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CSX rekindles its relationship with venerable Dash-8 locomotives

By Chase Gunnoe | August 26, 2022

Acquisition of Pan Am Railways brings units back onto roster

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Blue standard-cab locomotive operating as second of two units on freight trainFre
Blue standard-cab locomotive operating as second of two units on freight trainFre
Freshly painted and bearing a new number, CSX C40-8 works on the former Clinchfield. (Ryan Woods)

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — After selling or retiring its roster of more than 100 General Electric C40-8 locomotives, CSX Transportation once again owns the late-1980s era Dash-8 standard cab locomotive through its June 1 acquisition of Pan Am Railways.

The Class I railroad began divesting the 4,000-horsepower six-axle GE several years ago, retiring and selling most of its standard cab Dash-8s back to GE. GE’s then new Short Line and Regional Rail division subsequent sold some to Class II regional Pan Am Railways.

Pan Am had accumulated 24 C40-8s, all former CSX units. At both the Class I and regional railroad, the C40-8s wore numbers in the 7400-7600-series and had build dates from the late 1980s into the early 1990s, before GE introduced the wide-nose version of the Dash-8 locomotive that CSX would purchase in its 1990s-era expansion of GE locomotives.

While it’s not clear if CSX intends to use the locomotives throughout its network, keep them on the former Pan Am Railways network, or assign them elsewhere, CSX has invested in freshening up at least some of the 30-plus-year-old locomotives. A freshly painted C40-8 recently emerged from the railroad’s locomotive shops in Huntington.

CSX C40-8 No. 9280 was spotted trailing on a manifest train in Tennessee, on the former Clinchfield Railroad, sporting fresh CSX blue-and-gold and a new 9200-series number. The former 7400-7600 series numbers have been reutilized for CSX’s GE AC4400CW rebuilds, which occupy much of the 7000-series today.

The C40-8 was initially introduced by GE in 1987 and was purchased by five Class I railroads, including Union Pacific (256 units); CSX Transportation (147 units); Chicago & Northwestern (77 units); Norfolk Southern (50 units); and Conrail (25 units).

The situation for CSX is not unlike that of Canadian Pacific, which regained a number of its former locomotives, including SD40-2F cowl units, when it acquired the Central Maine & Quebec, a route previously been spun off by CP. At least two of those SD40-2Fs has been repainted into CP colors; one was on display at an event last week at the Illinois Railway Museum celebrating EMD’s 100th anniversary [see “EMD holds 100th anniversary event …,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 21, 2022].

— Updated at 9:45 a.m. CDT on Aug. 27 to clarify Pan Am purchased its ex-CSX C40-8s from GE.

6 thoughts on “CSX rekindles its relationship with venerable Dash-8 locomotives

  1. The mighty and magnificent GE C40-8 is part of the GE Dash 8 Series of freight locomotives, and its wheel arrangement is of a C-C type.
    This diesel-electric engine model is often referred to as a Dash 8-40C or simply “Dash 8”. “Dash 8” in general refers to the electrical control series, “Dash” being a carryover from the older syntax of C40-8.
    The “40” refers to the baseline horsepower rating (4000 hp or 3000 kW) of the unit, although some units may be re-rated to 4100 hp (3100 kW).
    Later units were supplied with a wide-nose cab and are designated Dash 8-40CW, the “W” indicating a wide-nose cab.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

    1. CN currently possesses the most active Dash 8 units out of all Class 1 carriers, while UP and BNSF have more units in storage than in active service.

      Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  2. I always considered the Dash 8 to be GE’s best locomotive. Other than that give me EMD. SD40-2 was a work horse.

  3. Well how ’bout that!!! Maybe some will wander down off the Clinchfield and on to he C&WC. Would be nice to see them crossing the old SAL in Fairfax, SC. Nice news!

    1. Well yes, in particular on the old Georgia Railroad, or crossing over the Savannah River above or below the city.

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