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GE's Dash 9-44CW (C44-9W) - A Locomotive Profile



These Southern Pacific and Canadian National C44-9Ws are older Athearn HO scale "blue box" models with extra details added.

©2013 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Dash 9-44CW, also labeled as a C44-9W or CW44-9 on many railroads, was the most successful of GE's popular Dash-9 Line.

Prototype History

Builder: General Electric Transportation Systems(GE)
AAR Type: C-C
Dates Built: 1993 - 2004
Number Built: 2,569
Horsepower: 4,400
Engine: GE 7FDL16
Length: 73ft 2in

General Electric began to take over the lead in North American locomotive production in the 1980s with its new, microprocessor controled Dash-8 line of locomotives. These powerful engines took American railroads by storm. And when GE introduced a new "comfort cab" on the C40-8W in 1990, American trains had a new face.

The new Dash 9 line introduced three new standard features - split-cooled radiators (though some late C40-8Ws had this feature as well), upgraded fuel injection and electronic anti-wheel slip. New radial and steerable trucks were also introduced on the Dash-9 line, but these were an option. The standard C44-9W was also about three feet longer than the Dash-8.

The first C44-9s came to CSX. The first three locomotives came on the end of their C40-8W order. The locomotives were built on the C40-8W frame and did not have the new trucks but were internally C44-9Ws, which is how both CSX and GE classify the locomotives. An additional order for 50 more locomotives followed. These had more of the standard Dash-9 spotting features, but still use the older Dash-8 trucks.

A GE Demonstrator followed and brought additional sales to eight additional roads in the United States and Canada as well as export orders for Australia and Brazil. BNSF alone purchased more than half of the total production with 1697 units (with 100 more coming from the Santa Fe.) Norfolk Southern has purchased many C40-9W locomotives which are externally identical but have only 4000 horsepower.

GE also introduced a similar AC4400 model which was used AC traction motors. Sales of the AC4400 and DC C44-9W ran concurrently.

Like the C40-8W, the C44-9W was built with several different cab styles for different railroads. A full-width cowl carbody, the C44-9WL was also ordered by BC Rail and Canadian National. Beyond these cab details, the only other major difference between orders for different railroads was the style of trucks. Most opted for the new GE Hi-Ad version.

Production ended in 2004 as GE changed over to the new Evolution series of locomotives designed to meet new EPA emmissions standards. As of 2013, nearly all of the locomotives are still in service across North America. They can still be found leading everything from coal to intermodal trains.

Operating Railroads

  • Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe - 100 (to BNSF)
  • BC Rail - 14 (4 are "C44-9WL" full-carbody units)
  • BNSF - 1697 (+ 100 from ATSF)
  • Canadian National - 228 (23 are "C44-9WL" full-carbody units)
  • Chicago and Northwestern - 130 (to UP)
  • CSX - 53 (3 units built on C40-8W frames - first C44-9 prototypes)
  • Estrada de Ferro Carajas - 67(Brazil)
  • Ferrovia Norte do Brasil - 50 (Brazil)
  • Fortescue Metals Group - 15 (Australia)
  • General Electric - 1
  • Hamersly Iron - 62 (Australia)
  • Quebec North Shore and Labrador - 11
  • Southern Pacific - 101 (to UP)
  • Union Pacific - 40 (231 additional acquired from CNW and SP)


The C44-9W has been reproduced in many scales. Used on railroads all across the continent, these locomotives are a good fit on almost any layout set in 1993 or later. The same carbody can also be used for the Norfolk Southern C40-9W.

Z Scale: AZL (brass shell only)
N Scale: Kato
HO Scale: Athearn (Blue Box and Ready to Run), Kato, Overland (brass),Rail Power Products (shell and frame only - out of production)
O Scale: Lionel, MTH (3-rail and 2-rail), Williams (Bachmann)
G Gauge:

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