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!
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.
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.
The E7 was available with four different gearing ratios including:
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.
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.
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.
|Entered Production||2/1945 (Baltimore & Ohio #64-A)|
|Years Produced||2/1945 - 4/1949|
|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"|
|Width||10' 6 7/8" (Outside Grab Irons)|
|Weight||316,500 Lbs (A Units): 308,300 Lbs (B Units)|
|Fuel Capacity||1,200 Gallons|
|Air Compressor Model||WXO|
|Air Brake Manufacturer||Westinghouse|
|Air Brake Schedule||24RL|
|Truck Wheelbase||14' 1"|
|Steam Generator Manufacturer||Vapor-Clarkson|
|Steam Generator Capacity||1200 Lbs/Hr|
|Traction Motors||D7 (4), GM|
|Primary Generator||D4 (2), GM|
|Gear Ratio Options||52:25, 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 Speed||117 mph (52:25); 98 mph (55:21); 92 mph (56:21); 85 mph (57:20)|
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|
|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|
|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|
|Milwaukee Road||16A-20A, 16B-20B||3235-3244||E664||5/1946 - 6/1946|
|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|
|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/Chicago & North Western||927A||3506||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 (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|
|Electro-Motive (Demonstrator)||765 (became Union Pacific 988)||4147||5/1947||E765|
|New York Central||4008-4023||4163-4178||E751||4/1947|
|Chicago & North Western||5012A-5017A, 5012B-5016B||4273-4283||E781||9/1947|
|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|
|New York Central||4024-4029||4847-4852||E840||2/1948|
|Central of Georgia||809||5197||E880||6/1948|
|Central of Georgia||810||5242||E880||6/1948|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Chicago, Burlington & Quincy||9936A, 9936B, 9937A||8917-8919||E1006||3/1949|
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|
|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|
|Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific||633B-634B||3461-3462||E650||4/1946 - 5/1946|
|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 (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||6000B-6002B, 6000C-6002C||4218-4223||E767||4/1947|
|New York Central||4108-4113||4853-4858||E840||2/1948|
|Missouri Pacific||7014B-7017B||5447-5450||E905||6/1948 - 7/1948|
|Seaboard Air Line||3105-3107||6153-6155||E978||7/1948|
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.