The GE C40-9 and C40-9W was essentially a de-rated C44-9W built
specifically for Norfolk Southern from the mid-1990s through the
mid-2000s. Also per NS's desire at the time the railroad's first order
of 4,000 horsepower "Dash 9s" all came equipped with standard cabs
instead of the more traditional wide, safety cabs. Eventually the company was required by the FRA to purchase the wide cab design and was
only able to roster about 125 units with the common standard cab. The
"Dash 9" series followed the previous "Dash 8s" in the mid-1990s with
upgraded electronics and other components, and NS would come to own more
than 1,200 of the C40-9s. Still relatively new locomotives at less
than 20 years of age, almost all of the locomotives NS has purchased
remain on the active roster hauling freight (they are commonly found
operating in heavy drag service given the tremendous tractive effort
which they can produce).
NS C40-9W #9191 and a former Conrail unit have freight 19G near Vandyke, Pennsylvania on June 23, 2008.
The C40-9 and C40-9W built for Norfolk Southern were actually
constructed a year after the C44-9W debuted in 1994. Essentially the
two are nothing more than less powerful C44-9Ws. The model was a step
up from the "Dash 8s" in that it featured upgraded components and
electronics such as new traction motors and a redesigned generator. The GE model B13B traction motor,
which replaced the model 752 (a design that had been used by the
company dating back to the Universal series), although the new design
was just as reliable if not more so than the former. The C40-9/W was one
of the first GE locomotives to be equipped with the relatively new
high-adhesion (or HT-C) truck, which helped to improve wheel-to-rail
contact. The "Dash 9s", however, still carried GE's model 16FDL prime mover.
GE's Other "Dash 9s," AC Power, And The Evolution Series
Before being forced to buy wide-cabs, NS purchased 125 C40-9 standard cabs in the mid-1990s. Here, #8803 leads a string of coal hoppers northbound near Pittsburgh on November 2, 2005.
One of the design's notable selling points was the incredible tractive
effort it offered (140,000 pounds starting and 109,000 pound
continuous), which also included the more powerful C44-9W model.
Production of the locomotive began in early 1995 and all 125 purchased
by NS were completed that year. Very happy with this
first batch and desperately needing power to keep up with the traffic
demands of the economic boom occurring in the U.S. at the time; a year
later, in early 1996 NS returned for more, in this case the C40-9W
model, which featured the wide, safety cab.
While NS did go on to purchase GE models like the C44-9W for
nearly ten years it continued to order C40-9Ws as needed,
through late 2004 until GE ended production on the model. When the
manufacturer released the more energy efficient
Evolution Series (ES) models in 2005 NS continue to purchase
the design in the new series. Today, the road continues to buy Evolutions
with 4,000 horsepower known as ES40DCs. In any event, by the time GE
had closed out the C40-9W order for NS it owned nearly 1,100
units, and more than 1,200 in all. Up to that time it was one of the
largest ever single orders for a particular model by a railroad. While it is tough to tell given the similarities between GE's
present day models nearly all of Norfolk Southern's original fleet of
C40-9/Ws continue to remain in regular freight service across its system.
GE C40-9/W Production Roster
A pair of NS C40-9Ws led by #9665 exit the Hershey Chocolate Yard in Hershey, Pennsylvania after completing their switching chores with train 19G on October 18, 2008.
For more reading about General Electric diesel locomotives there are a few books written by noted historian Brian Solomon worth mentioning which highlight the history and background of the company. First, is GE Locomotives, a title that provides a thorough history of its locomotive line from the earliest days of building electrics and experimental diesels to the latest models built through the early 2000s. Second, isGE And EMD Locomotives: The Illustrated History, which generally highlights the history of both company's designs. As with virtually all of Mr. Solomon's you can expect well-written titles with large, crisp, and sharp photographs featured throughout.