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Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 9906-9907

EMC 1800 hp B-B

Electro-Motive Corporation (later Electro-Motive Division, General Motors) produced five 1800 hp B-B experimental passenger train-hauling Diesel locomotives in 1935; two company-owned demonstrators, No. 511 and No. 512, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's No. 50, and two units for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Diesel Locomotive No. 1. The twin engine power unit layout and multiple unit control systems developed with the B-B locomotives were soon adopted for other locomotives such as the Burlington Route's Zephyr locomotives built by the Budd Company in 1936 and EMC's own EMD E-units introduced in 1937. The B-B locomotives worked as proof-of-concept demonstrators for Diesel power with the service loads of full size trains, breaking out of its niche powering the smaller custom Streamliners.

In 1935 EMC was starting its transition from a design and marketing company to a locomotive building company; development of regular production model locomotives was occurring before they had the capability to build locomotives. Construction of carbodies for EMC demonstrators No. 511 and No. 512, and B&O No. 50 was contracted to General Electric's Erie, Pennsylvania works, and AT&SF No. 1 was contracted to St. Louis Car Company. Like most boxcabs, they initially had control cabs at both ends, a feature that would only rarely be repeated in future North American locomotives, although it would become common elsewhere. Power was provided by twin 900 hp (670 kW) 12 cylinder Winton 201-A Diesel engines in each power unit, exceeding by 50% the most power that could be attained with a single engine at that time. The added "headroom" in power extended the life of mechanical parts, which was a critical issue with early Diesel engines in locomotives. The units were built with AAR type B two-axle trucks. As development design locomotives, modifications were frequently made to them to overcome various teething problems; the EMC demonstrators spent considerable time in aluminum paint substituting for the units under modification.

EMC 1800 hp B-B Locomotives
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: Electro-Motive Corporation
Build date: 1935
Total produced: 5
​ • AAR B-B
Prime mover: Winton 201-A (two)
Engine type: V12 diesel
Cylinders: 12
Performance figures
Power output: 1,800 hp (1.34 MW)
Official name: 1800 hp B-B
Locale: North America
Disposition: One preserved, remainder scrapped

See also:

Denver Zephyr Passenger Train

Electro-Motive Diesel

EMC-EMD Locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives


CB&Q's Denver Zephyr No. 9906A in 1943.

Photo by Jack Delano, Library of Congress.

CB&Q's Denver Zephyr No. 9906A in 1943. Photo by Jack Delano, Library of Congress.
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CB&Q 9906, the Silver King, one of several EMC 1800 hp B-B diesel locomotives built in the 1930s.

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