Classic Streamliners - TRAIN​CYCLOPEDIA

GE Universal Series Diesel-Electric Locomotives
The GE Universal Series locomotives were diesel locomotives originally launched by GE in early 1956. The latest variant in the Universal Series was built in 2005. Initially, there were nine U-series models: U4B, U6B, U9B, U9C, U12B, U12C, U18B, U18C and UD18B. They were designed to be readily adaptable to different track gauges for export markets and very reliable. The U5B and U8B appeared later, being first built for RFFSA, Brazil in 1961.

The Universal Series has at its heart the Cooper Bessemer engine. General Electric built four demonstrators in 1954 with Cooper Bessemer engines for road testing. This demonstrator set was numbered the 750ABCD. The demonstrators were made up of two cab units and two booster units. The demonstrators spent considerable time testing on the Erie Railroad. The 750AB were UM12s built with eight cylinder, FVBL-8 engines rated at 1,200 horsepower. The 750DC were UM18s built with 12 cylinder, FVBL-12 engines rated at 1,800 horsepower. After testing the units were rebuilt in October 1959 at GE-Erie with 16 cylinder engines rated at 2,000 horsepower. The former demonstrators were sold to the Union Pacific as UM20s in April 1960 and numbered UP 620AB-621AB. The UM20s were retired in October 1963.

While the GE 750 demonstrator was still testing GE built two XP24 demonstrators, numbers 751 and 752 in 1959. These units became the first U25Bs. The GE U25B became the first widely sold domestic market GE Universal Series locomotive. North American Universal Series locomotives are often called "U-Boats" by railfans and model railroaders.

Other Universal Series locomotives

GE U10B, introduced 1978
GE U12B, introduced 1958
GE U12C, introduced 1957
GE U13C, introduced 1962
GE U14C, introduced 1974
GE U15C, introduced 1979
GE U17C, introduced 1973

GE U18B, introduced 1973
GE U18C, introduced 1957
GE U18C1, introduced 1959
GE U20C, introduced 1964
GE U20C1, introduced 1966
GE U23B, introduced 1968
GE U23C, introduced 1968
GE U25B, introduced 1959
GE U25C, introduced 1963
GE U26C, introduced 1971
GE U28B, introduced 1966
GE U28C, introduced 1965
GE U28CG, introduced 1966
GE U30B, introduced 1966
GE U30C, introduced 1966
GE U30CG, introduced 1967
GE U33B, introduced 1966
GE U33C, introduced 1968
GE U36B, introduced 1969
GE U34CH, introduced 1970 (passenger unit)
GE U36C, introduced 1971
GE U36CG, introduced 1974
GE U50, introduced 1963
GE U50C, introduced 1969
GE UM6B, introduced 1973
GE UM20B, Demonstrator No. 750 built in 1954
GE UM12C, introduced 1956

See also:

GE Diesel Locomotives

Genereal Electric


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GE U5B NOVOESTE No. 2061 - "Luiz F. M. Barone"

By Ricardo Frontera - Acervo de Ricardo Frontera, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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