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Great Northern Diesel Rosters

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    During its existence the Great Northern Railway owned a total of 883 diesel locomotives built by 4 different builders; Alco, Baldwin, EMC/EMD and GE. EMC/EMD delivered the majority of these diesels; 754 units in 27 models, followed by Alco with 67 units in 7 models, GE with 47 units in 4 models and finally Baldwin with only 15 units in 2 models.


    Great Northern used 4 different paint schemes for its diesel locomotives. The early purchases of diesel locomotives (all switchers) wore the standard steam era black paint scheme with white lettering. The purchase of the first FT diesels brought on the Empire Builder scheme of orange and green separated by imitation gold stripes, followed in 1962 by a simplified version of this scheme intended to cut back on painting costs, in which the imitation gold separation lines were lost and most of the lower orange area was eliminated. The final Big Sky Blue scheme, a combination of blue, white and gray, was introduced in 1967 to refresh and boost the image of the Great Northern Railway.


    The rosters provided here give information on all the diesel locomotives the Great Northern Railway ever owned, their renumbering and the different paint schemes they wore. The date when a particular unit lost its last Great Northern paint scheme in favor of the paint scheme of the succeeding road (mostly Burlington Northern) is given where known. The total number of units for a particular model are given and are only for original units and thus do not include rebuilds.


    The Diesel Fleet Timeline gives an overview of all the GN diesel types and the years in which they operated in one big matrix. It provides an easy way of seeing the diesel fleet composition during the years. It also gives an indication of GN's purchase pattern over the years in relation to for instance a preferred supplier or the bulk of the orders.