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EMD "GP18" Locomotives

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.

Photos

3968235727385873468897899084.jpgMissouri Pacific GP18 #1976 and GP7u #1776 in their Bicentennial colors at Austin, Texas, circa 1976. Mike Bledsoe photo. American-Rails.com collection.

Overview

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.

Designation

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.

Spotting Features

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."

Data Sheet and Specifications

Entered Production12/1959 (Norfolk & Western #915)
Years Produced12/1959 - 11/1963
Engine567D1
Engine BuilderGM
Horsepower1800
RPM835
Cylinders16
Length56' 2"
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)14' 6"
Width10' 3"
Weight249,000 Lbs (Average)
Fuel Capacity1700 Gallons
Air CompressorGardner-Denver
Air Compressor ModelWBO
Air Brake ManufacturerWestinghouse
Air Brake Schedule6BL
TrucksB-B
Truck TypeBlomberg
Truck Wheelbase9'
Wheel Size40"
Traction MotorsD47 (4), GM
Primary GeneratorD22, GM
Auxiliary GeneratorDelco
AlternatorD14
MU (Multiple-Unit)Yes
Dynamic BrakesYes
Gear Ratios65:12, 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 Speed55 mph (65:12), 65 mph (62:15), 71 mph (61:16), 77 mph (60:17), 83 mph (59:18), 90 (58:19)

Production Roster

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
Rock Island 1333-1342 25450-25459 5605 1/1960-2/1960
Rock Island 1343 25683 5605 2/1960
Grand Trunk Western 4700-4707 25732-25739 5612 2/1960-3/1960
Grand Trunk Western 4950-4952 25740-25742 5613 3/1960
Illinois Central 9400-9414 25752-25766 5614 3/1960
Chicago & North Western 1774-1779 25767-25772 7585 3/1960
Missouri Pacific 4801-4806 25798-25803 7586 4/1960
Missouri Pacific 4807-4824 25829-25846 7586 5/1960-6/1960
Lehigh Valley 302-305 25890-25893 7587 5/1960-6/1960
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
Northern Pacific 376-384 26008-26016 5621 6/1960
Missouri Pacific 4825-4826 26021-26022 8068 5/1960
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
Rock Island 1256 26648 8070 2/1961
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
Rock Island 1344-1353 26933-26942 7610 10/1961
Missouri Pacific 4827-4829 26953-26955 7616 1/1962
Missouri Pacific 400-446 26956-27002 7612 1/1962-3/1962
Baltimore & Ohio 6599 (rated at 1,750 horsepower) 27086 7615 1/1962
Missouri Pacific 447-480 27228-27261 7623 5/1962-6/1962
Missouri Pacific 534-549 27262-27277 7625 5/1962-6/1962
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
Norfolk Southern 1-16 27772-27787 5655 9/1963-10/1963
Texas-Mexican 854-855 27856-27857 5646 1/1963
Missouri Pacific 481-499 27998-28016 7639 12/1962-1/1963
Missouri Pacific 550 28017 7641 1/1963
Illinois Central 9415-9428 28278-28291 5651 3/1963-11/1963
Norfolk Southern 17 28353 5655 10/1963
Aberdeen & Rockfish 300 28357 7660 8/1963
Rock Island 1238-1239 28631-28632 7686 10/1963

Export

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.

Sources

  • Marre, Louis A. Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, A Guide To Diesels Built Before 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. Diesel Spotter's Guide.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967.
  • Schafer, Mike. Vintage Diesel Locomotives. Osceola: MBI Publishing, 1998.
  • Solomon, Brian. American Diesel Locomotive, The. Osceola: MBI Publishing, 2000.
  • Solomon, Brian.  GE and EMD Locomotives:  The Illustrated History.  Minneapolis:  Voyageur Press, 2014.
  • Trzoniec, Stanley W.  Vintage & Modern Diesel Locomotives: Prime Movers Of America.  Minneapolis:  Voyageur Press, 2015.

SteamLocomotive.com

Wes Barris's SteamLocomotive.com is simply the best web resource on the study of steam locomotives. 

It is difficult to truly articulate just how much material can be found at this website. 

It is quite staggering and a must visit!