In 1966 EMD introduced a new line of locomotives based on the 16-cylinder 645-series prime mover. The four-axle GP38 was rated at 2,000 hp, and a total of 727 units were produced between 1966 and 1971.
GP38 #7776 was purchased by Penn Central in September of 1969. In April of 1976, it received an unauthorized Conrail bicentennial paint job from some employees at Pitcairn Yard (east of Pittsburgh), and was technically the first locomotive to receive "CONRAIL" paint (the first locomotive in blue, GP40 #3091, was not rolled out until late May). The paint scheme was nearly identical to the scheme used on previously-painted Boston & Maine GP38-2 #200, which is where the Conrail employees drew their inspiration. When Conrail management discovered the paint job (and learned that it was copied from another railroad), they ordered the locomotive repainted. It received a coat of Conrail blue in the fall of 1976, wearing the bicentennial scheme for only about six months.
- Dynamic brakes
- 2,600 gallon fuel tank
- Golden-white LEDs
- Realistic die-cast underframe
- Five-pole skewed armature motor with dual flywheels for optimum performance at all speeds
- Directional lighting
- Factory-equipped with AccuMate knuckle couplers
- Detailed cab interior with crew
- Separately-installed scale windshield wipers, metal grab irons and fine scale handrails
- Movable drop steps
- Walkway safety tread
- Coupler cut bars
- Multiple unit hoses and trainline hoses
- NMRA 8-pin plug for DCC (Decoder-ready)