Virginian EL-2B No. 126 on display in Roanoke, VA during the 1957 National Railway Historical Society Convention.

Photo by John P. Smith, courtesy Old Dominion Chapter NRHS.

(© Mary Jayne's Railroad Specialties, Inc., Fair use, Title 17, Section 107, via W. Lenheim Collection)



The Virginian Railway's class EL-2B comprised four two-unit electric locomotives with AAR (B+B-B+B)+(B+B-B+B) wheel arrangements. The locomotives were used on the 133-mile (214 km) electrified portion of the railroad, from Roanoke, Virginia to Mullens, West Virginia. These large motor-generator locomotives weighed 1,033,832 pounds (468.938 t), were 150 feet 8 inches (45.92 m) long, and were capable of producing 6,800 horsepower (5.1 MW).

The EL-2B locomotives were built at General Electric's Erie works in 1948. Numbered 125–128, they were the largest two-unit electric locomotives used in North America.

The locomotives were retired and sold for scrap shortly after the 1959 merger of the Virginian with the Norfolk and Western Railway. None of the 4 examples built have survived.


Virginian EL-2B, near Salem, VA., July 11, 1953.

(By, Fair use,


Virginian Railway EL-2B Class Overview

Type and origin
Power type: Electric
Builder: GE Erie Works
Build date: 1948
Total produced: 4
​• Whyte (4-4-4-4)+(4-4-4-4)
• AAR (B+B-B+B)+(B+B-B+B)
• UIC (Bo′Bo′)(Bo′Bo′)+(Bo′Bo′)(Bo′Bo′)
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Wheel diameter: 42 in (1.1 m)
Length: 150 ft 8 in (45.92 m)
Width: 11 ft 1 in (3.38 m)
Height: 15 ft 6 in (4.72 m)
Adhesive weight: 1,033,832 lb (468.938 t)
Locomotive weight: 1,033,832 lb (468.938 t)
Electric system: 11 kV, 25 Hz AC
Current pickup: Pantograph
Traction motors: 16 × 500 hp (370 kW) GE 746
Transmission: AC Synchronous motors(2x)/
DC Generators: (4x); DC traction motors: (16x)
Train heating: None
Locomotive brake: Air/Regenerative
Train brakes: Air
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 50 mph (80 km/h)
Power output: 6,800 hp (5,100 kW)
Tractive effort: 260,000 lbf (1,200 kN)
Operator: Virginian Railway
Class: EL-2B
Number in class: 4
Numbers: 125–128
Delivered: 1948
Retired: 1959
Disposition: All scrapped by 1959


Virginian Railway Electric Locomotive EL2B, 1950.

(See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)