Locomotives / Train Sets

EMD GP38-2

Diesel-Electric Locomotive

Series: "Dash 2"

"The EMD GP38-2, introduced in 1972, succeeded the original 1966 EMD GP38 design."

Entry Last Edited: 01/17/2024 | Content ©www.RailRoadJunction.net | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Specifications [+]
In 1972, EMD (Electro-Motive Division - General Motors) revealed the successor to its earlier GP38, the upgraded / improved GP38-2. While the original managed an impressive production run of 706 with customers across North America, the GP38-2 eclipsed this to the tune of 2,213 total units from January 1972 until July 1986. As in the GP38, the GP38-2 was a diesel-electric locomotive and used primarily in the freight-hauling role.

The 250,000lb locomotive operated a B-B wheel configuration (AAR) standard and was powered by an EMD 16-645E 2-stroke diesel engine (with Roots-type blower) outputting 2,000 horsepower, giving the unit a maximum speed of 65 miles-per-hour. Braking was through a straight air, dynamic system.

The GP38-2 was utilized across North America (including Canada and Mexico) and exported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Production was handled by both EMD and General Motors Diesel (GMD) of London, Ontario Canada. "Power operators" of the type were Missouri Pacific Railroad (274 units), Southern Railway (257 units), and Penn Central Transportation Company (223 units).

GMD production went on to serve customers Algoma Central Railway, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Devco Railway, Ontario Northland Railway, and Texas Gulf Sulphur. Exported models by EMD proper went to several customers in Mexico (some of which carried high hoods with steam generators) and the Saudi Railways Organization (a single example, No.2000). In Canadian service, the GP38-2 has been unofficially designated as "GP38-2W" and noted for their identifiable "comfort cab" structures and other slight differences.

As a whole, many GP38-2s were passed on to operators after their service with original customers, this group to include BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern.

The original GP38 has its own dedicated entry on RailRoadJunction.net.

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Specifications [ EMD GP38-2 ]

Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) - USA / General Motors Diesel (GMD) - Canada

United States
1972 - 1986
Production Run

2,213 units
Production Total
Train driver seating position graphic

Driver Position
18.0m | 59.2 ft
NOTE: May include length of entire train set
113,400 kg
(250,047 lb | 125 US Tons)
Locomotive power source graphical icon
Power Source
1 x EMD 16-645E 2-stroke diesel unit outputting 2,000 horsepower; Roots-type blower system; AC alternator unit.
Engine / Drive Source
DC Traction Motors.
Traction Motor / Sets
2,000 hp
Rated Output Power
105.0 kph
(65.3 mph)
Max Speed
Wheel Arrangement
(Loco Facing Left)
Series Variants
GP38-2 - Base Series Designation.
GP38-2W - Unofficial designation for Canadian GP38-2 units with wide-nose Canadian 'comfort cabs'.
Operating Countries
Mexico; Saudi Arabia; United States

National flag of Mexico National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of the United States
Customers / Operators:
Algoma Central Railway; Altos Hornos de Mexico; Angelina and Neches River Railroad; The American Rolling Mill Company; Atlanta and West Point Railroad; Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railroad; Belt Railway of Chicago; Boston and Maine Railroad; Burlington Northern Railroad; Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway; Canadian National Railway; Canadian Pacific Railway; Chicago and North Western Transportation Company; Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad; Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company; Clinchfield Railroad; Colorado and Wyoming Railroad; Conrail; Curtis, Milburn and Eastern Railroad; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad; Devco Railway; Durham and Southern Railway; Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway; Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Mexico; Ferrocarriles Unidos del Sureste; Florida East Coast Railway; Georgia Railroad; Grand Trunk Western Railroad; Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad; Illinois Central Gulf Railroad; Illinois Terminal Railroad; Kansas City Southern Railway; Lehigh Valley Railroad; Long Island Rail Road; Louisville and Nashville Railroad; Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad; Mississippi Export Railroad; Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad; Missouri Pacific Railroad; Ontario Northland Railway; Penn Central Transportation Company; Phelps Dodge; Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad; Providence and Worcester Railroad; Public Service Company of Indiana; Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad; San Manuel Arizona Railroad; Saudi Railways Organization; Seaboard Coast Line Railroad; Soo Line Railroad; South East Coal Company; Southern Railway; Southern Pacific Transportation Company; St. Louis-San Francisco Railway; Texas Gulf Sulphur; Texas Mexican Railway; Union Pacific Railroad; Vermont Railroad
NOTE: Includes both past and present

Image of the EMD GP38-2

Image of the EMD GP38-2
Portside view of an EMD GP38-2 diesel-electric locomotive in The Rock livery color scheme.
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