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Rock Island E6A #630, operated by Midland Railway, at Baldwin City, Kansas on November 28, 2004
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGeneral Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Build dateNovember 1939 – September 1942
Total produced91 A units, 26 B units
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
TrucksEMD Blomberg A-1-A passenger
Wheel diameter36 in (914 mm)
Minimum curve23° (250.79 ft or 76.44 m radius)
Wheelbase57 ft 1 in (17.40 m)
Length70 ft 4 in (21.44 m) over coupler pulling faces
Width10 ft 7 in (3.23 m)
Height14 ft 10 in (4.52 m)
Loco weightA unit: 311,300 lb (141,203 kg)
B unit: 290,000 lb (131,542 kg)
Prime mover(2) EMD 12-567
RPM range800
Engine typeV12 Two-stroke diesel
AspirationRoots-type supercharger
Displacement6,804 cu in (111.50 L) each
Generator(2) EMD D-4
Traction motors(4) EMD D-7
Cylinders(2) 12
Performance figures
Maximum speed116 mph (187 km/h)
Power output2,000 hp (1,500 kW) total
Tractive effortStarting: 56,500 lbf (251,325 N) @25%
Continuous: 31,000 lbf (137,895 N) @11 mph (18 km/h)
DispositionThree preserved, remainder scrapped

The EMD E6 was a 2,000-horsepower (1,500 kW), A1A-A1A, streamlined passenger train locomotive manufactured by Electro-Motive Corporation, and its corporate successor, General Motors Electro-Motive Division, of La Grange, Illinois. The cab version, E6A, was manufactured from November 1939 to September 1942; 91 were produced. The booster version, E6B, was manufactured from April 1940 to February 1942; 26 were produced. The 2,000-horsepower (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 E6 was the seventh 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 "bulldog nose" of the F series.

One interesting E6 variant custom-produced for the Missouri Pacific was the model EMC AA. This was a motorcar-style unit which had only one prime mover and 1,000 horsepower (750 kW), and substituted a baggage compartment where the other diesel V-12 would have been. The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific owned an equally interesting pair of similar power cars known as the EMC AB6, which were mechanically identical but had boxcabs in blunt noses. These acted as boosters behind conventional E6A models on the Rocky Mountain Rocket train between Chicago and Limon, Colorado, from where the E6A would take the Denver cars north and the AB6 would take the Colorado Springs section of the train south.

Original owners[edit]

Railroad Quantity
A units
B units
Road numbers
A units
Road numbers
B units
Electro-Motive Corporation (demonstrator) 1 1940 to Seaboard Air Line 3014
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 22 5 502–523 750–754 ACL 501 was built as an E3A, wrecked before delivery and rebuilt as an E6A
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 4 3 12–15 12A, 13A, 15A
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 8 7 52, 57–63 57x–63x
Chicago and North Western Railway 4 5005A,B, 5006A,B
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 5 627–631
Florida East Coast Railway 3 1 1003–1005 1051
Illinois Central Railroad 5 4000–4004
Kansas City Southern Railway 2 4, 5
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 16 450A,B–457A,B
Milwaukee Road 2 15A,B
Missouri Pacific Railroad 2 2 7002–7003 7002B–7003B
Seaboard Air Line Railroad 2 3015–3016 EMD Demonstrator 1940 became SAL 3014
Southern Railway 7 4 2800–2802
Union Pacific Railroad 6 7M1A, 7M2A, 8M1A, 8M2A, 9M1A, 9M2A
UP-C&NW joint City of Los Angeles 1 2 LA-4 LA-5, LA-6
UP-SP-C&NW joint City of San Francisco 1 2 SF-4 SF-5, SF-6
Total 91 26

Surviving units[edit]

Three E6 locomotives survive today:

Atlantic Coast Line E3A 501 was wrecked before delivery, returned to EMC and rebuilt as an E6A. It has been preserved and now resides at the North Carolina Transportation Museum/Spencer Shops. ACL 501 has been at or near operational status for much of its life. After retirement from regular service, the unit was restored to purple & silver colors and run on Midwest fan trips by owner Glenn Monhart. After Mr. Monhart's death, the unit found a home in Spencer, North Carolina, at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad E6A #630, was operated by the Midland Railway, in Baldwin City, Kansas. RI 630 has since been sold and will become part of a future museum in Manly, Iowa, along with Rock Island E8A 652. Both units have been cosmetically restored but currently are under a mechanical restoration at Mid-America Car in Kansas City, MO as of March 2017.

Louisville and Nashville E6A #770, built as L&N 450B, is located at the Kentucky Railway Museum, in New Haven, Kentucky. This unit is for display only, as it came to the museum without most of its internal parts.

See also[edit]


  • Dorin, Patrick C. (1972). Chicago and North Western Power. Burbank, California: Superior Publishing. p. 130. 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. pp. EMD–121–EMD–123. ISBN 978-0-89024-026-7.
  • 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. 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]

Media related to EMD E6 locomotives at Wikimedia Commons