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Atlantic Coast Line 501.jpg
ACL #501 at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Electro-Motive Corporation (EMC)
Model E3
Build date September 1938 – June 1940
Total produced 17 A units, 2 B units
 • AAR A1A-A1A
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Trucks EMC Blomberg A-1-A passenger
Wheel diameter 36 in (914 mm)
Minimum curve 21° (274.37 ft or 83.63 m radius)
Wheelbase 57 ft 1 in (17.40 m)
Length 70 ft 4 in (21.44 m) over coupler pulling faces
Width 10 ft 7 in (3.23 m)
Height 15 ft 10 in (4.83 m)
Loco weight 308,400 lb (139,900 kg)
Fuel capacity 1,200 US gal (1,000 imp gal; 4,500 L)
Prime mover (2) EMC 567
RPM range 800 max
Engine type (2) V12 Two-stroke diesel
Aspiration Roots-type supercharger
Displacement 6,804 cu in (111.50 L) each
Generator (2) EMC D-4
Traction motors (4) EMC D-7
Cylinders (2) 12
Performance figures
Power output 2,000 hp (1,490 kW) total
Disposition one preserved and in mostly static display at the North Carolina Transportation Museum

The EMC E3 is a 2,000 horsepower (1,500 kW), A1A-A1A passenger train locomotive that was manufactured by Electro-Motive Corporation of La Grange, Illinois. The EMC demonstrator #822 was released from La Grange for test on September 12, 1938. The cab version, or E3A, was manufactured from September 1938 to June 1940, and 17 were produced. The booster version, or E3B, was manufactured in March 1939 and September 1939, and 2 were produced. The 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) was achieved by putting two 1,000 horsepower (750 kW), 12-cylinder, model 567 engines in the engine compartment. Each engine drove its own electrical generator to power the traction motors. The E3 was the fourth model in a long line of passenger diesels of similar design known as EMD E-units.

Compared with passenger locomotives made later by EMD, the noses of the E3, E4, E5, and E6 cab units had pronounced slants when viewed from the side. Therefore, these four models have been nicknamed "slant nose" units. Later E models had the more vertical "bulldog nose" of the F series. E3 demonstrator 822 was built with a nose identical to earlier EA and E1A units, but later locomotives in the series featured an elevated headlamp mounted in a nacelle, distinct from the flush profile mounting of the earlier units. 822 was modified in a similar fashion prior to delivery to the Kansas City Southern Railway.

Engine and powertrain[edit]

The E3 introduced a 12-cylinder version of the 567 series engine, two were used, developing a total of 2,000 hp at 800 rpm. Earlier E models had used twin Winton 201As, but that engine was ill-suited to railroad use and was unreliable. The 567 was designed specifically for railroad locomotives, a supercharged 2 stroke 45 degree V type with 567 cubic inches (9,290 cm3; 9.29 L) displacement per cylinder which remained in production until 1966. Two D.C. generators, one per engine, provide power to four motors, two on each truck, in an A1A-A1A arrangement. This truck design was used on all E units and on MP 7100, CB&Q 9908, and Rock Island EB6 power cars. EMC/EMD has built all of its major components since 1939.[1][2]

Original owners[edit]

A units[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Electro-Motive Corporation (demonstrator) 1 822 to Kansas City Southern Railway #1
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 2 500, 501 501 was wrecked before delivery and rebuilt by EMC as an E6A. It has been preserved.
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 1 11
Chicago and North Western Railway 4 5001A, 5001B,
5002A, 5002B
Initially used in A-A back-to-back pairs on the Twin Cities 400.
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 2 625, 626
Florida East Coast Railroad 2 1001, 1002
Kansas City Southern Railway 2 2, 3
Missouri Pacific Railroad 2 7000, 7001 Built with two sets of double round portholes on each side.
Union Pacific Railroad 1 LA-5 Built with two sets of triple round portholes, similar to the UP EMC E2; later modified and renumbered.
Total 17

B units[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 1 11A
Union Pacific Railroad 1 LA-6 matched with A-unit (see notes for UP LA-5)

Surviving units[edit]

Only one E3 survives today. It was formerly owned by the late Glen Monhart, and operated on excursions in Wisconsin. Today, it is owned by the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation Rail Division, and is on long term loan to the North Carolina Transportation Museum, in Spencer, North Carolina. It is ex-Atlantic Coast Line Railroad E3A #501. It is stored in operating condition, and will be run occasionally. In January 2013, NCDOT transferred ownership of the engine to the NC Department of Cultural Resources, Spencer Shops parent organization.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Pinkpank 1973, pp. 13, 26, 90, 101, 106, 118, 121, 122.
  2. ^ Ross 2003, pp. 261, 273.


  • Dorin, Patrick C. (1972). Chicago and North Western Power. Burbank, California: Superior Publishing. p. 128-129. ISBN 0-87564-715-4. 
  • Lamb, J. Parker (2007). Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive. Railroads Past and Present. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34863-0. 
  • Marre, Louis A. (1995). Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years: A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972. Railroad Reference Series. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89024-258-2. 
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89024-026-7. 
  • Ross, David, ed. (2003). The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives. Barnes and Noble. ISBN 978-0-7607-9679-5. 
  • Schafer, Mike (1998). Vintage Diesel Locomotives. Enthusiast Color Series. Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7603-0507-2. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2000). The American Diesel Locomotive. Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing Company. pp. 53–56, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70. ISBN 978-0-7603-0666-6. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2006). EMD Locomotives. St. Paul, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-2396-0. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2010). Vintage Diesel Power. Minneapolis, Minnesota: MBI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7603-3795-0. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2011). Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America's Favorite Locomotives. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4007-3. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2012). North American Locomotives: A Railroad-by-Railroad Photohistory. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4370-8. 
  • Wilson, Jeff (2002). E Units: Electro-Motive's Classic Streamliners. Classic Trains / Golden Years of Railroading series. Waukesha, WI, USA: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 0890246068. 

External links[edit]