EMD First Generation Geeps


EMD's first really successful road switcher, as well as the company's first hood unit, the GP7 was created in the early 1950s as a response to competing units from Alco, Baldwin, and Fairbanks Morse. The "Geep" series would be tremendously successful over the decades, and a few of the original GP7s would survive in short line service into the 21st Century.

Mechanically, the GP7 shared much in common with the F7 "covered wagon" units that were being built concurrently at LaGrange, with an EMD 567B prime mover, D-12-B generator, and D-27B traction motors. But structurally, the Geep used an unstressed body mounted on a frame, whereas the F-units' shell was stressed and central to the locomotive's structure. The hood unit arrangement offered far better crew visibility while switching, and facilitated easier maintenance.

In all, some 2,622 GP7s were built in the US, with Canadian production accounting for another 112 examples. The Santa Fe bought the most new-build GP7s, with five of these being cabless GP7B boosters. A few units were built with steam generators for passenger service; these had reduced fuel tankage.

GP7s from the Illinois Central, P&LE, DT&I, Reading, N&W, Frisco, and QNS&L were rebuilt as GP8s for the IC/ICG, with 567BC engine blocks, renewed electrics, new brakes, and lowered  short hoods for better visibility. The IC shops later rebuilt GP7s to a similar standard for Conrail; Conrail also later had GP7s rebuilt by the Rock Island shops and Morrison-Knudsen, with the hoods remaining unaltered.


The GP9 was closely based on its predecessor, with the addition of the higher rated 567C prime mover. Some 3,466 were built in the US (including foreign orders), and 646 in Canada; production totals incluse GP9Ms built using components from traded-in FT/F2/F3/F7/GP7s. The Union Pacific and Pennsylvania RR both bought booster units, with the  ex-PRR units surviving with Conrail until the very early 1980s.

Photo: Central Vermont GP9 #4929 in the St. Albans Shop. Railroad August 1973 p.42

“The Northwest’s Own Geep Nines” SP&S #154, #155. Prototype Modeler April 1980 p.6-19

Photo: Amtrak #760 in passenger colors Railfan & Railroad May 1980 inside front cover.

Photo: San Diego & Arizona Eastern GP9 #102 (ex Union Pacific #155) after rebuild by Morrison-Knudsen. Railfan & Railroad July 1980 p.23

Photo: US DOT GP9 #005 Railfan & Railroad September 1980 p.23

Photo: CalTrans GP9 #3187 Railfan & Railroad July 1982 inside front cover

Photo: La Salle & Bureau County GP9 Railfan & Railroad May 1982 inside front cover.

“NKP Geeps earned their stripes” Prototype Modeler Jan-Feb 1985 p.14-17
Chris Toth “Norfolk & Western passenger GP9′s” Prototype Modeler August 1986. Prototype photos include N&W Geeps #501, #505, #507, #513, #515, #516.

Photo: Amtrak Geep #760 pulling an Auto Train test run. Model Railroader April 1987 p.126

“EMD Phase II GP as Southern Pacific no.5788″ Railmodel Journal June 1990 p.20-21

“Test Track – O scale EMD GP9 from the Red Caboose” Railroad Model Craftsman August 1992 p.97-101 unit in PRR markings.

Ad from Overland Models showing prototype Union Pacific Geeps: GP7 #117 with higher exhausts, GP9 #283 with additional side vents, GP9 #261 with experimental turbocharger and larger fuel tank, and GP9 #306 with Elliott turbocharger. Model Railroader April 1992 p.159

Photo: Minnesota Commercial GP9 #400, ex BAR Railfan & Railroad October 1993 p.68

Photo: CN GP9 4138, 4012 Railpace September 2006 p.41

Photo: Adrian & Blissfield GP9 #1751 Railfan & Railroad September 2006 p.56

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