GE Super 88

Pacific Lumber Compay 101 of Northwest California was the first to employ the distinctive Super 88. (Charles Heimerdinger Jr, photo / Jeff Moore collection)

General Electric's center cab locomotive concept during the 1940s and 1950s afforded the builder an effective means of producing a wide-range of 35 to 80-ton railroad and industrial -type switchers in standard and narrow-gauge configuration. It also facilitated the response to customers with special clearance, performance and extra-ordinary horsepower requirements. One such locomotive was the Super 88; rated at 940-hp, it clearly out-muscled all other center cabs to the exclusion of large Baldwin and Lima six-axle transfer power.

The 88 was driven by a pair of Cummins VT12 prime movers that were capable of producing a whooping 1200 horsepower; however in this application 940 hp was the max. Production of the limited-run model (only ten copies built) began in February 1956 and concluded in December of 1958. Although not initially viewed as an export model, seven of the ten 88s saw service beyond U.S. borders. (See accompanying roster).

At first glance, the Super 88 could be easily mistaken for a standard 80-ton model; but there are a few features that make a distinction easy:

  • Leading edge of hood is nearly vertical rather than sloped
  • There is no walkway at either end of frame
  • Dual exhaust stacks are present on each engine hood (first three units built had a large single stack).
  • Tall vertical air compressor box on walkway adjacent to cab

Prepared by: R. Craig Rutherford (1 April 2023)

Columbia Business Center

CBCX 102 (ex-Pacific Lumber same #) had been stored for several years until acquired by the business park in 1996.(Charles Stookey photo at Vancouver, Washington on 16 December 2008)

Cerveceria Moxtezuma Brewery

Moctezuma CM5's single large exhaust stack helps identify the 80-tonner as ex-Pacific Lumber #103. The four-axle loco is believed to be the only Super 88 to work in Mexico. (Matt Herson photo / Jeff Moore collection)

Winifrede Railroad

Winifrede RR's 80-ton #12 went to work for the West Virginia short line during the Summer of 1957. However, the acquisition of a new SW1500 by the railroad in 1969 pushed the GE into retirement and eventual sale. (GE Builder photo found on internet)

Diamond Shamrock

This photo of Diamond Shamrock #22 (ex-Winifrede #12) clearly shows the twin-exhaust stacks utilized on the Super 88s that were constructed by GE after January 1957.(George C. Werner photo on 5 May 1973 at Deer Park, Texas.**)

Southwest Electric Power Company

Super 88 #777 (ex-Winifrede #12) was acquired by SWEPCO in 1978, and it spent most of its time prior to retirement at the power plant in Alliance Nebraska. (Jim Altman photo on 14 May 1984 at Alliance / Chuck Zeiler collection)

Red River Valley RR Historical Society

In 1994, ownership of the ex-Winifrede 80-ton unit was transferred to the RRVRHS. Based on the last report, the four-axle switcher presently resides across the street from the train station in Shreveport, Louisiana. (Jamie Swain photo)
Missing Photos

Photos of the six Super 88s shipped to owners in Cuba are not readily available nor is information on their history.

Reference Source:

Super 88 Roster

Prepared with the assistance of Mark Nilges
Serial # (Tons) Original Owner Road # Bldr date Batch Number Notes
32395 (80T) Pacific Lumber Co. 101 2/1956 -- Sold to Oregan Pacific > Columbia Business Center (1996)
32413 (80T) Pacific Lumber Co. 102 12/1956 -- Sold to Oregon Pacific > Columbia Business Center (1997)
32414 (80T) Pacific Lumber Co. 103 12/1956 -- Sold in 1980 to Cerveceria Moctezuma Brewery (Vera Cruz, Mexico)
32415 (77T) Cubana S.A. ?? 11/1957 -- --
32416 (80T) Cubana S.A. ?? 6/1958 -- --
32820 (80T) Winifrede RR 12 7/1957 -- Sold to Diamond Shamrock #22
32821 (82T) GE Cubana S.A. ?? 10/1958 -- --
32822 (82T) GE Cubana S.A. ?? 11/1958 -- --
32823 (82T) GE Cubana S.A. ?? 11/1958 -- --
32824 (82T) GE Cubana S.A. ?? 12/1958 -- --

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