From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A 2-unit boxcab electric locomotive of the Milwaukee Road.
Preserved Alco boxcab at the North Alabama Railroad Museum

A boxcab, in railroad terminology, is a locomotive in which the machinery and crew areas are enclosed in a box-like superstructure (from boxcar). It is a term mostly used in North America while in Victoria (Australia), such locomotives have been nicknamed "butterboxes" (Victorian Railways second series "E" Class electric locomotives numbered E1102 to E1111). Boxcabs may use any source of power but most are diesel or electric locomotives. Few steam locomotives are so described but the British SR Leader class was a possible exception. Most American boxcabs date from before World War II, when the earliest boxcabs were often termed "oil-electrics" to avoid the use of the German name "Diesel".


Boxcabs do not have heavily styled ends, or a superstructure consisting of multiple boxy structures, although the prototype diesel/oil-electric, GE #8835, had one prominently-rounded nose (from its trolley (tram) car ancestry) and the second and following 100-ton ALCO boxcabs had semi-cylindrical ends.


The construction of double ended (and a small number of single ended) boxcab diesel locomotives was common in Australia from 1969 until the 1980s. These were mainly GM-EMD derivatives built by Clyde Engineering with a smaller number of Alco derivatives built by A. E. Goodwin/Commonwealth Engineering and GE derivatives by A. Goninan & Co/UGL Rail.

EMD J26C of 1969 
EMD JL22C of 1971 
Alco DL-500G of 1971 
Comeng CE615A of 1978 
EMD JT26C-2SS of 1982 

Great Britain[edit]

Most British diesel and electric locomotives are boxcabs but the term "boxcab" is not used in Britain. Instead, locomotives are referred to by their class numbers, e.g. British Rail Class 47 and British Rail Class 92. British diesel and electric locomotives are nearly always double-ended (i.e. there is a cab at each end). Other double cab designs include the British Rail Class 37 and British Rail Class 70, however these don't classify as boxcabs.

See also[edit]