An EMD E8 leading an Erie passenger train near Corning,  New York.

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An E8 pulls the Louisville and Nashville's "Hummingbird" over Biloxi Bay.

An E8 pulls the Louisville and Nashville's Hummingbird over Biloxi Bay.

EMD E8 Diesel Locomotive

The E8 was a 2,250-horsepower, A1A-A1A passenger-train locomotive built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of La Grange, Illinois. 450 cab versions, or E8As, were built from August 1949 to January 1954, 447 for the U.S. and 3 for Canada. 46 E8Bs were built from December 1949 to January 1954, all for the U.S. The 2,250 hp came from two 12 cylinder model 567B engines, each driving a generator to power the two traction motors on one truck. The E8 was the ninth model in the line of passenger diesels of similar design known as EMD E-units.

In profile the front of the nose of E7, E8, and E9 units is less slanted than earlier EMD units, and E7/8/9s (and their four axle cousins, the F-unit series) have been nicknamed “bulldog nose” units. Earlier E-unit locomotives were nicknamed “slant nose” units. After passenger trains were canceled on the Erie Lackawanna in 1970, the E8s were re-geared for freight and were very reliable for the EL. These units were on freight trains until the early years of Consolidated Railroad Corporation ("Conrail").

Units noted with the designation E8m were rebuilt using components from earlier EMC/EMD locomotives. Externally the units look just like E8s. The difference in horsepower produced in these E8m units is because the older generators are reused.

Original owners

Electro-Motive Division (demonstrator)
A units: 1. No. 5600A
Note: to Southern Pacific No. 6018.

Electro-Motive Division (demonstrator)
A units: 1. No. 952
Note: to Rock Island No. 643, 1st E8A built.

Electro-Motive Division (demonstrator)
A units: 2. Nos. 810-811
Note: to Delaware Lackawanna & Western Nos. 810-811.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
B units: 2. Nos. 83A–84A.
Note: Model E8m.
A units: 8. Nos. 2, 4, 5, 82, 84–87
B units: 3. Nos. 4A, 80A, 82A
Note: Model E8m, rebuilt from E1A and E1B.

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
A units: 6. Nos. 532, 544–548
Note: 532 rebuilt from E7.
A units: 1. No. 500.
Note: Model E8m, rebuilt from E3A.

Boston and Maine Railroad
A units: 1. No. 3821
Note: to Missouri Pacific No. 42 in 1962.

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
A units: 16. Nos. 26,A–32,A, 90,A–96,A
Note: Even numbers only.
A units: 5. Nos. 51, 53–56
B units: 6. Nos. 51X–56X
Note: Model E8m, rebuilt from EA and EB.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
A units: 38. Nos. 9937B, 9938A,B–9948A,B, 9949A, 9964–9977

Central of Georgia Railway
A units: 2. Nos. 811–812

Chicago and North Western Railway
A units: 22. Nos. 5019B, 5021A,B–5030A,B, 5031A
Note: 5019B rebuilt from E7.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
A units: 13. Nos. 644–656
Note: 656 is Model E8m.

Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
A units: 31. Nos. 4000–4030

Canadian Pacific Railway
A units: 3. Nos. 1800–1802
Note: Bought for joint Boston and Maine service in New England; only E-units purchased new by a Canadian railroad. 1800 and 1802 to VIA Rail.

Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
A units: 9. Nos. 812–820
Note: EMD Demonstrators 810-811 became DL&W 810-811.

Erie Railroad
A units: 14. Nos. 820–833

Fort Worth and Denver Railway
A units: 2. Nos. 9981A, 9981B

Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
A units: 1. No. 100A
Note: Model E8m, rebuilt from an ex-B&O EA.

Illinois Central Railroad
A units: 16. Nos. 4018–4033
B units: 2. Nos. 4104–4105
Note: 4031 and 4109 destroyed in the 1971 Salem, Illinois derailment and retired or scrapped.

Kansas City Southern Railway
A units: 4. Nos. 26–29
B units: 1. No. 23
Note: Model E8m, rebuilt from E3A.

Louisville and Nashville Railroad
A units: 4. Nos. 794–797

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad
A units: 9. Nos. 106A,B, 107A,B, 131–135

Missouri Pacific Railroad
A units: 4. Nos. 7018–7021
Note: renumbered 38–41.

New York Central Railroad
A units: 62. Nos. 4036–4095, 4003, 4020

Pennsylvania Railroad
A units: 74. Nos. 5700A–5716A, 5760A–5769A, 5788A–5799A, 5801A–5810A, 5835A–5839A, 5884A–5899A, 5902A–5905A
Note: No. 5762 to New York Central No. 4097.

Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad
A units: 15. Nos. 1001–1015
B units: 5. Nos. 1051–1055

Seaboard Air Line Railroad
A units: 11. Nos. 3049–3059
Note: to Seaboard Coast Line Nos. 588-598.

St. Louis-San Francisco Railway
A units: 17. Nos. 2006–2022
Note: All named after a Kentucky Derby winner, hence the name of their paint scheme.

Southern Railway
A units: 7. Nos. 2923–2929
Note: renumbered 6900-6905, 6916.

Southern Railway (New Orleans and North Eastern)
A units: 10. Nos. 6906–6915

Texas and Pacific Railway
A units: 8. Nos. 2010–2017
Note: renumbered 30–37.

Union Pacific Railroad
A units: 18. Nos. 925–942
B units: 24. Nos. 926B–949B
B units: 4. Nos. 922B–925B
Note: rebuilt from E2B.

Wabash Railroad
A units: 4. Nos. 1003–1015, 1000

Total A  units: 450

Total B units: 46

Surviving examples
It is estimated that 58 E8s have survived. The former NYC 4085, preserved at the New York Central Railroad Museum, was the lead locomotive on the final eastbound 20th Century Limited. Another surviving E8 is operated by the Midland Railway, in Baldwin City, Kansas. Privately owned, this unit is ex-Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad E8A #652 and is used for special events. NYC 4096, recently restored, is also on display. New York Central 4097, privately owned, is on display at Merli Manufacturing Company in Duanesburg, New York.

Southern Railway E8A unit No. 6900 is operational at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina. It pulled the Southern Crescent. Southern #6901 is on display in Duluth, GA, at the Southeastern Railway Museum. Another Southern Railway E8 No. 6913 is being restored at the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum in Oak Ridge, TN for their Southern excursion train. Yet another, Southern #6914, is under restoration at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

Of the units owned by Conrail, three were saved after their freight-service retirement and went on to be refurbished by the Juniata Locomotive Shops in Altoona, PA for use as Conrail's Office Car Special (OCS) until the merger of 1999. One unit went to CSX, and two were sold off to Bennett Levin, CEO of the Juniata Terminal Company, where they have been overhauled and painted as twin Pennsylvania Railroad E8's. Another, the former EL 833, was purchased by the New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad. The unit was repainted in its original livery as Erie 833, and was on display for a while on the turntable at Port Jervis, NY. In June 2008, two authentic New York Central E8's units (4080 & 4068) were brought to the Medina Railroad Museum in Western New York.

See also
List of GM-EMD locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives