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.

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 typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGE Transportation Systems
Build dateAugust 1968 June 1977
Total produced481
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Wheel diameter40 in (1,000 mm)
Length60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
Width9 ft 11 in (3.02 m)
Height15 ft 4.5 in (4.69 m)
Loco weight242,000 lb (109,769 kg)
Prime moverGE 7FDL-12
Performance figures
Maximum speed70 mph (113 km/h)
Power output2,250 hp (1,680 kW)
Tractive effort90,000 lb (41,000 kg)

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.

Western Rail Inc in Airway Heights, WA currently has a U23B that railroad companies can lease. It was used on the Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad as of 2017 for freight service. It is numbered NIWX 2204 and is an ex Northern Illinois and Western locomotive.

Original owners

Railroad Quantity Numbers Notes
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 49 6300-6348
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 30 2300–2329 Bloomberg trucks
Conrail 10 2789–2798
Delaware and Hudson Railway 16 301-316
Ferrocarril del Pacífico 10 537-546
Lehigh Valley Railroad 12 501-512 to Conrail 2777-2788
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 90 2708–2772, 2800–2824 FB-2 trucks
Milwaukee Road 5 4800-4804
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad 3 350-352
Missouri Pacific Railroad 39 668-674, 2257–2288 FB-2 trucks
Monon Railroad 8 601-608
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México 30 9100-9129 9114-9121 AAR type-B trucks, all others FB-2
Penn Central Transportation 77 2700–2776 to Conrail 2700-2776
Southern Peru Copper 16 40-45, 50-59 FB-2 trucks
Southern Railway 70 3900-3969 High-nose, 3900-3914 with AAR type-B trucks, 3935-3969 with FB-2
Texas Utilities 1 103
Western Pacific Railroad 15 2251–2265 Bloomberg trucks


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