Oct 23, 1998
Conrail began rebuilding GP7's into GP8's in 1976, assigning them to the 5400-5462 series. Some units in 1976 were initially numbered 5720-5728 but were renumbered in 1978 to 5400-5408 so the GP8's and GP10's could be in solid number blocks with room for additional units as they were built. Work was performed at Illinois Central Gulf's Paducah shops, Morrison-Knudson's Boise shops, and Rock Island's Silvas shops. Work continued on units through the 1970s. The GP8's contain a 16 cylinder 567C or 567BC EMD prime mover producing 1,500hp. The units weighed 249,00lbs. All GP8's were retired by 1996, with some still awaiting disposition in early 1997.
CR 5437 was equipped with Harmon Select-A-Power, which is noted in a decal on the cab either above or below the 'GP8' locomotive class. (Remember to add this decal when modeling these units.) Harmon Select-A-Power is an add-on fuel-saving electronic device. When a train doesn't need all its units to be online, this device allows an engineer to take trailing units off line one by one until only the lead unit is active. Units can also be reactivated as needed. When a unit is offline, it produces power of throttle position #1.
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