AEM-7 916 at Union Station, Washington, D.C., in Phase III paint. This locomotive has since been converted to an AEM-7AC (see the main article below).
|Designer||Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget (ASEA)|
|Builder||General Motors Electro-Motive Division|
|Build date||1978 – 1988|
|AAR wheel arr.||B-B|
|Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Length||51 ft (15.54 m)|
|Locomotive weight||101 short tons (90.18 long tons; 91.63 t)|
|Electric system(s)||11-13.5 kV 25 Hz AC Catenary
11-13.5 kV 60 Hz AC Catenary
25 kV 60 Hz AC Catenary
|Top speed||125 mph (201 km/h) for Northeast Regional
110 mph (177 km/h) for long-distance trains
|Power output||AEM-7DC and AC: 5,100 kilowatts (6,800 horsepower) maximum at rail
4,320 kilowatts (5,790 horsepower) continuous at rail
Starting Tractive Effort:
AEM-7DC: 53,924 lbf (239.9 kN)
AEM-7AC: 51,700 lbf (230.0 kN) to 43 mph (69 km/h)
Continuous Tractive Effort:
AEM-7DC: 30,000 lbf (133.4 kN) @ 77 mph (124 km/h)
AEM-7AC: 42,500 lbf (189.0 kN) @ 60 mph (97 km/h)
|Railroad(s)||Amtrak, MARC and SEPTA|
|Number||AMT 901-902, 904-910, 912, 914-921, 923-929, 931-932, 934-953;
|Nicknames||Toasters; Swedish Meatballs; Mighty Mouse; Little Volvos|
|Locale||Amtrak's Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, DC, and Amtrak's Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia, PA and Harrisburg, PA|
The AEM-7 is a twin-cab B-B electric locomotive that is used in the United States on the Northeast Corridor between Washington DC and Boston and the Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. They were built by Electro-Motive Division from 1978 to 1988. In the Boston Mechanical Department of Amtrak they are known as "Meatballs" and in the Washington Mechanical Department they are known as ASEAs since some of their major parts and components were designed in Sweden by ASEA (Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget; translation: General Swedish Electrical Inc), which merged with Brown Boveri in 1988 forming ABB. They are also referred to as "toasters" by railfans, owing to their boxy appearance. There are two versions of the AEM-7 as of 1999: the original AEM-7DC which has DC propulsion equipment and the newer, modified AEM-7AC which uses AC propulsion equipment.
70 new locomotives, designated the ACS-64, the Cities Sprinter, manufactured in California, will replace Amtrak's AEM-7s and HHP-8s; they will enter service over several years, starting in 2013. Amtrak unveiled the first new locomotive on May 11, 2013.
In the mid-1970s. Amtrak began to look for a successor to the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 electric locomotive and ordered 26 General Electric E60 units. Unfortunately, the E60s proved unable to safely achieve speeds over 90 MPH leaving Amtrak without a practical replacement for the GG1. Amtrak then turned to existing European high-speed designs. Two European locomotives were brought over for a series of trials in 1977. One was a French CC 21000 class given number X996, and the other was a Swedish Rc4, X995. Amtrak favored the Swedish design, which became the base for the AEM-7. Amtrak first ordered 30 AEM-7s in 1977 (Order Number: 776073), then ordered an additional 17 AEM-7s in 1980 (Order Number: 806004).
By 1978 Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) began production. The bodies came from the Budd Company, with electrical, trucks and mechanical parts imported from Sweden. The first AEM-7 (900) was delivered to Amtrak and went into service in 1979.
Between 1980 and 1982, 46 AEM-7s (901-946) went into service. This helped retire the GG1s from regular service. Amtrak ordered seven more AEM-7s in 1987 (Order Number: 876006), which were completed by 1988.
The AEM-7 weighs only 101 short tons (90 long tons; 92 t), whereas the GG1 weighs 238 short tons (213 long tons; 216 t). With all the weight on eight drivers, the AEM-7 has a very high horsepower to weight ratio (70 hp/short ton), coupled with a sophisticated wheelslip control (Pressductor) system.
- Locomotives 900 and 903 were destroyed in a fatal collision with a Conrail freight train in Chase, Maryland on January 4, 1987.
- Locomotives 901 and 910 was damaged during the derailment in Secaucus, NJ on November 23, 1996. 910 returned to service in 1998, while 901 was converted to AEM-7AC in 2000.
- Locomotive 913 was heavily damaged by fire in November 2000 and then removed from the active roster in February 2003.
- Locomotive 930 was damaged by fire on June 29, 2003 in Elkton, MD and retired.
- Locomotive 922 was seriously damaged by fire on July 8, 2003 in Boston, MA and scrapped on October 3, 2012.
- Locomotive 910 caught fire on October 5, 2007 and returned to service.
- Locomotive 911 was seriously damaged by fire at the Wilmington, DE station on April 26, 2011 while leading the Silver Star northbound and then retired.
- Locomotive 933 was seriously damaged by fire at Union Station, Washington, D.C. on July 14, 2011 and then retired.
Currently there are 47 active AEM-7s on the Amtrak roster, numbers 901 through 953 except 900, 903, 911, 913, 922, 930 and 933. In addition to Amtrak, MARC and SEPTA also operate AEM-7s in commuter service, with 4 and 7 units respectively. The MARC units (4900-03) were built in 1986, and the SEPTA units (2301–07) were built in 1987. In October 2006, Amtrak, due to the upgrade of the Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, started running electrified "push-pull" service on its Keystone trains. Apart from Keystone trains between Philadelphia and New York, all Amtrak AEM-7s on the Northeast Corridor, regardless of direction, lead their trains (no push-pull operation). MARC, SEPTA, and Amtrak Keystone Service trains operate the AEM-7s in push-pull mode, with a cab car on one end of the train and the locomotive on the other end.
In 1999, Amtrak and Alstom began a remanufacturing program for Amtrak AEM-7s. Alstom supplied AC propulsion equipment, electrical cabinets, transformers, head-end power (HEP), and cab displays. The rebuild provided Amtrak with locomotives that had improved high end tractive effort and performance with longer trains. Amtrak workers performed the overhauls under Alstom supervision at Amtrak's shop in Wilmington, Delaware.
Power and Propulsion
The power modules use water-cooled IGBT technology and provide about 5,000 kilowatts (6,700 horsepower) of traction power plus 1,000 kilowatts (1,300 horsepower) of HEP, an improvement over the 500 kilowatts (670 horsepower) HEP capacity of the original DC units, and enough for 12 Amfleet or Viewliner coaches. The traction motors (model 6 FXA 5856) are from Alstom's ONIX family of propulsion components, and have a maximum rating of 1,275 kilowatts (1,710 horsepower) and a continuous rating of 1,080 kilowatts (1,450 horsepower). As such, the remanufactured AEM-7 is the world's first passenger locomotive with IGBT in service.
The cab of the remanufactured AEM-7 was also upgraded. This was accomplished by adding two screens, one of which displays main functions and verifies operations; the other, failures and their location to improve locomotive diagnostics and availability.
History of conversion
These remanufactured AEM-7s are designated as "AEM-7AC"s. Between 1999 and 2002, 29 AEM-7s were converted to AEM-7ACs. Due to lack of funding and a change in Northeast Corridor top management, the AEM-7AC project ended in October 2002, and no further conversions were authorized. Five AEM-7ACs, 916, 918, 924, 901 and 905 (in chronological order), went under overhauls in FY 2006.
AEM-7ACs are most easily distinguished from AEM-7DCs (the unmodified locomotives) by their roof appearance. All AEM-7ACs have their resistors scattered around the roof. Their air filters are located on the middle of the roof, where the resistors used to be. Smaller air conditioners are used at each end to make room for scattered resistors on the roof. For AEM-7ACs 916, 918, 924, 901 and 905 prior to their FY 2006 overhauls, their air filters were located around the sides of pantographs and like their DC counterparts, the resistors were on the middle of the roof.
Moreover, all AEM-7ACs except 916 are equipped with Graham-White electronic bells, while all AEM-7DCs and AEM-7AC 916 retain their original bells.
The 29 AEM-7ACs are 901, 904, 905, 908, 914, 916-921, 923-925, 927-929, 934-936, 938-944, 946 and 948.
ALP-44: Variant of the AEM-7
The ABB ALP-44 is an electric locomotive built by ASEA Brown Boveri (Sweden) between 1990 and 1996. It was designed specifically for New Jersey Transit. At first glance, the two locomotives might look the same to a casual observer. Both the ALP-44 and AEM-7 are based on the same line of locomotives from ABB; the AEM-7 from the Rc4, and the ALP-44 from the Rc6 and Rc7 models.
ABB provided one ALP-44 to SEPTA in part settlement of claims for late delivery of the N-5 Norristown High Speed Line cars. The engine (numbered 2308) operates interchangeably with SEPTA's AEM-7 fleet.
References and notes
- "Amtrak Orders Greener Locomotives". The New York Times. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
- Amtrak unveils locomotives to replace aging fleet, Associated Press, published in Yahoo News on-line, May 13,2013
- "Amtrak's X996". Retrieved 2006-09-08.
- Bengt Muten. "The original Swedish meatball - SJ Rc4 testing as Amtrak X995". Retrieved 2006-09-08.
- "EMD electric order numbers". Retrieved 2006-09-08.
- Robert D. McFadden (1996-11-23). "Amtrak Derailment in Secaucus Marsh Injures 32". The New York Times.
- George Pitz (2012-10-03). "Amtrak DC AEM7 922". rrpicturearchives.net.
- "Amtrak AEM-7 catches fire on Northeast Corridor". Trains News Wire (Kalmbach Publishing). 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-10-18.
- "Amtrak engine catches fire". Delawareonline (Gannett Co.). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- "Dave Statter" (2011-07-16). "Raw vidoo: Amtrak Locomotive catches fire at DC's Union Station". Statter 911.
- George Pitz (2012-08-26). "Amtrak DC AEM7's 922, 930, 911 and 933 retired, stored and cannibalized.". rrpicturesarchives.net.
- New life for an old workhorse, Railway Age, May 2000
- "Mechanical goals advance toward a state of good repair". Destination: Freedom Newsletter. 2006-05-08.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to EMD AEM-7 locomotives.|
- AEM-7 Photos at Railpictures.net and RR Picture Archives
- AEM-7AC Completion Dates and Data by On Track On Line
- Amtrak Locomotive and Car Notes (Defunct site as of 6/09)
- Amtrak Locomotive and Car Notes
- Current Status of AEM-7s
- Amtrak Photo Archives
- Amtrak Electrics by Kenneth Arnerstedt