GP7 / GP9
General Motor's Electro-Motive Division produced the GP (General Purpose) locomotive to address road switching operations. These road switchers were built between 1949 and 1963. In total, approximately 2,700 GP7's were built and 3,400 GP9’s – mainly for US and Canadian railways.
The GP’s were designed for both freight and passenger service and would become an instant success with freight hauling lines. With improved front and rear visibility due to its center cab design, as well as lower maintenance costs, the GP7 was an immediate victory for railroads. In the mid-1950’s EMD increased the output of these units to 1,750 horsepower and were sold under the GP9 series.
Lionel began production of their version of the GP7 diesel in 1955 and subsequently in 1958, Lionel introduced the GP9 in their product line. For Lionel, the distinguishing feature between the 7 and 9 locomotive was the inclusion of a dynamic brake blister on top of the GP9. On the real railroad, both the GP7 and GP9 came with or without this dynamic brake blister unit.