In 1953, Alco and General Electric went their separate ways, ending the partnership that had produced some of the handsomest first-generation diesel units, the FA and PA. Seven years later, GE was back in the market with the U25B, its first self-produced road locomotive and the product of an intensive research and development effort. By 1963, GE sales surpassed those of its former partner, and the company became a serious threat to EMD’s market dominance. The nation’s diesel builders were locked in a horsepower race as railroads bought second-generation power to replace the first-generation diesels that had killed the steam engine. In 1966, General Electric introduced the six-axle, 3000 hp U30C, aimed directly at EMD’s equally powerful SD40.
While the U30C did not outsell the SD40, it became General Electric’s best-selling “U-boat.” It set the stage for GE to pull ahead of EMD in diesel sales by 1983, and stay ahead to this day. Over the course of a 10-year production run, nearly 600 U30Cs were sold to 17 class one railroads, while other roads such as Conrail acquired them in mergers. Union Pacific and Burlington Northern owned the largest fleets, with BN using its U30Cs to haul coal from the massive Powder River Basin deposits in Montana and Wyoming. Many U30Cs served nearly three decades before retirement in the early 1990s.
GE’s most popular Universal-series diesel returns to the M.T.H. lineup for 2018, loaded with all the features you expect in a Premier diesel: superb, railroad-specific detailing, accurate paint schemes, bold prototypical sounds, and smooth, steady operation at any speed from a crawl to full throttle.
Our Premier General Electric U30C diesels are the most detailed, most accurate models of this landmark "U-boat" ever produced in O gauge. As with many of our latest diesels, the tooling for the U30C is engineered to produce a multitude of different, railroad-specific versions of this engine. Details found on all versions include etched safety tread on the walkways; opening cab doors; folding drops steps on the end platforms; optional snow plow; underframe air tanks with pipes; superbly detailed trucks with speed recorder cable, shock absorbers, and brake cylinders; legible builders plate and warning labels; and separately added grab irons, windshield wipers, and platform safety chains, MU cables, and coupler lift bars.
The U30Cs also feature variable exhaust smoke, General Electric diesel motor sounds, and our new speaker system with improved bass response — to more accurately reproduce the ground-shaking rumble of the prototype.