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Locomotive Phases - GE ES Series

The GE Evolution series was first introduced in 2002 to meet Tier 2 emissions standards that took effect in the beginning of 2005. In contrast to EMD's SD70ACe and SD70M-2, which combined existing mechanical and electrical components with an all-new frame and carbody, the GE ES series introduced a new 12-cylinder engine (the GEVO, derived from the previous HDL) while retaining the frame, cab and front hood section of the AC4400CW. By the end of 2015, thousands of ES locomotives had been built in three main model series - DC (ES40DC, ES44DC), 6-motor AC (ES44AC) and 4-motor AC (ES44C4).

Unlike the previous Dash-9 series, the ES40DC and ES44DC retained the large cabinet behind the cab on the left side that would otherwise house the inverters on AC units. The ES44C4 was a variation of the ES44AC with the middle traction motor in each truck removed, giving an A1A-A1A wheel arrangement. It employed a mechanism above the center axle powered by air cylinders that lifted the axle slighly at low speeds, transferring a small portion of additional weight onto the powered outer axles for greater adhesion.


The biggest change in ES series production occurred with the revised radiators and rear hood section beginning with Phase 2a starting around early 2007. Most other detail changes were relatively minor, and the last couple of phases (2d through 2f) account for roughly half of the total production.

These phases are of my own making.

Rear hood and radiators

Phase 1a 1b 1c1 1c2 1d 1e 1f1 1f2 2a1 2a2 2b 2c 2d1 2d2 2e 2f1 2f2
Rear hood doors/vents 2 small horizonal rectangular vents in bolted panel, flush doors (3 on left, 3+3 on right) 1 large vertical rectangular vent in bolted panel, same doors Raised doors with beveled edges (3+2 on left, 3+2+3 on right) (1)2+3 on left, revised spacing/grill height on right
Rooftop panels near aftercooler 2+3 hinges 2+1 hinges (2 hinges on some Phase 1b) No hinges
Middle hood panels under aftercooler Square latched panel next to small bolted panel; fastened to hood door underneath on engineer's side 2 hinged latched panels, square intake, angled forward edge; not fastened to hood door underneath No square intake Vertical forward edge; small bolted rectangular panel added on conductor's side
Front upper hood panel under aftercooler Latched on engineer's side, bolted on conductor's side Bolted on both sides Extended rearward slightly on conductor's side (appeared on late Phase 2d2 units)
Phase 1a 1b 1c1 1c2 1d 1e 1f1 1f2 2a1 2a2 2b 2c 2d1 2d2 2e 2f1 2f2
Aftercooler Flush rooftop grill Raised rooftop box Longer wing section, revised angled section under wing Flush rooftop grill
Radiator roof grills Flush Raised, shorter wing section
Radiator intakes Single screened panel, narrow vertical bar behind screen Two screened panels, vertical bar between panels Shorter intake on right, revised panel ahead of intake
Rear hood end Vertical headlight (several forms), end door Horizontal headlight, no door
Phase 1a 1b 1c1 1c2 1d 1e 1f1 1f2 2a1 2a2 2b 2c 2d1 2d2 2e 2f1 2f2

Front hood and underframe

Phase 1a 1b 1c1 1c2 1d 1e 1f1 1f2 2a1 2a2 2b 2c 2d1 2d2 2e 2f1 2f2
Fuel filler mounts Rectangular; rear mount absent unless fuel filler present Round Rear mount present with or without fuel filler
Front inverter cabinet panel (AC versions) 14 bolts, no hinges 12 bolts, 2 hinges on right side
Hood side grabirons 6 grabirons on conductor's side None
Walkway side frame Hinged panel ahead of left rear jacking pad No hinged panel (inconsistent in Phase 1c2)
Sand line brackets Attached to truck frame Attached to lower suspension assembly (late Phase 1e)
Lower conductor's side cab panel Rib along top 4 bolts along top (inconsistent in Phase 1e through 1f)
Phase 1a 1b 1c1 1c2 1d 1e 1f1 1f2 2a1 2a2 2b 2c 2d1 2d2 2e 2f1 2f2
AC Dynamic brake outlets (2 vents) 2nd and 3rd openings 1st and 3rd openings
Small grill between vents
Latched panel between vents (2)
AC Dynamic brake intakes (2 vents) Hinges on left side; intakes in 2nd and 3rd large panels Hinges on right side (inconsistent up to Phase 2b); intakes in small panel and 2nd large panel; narrower bars behind screens
DC Dynamic brake intakes Hinges on left side; intakes in 1st and 3rd large panels Hinges on right side (inconsistent in Phase 2c)
Handrails   3rd, 4th and 5th stanchions from rear moved rearward on left side 4th stanchion from rear moved forward on left side Thicker handrail stanchions with wire loops Rearmost 2 stanchions swapped (wide/narrow)
Short hood Rounded corners, door on conductor's side; no headlight notch on short hood with cab-mounted headlight Headlight notch, with or without headlight Angular corners, door on engineer's side, thicker door hinges
Anticlimber Angled braces underneath No angled braces
Trucks Welded plate handbrake chain bracket Curved handbrake chain bracket Modified truck casting (3)
Phase 1a 1b 1c1 1c2 1d 1e 1f1 1f2 2a1 2a2 2b 2c 2d1 2d2 2e 2f1 2f2


  1. Rear hood doors/vents, Phase 2d1: Same as Phase 2d2 and later except for tall intake on the 5th door from the rear of the hood on the right side (intake is shorter on later units)
  2. AC Dynamic brake outlets: Some Phase 2e and later AC units with 2 vents reverted to the 2nd and 3rd openings as on earlier phases
  3. Trucks, late Phase 2e: Flat sections were cast into the Hi-Ad truck frame casting to attach the ES44C4 axle lifting mechanism; after late 2010 these flat areas were present (without the mechanism) on other models

Other details

 Copyright © Michael Eby - Last updated 2017-03-18