Dieselpunks.org | September 16, 2012
One cannot but admire the pace of progress during the Diesel Era:
Three years after the introduction of lightweight diesel-powered streamline units, much more powerful locomotives were ready to haul full-weight trains. These locomotives, designed and built by EMC (Electro-Motive Corporation of La Grange, IL), were a serious competition to steam power. To tell their story, I used a number of quality sources: A History of Union Pacific Dieselization, 1934-1982 by Don Strack, Industrial Artifacts Review, Streamliner Memories, American-Rails.com, and rgusrail.com.
The subject of the above photo has been described as “the most famous face in all of dieseldom.” It is the steel body of the first streamlined passenger unit built by GMs’ Electro-Motive Corporation in its new plant in La Grange, Illinois. This cab unit and a matching booster were built for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and began operating on April 25, 1937.
Electro-Motive continued to refine its design for a stand-alone passenger locomotive, based on what it had learned with the five 1,800-horsepower B-B (two two-axle trucks, with all axles powered) boxcab units it built for Santa Fe and B&O, and the two demonstrators, all completed between the delivery of M-10001 in May 1935 and the delivery of M-10002 in May 1936. One of the lessons was that the two-axle trucks did not operate well at high speeds, especially when entering curved trackage. Another major lesson was that these high-speed locomotives needed to be streamlined, similar to the M-10003 to M-10006 power sets delivered to UP in May to July 1936.
EMC’s answer to these two problems was the model EA locomotive, introduced in May 1937, with six cab units and six booster units being supplied to B&O, and the E1 locomotive introduced in June 1937. (The model designation “E” stemmed from the original powering at Eighteen-hundred horsepower.) Eight E1As and three E1Bs were delivered to Santa Fe.
via paul.malon @ Flickr