From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Silver and blue locomotive with passenger cars passing through a station
Recently Retired #919 leads the Silver Meteor through Odenton, Maryland, in 2010
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division
Build date 1978–1988
Total produced 65
AAR wheel arr B-B
UIC class Bo'Bo'
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 51 ft (15.54 m)
Loco weight 101 short tons (90.18 long tons; 91.63 t)
Electric system(s)
Current collection Dual pantographs
Performance figures
Maximum speed 125 mph (201 km/h)
Power output AEM-7DC and AC: 5,100 kilowatts (6,800 horsepower) maximum at rail
4,320 kilowatts (5,790 horsepower) continuous at rail[1][2]
Tractive effort Starting Tractive Effort:
AEM-7DC: 53,924 lbf (239.9 kN)[2]
AEM-7AC: 51,700 lbf (230.0 kN) to 43 mph (69 km/h)[3]
Continuous Tractive Effort:
AEM-7DC: 30,000 lbf (133.4 kN) @ 77 mph (124 km/h)[4]
AEM-7AC: 39,500 lbf (175.7 kN) @ 65 mph (105 km/h)
  • Amtrak: 917, 923, 927, 942, 946
  • MARC: 4900, 4902-4903
  • SEPTA: 2301-2304, 2306-2307
Nicknames Toasters; Meatballs
Locale Northeast Corridor, Keystone Corridor

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. 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. EMD manufactured 65 locomotives between 1978–1988; the majority of these were for Amtrak, other operators included MARC and SEPTA. Amtrak is phasing out its fleet in favor of the newer Siemens ACS-64, which entered service in 2014.


See also: PRR GG1

Amtrak had inherited high-speed operations on the Northeast Corridor from the bankrupt Penn Central in 1971. Electrified passenger services between New York and Washington were handled by the new if unreliable Budd Metroliner electric multiple units and the aging PRR GG1s, originally built for the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1934–1943.[5] Amtrak's first attempt at replacing the GG1 was the General Electric E60, delivered in 1974. The E60s proved unable to safely exceed 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) and Amtrak relegated them to hauling slower long-distance services. Amtrak turned to existing European high-speed designs, and two were brought over for trials in 1976–77: the Swedish Rc4 (numbered X995), and the French CC 21000 (X996).[6] Amtrak favored the Swedish design, which became the basis for the AEM-7.[7]


The AEM-7 weighs 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 high horsepower to weight ratio (70 hp/short ton) and needs a sophisticated wheelslip control (Pressductor) system.

The locomotive's head end power (HEP) was sufficient for 8-10 Amfleet cars.[8]


In 1999, Amtrak and Alstom began a remanufacturing program for Amtrak AEM-7s. Alstom supplied AC propulsion equipment, electrical cabinets, transformers, 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.[9] These remanufactured AEM-7s are designated as "AEM-7AC"s. Between 1999 and 2002, 29 AEM-7s were converted to AEM-7ACs.[10]

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 18 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 1,250 kilowatts (1,680 horsepower)-1,275 kilowatts (1,710 horsepower) and a continuous rating of 1,080 kilowatts (1,450 horsepower). Locomotive electric brake ratings are ~4,300 kilowatts (5,800 horsepower) in regenerative mode and ~2,200 kilowatts (3,000 horsepower) in rheostatic (resistor-only) mode. As such, the remanufactured AEM-7 is the world's first passenger locomotive with IGBT in service.[1][11]


New Jersey Transit No. 4416 at Hoboken Terminal in 2005
Main article: ABB ALP-44

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. SEPTA'S AEM-7 and ALP-44 fleet will be retired and replaced by the ACS-64 by 2018-2019.


Amtrak ordered 30 AEM-7s in 1977 (Order Number: 776073) and 17 more in 1980 (Order Number: 806004).[12] By 1978, the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors (EMD), now Electro Motive Diesel, began production. The bodies came from the Budd Company, with electrical, trucks and mechanical parts imported from Sweden. The first AEM-7 (900) went into service in 1979.[citation needed] The Swedish influence led to the nickname "Meatball", after Swedish meatballs. Railfans nicknamed the boxy locomotives "toasters."[13] 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.[citation needed] Two commuter operators in the Northeast ordered AEM-7s. MARC ordered four in 1986 for use on its Penn Line service on the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and Perryville, Maryland.[14] SEPTA ordered seven in 1987.[15]

In 2010 Amtrak ordered 70 Siemens ACS-64 locomotives to replace both the AEM-7s and the newer but unreliable Bombardier/Alstom HHP-8s.[16] The ACS-64s began entering revenue service in February 2014.[17]

Current status[edit]

In 2015, Amtrak started the process of retiring its entire AEM-7 fleet with the arrival of the new Siemens ACS-64. All AEM-7DCs have been retired. The last units active were 909, 926, 931, and 945; all were retired on April 14, 2015.

Number Type Status Notes
900 AEM-7DC Destroyed/Scrapped 1987 Maryland train collision – Chase, MD
901 AEM-7AC Retired Reportedly in Wilmington, DE for possible preservation
902 AEM-7DC Scrapped
903 AEM-7DC Destroyed/Scrapped 1987 Maryland train collision – Chase, MD
904 AEM-7AC Retired
905 AEM-7AC Retired
906 AEM-7DC Retired
907 AEM-7DC Retired
908 AEM-7AC Retired
909 AEM-7DC Retired
910 AEM-7DC Scrapped
911 AEM-7DC Destroyed/Scrapped 2011 – Fire – Wilmington, DE
912 AEM-7DC Scrapped
913 AEM-7DC Destroyed/Scrapped 2000 – Fire – Odenton, MD
914 AEM-7AC Retired
915 AEM-7DC Preserved Preserved at Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania – Arrived June 11, 2015
916 AEM-7AC Retired
917 AEM-7AC Active
918 AEM-7AC Retired
919 AEM-7AC Retired
920 AEM-7AC Retired
921 AEM-7AC Retired
922 AEM-7DC Destroyed/Scrapped 2003 – Fire – Sharon, MA
923 AEM-7AC Active
924 AEM-7AC Retired
925 AEM-7AC Retired
926 AEM-7DC Retired
927 AEM-7AC Active
928 AEM-7AC Retired
929 AEM-7AC Retired
930 AEM-7DC Destroyed/Scrapped 2003 – Fire – Elkton, MD
931 AEM-7DC Retired Last revenue run of AEM-7DC – April 14, 2015
932 AEM-7DC Retired
933 AEM-7DC Destroyed/Scrapped 2011 – Fire – Washington, DC
934 AEM-7AC Retired
935 AEM-7AC Retired
936 AEM-7AC Retired
937 AEM-7DC Retired
938 AEM-7AC Retired
939 AEM-7AC Retired
940 AEM-7AC Retired
941 AEM-7AC Retired
942 AEM-7AC Active
943 AEM-7AC Retired
944 AEM -7AC Retired
945 AEM-7DC Retired Last revenue run of AEM-7DC – April 14, 2015
946 AEM-7AC Active
947 AEM-7DC Retired
948 AEM-7AC Retired
949 AEM-7DC Retired
950 AEM-7DC Scrapped
951 AEM-7DC Scrapped
952 AEM-7DC Retired
953 AEM-7DC Scrapped


  1. ^ a b "ALSTOM Transport - AEM7 locomotives, USA". alstom.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2006. 
  2. ^ a b "Typbeskrivningar - AEM7 exporterade till Amtrak m fl". passagen.se. Archived from the original on 24 May 2002. 
  3. ^ http://www.sonic.net/~mly/Caltrain-Electrification/2000-08-Rolling-Stock-Draft/a7.pdf
  4. ^ http://i324.photobucket.com/albums/k329/mestevet/01671s11Kvsm.jpg
  5. ^ Cudahy 2002, pp. 69–70
  6. ^ Tillier, Clem. "Amtraks X996". Amtrak Historical Society. 
  7. ^ Cudahy 2002, pp. 85–86
  8. ^ Solomon 2014, p. 309
  9. ^ Vantuono, William C. (May 2000). "Get ready for a great ride". Railway Age 201 (5): 43. 
  10. ^ "Delaware shops work to meet challenges of modern-day railroad" (PDF). Amtrak Ink 8 (2): 3. March 2003. 
  11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140804194342/http://www.uic.org/cdrom/2001/wcrr2001/pdf/sp/1_11/555.pdf Page 11
  12. ^ "EMD electric order numbers". Retrieved 2006-09-08. 
  13. ^ Laepple, Wayne (12 June 2015). "Amtrak AEM-7 arrives in Strasburg". Trains. Retrieved 12 June 2015.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ Middleton 1994, p. 15
  15. ^ Middleton 1994, p. 39
  16. ^ Amtrak (28 October 2010). "Amtrak Awards $466 Million Contract for 70 New Electric Locomotives". prnewswire.com. 
  17. ^ "NEW AMTRAK LOCOMOTIVES READY FOR SERVICE AND SET TO POWER NORTHEAST ECONOMY" (PDF) (Press release). Amtrak. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 


External links[edit]