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The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad introduces its newest with its oldest. The famous Tom Thumb is posed with a shiny EA built by Electro-Motive Corporation of La Grange, Illinois, May 25, 1937. (Wide World Photos)
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The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad introduces its newest with its oldest. The famous Tom Thumb is posed with a shiny EA built by Electro-Motive Corporation of La Grange, Illinois, May 25, 1937.  (Wide World Photos)

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad EA No. 56 at Chicago, Illinois, February 1943.

By Jack Delano, part of the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad EA No. 56 at Chicago, Illinois, February 1943.

EMC EA/EB Diesel Locomotive
The EMC EA/EB was an early passenger train-hauling diesel locomotive built in May 16, 1937 – 1938 by Electro-Motive Corporation of La Grange, Illinois for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. They were the first model in a long line of passenger diesels of similar design known as EMD E-units. Each locomotive unit developed 1,800 horsepower from two 900 hp Winton 201-A diesel engines, driving the wheels through an electric transmission—the generator driven by each engine provided current for traction motors. The locomotives were of A1A-A1A wheel arrangement—two three-axle trucks of which only the outer two axles were powered. Six two-unit 3,600 hp locomotives were produced, each consisting of a lead cab-equipped EA A unit and a cabless booster EB B unit. They were numbered 51 through 56; the A units bore the bare number and the B units the number followed by 'X'.

Trains Hauled
The six locomotives hauled some of the major named trains of the B&O; the Royal Blue, the Capitol Limited, the National Limited, and others. These trains were streamliners in appearance, but they were built largely of refurbished heavyweight passenger cars rebuilt with smooth sides, smooth rooflines, air conditioning, new interiors and modern appointments.

Significance and Influence
The EA/EB—along with the more-or-less simultaneous E1 for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 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, EMC's next models. These locomotives are definitely related in an evolutionary manner with all EMD's future passenger models.

Styling
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. Its initial design was protected under US Patent D106,918.

Preservation
The first EA, No.51, survives as a static exhibit at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
Visit the B&O Railroad Museum website: http://www.borail.org/
 
See also:

EMC-EMD Diesel Locomotives

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