Conrail, Penn Central, and Lehigh Valley U23B locomotive modeling. Always updating.

Page Updated:
Sep 13, 2014


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The Conrail Cyclopedia - Serving Conrail fans world-wide since 1998.

CR U23B Conrail inherited a total of 89 2,300hp U23B's from Penn Central and Lehigh Valley, while purchasing 10 new units in 1977. Prior to Conrail, Penn Central assigned their units to various locations, including Collinwood and Columbus. Beginning in April 1976, Conrail assigned the former PC units for maintenance to Selkirk in New York and to Buckeye in Columbus, OH, with all the former LV units going to Buckeye. As a result, the units saw general service duty all across the system.

Conrail transferred all the units to Buckeye in 1979, where they remained for four years until the yard closed in 1983. During a downturn in service in 1981 that saw thousands of employees laid off and drastic changes in operating practices, Conrail briefly stored their fleet of U23B's. When Buckeye closed in 1983, Conrail sent all the units back to Selkirk, which allowed the U23B's to travel over the entire system once again.

Then in 1985 disaster stuck. Two units (CR 2732 and CR 2739) suffered so much damage during a wreck that Conrail had no choice but to scrap the units at Hollidaysburg the next year. Of course, these were not the first U23B's wrecked. During the winter of 1978, CR 2781, still in its Lehigh Valley paint but renumbered for Conrail, smashed in its short hood. Conrail repaired the damage and repainted the unit at the same time. The unit would eventually go to the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern on October 3, 1996, where it became RBM&N 2394.

In 1986 Conrail was finally ready retire the remaining aging fleet of U23B's, which were becoming a maintenance headache, but increasing traffic and the return of 100 leased GP-38-2's to EMD gave the aging U23B's a brief extension on their lives. But five years later on May 9, 1991 Conrail finally retired the surviving 97 U23B's. For a brief time Conrail considered rebuilding them in Juniata into Super 7's but eventually gave up on the idea in 1994. In the meantime, Conrail placed several units into their leasing division (CRL) with CRL numbers but never renumbered the actual locomotives. They were CR 2706, 2738, 2746, 2753, 2770, 2778, 2780, and 2781.

In 1994, when Conrail decided against the Super 7 program, Conrail either returned the units to GE as trade-ins for the new C40-8W's or sold them off to industrial lines and regional railroads. Units went to Reading & Northern; Wimpey Minerals in Annville, PA, which leased one and bought two units; Providence & Worchester; Texas Utilities; and Transmodal in New Jersey. So ended the lives of these Uboat workhorses that fans enjoyed but Conrail hated.

A few last notes of interest to modelers. Shortly before Conrail, Penn Central began replacing the glass in the oval fixed cab windows by inserting steel plates while keeping the original rubber gaskets. Conrail did the same on some units, while on others removing the glass and welding rectangular steel plates over the opening. Be sure to check photos to see if and when a unit got modified.

Here is an interesting operating note. During a period in 1973, when a former Southern Railway executive was a trustee, Penn Central ordered 2750-2776 to be equipped with bi-directional controls, allowing the units to be run long-hood forward. Unfortunately, this meant that the engineer would have to sit on the inside of the tracks when running this way because the units did not have dual control stands, one on each side of the cab. While not a common sight, a number of units were put on "backwards" as the lead unit, probably to save time instead of turning the unit on a wye or turntable.

Comprehensive Roster [Download PDF Version ]
The roster below is comprehensive for Conrail between April 1976 and the last unit's retirement in the early 1990s. The roster contains all predecessor units Conrail inherited, plus it lists retirement dates when known.

 CR      Former    Built   Retired   Notes
 ========================================================================
 2700    PC 2700   08/72   05/09/91  
 2701    PC 2701   08/72   05/09/91  
 2702    PC 2702   08/72   05/09/91  
 2703    PC 2703   08/72   05/09/91  
 2704    PC 2704   08/72   05/09/91  
 2705    PC 2705   08/72   05/09/91  
 2706    PC 2706   08/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2707    PC 2707   08/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2708    PC 2708   08/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2709    PC 2709   08/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2710    PC 2710   08/72   05/09/91  
 2711    PC 2711   08/72   05/09/91  
 2712    PC 2712   08/72   05/09/91  
 2713    PC 2713   08/72   05/09/91  
 2714    PC 2714   08/72   05/09/91  
 2715    PC 2715   08/72   05/09/91  
 2716    PC 2716   08/72   05/09/91  
 2717    PC 2717   08/72   05/09/91  to RBMN 2391, ??/94
 2718    PC 2718   08/72   05/09/91  
 2719    PC 2719   08/72   05/09/91  
 2720    PC 2720   08/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2721    PC 2721   09/72   05/09/91  
 2722    PC 2722   09/72   05/09/91  
 2723    PC 2723   09/72   05/09/91  
 2724    PC 2724   09/72   05/09/91  
 2725    PC 2725   09/72   05/09/91  
 2726    PC 2726   09/72   05/09/91  
 2727    PC 2727   09/72   05/09/91  
 2728    PC 2728   09/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2729    PC 2729   09/72   05/09/91  
 2730    PC 2730   09/72   05/09/91  
 2731    PC 2731   09/72   05/09/91  
 2732    PC 2732   09/72   11/06/85  wrecked, scrapped by CR 9/86
 2733    PC 2733   09/72   05/09/91  
 2734    PC 2734   09/72   05/09/91  
 2735    PC 2735   09/72   05/09/91  
 2736    PC 2736   09/72   05/09/91  
 2737    PC 2737   09/72   05/09/91  
 2738    PC 2738   09/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2739    PC 2739   10/72   05/09/91  wrecked, scrapped by CR
 2740    PC 2740   10/72   11/06/85
 2741    PC 2741   10/72   05/09/91  
 2742    PC 2742   10/72   05/09/91  
 2743    PC 2743   10/72   05/09/91  
 2744    PC 2744   10/72   05/09/91  
 2745    PC 2745   10/72   05/09/91  
 2746    PC 2746   10/72   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2747    PC 2747   10/72   05/09/91  
 2748    PC 2748   10/72   05/09/91  
 2749    PC 2749   10/72   05/09/91  
 2750    PC 2750   08/73   05/09/91  
 2751    PC 2751   08/73   05/09/91  
 2752    PC 2752   08/73   05/09/91  
 2753    PC 2753   08/73   05/09/91  
 2754    PC 2754   08/73   05/09/91  
 2755    PC 2755   08/73   05/09/91  
 2756    PC 2756   08/73   05/09/91  
 2757    PC 2757   08/73   05/09/91  
 2758    PC 2758   09/73   05/09/91  
 2759    PC 2759   09/73   05/09/91  
 2760    PC 2760   09/73   05/09/91  
 2761    PC 2761   09/73   05/09/91  
 2762    PC 2762   09/73   05/09/91  
 2763    PC 2763   09/73   05/09/91  
 2764    PC 2764   09/73   05/09/91  
 2765    PC 2765   09/73   05/09/91  
 2766    PC 2766   09/73   05/09/91  
 2767    PC 2767   09/73   05/09/91  
 2768    PC 2768   09/73   05/09/91  
 2769    PC 2769   09/73   05/09/91  
 2770    PC 2770   09/73   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 11/24/92
 2771    PC 2771   09/73   05/09/91  
 2772    PC 2772   09/73   05/09/91  
 2773    PC 2773   10/73   05/09/91  
 2774    PC 2774   10/73   05/09/91  
 2775    PC 2775   10/73   05/09/91  
 2776    PC 2776   10/73   05/09/91  
 2777    LV 501    11/74   05/09/91  to RBMN 2396, 4/3/97
 2778    LV 502    11/74   05/09/91  leased Wimpey Minerals until 1996
 2779    LV 503    11/74   05/09/91  
 2780    LV 504    11/74   05/09/91  to Reading & Northern 2395, 4/3/97
 2781    LV 505    11/74   05/09/91  to RBMN 2394 10/3/96
 2782    LV 506    11/74   05/09/91  to RBMN 2393, 11/14/96
 2783    LV 507    11/74   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2784    LV 508    11/74   05/09/91  
 2785    LV 509    11/74   05/09/91  to Wimpy Minerals 2785
 2786    LV 510    11/74   05/09/91  react 11/92, retire 3/8/93, Wimpey 2786
 2787    LV 511    11/74   05/09/91  
 2788    LV 512    11/74   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2789    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  to RBMN 2397, early 1992
 2790    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2791    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  to RBMN 2399, early 1992
 2792    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2793    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  to RBMN 2398, early 1992
 2794    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2795    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 3/8/93
 2796    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  
 2797    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  
 2798    -- ----   05/77   05/09/91  reactivated 11/92, retired 12/3/92

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