Last revised: August 26, 2023
By: Adam Burns
The GP18 sequentially followed the builder's extraordinarily successful GP9. Introduced in 1959 when Norfolk & Western #915 rolled off the assembly line, the model was very similar in appearance to its predecessors.
It continued to sport EMD's traditional road-switcher styling, including the high, short hood. In addition, the GP18 was the first to offer a low, short hood as a standard option.
This early version predated Electro-Motive's modern Spartan Cab, which became the face of EMD products for the next three decades. The GP18 saw respectable interest during its nearly four-year production run but sales were modest.
Currently, two are officially preserved; Rock Island #1349 is privately owned in California as Central California Traction #1795, and Nickel Plate Road #514 is located at Steamtown in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The GP18 was the final variant in Electro-Motive's original line of General Purpose road-switchers (GP7, GP9, GP18). The model featured General Motors' latest version of its 567 power plant, the 567D1. This engine offered a slight, 50 horsepower increase (1,800) over the earlier GP9.
In his book, "EMD Locomotives," author Brian Solomon notes the GP18 was essentially a slightly improved GP9. Just fourteen years after Electro-Motive closed out production on the original FT, improvements in the 567 power plant enabled a three-unit GP18 set to produce the same horsepower (5,400) output as a four-unit FT set.
Sales, however, declined sharply in comparison to the GP7 and GP9, largely because most railroads had completed dieselization by the late 1950s/early 1960s.
For a brief period between the late 1950s and early 1960s, namely with the GP18/SD18 and SD24/GP20, EMD began listing models by their horsepower ratings.
The builder's system, however, was never universally applied to either switchers or road-switchers making it difficult to use this trait in identifying various types. Interestingly, by the GP30's release in 1961, EMD had dropped the horsepower designation.
The GP18 was the first EMD model offered with a low, short hood as a standard option. The original high, short hood had been standard with the earlier models and served two functions; increased crew protection and room for an optional steam generator.
The GP9 was the first to feature a low, short hood as an optional feature for improved crew visibility, and then became standard on the GP18.
On high, short hood variants the model looks nearly identical to the GP9. Its only distinguishing feature is the use of a metal grid over the radiator shutters in place of the earlier "chicken wire" covering, according to Louis Marre's, "Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years."
|Entered Production||12/1959 (Norfolk & Western #915)|
|Years Produced||12/1959 - 11/1963|
|Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)||14' 6"|
|Weight||249,000 Lbs (Average)|
|Fuel Capacity||1700 Gallons|
|Air Compressor Model||WBO|
|Air Brake Manufacturer||Westinghouse|
|Air Brake Schedule||6BL|
|Traction Motors||D47 (4), GM|
|Primary Generator||D22, GM|
|Gear Ratios||65:12, 62:15, 61:16, 60:17, 59:18, 58:19|
|Tractive Efforts (Continuous)||52,400 (65:12); 40,000 (62:15); 37,000 (61:16); 34,000 (60:17); 32,000 (59:18); 29,509 (58:19)|
|Top Speed||55 mph (65:12), 65 mph (62:15), 71 mph (61:16), 77 mph (60:17), 83 mph (59:18), 90 (58:19)|
Total Built = 305
|Owner||Road Number(s)||Serial Number(s)||Order Number||Completion Date|
|Norfolk & Western||915-938||24924-24947||5609||12/1959-1/1960|
|Grand Trunk Western||4700-4707||25732-25739||5612||2/1960-3/1960|
|Grand Trunk Western||4950-4952||25740-25742||5613||3/1960|
|Chicago & North Western||1774-1779||25767-25772||7585||3/1960|
|Texas & Pacific (Missouri Pacific)||1145-1149||25906-25910||5619||5/1960|
|Louisville & Nashville||460-461||25911-25912||8067||6/1960|
|Central of Georgia||171-178||26000-26007||5620||5/1960-6/1960|
|New York, Chicago & St Louis (Nickel Plate Road)||700-709||26023-26032||5622||6/1960|
|Louisville & Nashville||462-464||26104-26106||8067||7/1960|
|Seaboard Air Line||400-409||26114-26123||5626||8/1960-9/1960|
|Rock Island||1329 (rated at 1,750 horsepower)||26348||8069||11/1960|
|Toledo, Peoria & Western||600||26655||7601||4/1961|
|Boston & Maine||1750-1754||26659-26663||7602||5/1961|
|Boston & Maine||1755||26664||7603||5/1961|
|Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia||801||26675||5610||2/1960|
|Norfolk & Western||939-962||26780-26803||5633||6/1961-8/1961|
|Baltimore & Ohio||6599 (rated at 1,750 horsepower)||27086||7615||1/1962|
|Phelps Dodge Corporation||44-46 (New Cornelia Branch Mine)||27463-27465||5640||9/1962|
|New York, Susquehanna & Western||1800, 1802, 1804||27504-27506||5642||8/1962|
|Aberdeen & Rockfish||300||28357||7660||8/1963|
Total Built = 55
|Owner||Road Number(s)||Serial Number(s)||Order Number(s)||Completion Date|
|Araraquara Railway (Brazil)||1006-1017||25719-25730||702303-702314||3/1960-4/1960|
|Southern Peru Copper Company||24-25||25777-25778||702324-702325||4/1960|
|Secretaría de Infraestructura, Comunicaciones y Transportes (Mexico)||7123-5 thru 7123-7||26314-26316||702765-702767||8/1961 (702765-702767)|
|Saudi Government Railway||1200 (GP18M)||26514||700178||12/1961|
|Ferrocarril Nacional de México||7518-7519||26670-26671||700153-700154||8/1961|
|Ferrocarril Nacional de México||7500-7517||26726-26743||700122-700139||6/1961-8/1961|
|Ferrocarril Nacional de México||7530-7536||27824-27830||700543-700549||11/1962|
|Ferrocarril Nacional de México||7520-7529||27831-27840||700550-700559||12/1962|
Interestingly, no Canadian lines purchased the GP18, although Canadian National subsidiary Grand Trunk Western did buy a few. Three of its examples (#4950-4952) were some of the only featuring steam generators, in addition to air reservoir tanks on the long hood.
Other variants with steam generators included Nation Railways of Mexico's #7520-7529. Interestingly, Missouri Pacific's units, #400-499, featured AAR Type B trucks and GE traction motors from trade-in Alcos.
While no Canadian roads were interested, a number of foreign lines acquired the GP18 including the National Railways of Mexico (Ferrocarril Nacional de México) and Secretaría de Infraestructura, Comunicaciones y Transportes of Mexico as well as lines in Peru, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia.