CSX Transportation 7689, GE C40-8W (Dash 8-40CW), January 25, 2008.

(terry cantrell, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The Dash 8 Series is a line of diesel-electric freight locomotives built by GE Transportation Systems. It replaced the Dash 7 Series in the mid-1980s, and was superseded by the Dash 9 Series for freight usage and the Genesis Series for passenger usage in the mid-1990s.

All models of the Dash 8 Series are powered by a 16- or 12-cylinder, turbocharged, GE 7FDL 4-stroke diesel engine.


The design of the Dash 8 Series is based upon that of the Dash 7 Series. The biggest changes introduced during the production of the Dash 8 Series were the first use of a microprocessor-equipped engine control unit in a diesel locomotive, and the adoption of a modular system in the construction of the vehicle body.

The Dash 8 locomotive bodies were assembled from several modules, creating a combination to fit the length of the chassis. On models with a traditional narrow short hood, the part of the equipment room immediately behind the cab is taller than the top of the rounded cab roof, giving those models a distinctive appearance. On all models, that part of the equipment room houses the cooling fans for the dynamic braking system.

Traction motors of Dash 8 locomotives were powered by direct current.

Construction history

The Dash 8 prototype was completed in 1984. Manufacture of the improved production units started in earnest in 1987. Early versions of the Dash 8 were manufactured on the Dash 7 production line, but their general appearance was different. The Dash 8-40C, introduced in 1987, featured improved reliability.


The naming of the Dash 8 Series, and that of its various models, corresponded initially with that of its predecessor, the Dash 7. So, for example, "B32-8" designated a B-B configured 3,200 hp (2,390 kW) Dash 8 Series locomotive.

After product improvements were made to the line in 1987, the official designations for models in this series changed to "Dash 8...", as shown below. However, for simplicity many railroads decided to use designations which follow the pattern of the Dash 7 line. For example, the Dash 8-40C is usually rendered as "C40-8".

The "W" suffix used for some models indicates the then-optional wide-nose "North American" safety cab.

Four axle models

Common features

Specifications common to all Dash 8 Series four axle models are as follows:

AAR wheel arrangement: B-B
Prime mover: GE V-type 7FDL-16 V16 engine, 7FDL-12 V12 for B32 models



Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder General Electric Transportation
Build date 1983–1994
​• AAR B-B (B32-8, B39-8, B40-8, B40-8W), C-C (C32-8, C39-8, C40-8, C40-8M, C40-8W, C41-8W, C44-8W)
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm), 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), Brazil
Length: 66 ft 4 in (20.22 m) (B40-8W), 70 ft 8 in (21.54 m) (C40-8W)
Fuel capacity: 3,150 US gal (11,900 l; 2,620 imp gal) (B40-8W), 4,600 US gal (17,400 l; 3,830 imp gal) (C40-8W)
Prime mover: GE 7FDL
Engine type: 4-stroke diesel engine
Aspiration: Turbocharged
Cylinders V12 or V16
Performance figures
Power output: 3,200 hp (2,390 kW) (B32-8, C32-8), 3,900 hp (2,910 kW) (B39-8, C39-8), 4,000 hp (2,980 kW) (B40-8, B40-8W, C40-8, C40-8M, C40-8W), 4,100 hp (3,060 kW) (C41-8W), 4,400 hp (3,280 kW) (C44-8W)
Operators: Various
Locale: North America, Brazil