General Electric (GE) is one of the world's leading conglomerates. Their locomotive building business consisted mainly of industrial units and components for other manufacturers. This changed when they entered the road locomotive business with 1959's U25B. From that time on, GE has supplied locomotives to railroads around the world, and Conrail and its predecessors were no different. CR inherited a fleet of GE's "U-boats", and purchased numerous dash 7 and dash 8 models new.
The GE B23-7R was a manufactuer rebuild program that took older units and rebuilt them to Dash-7 standards. Conrail's B23-7Rs came from its acquisition of the Monongahela. All were modified by the Juniata Shops in the second half of 1993 to 3000hp units, making them B30-7R's.
Built in May and June of 1988, Conrail purchased 30 of the B40-8's, numbered in the 5060 - 5089 series. Built with a 16 cylinder, turbocharged prime mover under the hood, these 4,000hp units were designed for light weight, high speed, and time sensitive intermodal service. 30 former CR/PC GP9's were traded in as part of the deal. (CR 7003, 7017, 7037, 7039, 7043, 7073, 7074, 7086, 7091, 7116, 7141, 7250, 7259, 7312, 7310, 7331, 7332, 7349, 7355, 7359, 7468, 7382, 7383, 7389, 7393, 7405, 7426, 7444, 7469, 7471.)
The original factory-installed, small single grab iron on the nose of the unit, also found on the C39-8 model, was intended for use when crossing between locomotives. They were replaced however, sometime in 1991 when Conrail opted for the upside down "L" grabs due to safety concerns and difficulty boarding the locomotives from the ground, account the higher walkway.
Conrail selected the B40-8 class to pull not only its hottest trains, but also to promote its Labor Management program in 1988. A large 'Working Together for Safety, Service, and Success' decal was applied to the short hood nose of each locomotive. The program encouraged workplace safety through Labor - Management cooperation and promoted the premier relationship Conrail enjoyed with its workforce. The program had seven primary committees, (one for each operating division) and another for all of Conrail's shops. These seven committees were comprised of 60 subcommittees, which were populated by union and management personnel.
In 1999, the fleet was divided between Norfolk Southern and CSX. Those assigned to NS were renumbered into the 4800 - 4817 series, while CSX allocated units became 5950 - 5961. The 18 units that went to Norfolk Southern were later transferred to CSXT 5962-5979.
The units were equipped with an anti-climber, a two-strap cab signal box on the conductor side walkway behind the cab, blanked short hood headlight casing, short hood plow, and standard marker lights. The C30-7's weren't the most popular with Conrail people. Senior management requested a series of tests be performed between the C30-7 and SD40-2 to determine the efficiency of the C30-7. The test candidates were identified with a sizeable white star located below the cab road number as well as 'TEST UNIT' under the model designation.
Conrail 6600 - 6604 were retired on May 3, 1991 but later reactivated in 1992 and 1993 when they were pressed into the Conrail lease fleet. The 5 units joined former ATSF C30-7's that were traded in for B40-8's. The units were repainted straight Conrail blue and were lettered CRL. Conrail's original 10 C30-7's were finally retired from the roster for the last time by September 1995.
The fleet spent very little time on CR between 1993 and 1997 as the company placed them in an active lease service spending 1993 on Southern Pacific and again in 1996.
Other differences include the air resevoir location on the right side of the unit, enlarged equipment blower intake, elimination of the dynamic brake grids extending above the roofline, and a squared cab versus the rounded C39-8 cab.
The "Comfort Cabs" sported the new reflective white frame stripe and nose lettering. The second order, beginning with 6100 wore the companies new CQI, Continuous Quality Improvement scheme. 6050-6149 were painted solid Blue from the factory, while the remaining units were given black anti-skid nose panels on the short hood end
The locomotive was built with the standard 2 piece front windshield and a 3 piece side window without sun visors. The side windows are among the largest, however, only the center pane can be opened.
Conrail's U25C locomotives were some of the first units to recieve the "Blue Dress" paint scheme. Conrail assigned them to series CR 6500-6519 then renumbered them in 1979 into the 6800-6819 series to make way for the arriving order of SD-40-2's
Conrail inherited 24 U33C's from Penn Central and 15 from the Erie Lackawanna. Conrail assigned them to series CR 6540-6578 then renumbered them to 6845-6882.