The prototype Dash 8-40CM (also known as the C40-8M) was introduced in 1990 with an order of 30 units for Canadian National (2400-2429), classified EF-640a. This was followed by a further 25 units (2430-2454) in 1992, classified EF-640b.
Powered by a V16 FDL 4000-horsepower prime mover, the main features of this distinctive design are the four-window North American cab, the cowl-style body and the famous "Draper Taper" cutout behind the cabs (designed by CN's Assistant Chief of Motive Power, William L. Draper to provide better reverse visibility on full-width cowl units). These great-looking locomotives always turn railfan heads!
BC Rail received 22 units (4601-4622) in 1990, followed by four more (4623-26) in 1993. These were transferred to CN following the purchase of BCOL in 2004. The final units were for QNSL, which acquired three locomotives (401-403) in March 1994.
Amazingly, in early 2018 all 81 CN and BC Rail Dash 8s were still in service. Many are still in their original paint schemes but several have been repainted into the newer CN.CA livery.
Although considered a Canada-only locomotive, make regular visits to Chicago via CN's Grand Trunk Western route through Michigan and Indiana in the mid-1990s and sometimes further afield as run-through power. However, it was CN's purchase of the Illinois Central in 1998 that really expanded their range of use and it became common to see Dash 8-40CMs as far south as the Gulf Coast and all points in between, on and off CN/IC track. CN's units were joined on their foreign adventures by BC Rail's units from 2004.
If you operate modern CN consists you'll find Dash 8-40CMs in all kinds of service working coupler to coupler with every other class of CN, IC and GTW power as well as on connecting railroads.