NdeM No. 5406 in 1966
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder GM-EMD
Build date 1959-1968
AAR wheel arr. B-B
Prime mover GM 8-567C

The EMD GA8 was an export locomotive designed by GM-EMD in the late 1950s as a simplified design for use on overseas railways with light rail and sharp curves.[1] At the time of its introduction it was described as an extremely lightweight road locomotive capable of handling passenger or freight trains and switching.[2] The locomotive is notable for its use of freight car trucks that are driven by cardan shafts and two traction motors attached to the underframe. Measuring 32 feet 6 inches, they are equipped with an 8-567C prime mover capable of producing 875 bhp or 800 hp traction.[1] Due to the design, most servicing and maintenance could be done without removing the traction motors from the underframe or trucks of the locomotive. The units were built without multiple unit connection capability so electrical components are kept to a minimum.[1] The EMD GL8 was a derivative design introduced in 1960 that is similar to the GA8 but used standard B-B or A1A-A1A trucks and was equipped with multiple unit capability. The EMD GA8 prototype demonstrator unit was built in late 1958 or early 1959 [3] and export customer production commenced in 1960. The GA8 demonstrator also attracted considerable attention from several US railroads[2] although ultimately none would ever purchase the locomotive for domestic use. Several countries purchased the locomotive[4] and examples are still in operation today.

Original Owners







South Africa

South Korea




EMD GA8 line drawing 
FCAB (Antofagasta y Bolivia) 952 


  1. 1 2 3 "American Export Unit", Diesel Railway Traction, p. 470, 1959
  2. 1 2 Sawyer, R. Tom, "Locomotive Progress", "Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen's Magazine", p. 24, 1959
  3. http://emdexport.railfan.net/demos10.html
  4. http://www.trainweb.org/emdloco/ga8.htm GA8 Order Summary

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