A couple of recent second hand GP38-2 locomotive purchases have been released from the New York Central Train Layout paint shop after being stripped and repainted and lettered for the Penn Central. The engines are Athearn BB and fill a void in the roster that left my BB Penn Central GP40 #3175 without a suitable running mate(s).
The EMD GP38 was introduced in 1966 but it did not attract much attention from buyers at that time as the Railroads opted for the more popular and powerful locomotives like the GP40s and SD45s of that year. The 2,000 horsepower non turbo charged V16 GP38 was ignored by the Penn Central for several years until a nationwide swing towards better fuel economy and maintenance made it a giant seller. Cheap to run and able to see use throughout the system the GP38 became Penn Central's ideal locomotive.
The Penn Central purchased 240 EMD GP 38s between 1969 and 1971. They were numbered 7675 - 7939. A handful of the GP38s were purchased for specialized service that saw them get a bumped out cab, dual controls and no dynamic brakes.
In the beginning of 1972 EMD began production of it's "Dash 2" line of locomotives. While the GP38-2 was internally different from the GP38, externally the only noticeable were high adhesion trucks with dampening struts and a sight glass on the long hood. Being pleased with the performance of the GP38 the Penn Central starting at number 7940 in May 1972 added 223 GP38-2s by October 1973.
An interesting tidbit I found while researching was that Penn Central GP38 #7776 became Conrail # 7776 and was painted in a Bicentennial livery in May 1976 one month after the PC ceased operations. However by October 1976 it was repainted into Conrail blue during the CR's push to get it's several thousand locomotives in a dozen different paint schemes into Conrail blue. Seems no one thought to make this unit an exception. Quite possibly the shortest Bicentennial Liveried paint scheme.