1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Diesel Locomotives
  4.  ›
  5. EMD E7

EMD "E7" Locomotives

Last revised: July 22, 2023

By: Adam Burns

Electro-Motive's E7 series passenger diesel is generally considered the builder's first in the post-World War II era even though it was introduced in February, 1945, seven months before the conflict officially ended.

It established many of EMD's standardized practices in both the freight and passenger models, including the first passenger diesel to feature the builder's "bulldog" nose look first introduced on the FT in 1939.

The E7 continued Electro-Motive's passenger line that had been formally launched with the EA of 1937, and continued through the E6 of 1940-1942.  As EMD's reputation grew it sold increasingly more E units that reached a crescendo with the E7. Internally, the E7 varied little from the E3 through E6.

Ironically, despite 510 "A" and "B" units constructed be Electro-Motive just one is preserved today; Pennsylvania #5901-A (out-shopped by the builder in September, 1952). 

While she is no longer operable you can see this locomotive adorned in its handsome Tuscan Red livery with cat whiskers, housed indoors at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Ronks, Pennsylvania.  Perhaps most amazing is that more Alco PA's survive than this popular EMD model!

Photos

582009498866o2o402095720498.jpgThis Electro-Motive photo, taken in the spring of 1945, features Great Northern E7A set #504A/B wearing a rare livery ordered for the postwar "Empire Builder." As Bob Le Massena notes: "As was common at the time the motive power arrived long before the cars were delivered. In this instance, the delay was a year-and-a-half. By that time [the] locomotives had been altered somewhat. The simplified mountain goat emblem was removed from each side, replaced by the traditional herald (with its 'Great Northern Railway' name ring around the outside) mounted on a plaque low on the nose door. A second headlight was mounted in the upper half of the door, and the illuminated number-plate was moved upward to a position just below the original headlight. "The Great Northern" in gilt script around the nose was removed to make room for the herald plaque, and the dark green bands which had ended at the new herald were extended on around the nose and curved down to a point on each side of the nose door."

Overview

The E7 was Electro-Motive's first in the series featuring the now-classic "bulldog" nose.  As Brian Solomon notes in his book, "Electro-Motive: E Units And F Units," the ease of War Production Board restrictions on domestic diesel locomotive production enabled EMD to unveil a redesigned passenger model.

In doing so, and after listening to customer feedback, EMD offered many new features on the E7, including standardization of components that were interchangeable among multiple locomotive models.

The E7's internal components were more or less similar, or the same, to earlier models.  While the locomotive did feature a slightly upgraded 12-cylinder, model 567A prime mover (in place of the earlier, original 567 model)  it still carried a 2,000 horsepower rating.

The truck setup remained the same as an A1A-A1A (meaning the center axle was unpowered) and model D7 traction motors.   As a passenger model, the E7 was offered with steam generators; used not only for heating purposes but in some cases with early air-conditioning systems as well.

51k5906294j2572006i27596028482.jpgMilwaukee Road E7A #18-A is seen here in a fresh coat of Armour Yellow at Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1964. Russ Porter photo. American-Rails.com collection.

By 1945 EMD's products were well known for their reliability, efficiency, and ruggedness.  The builder paved the way for the fall of steam thanks to its FT, and then went on to silence the motive power forever with future models like the F3, F7, GP7, GP9, and others. 

285910284127346236162462357889887.jpgKansas City Southern (Louisiana & Arkansas) E7A #12, at the road's engine terminal in Pittsburg, Kansas, circa 1968. This unit was acquired from the Maine Central in 1962. Mac Owen photo. American-Rails.com collection.

The E7 was available with four different gearing ratios including:

  • 52:25 (Maximum Speed = 117 mph)
  • 55:22 (Maximum Speed = 100 mph)
  • 56:21 (Maximum Speed = 92 mph)
  • 57:20 (Maximum Speed = 85 mph)

Numerous railroads would go on purchase the E7, from the Baltimore & Ohio and Atlantic Coast Line to the Milwaukee Road and Southern Pacific, as the industry geared up for the postwar streamliner boom.

Interestingly, not every railroad was satisfied with the E series; Southern Pacific stated they only performed well on relatively flat grades found east of the Mississippi River and were not rugged enough to handle the harsh operating conditions and stiff grades of the West.

Missouri Pacific E7A #4 is showing her age at Poplar Bluff, Missouri, circa 1968. This unit was built for MP subsidiary Texas & Pacific as #2003 in 1947. American-Rails.com collection.

The railroad went on to purchase just one E8 and a handful of E9s.  Interestingly, it found Alco's PA much more to its liking in passenger assignments.  The Santa Fe carried a similar sentiment.  In fact, it purchased no E7s, E8s, or E9s, instead preferring EMD's sure-footed F3 and F7 models to lead its top trains.  

While EMD's entire passenger line was never as successful as its freight models, the E7 proved its most popular as the builder sold some 428 "A" units and 82 "B" units by the time production had ended in the spring of 1949.  It was replaced with the E8, which debuted later that year, a slightly more powerful variant that also incorporated a number of design improvements.

Rock Island E7A #633 is stopped at the Morton Street Depot in Peoria, Illinois with train #11 from Chicago in July, 1968. American-Rails.com collection.

The reliability of Electro-Motive's E7 and later E models could been seen in their longevity.  Many of those not traded in and replaced by the later E8 saw service up until Amtrak, although by that time with service in severe decline many units had been extremely abused and were simply worn out. 

While no E7s actually made it into service on Amtrak, the carrier did utilize a number of aging E8s, E9s, FL9s, and FP7s.  Sadly, the Rock Island, which could not afford to join the new carrier (railroads had to pay a fee to the carrier to hand over their remaining passenger trains), continued to use some of its worn out E7s in passenger assignment through the latter 1970s.

Data Sheet and Specifications

Entered Production2/1945 (Baltimore & Ohio #64-A)
Years Produced2/1945 - 4/1949
Engine567A (2)
Engine BuilderGM
Horsepower2000
RPM800
Cylinders12
Length (E7A)71' 1 ¼" (End of Couplers)
Length (E7B)70' 0" (End of Couplers)
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)13' 11"
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Roof Horn)14' 10"
Width10' 6 7/8" (Outside Grab Irons)
Weight316,500 Lbs (A Units): 308,300 Lbs (B Units)
Fuel Capacity1,200 Gallons
Air CompressorGardner-Denver
Air Compressor ModelWXO
Air Brake ManufacturerWestinghouse
Air Brake Schedule24RL
TrucksA1A
Truck TypeBlomberg
Truck Wheelbase14' 1"
Wheel Size36"
Steam Generator ManufacturerVapor-Clarkson
Steam Generator Capacity1200 Lbs/Hr
Traction MotorsD7 (4), GM
Primary GeneratorD4 (2), GM
Auxiliary GeneratorDelco
MU (Multiple-Unit)Yes
Dynamic BrakesNo
Gear Ratio Options52:25, 55:21, 56:21, 57:20
Tractive Effort (Continuous)19,500 Lbs (52:25); 23,500 Lbs (55:21); 25,000 Lbs (56:21); 27,000 Lbs (57:20)
Top Speed117 mph (52:25); 98 mph (55:21); 92 mph (56:21); 85 mph (57:20)

Production Rosters

E7A

Total Built = 428

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date
Alton Railroad 101, 101A 1671-1672 E490 3/1945
Baltimore & Ohio 64(A), 64(B), 66(A), 66(B) 1673-1676 E472 2/1945
Seaboard Air Line 3017-3020 1929-1932 E534 3/1945
Chicago & North Western 5007B 1966 E536 4/1945
Alton Railroad 102, 102A, 103, 103A 2003-2006 E544 3/1945
Florida East Coast 1006-1007 2293-2294 E578 4/1945
Louisville & Nashville 458A-461A, 458B-461B 2366-2373 E591 4/1945
Great Northern 500A-504A, 500B-504B 2428-2437 E605 4/1945, 6/1945
Florida East Coast 1008-1017 2521-2530 E607 6/1945
Atlantic Coast Line 529-531 2827-2829 E635 6/1945, 8/1945
New York Central 4000-4003 2865-2868 E639 3/1945
New York Central 4004-4007 2869-2872 E639 10/1945
Seaboard Air Line 3021-3030 2875-2884 E640 8/1945 - 9/1945
Missouri Pacific 7004 2895 E641 9/1945
Baltimore & Ohio 68(A), 68(B), 70(A), 70(B), 72(A), 72(B), 74(A), 74(B), 76(A), 76(B), 78(A), 78(B), 80(A), 80(B) 2897-2910 E642 9/1945 - 10/1945
Pere Marquette 101-102 2911-2912 E643 6/1946
Chicago Burlington & Quincy 9916A,B-9925A,B 2938-2957 E646 11/1945
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 632-636 3094-3098 E650 4/1946 - 5/1946
Chicago & North Western 5008A-5008B, 5009A 3112-3114 E652 5/1946
Atlantic Coast Line 524-528 3185-3189 E657 3/1945 - 4/1945
Southern 2905-2916 3194-3205 E658 5/1946
Alton Railroad 100 3218 E660 5/1946
Wabash 1000 3226 E662 8/1946
Milwaukee Road 16A-20A, 16B-20B 3235-3244 E664 5/1946 - 6/1946
Illinois Central 4005-4015 3265-3275 E666 9/1946
Boston & Maine 3800-3801 3339-3340 E670 9/1945
Boston & Maine 3802-3815 3341-3354 E670 6/1946
Chicago & North Western 5009B 3355 E652 5/1946
Pennsylvania 5900A-5901A 3356-3357 E671 9/1945
Maine Central 705-708 3366-3369 E670 6/1946
Chicago & Eastern Illinois 1100-1101 3374-3375 E674 5/1946
Central of Georgia 801-807 3384-3390 E676 9/1946
Atlantic Coast Line 532-537 3408-3413 E635 6/1946
Union Pacific 959A-960A 3504-3505 E690 8/1946
Union Pacific/Chicago & North Western 927A 3506 E690 8/1946
Union Pacific 930A-931A 3507-3508 E690 8/1946
Union Pacific/Southern Pacific/Chicago & North Western 907A 3509 E690 8/1946
Chicago & Eastern Illinois 1102 3585 E674 9/1946
Seaboard Air Line 3031-3034 3611-3614 E697 9/1946
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 637-638 3733-3734 E712 9/1946
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 639-642 3735-3738 E712 2/1948
Central of Georgia 808 3754 E714 9/1946
Missouri Pacific 7010-7011 3758-3759 E715 3/1947
Missouri Pacific 7005-7006 3762-3763 E716 3/1947
Missouri Pacific (International-Great Northern) 7012 3764 E717 3/1947
Missouri Pacific (International-Great Northern) 7007 3766 E718 3/1947
Texas & Pacific (Missouri Pacific) 2000-2001 3767-3768 E719 3/1947
Missouri Pacific (St Louis, Brownsville & Mexico) 7008-7009 3887-3888 E724 3/1947
St Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) 2001, 2004, 2002, 2005, 2000, 2003 3917-3922 E732 3/1947
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) 101A, 101B 3934-3935 E738 3/1947
Texas & Pacific (Missouri Pacific) 2002-2007 3936-3941 E739 3/1947
Chicago & North Western 5010A-5011A, 5010B-5011B 3972-3975 E744 3/1947
Pennsylvania 5840A-5855A 3976-3991 E745 8/1947 - 9/1947
Wabash 1001, 1001A 4084-4085 E758 4/1947
Electro-Motive (Demonstrator) 765 (became Union Pacific 988) 4147 5/1947 E765
Southern Pacific 6003A-6004A 4150-4151 E807 8/1947
Southern Pacific 6000A-6002A 4152-4154 E767 4/1947
New York Central 4008-4023 4163-4178 E751 4/1947
Pere Marquette 103-106 4252-4255 E776 04/47
Chicago & North Western 5012A-5017A, 5012B-5016B 4273-4283 E781 9/1947
Great Northern 510A-512A 4338-4340 E801 8/1947
Florida East Coast 1018-1022 4390-4394 E788 8/1947
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 9926A-9929A, 9926B-9929B 4433-4440 E792 9/1947
Seaboard Air Line 3035 4444 E697 9/1946
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 9930A, 9930B, 9949 4499-4501 E792 9/1947
Pere Marquette 107-108 4722-4723 E821 8/1947
Missouri Pacific 7013 4795 E833 9/1947
New York Central 4024-4029 4847-4852 E840 2/1948
Pennsylvania 5856A-5865A 5073-5082 E864 2/1948
Illinois Central 4016-4017 5149-5150 E873 6/1948
Central of Georgia 809 5197 E880 6/1948
Central of Georgia 810 5242 E880 6/1948
Illinois Central 4000 5385 E899 8/1947
Missouri Pacific 7014-7017 5443-5446 E905 6/1948 - 7/1948
Boston & Maine 3816-3819 5623-5626 E927 7/1948
Atlantic Coast Line 538-543 5677-5682 E935 7/1948
Seaboard Air Line 3036-3040 6028-6032 E969 2/1948
Seaboard Air Line 3041-3044 6149-6152 E978 7/1948
New York Central 4030-4035 6241-6246 E987 3/1949
Chesapeake & Ohio 95-98 6262-6265 E992 7/1948
Wabash 1002 6499 E1002 3/1949
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 9931A-9933A, 9931B-9933B 6500-6505 E1006 3/1949
Chicago & North Western 5017B, 5018A-5019A, 5018B-5019B, 5020A 6592-6597 E1012 3/1949
Maine Central 709-711 6647-6649 E1017 7/1948
Southern 2917-2922 6859-6864 E1031 4/1949
Louisville &a Nashville 790-793 7600-7603 E1082 3/1949
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 750 7632 E1088 7/1948
Pennsylvania 5866A-5879A 7836-7849 E1113 3/1949 - 4/1949
Seaboard Air Line 3045-3048 8259-8262 E1146 4/1949
Bangor & Aroostook 700 8417 E1163 4/1949
Texas & Pacific (Missouri Pacific) 2008-2009 8464-8465 E1170 4/1949
Boston & Maine 3820 8475 E1172 4/1949
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 9934A-9935A, 9934B-9935B 8488-8491 E1006 3/1949
Bangor & Aroostook 701 8615 E1163 4/1949
Pennsylvania 5880A-5883A 8619-8622 E1113 4/1949
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 9936A, 9936B, 9937A 8917-8919 E1006 3/1949

E7B

Total Built = 82

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date
Florida East Coast 1052 2295 E578 4/1945
Florida East Coast 1053-1054 2531-2532 E608 6/1945
Atlantic Coast Line 759-764 2830-2835 E635 6/1945 - 8/1945
New York Central 4100-4101 2873-2874 E639 10/1945
Missouri Pacific 7004B 2896 E641 9/1945
New York Central 4102-4103 2913-2914 E639 10/1945
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 632B 3099 E650 4/1946
Atlantic Coast Line 755-758 3190-3193 E657 3/1945 - 4/1945
Illinois Central 4100-4102 3276-3278 E666 9/1946
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 633B-634B 3461-3462 E650 4/1946 - 5/1946
Union Pacific 961B-963B 3510-3512 E690 8/1946
Union Pacific/Chicago & North Western 928B-929B 3513-3514 E690 8/1946
Union Pacific/Southern Pacific/Chicago & North Western 908B-909B 3515-3516 E690 8/1946
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 637B-638B 3739-3740 E712 9/1946
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 639B-642B 3741-3744 E712 2/1948
Missouri Pacific 7010B-7011B 3760-3761 E715 3/1947
Missouri Pacific (International-Great Northern) 7012B 3765 E717 3/1947
Pennsylvania 5840B-5854B (Evens) 3992-3999 E745 8/1947 - 9/1947
Southern Pacific 6003B, 6003C, 6004B 4155-4157 E807 8/1947
New York Central 4104-4107 4179-4182 E751 4/1947
Southern Pacific 6004C 4217 E807 8/1947
Southern Pacific 6000B-6002B, 6000C-6002C 4218-4223 E767 4/1947
New York Central 4108-4113 4853-4858 E840 2/1948
Pennsylvania 5856B-5864B (Evens) 5083-5087 E864 2/1948
Pennsylvania 5900B 5088 E884 4/1947
Illinois Central 4103 5151 E873 6/1948
Missouri Pacific 7014B-7017B 5447-5450 E905 6/1948 - 7/1948
Seaboard Air Line 3105-3107 6153-6155 E978 7/1948

An aging Pennsylvania E7A, #5872, lays over in Bay Head, New Jersey along the New York & Long Branch on April 3, 1966. Author's collection.

Pennsylvania #5901-A

As a comparison, the only other locomotive builder to truly compete in the passenger model market with EMD was Alco and its PA series. 

While often considered the most beautiful diesel locomotive ever built, unfortunately its early 244 prime mover, a troublesome engine in main line service, caused many railroads to shy away from Alco.

Today, Pennsylvania #5901-A has been beautifully restored (cosmetically) at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and is housed indoors and out of the elements, where it can be regularly visited by the general public.

Sources

  • Foster, Gerald. A Field Guide To Trains. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
  • Hayden, Bob. Diesel Locomotives: Cyclopedia, Volume 2 (Model Railroader). Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1980.
  • Marre, Louis A. Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, A Guide To Diesels Built Before 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. Diesel Spotter's Guide.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967.
  • Rail Heritage Publications. Early Diesel-Electric and Electric Locomotives. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1983.
  • Solomon, Brian.  EMD Locomotives.  Minneapolis: MBI Publishing Company, 2006.
  • Solomon, Brian.  Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America's Favorite Locomotives.  Minneapolis:  Voyageur Press, 2011.

Recent Articles

  1. The Wootten Firebox: Designed By John E. Wootten

    Jun 14, 24 11:34 PM

    15239082u62800097.jpg
    The Wootten Firebox was designed by John Wootten in 1877 to burn low-grade, anthracite coal slag known as culm, which led to the creation of the Mother Hubbard or Camelback locomotive.

    Read More

  2. Nickel Plate Road #765: Hosting Excursions Since 1979

    Jun 14, 24 10:43 PM

    682034872230u52006.jpg
    Nickel Plate Road 765 is a 2-8-4 Berkshire. Today, it is owned and operated by the Fort Wayne Railway Historical Society.

    Read More

  3. The "Fleet of Modernism": PRR's 'Blue Ribbon' Streamliners

    Jun 14, 24 09:43 PM

    prr_fom.jpg
    The Fleet of Modernism was a term describing the Pennsy's first streamliners from the General to the Liberty Limited.

    Read More