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The GP40-2L Series Locomotives

By Daniel Garcia and James Bow..

An Expanding Rostor

After the successful launch of GO's commuter rail service between Oakville and Pickering in May 1967, demand for service increased. On April 29, 1974, service began on a new commuter rail service between Union and Georgetown. On May 1, 1978, trains started rolling between Union and Richmond Hill.

To accommodate these new runs, as well as additional trips on the Lakeshore line, more locomotives were required. In 1973, GO Transit turned to General Motors to purchase another four locomotives. This was followed up by another order of in 1974 (for three locomotives) and a third order in 1975 (for another three locomotives). These eleven locomotives were designated GP40-2Ls.

Learning and Evolving

The GP40-2Ls used the same popular GP-40 locomotive model of the GP40TCs, but ignored the GP40TC's unique features and added some changes of their own. The GP40-2Ls made use of the safety cab and Dash-2 electronics that General Motors had introduced soon after the GP40TCs were purchased. The GP40-2Ls also did away with HEP generators, since including them in a single locomotive made the insides of the locomotive crowded and hard to maintain. To provide heat and light to the passenger cars it pulled, the GP40-2Ls had to be paired with a second locomotive or a special auxiliary power/control unit (APCU) to generate the needed electricity. This resulted in the purchase of a number of locomotives for HEP service.

The three orders GP40-2L series diesels were designated classes GCE-430b, -430c and -430d respectively by GM. When they arrived on GO property, they were numbered 9808-9814 when delivered (in line with the GP40TC's being numbered 9800-9807), but were renumbered to 700-710 before 1982.

The GP40-2Ls were used in service until 1991. Ten of these vehicles were then sold to Canadian National (where they were renumbered (9668-9677), where they fit in well with the 300 or so other GP40-2L's that CN owned. The remaining engine (#703) was sold, along with an APCU, to Tri-Rail that same year.

GP40-2L Series Locomotives Image Archive