The U25C

The U25C's Legacy

Lake Superior & Ishpeming #2501 at Marquette, Michigan on 18 June 1989 (Ted Ellis photo)

New: 1 June 2022
General Electric's 2500-hp, four-axle "U-Boat" has long received a lot of traction in the hobby and industry press since its formal introduction in 1960, and understandably so. Meanwhile, its three-year-younger U25C cousin has stood in the shadows. It is interesting that it took the railroad industry that much additional time to express an interest in the GE six-axle model. Let's remember that Alco, Baldwin, EMD and FM had carried a six-motor model in their respective catalogs since the early 1960s. The railroads' initial response arrived during the last quarter of 1963 with two separate purchases of four U25Cs by Oro Dam Constructors (#8010-8013) and Atlantic Coast Line (#3000-3003). By the close of 1965, GE's Erie, Pennsylvania plant had produced an additional 105 of six-axle freight units.

The sound of 2500-hp FDL16 engines pounding uphill with long coal drags or expediting hot freights across the midlands has long since past, and nearly all have succumbed to the cutting torch. The lone survivor is Lake Superior & Ishpeming #2501, which stands mute in a park near the Presque Isle ore dock at Marquette, Michigan. Without question, the U25C was the "grand-daddy" of more than 6500 six-axle domestic locomotives.

LS&I sidebar: On Wedessday April 10th 1968, I met with LS&I motive power superintendent W.H. Shultz in his Marquette office. My purpose that morning was to grab pictures of the railroad's recently purchased U23Cs #2300 and 2301 tentatively scheduled for delivery some time on the 10th. Superintendent Shultz advised apologetically that pictures of the new units would not be possible because they were still enroute from Pennsylvania. Although chagrin was heavy, there would be a consolation prize of sorts in the form of ex-Great Northern RS3 #230. Stenciled "G.E. Co." under the cab window, the Erie-builder had provided the four-axle Alco as temporary back-up power.

The question I posed to Mr. Shultz was, "What prompted LS&I in 1964 to discontinue its long-time Alco relationship in favor of GE?" -- or some words to that effect. He explained that the ore hauler had initially solicited a proposal from Alco for two new 2000-hp six-axle locomotives, but it was dismissed by the Schenectady builder. Shultz went on to say that the only six-axle locomotive Alco was interested in selling was their Century 628, and they had no interest in building a custom model. Hence, LS&I entered conversations with General Electric. GE's marketing philosophy at the time was, "No order was too small" as evidenced by its sale of four U25C's to Oro Dam Constuctors and Atlantic Coast Line. The result -- GE-built locomotives have plied LS&I rails for more than five decades. ---- R. Craig Rutherford

A U25C roster and data sheet appear at the end of this page.

Original Owners (including multiple paint schemes)

Atlantic Coast Line #3013 at Waycross, Georgia on 12 April 1966. (Keith Ardinger photo / R. Craig collection)

Chicago Burlington & Quincy #561 at Lincoln, Nebraska in October 1965. (Chuck Zeiler photo)

Lake Superior & Ishpeming #2500 & 2501 at Presque Isle, Michigan on 10 April 1965.

Lake Superior & Ishpeming #2500 at Eagle Mills, Michigan on 16 May 1984. (Chuck Schwesinger photo)

Louisville & Nashville #1507 at Atlanta, Georgia on 14 February 1971. (Bill Folsom photo / R. Craig collection)

Louisville & Nashville #1525 at Sharonville, Ohio on 19 April 1974. (Dan Dover photo / R. Craig collection)

Northern Pacific #2526 at St. Paul, Minnesota on 31 May 1968 (Ray Sabo photo / R. Craig collection)

Oro Dam Constructors #8019 at Lake Oroville, California during ths summer of 1964. (Robert Morris Photography)

Pennsylvania RR #6504 at Walbridge, Ohio on 17 April 1970. (R. Craig photo)

Reference Sources for this webpage:

  • Extra 2200 South, issue #75
  • GE Advanced Generation, 1989, by James W. Kerr
  • GE Locomotives, volumes 1 & 2, 1981, by James W. Kerr
  • Car & Locomotive Cyclopedia, 1984, by Simmons & Boardman
  • The Modern Locomotive Handbook, 1979, Railway Fuel & Operating Officers Assn.
  • Diesel & Electric Locomotive Specifications, 1981, by F. K. Hudson.
  • GE Advanced Generation, 1989, by James W. Kerr
  • GE U25 Promotional Brochure, 1962
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Second-hand Owners (including multiple paint schemes)

Burlington Northern #5637 (ex-ChicagoBurlinton & Quncy 557) at Clyde Yard (Chicago) on 22 Sept. 1968. (R. Craig photo)

Conrail #6800 (ex-Penn Central #6500) at North Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin on 14 October 1979 (Chuck Schwesinger photo)

Conrail #6519 (ex-Penn Central/Pennsylvania #6519) at Rockville, New York during the Summer of 1977. (Ben Heisel photo )

Penn Central #6501 (ex-Pennsylvania RR #6501) at West Detroit, Michigan on 22 September 1969. (R. Craig photo)

Seaboard #1504 (ex-Atlantic Coast Line #3001) at Dolton, Illinois on 7 April 1984 (William Raia photo / R. Craig collection)

Seaboard Coast Line #2118 (ex-Atlantic Coast Line #2118) at Atlanta, Georgia on 5 July 1970 (Bill Folsom photo / R. Craig collection)

Louisville & Nashvlle #1525 (ex-Oro Dam Condtructors #8019) at Decoursey Yard, Kentucky on (Dan Dover photo / X2200 South Magazine photo)

Data from GE Universal Series brochure (09/1963)


GE U25C

Quantity Built 113 (9/1963 to 12/1965)

Somebody's Large Digital Image Here
Last Roster Revision: 11 June 2014 R. Craig Photo at Flat Rock, Michigan in March 1965
-- Info Supplied by: John Komanesky
Original Owner Road Rd # 2nd Owner & Rd # Bldr Numbers Batch Numbers Bldr Dates
Atlantic Coast Line 3000-3003 Seaboard Coast Line 2100-2103 34969-34972 1810 12/63
3004-3010 SCL 2104-2110 35064-35070 1845 11/64
3011-3017 SCL 2111-2117 35609-35615 1875 10/65
3018-3020 SCL 2118-2120 35616-35618 1875 11/65
Chicago Burlington & Quincy 550, 551 Burlington Northern 5630-5631 35597, 35598 1865 8/65
552-560 BN 5632-5640 35599-35607 1865 9/65
561 BN 5632-5641 35608 1865 10/65
Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2500, 2501 -- 35062, 35063 1823/1825 5, 7/64
#2501 last surviving U25C -- located in park within sight of Presque Isle ore docks
Louisville & Nashville 1500, 1501 -- 35545, 35546 1855 5/65
1502-1511 -- 35548-35557 1855 5-7/65
1512 -- 35547 1855 5/65
1513-1517 -- 35558-35562 1855 10/65
Northern Pacific 2500-2505 Burlington Northern 5600-5605 35035-35040 1821 5/64
2506-2514 BN 5606-5614 35041-35049 1821 6/64
2515, 2516 BN 5615-5616 35582, 35583 1847 5/65
2517-2524 BN 5617-5624 35584-35591 1847 6/65
2525-2529 BN 5625-5629 35592-35596 1847 7/65
Oro Dam 8010, 8012 & 8013 #8010 & 8012 wrecked 34815, 34817 & 34818 1800 9/63
8011/8020 Louisville & Nashvlle 1520 34816 1800 9/63
#8011 wrecked, rebuilt and re-#d 8020
8014 &8015 L&N 1521 & 1522 34819 & 3482 1800 5/64
8016 wrecked 34821 1800 5/64
8017, 8018 L&N 1523 & 1524 35563, 35564 1896 12/65
8019 L&N 1525 35629 1896 12/65
Pennsylvania 6500-6502 Penn Central / Conrail 6500-6502 35057-35059 1850 4/65
6503 PC /CR 6503 35056 1850 4/65
6504-6509 PC /CR 6504-6509 35050-35055 1850 4/65
6510-6515 PC /CR 6510-6515 35619-35622 1895 11-12/65
6516-6519 PC /CR 6516-6519 35623-35628 1895 12/65

Source of information: Extra 2200 South. Additional information from Dave Dallner.

Batch / order numbers provided by Dave Dallner.

Original upload: 23 October 2010

Technical Data
Drawings and Technical Data Supplied by: Jean-Denis Bachand
POWERTRAIN
Engine: General Electric FDL16 (4-cycle) @ 2500 hp Bore & Stroke: 9.0" x 10.5" RPM (Max. / Min.): 1050 / 650
Main Gen.: GT598 Traction Motors: GE-752 (six) Tractive Force (starting): 92,000 lbs @ 25% Tractive Force (continuous): 60,000 lbs @ 10.7 mph
TRUCKS
Wheel Arrngmnt: C-C Wheel Dia: 40" Turning Radius (min): 39 degrees Wheelbase: 13'-00"
M/U Capability Dyn. Braking Loco Wgt: 348,000 lbs. Speed: 70 mph / Gear Ratio: 74:18
SPECIFICATIONS / DIMENSIONS
Total Length: 64'-06" Locomotive Wheel Base: 51'-04" Engine Hood Height: 15'-03"" Cab Heighth*: 14'-07"
Cab Width: 9'-11" Top of Walkway: 5'-07.6" Length over handrails: 10'-06.5" Distance between Truck Centers: 38'-04"
M/U Capability: Yes Dynamic Braking: Yes Loco Wgt: 348,000 lbs. Speed: 70 mph / Gear Ratio: 74:18
T/M Blower (3): Mechanical Driven Auxillary Generator: GY27 Air Comp.: Westinghouse 3CDC Air Brake: Westinghouse 26L
CAPACITIES

Fuel Oil: 1700 gal. or 2900 gal.

Lub Oil: 355 gal.

Cooling Water: 290 gal.

Sand: 32 cubic feet

NOTES & CREDITS
Note: Height dimensions are from top of railhead.


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