However, with their new U25B, GE had a number or large railroads place orders based upon the success of the demonstrator tour. Orders were placed by Santa Fe, Chesapeake & Ohio, Burlington, Milwaukee Road, Rock Island, Erie Lackawanna, Great Northern, Louisville & Nashville, New York Central, New Haven, Pennsy, Frisco, Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Wabash. (Norfolk & Western purchased one to replace a former Wabash unit that was wrecked.) Many of these engines passed on to roads created through mergers, such as Burlington Northern, Norfolk & Western, Penn Central and Conrail, or were sold to other carriers, such as Rock Island’s U25s going to Maine Central.
Rio Grande tested the demos, but ultimately remained a solid EMD customer until the end, and Western Pacific and other roads that tested but didn’t purchase U25Bs, did place orders later, when the US economy improved, for subsequent GE U-Boat models. Even railroads that were not impressed initially, such as the Southern, became customers of GE diesels by the end of the 60s.
The initial demonstrators were high-hood units, with forward vision similar to EMD’s popular GP7 and GP9 models. By the early 60s most railroads were purchasing low-nosed engines to allow better froward visibility, and GE released demonstrator 2501 with a low-nose as well. This variation was the most common version, and all the railroads that purchased U25B had the low-nose version.