Conrail C32-8

A "Ballast Express" Conrail C32-8.

The GE; General Electric, Dash 8 (Dash-8; trademarked DASH 8) Series, is a series or line of six-axle and four-axle diesel locomotives produced by General Electric from 1985 to 1994 (aside from the Genesis series being produced from 1993 to about 2003 and again from around 2005 to 2008.)


The series is an upgrade to the preceding, yet short-lived, Dash 7 series, which followed the Universal Series (U-Boats); and is also the predecessor to the experimental "Super 7" Series, which was the original name before the name "DASH 8" was given by GE. They proved to be successful with providing high-horsepower engines, reliable tractive effort, and had advanced cooling systems as well as being one of the first major types of diesel locomotives to be equipped with high-tech microprocessor controls, and introduce a revolutionary concept: the "Safety Cab".

The GE Dash 8 Series is often considered to be the locomotive line which dominated
UP C40-8CW

A typical C41-8W or six-axle wide-cab "Dash 8".

over EMD by most train and railroad enthusiasts, because of its high-tech design proving to be capable of replacing most older or aging EMD diesel locomotives such as the GP35 and SD40-2. The Dash 8 Series was unfortunately replaced (however) with the even more high-tech Dash 9 and its AC-traction AC4400CW counter-part; to whom the GE Dash 8 Series inspired the development of both types of locomotives because of successful sales and production.

They are (and were; due to fleets currently being retired) most commonly used on North American Class I railroads.


There are several versions of the Dash 8 locomotive.

C32-8- Standard-cab; six-axle; 3,200hp (Experimental "Super 7" Series)

C36-8- Standard-cab; six-axle; 3,600hp (Experimental "Super 7" Series; only one built)

C39-8- Standard-cab; six axle; 3,900hp (Experimental "Super 7" Series)

CSX GE C39-8W Super 7

A former Conrail C39-8 "Super 7" experimental Dash 8. (Notice the cab.)

C40-8- Standard-cab; six axle; 4,000hp

C41-8- Standard-cab; six-axle; 4,125hp (only three built and demonstrated on the CNW)

C40-8W- Wide-cab ("Safety-cab"); six axle; 4,000hp

C41-8W- Union Pacific upgraded version of the C40-8W with 4,125 horsepower.

C44-8W- CSX upgraded version of the C40-8W.

B32-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 3,200hp

B36-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 3,600hp (Only one built)

B39-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 3,900hp

B40-8- Standard-cab; four-axle; 4,000hp

B40-8W- Safety-cab; four-axle; 4,000hp

BB40-8- Combined four-axle (B-B+B-B) narrow-gauge Latin American version of the C40-8

P32-8BWH - Safety-cab; four-axle; 3,200hp (Head-end power for passenger service.)

AMD-103 (or P40 Genesis) - Streamlined body cowling, four axles, 4,000 horsepower, passenger engine (part of the GE GENESIS Series).

C40-8M - Canadian Safety Cab and body cowling; Dofasco trucks; 4000hp. Purchased new by BC Rail, CN and QNSL

GE Super 7

A six-axle "Super 7" demonstrator, which is actually rebuilt from a C36-7.

Other variations exist, such as the narrow-gauge versions of the BB40-8, which are meant for use on railways, or railroads in Brazil.


There is often a confusion between each version of the Dash 8:

The trucks or bogies are often confused for a Dash 9, even though they're easy to distinguish.

  • Standard-cab versions are often confused for wide-cab versions.

  • "B" means "bo-bo", which would mean "four-axle".

  • "C" means "co-co", which would mean "six-axle".

  • "W" means "wide-nose", or cab.

    A BB40-8.

  • The horsepower rating is often labelled as "40", hence: C40-8CW.

  • "8" meaning the locomotive line.

  • "-" dash (hyphen) meaning, "Dash" (for both EMD and GE)


The GE Dash 8 Series is also considered to be one of the last classic locomotive lines produced by GE, as well as being one of the first modern locomotive lines.
GE Super 7 2

A P&W four-axle Super 7 B23-7R or B23-S7. (Rebuilt from a B40-8 and a B36-7; thus, this unit being a later Super 7 series unit.)

Round-cab ("Hunch-back") Dash 8 units were/are the original experimental Super 7 units (only renamed; such as the C32-8), while the modern, slanted-cab ("Spartan-cab") units are the official Dash 8 Series units, other than rebuilt Super 7 units.

Conrail assigned several of their C32-8s for their exclusive "Ballast Express" trains which often delivered ballast and occasionally other goods and freight through the "Boston Line" in the New England area. (None are known to exist, and were absorbed into NS during the Conrail split of 1999.)

Most later Super 7 Series locomotives were actually rebuilt from C40 and B40 Dash 8s as well as Dash 7s from GE.

Both Union Pacific and CSX received upgraded versions of the C40-8W with 4,125hp and 4,400hp engines; to whom they began as earlier versions of the Dash 9 before the official introduction.

ATSF Dash 8 retains an ironic number reminiscent of UP 840's to which the unit also assisted 3751
Red dash 8 diesel

3 dash 8 were helping 3751 in 1992