Rock Island E8 No. 652, formerly operated by Midland Railway of Baldwin City, KS and now in Iowa.

(Russell Meier, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The EMD E8 is a 2,250-horsepower (1,678 kW), A1A-A1A passenger-train locomotive built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of La Grange, Illinois. A total of 450 cab versions, or E8As, were built from August 1949 to January 1954, 447 for the U.S. and 3 for Canada. 46 E8Bs were built from December 1949 to January 1954, all for the U.S. The 2,250 hp came from two 12 cylinder model 567B engines, each driving a generator to power the two traction motors on one truck. The E8 was the ninth model in the line of passenger diesels of similar design known as EMD E-units. Starting in September 1953, a total of 21 E8As were built which used either the 567BC or 567C engines.

In profile the front of the nose of E7, E8, and E9 units is less slanted than earlier EMD units, and E7/8/9s (and their four axle cousins, the F-unit series) have been nicknamed "bulldog nose" units. Earlier E-unit locomotives were nicknamed "slant nose" units. After passenger trains were canceled on the Erie Lackawanna in 1970 (excluding their commuter service, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority subsidized in 1973), the E8s were re-geared for freight and were very reliable for the EL. These units were on freight trains until the early years of Consolidated Railroad Corporation ("Conrail"). Amtrak used E8s until the late 70s.

Units noted with the designation E8m were rebuilt using components from earlier EMC/EMD locomotives. Externally the units look just like E8s. The difference in horsepower produced in these E8m units is because the older generators are reused.


AZER 6070 E-8 Locomotive fresh out of the shop at Silvis, IL. This locomotive is former Metra 515 and former Chicago and North Western 5029B.

It operates on the Copper Spike excursion train, Globe, AZ on the Arizona Eastern Railway.

(Pecan314159, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Original owners

Railroad Quantity A units Quantity B units Road numbers A units Road numbers B units Notes
Electro-Motive Division (demonstrator) 1 5600A to Southern Pacific 6018
Electro-motive Division (demonstrator) 1 952 to Rock Island 643 1st E8A built
Electro-motive Division (demonstrator) 2 810-811 to Delaware Lackawanna & Western 810-811
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 2 83A–84A Model E8m, rebuilt from ATSF 1 & 1A
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 8 3 2, 4, 5, 82, 84–87 4A, 80A, 82A Model E8m, rebuilt from E1A and E1B
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 6 532, 544–548 532 rebuilt from E7
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 1 500 Model E8m, rebuilt from E3A
Boston and Maine Railroad 1 3821 to Missouri Pacific 42 in 1962
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 16 26,A–32,A, 90,A–96,A Even numbers only; 26,A-32,A were built with 567BC engines.
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 5 6 51, 53–56 51X–56X Model E8m, rebuilt from EA and EB
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad 38 9937B, 9938A,B–9948A,B, 9949A, 9964–9977
Central of Georgia Railway 2 811–812 Delivered in CofGa Blue/Gray/Orange, later repainted into Illinois Central Chocolate/Orange and used as pool power for the Seminole
Chicago and North Western Railway 22 5019B, 5021A,B–5030A,B, 5031A 5019B rebuilt from E7 Several former Union Pacific B units rebuilt and fitted with "Crandall Cabs"
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 13 644–656 656 is Model E8m (Rebuilt from an E6A by EMD)
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 31 4000–4030
Canadian Pacific Railway 3 1800–1802 Bought for joint Boston and Maine service in New England; only E-units purchased new by a Canadian railway. 1800 and 1802 to VIA Rail.
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad 9 812–820 EMD Demonstrators 810-811 became DL&W 810-811
Erie Railroad 14 820–833 E8A No. 833 survives.
Fort Worth and Denver Railway 2 9981A,B
Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad, 1 100A Model E8m, rebuilt from an ex-B&O EA
Illinois Central Railroad 16 2 4018–4033 4104–4105 4031 and 4109 destroyed in the 1971 Salem, Illinois derailment and retired and scrapped.
Kansas City Southern Railway 4 26–29
Kansas City Southern Railway 1 23 Model E8m, rebuilt from E3A
Louisville and Nashville Railroad 4 794–797
Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad 9 106A,B, 107A,B, 131–135
Missouri Pacific Railroad 4 7018–7021 renumbered 38–41
New York Central Railroad 62 4036–4095, 4003, 4020 4003 and 4020 rebuilt from 1953 wrecked E7s; same numbers
Pennsylvania Railroad 74 5700A–5716A, 5760A–5769A, 5788A–5799A, 5801A–5810A, 5835A–5839A, 5884A–5899A, 5902A–5905A
Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad 15 5 1001–1015 1051—1055 1013-1015 were built with 567BC engines
Seaboard Air Line Railroad 11 3049–3059 to Seaboard Coast Line 588-598
St. Louis–San Francisco Railway 17 2006–2022 Named after famous horses, mostly racehorses
Southern Railway 7 2923–2929 renumbered 6900-6905, 6916
Southern Railway (New Orleans and North Eastern) 10 6906–6915 6906-6909 were built with 567BC engines; 6910-6915 were built with 567C engines.
Texas and Pacific Railway 8 2010–2017 renumbered 30–37
Union Pacific Railroad 18 24 925–942 926B–949B
Union Pacific Railroad 4 922B–925B rebuilt from E2B
Wabash Railroad 14 1003–1015, 1000
Totals 450 46

The Engineer position of an E8A.

(Randall J. Berry, DP67 (talk/contribs), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Surviving examples

It is estimated that 58 E8s have survived. The former NYC 4085, preserved at the New York Central Railroad Museum, was the lead locomotive on the final eastbound 20th Century Limited. Another surviving E8 was operated by the Midland Railway, in Baldwin City, Kansas. Privately owned, this unit is ex-Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad E8A No. 652 and was used for special events. It and its companion, E6A No. 630, have been sold to a new museum in Iowa, which will be centered around the Rock Island. New York Central 4097, privately owned, is on display at Merli Manufacturing Company in Duanesburg, New York.

The Monticello Railway Museum owns a former Pennsylvania Railroad E8A. It is currently undergoing restoration, and Monticello plans to paint it up as an Illinois Central E8 to match their collection of former Illinois Central passenger cars.

There are four Southern Railway E8As preserved. Unit No. 6900 is operational at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina, while the railway's No. 6901 is preserved at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Ga, and recently underwent an operational restoration by Norfolk Southern. These engines have pulled the Southern Crescent and both bear this train's distinct logo. A Southern Railway E8, No. 6913, is being restored at the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum in Oak Ridge, TN for their Southern excursion train. Yet another, Southern No. 6914, is nearing the completion of a nearly two decade long restoration at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, having been unveiled at the railroad's 2018 "Railfest", resplendent in green and gold complete with "NO&NE" sub-letters.

The St Louis, Iron Mountain, & Southern Railway owns former Pennsylvania Railroad E8A No. 5898. It was previously owned by the Blue Mountain & Reading. It is the main engine used on their tourist train, and it was repainted in 2015.

Union Pacific E8AM No. 942 is owned by the Southern California Railway Museum, and is occasionally used on their tourist train, usually pulling the museum's small collection of former Union Pacific passenger cars. It carries the designation E8AM from its time in Chicago-area commuter service. After its time on the Union Pacific, No. 942 was sold to the Chicago and Northwestern, which used it in commuter service. After serving with CNW, the 942 moved on to serve Chicago's RTA. Upon retirement, it was donated to the museum, and subsequently restored to UP colors in 2012. It was rebuilt with a HEP generator which is what gives it the designation E8AM. However, unlike many E units rebuilt for commuter service, it retained its twin EMD 12-567B prime movers.

Chicago and North Western No. 5022B, later renumbered to 519 and then used by Metra, is now labeled as "MREX 97", is at the Arizona Railway Museum. It is privately owned and stored on display.

Baltimore & Ohio E8A No. 92 is on static display at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Of the units owned by Conrail, three were saved after their freight-service retirement and went on to be refurbished by the Juniata Locomotive Shops in Altoona, PA for use as Conrail's Office Car Special (OCS) until the merger of 1999. One unit went to CSX, and two were sold off to Bennett Levin, CEO of the Juniata Terminal Company, where they have been overhauled and painted as twin Pennsylvania Railroad E8's. As of 2019, these units are not in operation due to a decision by the owner not to retrofit them with positive train control (PTC).

Another, the former EL 833, was purchased by the New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad. The unit was repainted in its original livery as Erie 833, and was on display for a while on the turntable at Port Jervis, NY. Erie Railroad's E8A No. 833 is stored at Port Jervis station, in Port Jervis, New York, and had occasionally run on excursion trains.

In June 2008, two authentic New York Central E8 units (4080 & 4068) were brought to the Medina Railroad Museum in Western New York.


Postcard photo of an Erie passenger train led by an EMD E8 near Corning, NY.

(Erie Railroad, Pre-1978, no mark, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


EMD E8 Overview

Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model: E8
Build date: August 1949 – January 1954
Total produced: 450 A units, 46 B units
​• AAR A1A-A1A
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Trucks: EMD Blomberg A-1-A passenger
Wheel diameter: 36 in (914 mm)
Minimum curve: 21° (274.37 ft or 83.63 m radius)
Length: 70 ft 3 in (21.41 m)
Width: 10 ft 7+1⁄2 in (3.24 m)
Height: 14 ft 7 in (4.45 m)
Locomotive weight A unit: 315,000 lb (142,882 kg),
Locomotive weight B unit: 290,000 lb (131,542 kg)
Prime mover: (2) EMD 567B
Engine type: V12 Two-stroke diesel
Aspiration: Roots blower
Displacement: 6,804 cu in (111.50 L) each
Generator: (2) EMD D-15-A
Traction motors: (4) GM D-27-B
Cylinders: (2) 12
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 85–117 mph (137–188 km/h), depending on gearing
Power output: 2,250 hp (1,678 kW) total
Tractive effort: 56,500 lb (25,600 kg) starting; 31,000 lb (14,000 kg) continuous
Locale: United States
Disposition: About 58 preserved out of 496 units, remainder scrapped.


Fort Worth and Denver EMD E8 Diesel Electric Passenger Locomotive No. 9981B at Dallas, Texas, August 15, 1958. 

(Everett L. DeGolyer, SMU Central University Libraries, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped)