The GE U30C was one of the earliest successes from General Electric in the diesel locomotive market. With 600 units sold, the U30C proved to be a viable alternative for customers who were unable to purchase SD40s from Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) due to production backlog. Throughout its ten-year production span, the U30C was known for reliability issues concerning its electrical system. However, most railroads were assured of the reliability of the GE Model 752 DC traction motor, and began to place orders for U30Cs starting in 1966. When production ended, the last U30Cs carried pre-Dash 7 specifications, which would be carried in its replacement, the GE C30-7.

Union Pacific GE U30C
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGE Transportation Systems
Build dateNovember 1966 October 1976
Total produced600 (plus 6 U30CG)
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length67 feet 3 inches (20.50 m)
Prime moverGE 7FDL-16
Performance figures
Power output3,000 hp (2,200 kW)
LocaleNorth America
Dispositionmost scrapped, some preserved, others rebuilt into the GE Super 7 Program

The U30C served customers of all kinds, from mining, to general freights, coal trains, and even as a power source unit for the Department of Transportation's subway-car test tracks in Pueblo, Colorado before a connection from the commercial electric power grid could be established (Cudahy 1979).

Not to be outdone in the freight sector, GE produced a passenger version of the locomotive, the GE U30CG. The U30CG only sold six units for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.

When most U30Cs were being retired due to old age and mechanical or electrical problems, General Electric initiated a rebuild program where older Universal Series locomotives would be upgraded with the latest technology and fuel-saving systems. GE would then strip the locomotive down to its frame and engine, and completely rebuild the locomotive with new components. When completed, the unit would receive a new designation: GE C30-S7R (R for Rebuilt frame of traded-in locomotive). In the later years, the rebuild frame was discontinued, and a brand new frame would be used, re-designating the locomotive as GE C30-S7N (N for New frame). The only external difference was a large vent on the fireman's side ahead of the engine compartment. The final variation came with the discontinued frame of the Universal series and instead, using GE C40-8 kits. This new model also featured a microprocessor, officially designating this locomotive as GE C30-S7NMP.

A variant of the U20C export locomotive was known as the U30C. This version is unrelated to the U30C built for North America.

Original owners

Owner Quantity Numbers Notes
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 6 400-405 model U30CG
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 4 3021-3024 #3021 was the first U30C built.
Burlington Northern Railroad 180 5300-5394, 5800-5839, 5900-5944 5800-5805, 5900-5911 new as 5300-5305 (1st) and 5353-5364 (1st)
Colorado & Southern (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy) 4 890-893 All sent to Burlington Northern. Same numbers.
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 13 3300-3312
Chicago and North Western Railway 7 930-936
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road) 8 5651-5658
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (Rock Island) 18 4582-4599 XR Series
Delaware and Hudson Railroad 12 701-712
Detroit Edison 11 007-012, 018-022
Ferrocarril del Pacifico 8 401-408
Kaiser Steel (Eagle Mountain Mine Division) 5 1030–1034 Ballasting Sand added to the frame to increase weight (considered the heaviest U30Cs ever built).
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 79 1470–1499, 1534–1582 #1499 was presented in an XR Series paint scheme.
Missouri Pacific Railroad 35 25-29, 960-983, 3329-3334
Norfolk and Western Railroad 3 8000-8002
Pennsylvania Railroad 5 6535-6539
Reading Railroad 5 6300-6304
Soo Line Railroad 10 800-809
Southern Railway 5 3800-3804 High short hood
Southern Pacific Railroad 37 7900-7936 Ballasting Sand added to the frame to increase weight.
Union Pacific Railroad 150 2810–2959 #2851 was delivered with a fiberglass nose.
United States Department of Transportation 1 1


See also


  • Marre, Louis A. (1995). Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years: A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972. Railroad Reference Series. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89024-258-2.
  • Cudahy, Brian J. (1979), Under the Sidewalks of New York, The Stephen Greene Press, ISBN 0-8289-0352-2
  • "General Electric's U30C" by Diesel Era Staff from Diesel Era Volume 5 Number 2 March/April 1994, pages 6-22; 38-45.
  • Numerous personal observations of frame members of BN U30C 5383 at close range over the course of several decades, frame is fabricated steel weldment, not a casting
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