Locomotives / Train Sets


Diesel-Electric Locomotive

Entry Last Edited: 01/17/2024 | Content ©www.RailRoadJunction.net | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Specifications [+]
EMD and GMD contributed to the 706 diesel-electric GP38 units from January 1966 until December 1971.
The EMD GP38 was introduced in 1966 by the Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors (GM) as its newest diesel-electric unit. Production spanned from January 1966 into 1971 to the tune of 706 total examples which have been operated across North America for its time. The design was eventually succeeded on paper by the GP38-2 (Dash 2 series) model of 1972, a standard which some GP38s were also converted to.

The locomotive was given a largely traditional arrangement and appearance as modern American diesel-electric units go. The cab sat at the front of the design with the driver positioned at front-right. Stairs were set at all four corners of the frame with walking sections found along both sides of the locomotive. The wheel arrangement in the AAR standard was B-B while, in UIC, this was denoted as Bo'Bo' - that is, two trucks with two axles each showcasing a total of four bogies each.

The loco was powered by a single EMD 16-645 16-cylinder engine outputting 2,000 horsepower and fueled through a 2,600 US gallon reserve. A Roots-type supercharger was added to the arrangement for aspiration.

Operators of the GP38 proved plenty with the largest (at 263 units) procured by Penn Central Transportation Company (eventually falling to Conrail following the company's collapse). Southern Railway followed with 107 units and many other players operated the design in more limited numbers. The units were also seen in service with Mexican operators.

The GP38-2 series has its own dedicated entry on RailRoadJunction.net.

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Specifications [ EMD GP38 ]

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

United States
1966 - 1971
Production Run

706 units
Production Total
Train driver seating position graphic

Driver Position
18.0m | 59.0 ft
NOTE: May include length of entire train set
110,000 kg
(242,550 lb | 121 US Tons)
Locomotive power source graphical icon
Power Source
1 x EMD 16-645 16-cylinder engine; GM 32 main generator.
Engine / Drive Source
GM Delco Electric Drive (4) traction motor blowers.
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 - Original production model of 1966; 706 units produced.
GP38-2 - Updated model of 1972 (Dash-2 series); 2,213 units produced.
Operating Countries
Mexico; United States

National flag of Mexico National flag of the United States
Customers / Operators:
Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad; Altos Hornos de Mexico; Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway; Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; Bangor and Aroostook Railroad; Boston and Maine Railroad; Burlington Northern Railroad; Chesapeake and Ohio Railway; Clinchfield Railroad; Conrail; CSX Transportation; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad; Erie Mining Company; Ferrocarriles Unidos del Sureste; Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company; Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad; Illinois Central Gulf; Illinois Central Railroad; Louisville and Nashville Railroad; Maine Central Railroad; Maine Central Railroad; Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad; Missouri Pacific Railroad; Monogahela Railway; Norfolk Southern Railway; Penn Central Transportation Company; Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines; Phelps Dodge Corporation; Seaboard System Railroad; Southern Railway; Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway; Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Railway; Texas Mexican Railway
NOTE: Includes both past and present

Image of the EMD GP38

Image of the EMD GP38
Side profile illustration view of an EMD GP38 diesel-electric locomotive.
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