-8. NS and CR own(ed) a large number of C39-8's. Only one order of C39-8E's was completed (for NS) before the model was further refined into the C40-8.

The "E" versions have a completely revised appearance: angular (rather than rounded) cab roof, cleaner lines, revised hood doors, single radiator fan (hence the angled intakes) and, in the case of the 4-axle units, a longer wheelbase. I believe there were further internal modifications aimed at improving reliability and ease of maintenance. Appearance-wise, about the only above-the-frame sheetmetal they have in common is the nose.


I've never heard of the C42-8, but C41-8W's were used on ATSF and UP (those are the roads that come to mind) and are virtually identical to C40-8W's. There is no "official" name for the series--the only reason most are called "C40-8" is because most are 4000 horsepower.