Locomotive Spotlight: General Electric Dash 9-44CW as the Norfolk Southern D9-40CW

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General Electric C44-9W as Norfolk Southern D9-40CW

Just as the SD40 and all of its many variants came to symbolize EMD’s conquest and domination of the diesel locomotive market in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, so is the case today with the GE C44-9W, the most successful 21st century diesel locomotive to date.

The popularity of the model, which replaced their earlier “Dash 8” line, was due to its reliability, simplicity, and powerful prime mover which have become traits that GE is known for.

A Dash-8 #8409 and a Dash-9 #9021, though both children of the 90s, nose-to-nose they show the most noticeable spotting difference between the two, the trucks they ride on….

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The C40-9 and its wide cab variant was more or less a de-rated C44-9 that was built specifically for the Norfolk Southern from the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s. At the time of their purchase, NS opted for the spartan cabs in lieu of the increasingly popular safety cabs but eventually the company was required by the FRA to purchase the wide cab design…. It also didn’t hurt that GE started charging the same price for the wide cab C44 as for a standard cab C44!

For this reason, the first 125 or so of these units came with the standard cab (often referred to as “Top Hats” by railfans) instead of the more common wide cab of today. Spotting the older standard cab Dash 9s is relatively easy as they have an air conditioning “box” on top of the cab as opposed to their Dash 8 predecessors.

One of the most noticeable spotting features over the Dash 8s is that the Dash 9 was one of the first to be equipped with GE’s high-adhesion (or HT-C) truck, which helped to improve the wheel-to-rail contact.

Because of the tremendous tractive effort they produce and because they’re still considered new for the day, most of NS’s Dash 9s remain in heavy freight service such as 9967 shown below in late 2004 on Penobscot Mountain in Mountaintop, Pa..

Factory fresh, she’s one of the very last of the C40-9Ws built for NS.

Standard cab C44s were numbered 8764-8888 with the wide cabs being numbered 8889-9978.

 

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Author:Railfan AC

AC is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, a long haul trucker, a transportation enthusiast and a lifelong lover of trains. AC's mission is to travel America documenting American railroading in the 21st century while educating those who want to know about the importance the railroads play in our daily lives including, but not limited to, the movement of goods, services and more.

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