A postcard photo of Santa Fe EMC E1 No. 4 at Union Station, San Diego, California. From the card: "San Diego is fortunate in having its modern railway station in the heart of the city's business district."
An EMC E1 on the Golden Gate passenger train, circa 1938.
Significance and influence
The E1—along with the more-or-less simultaneous EA/EB for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the E2 for the Union Pacific Railroad, Chicago and North Western Railway and Southern Pacific Railroad—represented an important step in the evolution of the passenger diesel locomotive. While the EA, E1 and E2 were each built for a specific railroad, they were largely identical mechanically and were a step further away from the custom-built, integrated streamliner and towards mass-produced passenger locomotives—a step achieved with the E3, E4, E5, and E6, EMD's next models.
The EA/EB and E1 featured largely identical and innovative styling showing the influence of the Electro-Motive Corporation's new buyer General Motors. While mechanically they had much in common with previous, experimental EMC locomotives, GM understood the importance of looking new and exciting, not merely being technically innovative. This basic "slant nose" style was continued in the subsequent E3, E4, E5 and E6 models, while a more "bulldog nose" style was tried in the E2 and a style somewhere in between was used for the E7, E8 and E9, as well as the freight diesel cab units. It could fairly be said that the overall styling influenced passenger locomotives around the world. The "shovelnose" styling was modified on later models because the streamlined headlight was found less satisfactory than more common types with vertical lenses, and the elegantly sloped nose had a bad habit of deflecting vehicles up toward the cab in a grade crossing collision. More enduring was the paint scheme—E1 number two and her booster No. 2A were the first locomotives to wear the world-famous Santa Fe "Warbonnet" red and silver colors. In fact, these units used stainless steel sides on the carbody to better match the road's new stainless passenger cars. Interestingly, this decor was not developed by the Santa Fe, but by EMC—or rather, by GM's Art and Color section.
Numbers and assignments
Each E1 was initially ordered for and assigned to a particular train. The ATSF practice was to give all locomotive units in a set the same number, distinguished by letter. The lead unit was designated 'L', but this was not carried on its numberboards. The second unit was 'A'; subsequent units were 'B', 'C', if present. This numbering was part of the railroads' ultimately successful campaign to convince the railroad unions that a multiple-unit diesel locomotive should be considered one locomotive of several parts (and thus needing only one crew) rather than multiple locomotives requiring multiple crews under union agreements.
2 and 2A - for the original streamlined Super Chief.
3 and 3A - for the second streamlined Super Chief trainset.
4 and 4A - backup power for the Super Chief.
5 - for the El Capitan.
6 - for the El Capitan.
7 - for the San Diegan.
8 - for the Golden Gate.
9 - for the Golden Gate.
EMC E-1 Overview
List of EMC and GM-EMD locomotives
Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.
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