Last revised: June 5, 2023
By: Adam Burns
The C36-7 concluded General Electric's "Dash 7" line. It did not witness particularly strong sales domestically but was propped up by foreign buyers, notably the Chinese Ministry of Railways, which acquired 422 examples alone.
The C36-7 followed the earlier C30-7 and was the most powerful six-motored model GE offered in the "Dash 7" series.
While the locomotive was generally rated at 3,600 horsepower, late era variants acquired by Missouri Pacific were uprated to 3,750 horsepower and featured many "Dash 8" specifications.
During the course of production several outward, and internal, improvements were carried out on the model. The first units to roll out of Erie appeared as C30-7s while late era versions, like those acquired by the MP, more closely resembled the "Dash 8" line.
Today, Class I railroads have retired their fleets of C36-7s although you can continue to find them in service on short lines Minnesota Commercial and Ohio Central. Additionally, they remain in service in Brazil, Estonia, and China.
The original C36-7 variants closely resembled their earlier C30-7 counterparts. Interestingly, it was the only "Dash 7" model to feature a testbed locomotive. What was dubbed #505 was the C36-7 prototype and completed in June, 1978.
GE ultimately never sold this unit and was regularly upgraded over the years before being scrapped in 1995.
In its final variation, #505 featured larger air intakes and a redesigned dynamic brake housing that gave the locomotive a raised "bulge" just behind the cab with an uneven roofline.
This feature became common on later "Dash 8" models. The introduction of the "Dash 7" line brought with it new model designations and meanings. In regards to the C36-7:
As always, the locomotive came equipped with GE's 4-cycle model FDL16 prime mover utilizing the company's latest 752 model traction motors. For railroads interested in high horsepower locomotives, coupled with high tractive effort, the C36-7 certainly offered both.
Such high continuous effort at the speed indicated (please refer to the data sheet below) was thanks in part to GE's new SENTRY adhesion control system.
As Brian Solomon notes in his book, "GE Locomotives," the builder's promotional material described the system as follows:
"The SENTRY system used traction-motor shaft speed sensors in place of older axle-mounted systems. The motor shaft sensors were as much as six times more sensitive to speed fluctuations, allowing for more detailed corrections to wheel slip and a better application of sand to the rail.
Depending on the severity of wheel slip, the SENTRY system would automatically sand the rail and make small, calculated reductions to motor output."
|Entered Production||6/1978 (General Electric #505)|
|Years Produced||6/1978 - 11/1985|
|Engine||7FDL16 (16 cylinder)|
|Engine Builder||General Electric|
|Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)||15' 4 1/2"|
|Weight||366,000 - 420,000 Lbs|
|Fuel Capacity||3,000 Gallons|
|Air Compressor||3CDC (Westinghouse)|
|Air Brake Schedule||26L (Westinghouse)|
|Truck Type||Floating Bolster FB3 (GE)|
|Truck Wheelbase||13' 7"|
|Traction Motors||752AF (6) or 752AH (6), GE|
|Traction Alternator||GTA24AC, GE|
|Auxiliary Generator||GY27, GE|
|Tractive Effort/Starting||105,000 Lbs|
|Tractive Effort/Continuous||96,900 Lbs at 11 mph|
|Top Speed||70 mph|
(Total Built = 607)
|Owner||Road Number||Serial Number||Order Number||Completion Date||Quantity|
|Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México||9317-9326||42269-42278||1872||3/1979||10|
|Ferrocarril del Pacífico||419-422||42473-42476||1873||7/1979||4|
|Ferrocarril del Pacífico||423-433||42477-42487||1875||10/1979||11|
|Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México||9327-9341||42636-42650||5578||3/1980-5/1980||15|
|Norfolk & Western||8500-8505||43242-43247||1871||3/1981||6|
|Norfolk & Western||8526-8530||43770-43774||1884/1887||5/1982-6/1982||5|
|Norfolk & Western||8506-8525||43852-43871||1834||5/1982-6/1982||20|
|Chinese Ministry of Railways||ND5.0001-ND5.0220||44589-44808||1851||7/1984-12/1984||220|
|Chinese Ministry of Railways||ND5.0221-ND5.0422||45100-45301||1852||10/1985-1/1986||202|
|Office of the Transgabonais Railway (OCTRA)||CC301-CC308||45680-45687||1873||7/1988-2/1989||8|
* Built by A. Goninan & Company of Australia.
** GE's testbed C36-7; it was upgraded over the years at the Erie plant following its initial completion in June, 1978.
The original version was identical to a C30-7, save for its increased horsepower while the final incarnation featured many "Dash 8" specifications. The unit was finally scrapped in 1995.
The final C36-7s manufactured domestically were the 60 units built for the Missouri Pacific in late 1985. These locomotives were the most advanced in the line for the reason previously mentioned.
Interestingly, when produced, MP had already been acquired by Union Pacific. Nevertheless, the units wore "Missouri Pacific" markings but were draped in standard Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Grey. UP wasted little time removing these markings and they were gone within a few years.
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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!