In 1953, Alco and General Electric went their separate ways, ending the partnership that had produced some of the handsomest first-generation diesel units, the FA and PA. Seven years later, GE was back in the market with the U25B, its first self-produced road locomotive and the product of an intensive research and development effort. By 1963, GE sales surpassed those of its former partner, and the company became a serious threat to EMD's market dominance. The nation's diesel builders were locked in a horsepower race as railroads bought second-generation power to replace the first-generation diesels that had killed the steam engine. In 1966, General Electric introduced the six-axle, 3000 hp U30C, aimed directly at EMD's equally powerful SD40.
While the U30C did not outsell the SD40, it became General Electric's best-selling "U-boat." It set the stage for GE to pull ahead of EMD in diesel sales by 1983, and stay ahead to this day. Over the course of a 10-year production run, nearly 600 U30Cs were sold to 17 class one railroads, while other roads such as Conrail acquired them in mergers. Union Pacific and Burlington Northern owned the largest fleets, with BN using its U30Cs to haul coal from the massive Powder River Basin deposits in Montana and Wyoming. Many U30Cs served nearly three decades before retirement in the early 1990s. GE's most popular Universal-series diesel returns to the M.T.H. lineup, with all the features you expect in a Premier diesel: superb detailing; accurate paint schemes; bold, prototypical sounds; and smooth, steady operation at any speed from a crawl to full throttle.