With its vast, far flung system, Canadian National has historically always been subject to large scale motive power acquisitions. During the steam era the national carrier would assemble the largest fleet of Northern Type (4-8-4) locomotives; some two hundred and three. The diesel era would be no different; so called first generation motive power, among much builder variety, would be dominated by hundreds of Richard M Dilworth’s fabulous ‘Geep’s’ (system GP9 total: 434). The second generation of motive power would initially be populated by over two hundred SD40’s, delivered in the late 1960’s, followed a few years later by an even larger number of GP40-2’s fitted with the infamous CN developed ‘Comfort Cab’ or ‘Safety Cab’.
In a repeat of history (the Northern Pacific Railway acquired the first 4-8-4 and established the ‘Northern’ name), while Canadian National would amass the largest fleet of GMD GP40-2’s they did not receive the first. That honour would to GO Transit when it took delivery of No. 9808 in December of 1973, three months ahead of CN 9400. CN would go on to order a total of two hundred and sixty-eight wide cab GP40-2’s from GMD and, in 1991, add ten of the eleven built for GO Transit.