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Mec 280 ayer 02-20-1993.jpg
MEC 280, originally built as DH 301, was the first U23B built by GE in 1968. It is seen here working in Ayer, MA, in February 1993
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder GE Transportation Systems
Model U23B
Build date August 1968 – June 1977
Total produced 481
AAR wheel arr. B-B
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Length 60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
Prime mover GE 7FDL-12
Cylinders 12
Performance figures
Power output 2,250 hp (1,680 kW)

The GE U23B Diesel-electric locomotive was introduced by GE Transportation in 1968 as a medium horsepower roadswitcher, featuring a 12 cylinder FDL engine. It was one of the most successful models of the Universal Series, with railroads ordering it from 1968 until 1977 when it was replaced by the B23-7. 481 units were built, including 16 exported to Peru.

Not many U23Bs still exist, but a few shortline and regional railroads still use them in everyday service. The Georgia Central Railway was one of the last U23B holdouts, rostering almost all of the remaining ex Southern Railway (U.S.) high short hood U23Bs. The Georgia Central as of July 2015 has all of its U23Bs off of the roster with the 3965 going to the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum in Oak Ridge, TN.

The Huntsville and Madison County Railroad Authority in Huntsville, AL, operates perhaps one of the last U23B's used in daily freight service, as of October 2015. HMCR 9554 was originally built in late 1974 as L&N 2800. The last U23B built, originally Conrail 2798, and more recently Providence and Worcester 2203, is in regular excursion service at the Naugatuck Railroad, operated by the Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston, Connecticut.

CR 2798 was the last U23B built by GE in 1977, and the last Universal Series locomotive built for North American use. In this photo, it is leading a westbound train through Middlefield, Massachusetts, in June 1979.

Original owners[edit]

Railroad Quantity Numbers
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 49 6300-6348
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 30 2300–2329
Conrail 10 2789–2798
Delaware and Hudson Railway 16 301-316
Ferrocarril del Pacífico 10 537-546
Lehigh Valley Railroad 12 501-512
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 90 2708–2772, 2800–2824
Milwaukee Road 5 4800-4804
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad 3 350-352
Missouri Pacific Railroad 39 668-674, 2257–2288
Monon Railroad 8 601-608
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México 30 9100-9129
Penn Central Transportation 77 2700–2776
Southern Peru Copper 16 40-45, 50-59
Southern Railway 70 3900-3969
Texas Utilities 1 103
Western Pacific Railroad 15 2251–2265


External links[edit]