Sep 13, 2014
During the 1970s, EMD had a tight lock on locomotive manufacturing in the United States and was producing its highly successful and reliable Dash-2 line such as the GP-40-2, SD-40-2, and GP-38-2. While similar to their previous models, the Dash-2 line offered improved electronics, fuel consumption, and reliability.
Not wanting to be outdone or put out of business, General Electric countered with their improved Dash-7 line. While still not as reliable as their EMD counterparts, the Dash-7 locomotives were a huge improvement over the earlier U-Boats. Enter the B23-7.
The B23-7 was a turbocharged 2,250hp locomotive with a twelve-cylinder 12-7FDL prime mover that rode on four AAR Type-B trucks. It was designed to directly compete with EMD's GP-38-2, which was the most reliable and versatile locomotives of all time due to its combination of an underrated 2,000hp 645 prime mover, a.c. traction motors, modular electronics, and four axles. The GP-38-2 could be found in yard, branchline, and even mainline service. The B23-7 was equally versatile but not as reliable. Still, Conrail purchased 141 of the units between 1977 and 1979, with many staying on roster until the final days of the railroad.
All the B23-7's were delivered with standard 4 window on the side of the cab. Somewhere between 1981 and 1985 Conrail began plating over these window. You can clearly see these plated-over oval windows on photos. It's important to keep this info in mind when you are doing your model, since open window models can only be used prior to these dates.
There were two special B23-7's. CR 1980 was painted in a special scheme with the logo "Keep It Moving On Conrail" painted on the side. I'm not sure when this unit was painted or when it was repainted into a traditional Conrail scheme. If anyone knows or has good photos of this unit, please let me know. Another special B23-7 was CR 1933, which had a rear pilot specially modified to mate with CR 21 on the Track Geometry Train. If anyone has good detail shots of the rear of this loco, I'd appreciate them.
The roster below covers those units operated by Conrail from the arrivial of the first unit until May 1999. Roster Source: Conrail Motive Power Review: Volume 1 by Gordon Lloyd, Jr., and Louis A. Marre. Interurban Press, 1992.
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