Sep 13, 2014
Every railfan and model railroader has a favorite locomotive. When I first seriously got into model railroading and railfanning in 1976, the old General Electric U-Boats were mine, especially the U25B. Sure, they were highly unreliable, but nothing in my book could beat the distinctive "gluging" sound of those prime movers. And that thick exhaust from blown turbochargers... Now that was railroading! Of course, I was only a kid. What did I really know? But as I grew older, I began appreciating the more reliable and less sooty Dash-2 EMD locomotives, such as the SD-40-2. Eventually, these locomotives became my idea of modern railroading and came to symbolize the increasing reliability of early 1980s Conrail.
But everything changes over time, especially railroading. As the 1990s approached, Conrail was clearly a leaner and meaner railroad entering a new, revitalized era of North American railroading. Many of the EMD Dash-2 models such as the SD-40-2 that symbolized Conrail through the early 1980s were nearly 15 years old. Plus EMD had slipped from the nation's number one locomotive manufacturer to a distant second. Enter General Electric and their C40-8W.
During the later 1980s, Conrail had plenty of experience, both good and bad, with GE's Dash-8 line, having purchased 10 C32-8's in 1984, 30 B40-8's in 1988, 22 C39-8's in 1986, and finally 25 C40-8's in 1989. In 1990 they placed their first order for 50 C40-8W's.
Standard Conrail Units
The C40-8W is a 4,000hp monster of a locomotive, 70'9" in overall length, with 1,000hp more than the SD-40-2. It has excellent tractive effort, perfect for hauling heavy freights over the mountainous Pennsylvania and Boston & Albany lines. Its advanced prime movers can idle at notch 0 at three different speeds--330, 440, or 580 r.p.m.--allowing the locomotive to adjust to the task at hand while saving fuel. Plus nearly everything in the locomotive is monitored and controlled by computers, with terminals located in the cab. Gone are the dingy seats and control stands of the standard cab locomotives; instead, the conductor and engineer sit at a clean desk with monitors, throttle, and other controls all behind the safety of a "wide" or "comfort" cab. Of course, having to run these locomotives in reverse does becomes painful on the arm as the engineer twists around to look out the rear window--not exactly comfortable.
For those interested in modeling these locomotives, keep in mind that Conrail's units are different from those purchased by other railroads. For example, Conrail ordered their C40-8W's with headlights mounted above the cab windows, numberboards mounted on the nose, and recessed FRA classification lights. Plus some of their cab access doors have a different arrangement than those found on C40-8W's from Union Pacific, CSX, or other class one railroads.
All units in the first order, CR 6050-6099, were delivered in the standard steel wheels Conrail scheme. CR 6084 suffered damage and was repainted in 1996 into the Quality scheme. Other locomotives might have been repainted after being rebuilt and I'll post this info when people inform me. All the following C40-8W orders, CR 6100-6265, were delivered in the Quality scheme.
This is just a general overview of the locomotives. If you are interested in a more technical examination of Conrail's C40-8W's, along with drawings of a Conrail unit, check the excellent article in the January 1991 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.
All units in the first order (CR 6050-6099) were delivered in the standard steel wheels Conrail scheme. CR 6084 suffered damage and was repainted in 1996 into the Quality scheme. Other locomotives might have been repainted after being rebuilt and I'll post this info people inform me. All the following C40-8W orders (CR 6100-6265) were delivered in the Quality scheme.
Beginning in 1994, Conrail purchased a total of 60 C40-8W's for their joint leasing service with General Electric, Locomotive Management Services (LMS). To make the units more compatible in lease service with other railroads locomotives, the LMS units lack the Epic electronic air brake system and IFC package normally found on Conrail C40-8W's.
The first units 700-739 arrived in 1994 and were painted in Conrail blue with LMS initials. The second order, 740-759, arrived painted in the standard Conrail Quality scheme. Then in the summer of 1997, Conrail began moving 740-759 from lease service into their regular fleet, renumbering the units into series CR 6266-6285.
Beginning in 1994 and continuing through early 1995, Conrail purchased a total of 60 C40-8W's for their joint leasing service with General Electric, Locomotive Management Services (LMS). The first units 700-739 arrived in 1994 and were painted in the Conrail blue with LMS initials scheme. The second order, 740-759, arrived painted in the standard Conrail Quality scheme. Then in the summer of 1997 Conrail began moving CR 740-759 from lease service into their regular fleet, renumbering the units into series CR 6266-6285.
On October 8, 1991, Conrail operated a special business train called the Maryland Express, a 280-mile round-trip inspection tour from Willmington to Baltimore to Morgantown. Conrail gave each rider a packet containing information about important locations along the route, maps, photos of the business train, and an assortment of other items. In the packet, Conrail included an Outline, Paint & Lettering guide for the new C40-8W's in the Quality scheme, showing off their newest locomotives and paint scheme devoted to improving their image.
The paint crews used this Outline, Paint & Lettering guide when applying the final paint and lettering to the units. Since the guide has exact measurements for applying the logos and notes on what parts of the locomotive do and do not get painted, the guide is an exellent resource for custom painting a C40-8W in any scale. I hope you find the guide useful. I'd like to thank Dave Goldsmith for his generous contributions.
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