Classic Streamliners - TRAIN​CYCLOPEDIA

NS No. 5356 (Low short hood) at NS Botsford Yard. (Ex-Conrail).
South Shore Line GP38-2s idle near the Michigan City shops.

Canadian National 4769, a GMD GP38-2, with CN-spec comfort cab, St Félicien, Québec, Canada.

By Peter Van den Bossche (Flickr user LHOON -, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Missouri Pacific EMD GP-38-2 Diesel Electric Road Switcher No. 875.

South Shore Line GP38-2s idle near the Michigan City shops.

NS No. 5044 (High short hood) at NS Inman Yard. (Ex-Southern).

By Railfan Jack (talk) - I (Railfan Jack (talk)) created this work entirely by myself.Transferred from en.wikipedia, GFDL,

ONT No. 1806 at Huntsville, Ontario.
Canadian National 4769, a GMD GP38-2, with CN-spec comfort cab, St Félicien, Québec, Canada.

BNSF Railway GP38-2 no. 2273 at Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2014.

By Augy8400 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

GM EMD logo

NS No. 5356 (Low short hood) at NS Botsford Yard. (Ex-Conrail).

By Railfan Jack (talk) - Own work (Original text: I created this work entirely by myself.), CC BY-SA 3.0,

EMD GP38-2 Diesel-Electric Locomotive
The EMD GP38-2 is a four-axle diesel-electric locomotive of the road switcher type built by General Motors, Electro-Motive Division. Part of the EMD Dash 2 line, the GP38-2 was an upgraded version of the earlier GP38. Power is provided by an EMD 645E 16-cylinder engine, which generates 2000 horsepower (1.5 MW). Most units built still remain in service in the modern era due to ease of maintenance and exceptional reliability.

Spotting features
The GP38-2 differs externally from the earlier GP38 only in minor details. Its most distinctive identifying feature is the cooling water level sight glass on the right side of the long hood. The battery box covers of the Dash 2's are bolted down instead of hinged. It can be distinguished from the contemporary GP39-2 and GP40-2 in that its Roots blown engine had two exhaust stacks, one on each side of the dynamic brake fan, if equipped, while the turbocharged GP39-2 and GP40-2 has a single stack. The GP39-2 has two radiator fans on the rear of the long hood like the GP38-2, while the GP40-2 has three. It was also available with either a high-short-hood, common on Norfolk Southern units, or a low-short-hood, which is found on most other railroads.

The GP38-2W is a Canadian variant of the GP38-2 and a forerunner of today's wide-nose units. It is easily distinguished by its wide-nose Canadian comfort cab. 51 of these locomotives were produced for Canadian National Railways during 1973–1974.

Although a W is commonly suffixed to the name, it is actually an addition by enthusiasts to help specify the presence of a CN-spec comfort cab. No locomotives built using CN's design of comfort cab ever featured a W in their designation, as the presence of the cab did not mechanically alter the locomotive. This is reflected by the lack of the "W" in the model designation on the builders' plates of these units.

There are snow shields above the inertial-filter central air intakes behind the cab; the electrical boxes and equipment blower behind the cab also differ in detail from a standard GP38-2. They are otherwise identical.

Original buyers
1,799 examples of this locomotive model were built for American railroads and industrial concerns, 257 for Canadian railroads and industrials, 156 for Mexicanrailroads and industrials, and 1 export unit for the Saudi Government Railways. A total of 31 GP38-2s were built with high-short-hoods containing steam generators for passenger service on Mexican railways. In addition, all 257 of Southern Railway's GP38-2s had Southern's "standard" high-short-hoods.

Angelina and Neches River Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road number: 2000

Quantity: 1
Road number: B-84

Atlanta and West Point Rail Road
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 6007–6008
Notes: Family Lines paint. To Seaboard System Railroad.

Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay Railway
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 508–510

Belt Railway of Chicago
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 490–495

Boston & Maine Railroad
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 201–212

Notes: 212 was renumbered 200 as ambicentennial unit.

Burlington Northern Railroad
Quantity: 37
Road numbers: 2078–2109, 2150–2154

Notes: 2150-2154 assigned to Fort Worth & Denver. Most passed on to BNSF Railway.

Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 108–109

Chicago & North Western Railway
Quantity: 35
Road numbers: 4600–4634

Ordered by Rock Island. To Union Pacific Railroad.

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Railroad
Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 2000–2009

Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co.
Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 100–108

Clinchfield Railroad
Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 6000-6006

Notes: Family Lines paint. To Seaboard System.

Colorado and Wyoming Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 2001–2002

Quantity: 119
Road numbers: 8163–8281

Notes: All units were renumbered when divided between CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Curtis, Milburn & Eastern Railroad
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 810, 817-819

Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 221–228

Notes: 228 was renumbered 1776 for the bicentennial. Renumbered GTW 6221-6228 in 1984-85.

Durham and Southern Railway
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 2000–2003

Notes: To Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 556-559.

Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway
Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 700–704

Notes: All to Birmingham and Southern Railroad. 703 re-purchased in the 90s and assigned to Waukegan.

Florida East Coast Railway
Quantity: 11
Road numbers: 501–511

Georgia Railroad
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 6009-6010, 6051-6052

Notes: Family Lines paint. To Seaboard System.

Grand Trunk Western Railroad
Quantity: 25
Road numbers: 5812–5836

Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad
Quantity: 15
Road numbers: 740–754

Notes: To Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.

Illinois Central Gulf Railroad
Quantity: 40
Road numbers: 9600–9639

Illinois Terminal Railroad
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 2001–2004

Kansas City Southern Railway
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 4000–4011

Lehigh Valley Railroad
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 314–325

Notes: To the Delaware & Hudson Railway upon creation of Conrail as 7314-7325. Briefly renumbered to 220-231 during the Guilford ownership of the D&H, upon emergence from Guilford renumbered to 7303-7312.

Long Island Rail Road
Quantity: 28
Road numbers: 250–277

Notes: 261, 268, 270-271 to New York and Atlantic Railway. Delivered in Long Island bicentennial scheme.

Louisville & Nashville Railroad
Quantity: 129
Road numbers: 4050–4144, 6011-6044

Notes: 6011-6044 Family Lines paint. To Seaboard System.

Milwaukee Road
Quantity: 16
Road numbers: 350–365

Notes: To Soo Line Railroad.

Mississippi Export Railroad
​Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 65–66

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad
Quantity: 18
Road numbers: 304–321

Notes: 319-321 have Dynamic Brakes. To Union Pacific.

Missouri Pacific Railroad
Quantity: 274
Road numbers: 858–959, 2111–2237, 2290–2334

Notes: To Union Pacific.

Penn Central Transportation
Quantity: 223
Road numbers: 7940–8162

Notes: To Conrail, same numbers.

Phelps Dodge Corporation
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 1–4, 9, 55, 56, 58

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 2051–2056

Providence & Worcester Railroad
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 2006–2009

Public Service Co. of Indiana
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: WG1-WG2

Notes: Lettered for AMAX Coal.

Rock Island
Quantity: 68
Road numbers: 4300–4355, 4368-4379

Notes: Acquired by GTW, MP and P&LE upon dissolution of Rock Island.

San Manuel Arizona Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 16–17

Seaboard Coast Line Railroad
Quantity: 73
Road numbers: 500–555, 6045-6050, 6053-6065

Notes: 6045-6050, 6053-6065 Family Lines paint. To Seaboard System.

Soo Line Railroad
Quantity: 53
Road numbers: 790–799, 4410–4452

Notes: 790–799 renumbered 4400–4409 soon after delivery.

South East Coal Co.
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 3821–3823

Southern Railway
Quantity: 257
Road numbers: 5000–5256

Notes: High-short-hoods. To Norfolk Southern. 23 rebuilt with an Admiral Cab. 50 to be sold at auction on August 18, 2016. 5076 sold to Northwestern Pacific in 2017.

Southern Pacific Railroad
Quantity: 45
Road numbers: 4800–4844

St. Louis - San Francisco Railway
Quantity: 116
Road numbers: 400–478, 663–699

Notes: To Burlington Northern Railroad.

Texas Mexican Railway
Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 861–867

Notes: 867 was the last La Grange-built GP38-2 in May '85. All others built at GMDD London, Ontario, Canada.

Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway
Quantity: 11
Road numbers: 2001–2011

Notes: All went to Santa Fe then were divided up, with some going to BNSF after merger and others to KCS.

Union Pacific Railroad
Quantity: 60
Road numbers: 2000–2059

Ferrocarriles Unidos del Sureste (Mexico)
Quantity: 14
Road numbers: 514-521, 528-533

Vermont Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 201–202
Notes: Locomotives built by GMD, London, Ontario, Canada.

Algoma Central Railway (Canada)
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 200-205

Canadian National Railways
Quantity: 60
Road numbers: 5500–5559

Notes: 23 renumbered to the 200 series when converted to hump mothers in 1978, these plus one additional renumbered to 7500-7526 (not all Nos. used) in 1985. Three more, 7528, 7530, 7532 renumbered in 1990. The balance of these units became 4700-4732 in 1988.

Canadian National Railways
Quantity: 51
Road numbers: 5560–5610

Notes: GP38-2W's. Renumbered 4760-4810 in 1988. 5586 wrecked and retired in 1986.

Canadian Pacific Railway
Quantity: 115
Road numbers: 3021–3135

Notes: The 3086-3135 were the last GP38-2's built by GMD, between March and July '86.

Devco Railway (Canada)
Quantity: 13
Road numbers: 216–228

Ontario Northland Railway (Canada)
Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 1800–1809

Texas Gulf Sulphur (Canada)
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 054–055

Export Locomotives built by EMD for Other Railroads

Altos Hornos de Mexico
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 141, 145, 157-158, 167-168

Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico (Mexico)
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 900-911

Notes: 910 & 911 have high-short-hoods containing steam generators.

Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México
Quantity: 124
Road numbers: 9200-9299, 9400-9414, 9901-9909

Notes: 9200-9219 & 9901-9909 have high-short-hoods containing steam generators.

Saudi Government Railways (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Quantity: 1
Road numbers: 2000

In popular culture
The GP38-2 is a player-drivable locomotive in Microsoft Train Simulator. Parts of the EMD GP38-2 are used to form the children's TV series Chuggington character, Dunbar. It is also used in Team Fortress 2 as a train.

A number of higher horsepower 40 Series locomotives have been rebuilt into the equivalent of a GP38-2, by removal of the turbocharger and the substitution of twin Roots blowers.

CSX and Norfolk Southern have both started replacing cabs on the aging locomotives. NS still calls them GP38-2 while CSX calls them GP38-3.

EMD GP38-2 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder : U.S. - GM, Electro-Motive Division (EMD), Canada - General Motors Diesel (GMD)
Model: GP38-2
Build date: January 1972 – July 1986
Total produced: 2,222
​ • AAR B-B
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length: 59 ft 2 in (18.03 m)
Width: 10 ft 4.5 in (3.16 m)
Height: 15 ft 4 in (4.67 m)
Locomotive weight: 250,000 lb (113,400 kg)
Prime mover: EMD 16-645E
Engine type: V16 Two-stroke diesel
Aspiration: Roots-type blower
Alternator: AC alternator,
Traction motors: DC traction motors
Cylinders: 16
Transmission: diesel electric
Locomotive brake: Straight air, Dynamic
Performance figures
Power output: 2,000 hp (1.49 MW)
Tractive effort: 61,000 lbf (271.34 kN)
Locale: North America, Saudi Arabia
Disposition: Most still in service as of 2015

See also:
List of GM-EMD locomotives
List of GMD Locomotives

GM Electro-Motive
Diesel Electric Locomotives

ONT No. 1806 at Huntsville, Ontario.

By Milan Suvajac - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Historic Rail - Shop Now!
NS No. 5044 (High short hood) at NS Inman Yard. (Ex-Southern).

Missouri Pacific EMD GP-38-2 Diesel Electric Road Switcher No. 875.

DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

BNSF Railway GP38-2 no. 2273 at Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2014. - NFL Jerseys and Gear
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