Electro-Motive Diesel supplied a large fleet of locomotives to Conrail and its predacessors. These locomotives ranged from the few SW1 switchers dating from the 1940s to the unique to Conrail SD80MAC.
In the late 1980's General Electric was winning the horsepower war and the new locomotive orders from railroads. EMD was once again behind in technology and revenue. EMD began working on the SD80 series which would achieve 5000hp from a 20 cylinder 710G prime mover, the first 20 cylinder engine since the SD45/SD45-2 locomotive line.
Conrail began to take delivery of a 28 unit order rostered the first units in January 1996. Under agreement with EMD, the 28 units would be built by EMD and finished at the Juniata Shops in Altoona, PA. Conrail numbered these units 4100-4127.
In 1997, Conrail purchased the EMD demonstrator units, EMDX 8000 and 8001 and an order for 108 more units was placed but was ultimately reduced to 28 units. The order was changed with the split of Conrail making the 30 units owned by Conrail the only SD80MACs produced. The demonstrators were added to the roster as 4128 and 4129.
When Conrail was split up, CSX received 13 units and Norfolk Southern the remaining 17 units, all of which are still in active service.
Conrail inherited 32 SDP45s from the Erie Lackawanna, reassigning their EL series 3635-3668 to CR 6667-6699.
Built from May, 1969 through August, 1970 for the EL, EMD added a longer frame for concrete ballast aft of the radiators and a larger fuel tank for greater range. EMD's turbocharged V20 20-645-E3 prime mover produced 3,600hp.
As EL was under control of the N&W when the original series 3635-3653 was ordered, Conrail returned them in 1984 to the Norfolk Southern. EL's second order series 3654-3668 were returned to their lessor on January, 1984
Conrail inherited its rare SW1001 fleet from the Reading. These 1000hp switchers were commonly found on the ex-Reading branches in eastern Pennsylvania and throughout the eastern end of the system.
Because of their common use in cab signaled territory, a number were outfitted with cab signal and or LSL equipment.
Cab Signal Equipped Units: 2100, 2101, 2102-2106
LSL (Locomotive Speed Limiter) Equipped Units: 2102-2106
Probably the most well known switcher from the Conrail roster, the 121 EMD SW1500's were a 1,500 horsepower variation offered by EMD. Inherited from the PC, RDG, IHB and IU, all but five (which were retired and sold in 1982-1984) made it from 1976 to 1996 when a few were retired and sold off to regionals and/or shortlines.
During the split in 1999, CSX and NS both got their share of this popular EMD switcher.
CSX has since traded theirs to LLPX in exchange for higher horsepower road units. As of 2012, NS retired all of this venerable switcher except 2120 and 2121, which were rebuilt by NS to RP14BD Genset.
The SW7 was EMD's 1,000 horsepower switcher option in the 1950's. Conrail inherited many of these SW7's and they appeared in scattered number blocks in the 8836 to 9098 range and were of NYC, EL, CNJ, IHB, LV, CR&I, P&E and PRR origins. All of these units were removed from the Conrail roster by the early 1990's although many remain in service throughout the country on shortlines and industrials.
The SW9 was a 1,200 horsepower offering from EMD at the same time as the SW7, and at first glance appears almost identical in outward appearance, but it has less louvers on the hood doors. Again Conrail inherited these units from a variety of original owners (LV, EL, CNJ, PRR, NYC) and had them scattered in the 8922 to 9141 number range. During the great switcher purge of the late 1980's and early 1990's, these too were removed from the CR roster, although many also see service elsewhere to this day.
The SW1200 was also a 1,200 horsepower locomotive from EMD, purchased by CR predecessors RDG, DL&W (EL), New Haven (later PC) and PRR (later PC). These units occupied the 9315 to 9382 number block on Conrail. CR 9301 to 9319 (ex Reading 2701 to 2719) are of note as they were rebuilt by EMD from Baldwin switchers and are rated as only 1,000 horsepower. All the others are pure 1,200 hp SW1200's. Some of these saw service much later into Conrail, not being retired until 1995, and almost alll work for other railroads and industrials.
The EMD SW8 was introduced as a medium horsepower switcher built on the same frame as an SW7. It was purchased by Conrail predecessors Chicago River & Indiana (2 units, later NYC/PC), Erie Lackawanna (11 units), Lehigh Valley (27 units) and New York Central (28 units). Eighteen of the former LV units were built with dynamic braking, the only Conrail SW8's with this feature, although they were removed by Conrail. A few of Conrail's SW8's also received radiator cooling fans from retired EMD E8's, making an odd appearance to the long hood! Numbered in the 8600 to 8627 and 8664 to 8700 ranges, all of these units were retired by the early 1990's although many continue to see service on shortlines and industrials throughout the country.