Custom Painted P-2000 units

Monday, May 7, 2012

EMD E8A Demonstrator # 952

The E-Unit was the diesel star of the stream liner era. Built by GM's Electro Motive Company, later renamed the Electro Motive Division, the first E was known as the EA with a cab less booster called an EB. In production from  May 1937 to June 1938 six EAs and six EBs were sold to the B&O. Next was the E1 which went into production one month after the EA. Eight E1As and three E1Bs went to the Santa Fe to power the Super Chief. These units introduced the "Warbonnet" paint scheme which was developed by GM artist Leland Knickerbocker. As production progressed and more railroads turned to diesel power the E7 became the best selling passenger diesel of all time. However when Alco released it's PA1 passenger diesel in September 1946 with it's very capable dynamic brake installation it put the E7 at an immediate disadvantage, especially with the western railroads since the E units had no provision or room in the car body for dynamic braking. Despite its drawbacks the E7 did not suffer from reliability problems that plagued the passenger diesels of other builders and EMD was able to sell 428 E7A's and 82 E7B's in little over four years. The last E7s in revenue service ran on New Jersey Transit.

Enter the E8, introduced in August 1949, totally redesigned, inside and out. Dynamic braking, reconfigured prime movers, winterization hatches, better ventilation and a combined fuel and water tank led the EMD to sell 421 E8 A units and 39 B unit. Just 50 short of the E7 record. Not to shabby considering that most railroads were halfway through their dieselization process and competitors Alco, Fairbanks-Morse and Baldwin were offering similarly capable units.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Electro-Motive E unit the New York Central train master treated the train passengers at Empire City Station to the rare EMD E8A Demonstrator # 952. Word has it that an all E unit day with the New York Central, B&O and Pennsylvania RR participating is being lined up for later in the month. Stay tuned and in the meantime enjoy these pictures of the newest addition to my railroad fleet.

 Empire City rail passengers gather around the brightly painted EMD E8 Demonstrator

 NYC 20th Century Limited passengers stare out the window of their observation car
 Head conductor, Engineer and Fireman confer while two old friends greet each other
 Passengers stop and look as they head about their business
 Older brother, B&O E7A, looks on while two policeman chat in the foreground
 Getting ready for departure
 Another policeman watches the crowd on the lookout for pickpockets and loose women.

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