EMD "E5" Locomotives

Last revised: February 22, 2022

By: Adam Burns

The EMC E5 was one of the final cab models the builder produced for passenger services before becoming an official division of General Motors.

Like most other early E models EMC the E5 was built exclusively for a single railroad, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.

Internally, it was virtually identical to every other E model save for its relatively new GM prime mover. Externally, the only significant change from previous designs then cataloged (the EA, E1, E2, E3, and E4) was the addition of fluted stainless steel, a trademark of both the Burlington's passenger trains and the Budd Company. 

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (Colorado & Southern) E5A #9950-A, named the "Silver Racer" and one of the lead units for the "Texas Zephyr," is seen here at Dallas Union Station during the 1950s. American-Rails.com collection.

Internally, the E5 was virtually identical to its future cousin, the E6.  It carried two 567 prime movers capable of a combined 2,000 horsepower and A1A-A1A trucks. 

It featured a few ornamental differences, most notably fluted stainless steel to match the Budd Company equipment.  Today, #9911A (the Silver Pilot) is preserved and operable at the Illinois Railway Museum, using an original consist of equipment.

A pair of Burlington E5A's have the northbound "Texas Zephyr" just north of Trinidad, Colorado. Based on the paltry consist, this scene was probably taken in the mid-1960s, shortly before the train was discontinued. American-Rails.com collection.

The EMC E5 began production in early 1940. It was ordered by the CB&Q to power the railroad's new Zephyr passenger train fleet which included names like the Afternoon Zephyr, Morning Zephyr, Nebraska Zephyr, Ak-Sar-Ben Zephyr, and the American Royal Zephyr

Per Electro-Motive's common practice for passenger models, the E5 used an A1A-A1A truck setup (meaning the center axle was unpowered) and featured two GM model 567 prime movers; combined these could produce 2,000 horsepower. 

Additionally, using four of GM's standard model D7 traction motors the E5 offered 56,500 pounds of starting tractive effort and 31,000 pounds continuous.

Once again, EMC gave the E5 a "slant nose" design, commonly used on the E3 and E4, which disappeared entirely following the E6 as both E and F models used the classic "bulldog" design.

Fort Worth & Denver (Burlington) E5B #9980-B, named the "Silver Warrior." American-Rails.com collection.

Production of the EMC E5 ran through mid-1941 and although the design was manufactured for over a year only 11 E5As and 5 E5Bs were built.

The CB&Q first began receiving its locomotives in February and March of 1940 when E5A's 9910A-9912A, 9909, and Fort Worth & Denver City 9980A arrived along with E5Bs 9910B-9912B, Colorado & Southern 9950B, and Fort Worth & Denver City 9980B.

That concluded its order of B units but another A arrived in October of that year, CB&Q 9913. Finally, in June of 1941 just months before the United State entered World War II A units 9914A, 9914B, 9915A, and 9915B arrived completing the order.

The Burlington apparently really liked their E5s as they remained in service all of the way through the 1960s although some units were retired prior to that time.

Electro-Motive E5 Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy9909, 9910A-9912A, 9913, 9914A-9915A, 9914B-9915B91940-1941
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy9910B-9912B (E5B)31940-1941
Colorado & Southern Railway (CB&Q)9950A11940
Colorado & Southern Railway (CB&Q)9950B (E5B)11940
Fort Worth & Denver City Railway (CB&Q)9980A11940
Fort Worth & Denver City Railway (CB&Q)9980B (E5B)11940

In many ways, the E5 was simply a variant design as the company had already began production on the E6 in 1939 that coincided with the release of its publicly successful FT model used in freight service.

The E6 sold more than 100 A an B units and the following E7 and E8 designs outshopped more than 1,000 altogether.

Locomotive Names

"A" Units (Cabs)

Road Number Name Date Built Disposition
9909 (CB&Q)Silver Bullet3/1940Colorado & Southern 9953 (11/9/1955), EMD Trade-In (3/15/1968)
9910-A (CB&Q)Silver Speed2/1940Colorado & Southern 9951-A (7/14/1955), EMD Trade-In (10/31/1967)
9911-A (CB&Q)Silver Pilot2/1940Fort Worth & Denver #9982-A (6/1/1955), Colorado & Southern 9952-A (10/1/1955), Illinois Railway Museum
9912-A (CB&Q)Silver Meteor3/1940GE Trade-In (3/1965)
9913 (CB&Q)Silver Wings10/1940Colorado & Southern 9954 (4/25/1957), EMD Trade-In (3/15/1968)
9914-A (CB&Q)Silver Arrow6/1941Colorado & Southern 9955 (9/20/1961), EMD Trade-In (3/15/1968)
9914-B (CB&Q)Silver Swift6/1941Wrecked (8/22/1960)
9915-A (CB&Q)Silver Carrier6/1941Wrecked (4/22/1963), GE Trade-In (3/1965)
9915-B (CB&Q)Silver Clipper6/1941GE Trade-In (3/1965)
9950-A (C&S)Silver Racer3/1940EMD Trade-In (3/15/1968)
9980-A (FW&D)Silver Chief3/1940Scrapped

"B" Units (Cabless)

Road Number Name Date Built Disposition
9910-B (CB&Q)Silver Power2/1940Scrapped
9911-B (CB&Q)Silver Mate3/1940Scrapped
9912-B (CB&Q)Silver Comet3/1940Scrapped
9914-B (CB&Q)Silver Swift3/1940Scrapped
9950-B (C&S)Silver Steed3/1940Trade-In (10/1967)
9980-B (FW&D)Silver Warrior3/1940Scrapped


Chicago, Burlington & Quincy E5A #9980-A, named the "Silver Chief," has the "Texas Zephyr" in Fort Worth, Texas during the 1950s. American-Rails.com collection.

By the time the war had ended EMD was fully entrenched as the leader of the diesel locomotive market pulling away from the American Locomotive Company whose beautiful but mechanically trouble-prone PA fell behind the E series in sales and interest.

General Motors' subsidiary would soon begin to dominate the industry by the 1950s releasing models like the GP7 and GP9. 

In any event, as mentioned above one of these beautiful locomotives was preserved, #9911A, which resides at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is occasionally operates and has even been featured in movies (notably "A League of Their Own" and "Flags of Our Fathers").

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