Locomotives / Train Sets

EMD AEM-7 Electric Locomotive

Electric Locomotive

Entry Last Edited: 01/25/2024 | Content ©www.RailRoadJunction.net
Based in the Swedish SJ Rc4 design, the AEM-7 was built by EMD in the United States primarily for AMTRAK passenger services.
The EMD AEM-7 was an electric-driven locomotive utilized along the American Northeast, primarily by passenger-hauler AMTRAK, and built in 65 total units from 1978 to 1988. The design was selected by the company as a successor to the multirole General Electric E60 series which proved lacking in passenger-hauling services. These were produced from 1972 until 1983 to the tune of 73 total units and found better results in industry roles instead. Beyond AMTRAK, other notable operators of the AEM-7 line went on to include MARC (Maryland Area Rail Commuter) and SEPTA (SouthEastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) - as such, all units were restricted in operations to the American Northeast for their time on the rails.

Twenty-nine of the original production batch were eventually rebuilt by Alstom from 1999 to 2002 as AEM-7AC to utilize AC current power over the original's DC setup.

The Swedish SJ Rc4 was one of two European electric train designs imported by AMTRAK for testing (the other being the French SNCF Class CC 21000 model). With the selection of the Rc4, EMD covered production of the systems in the United States (via partnership with Sweden's ASEA). EMD beat out challenges from American, French, Swiss, and German companies. Thirty locomotives made up the original procurement order of early-1978 and this was then followed by an additional 17 units added in February 1980.

The design came to be known by the nicknames of "Meatball" (owing to their Swedish origins) and "Toaster" (based on their general appearance mimicking that of an American toaster appliance).

The AEM-7 sat its driver at front-right with a pair of large rectangular windows situated at front and smaller window panes positioned to the sides. Entry-exit was via hinged rectangular doors found behind the driving cab at the sides. The driving compartment was duplicated at both ends facilitating train yard logistics. The unit carried a wheel configuration of B-B in the AAR notation and Bo'Bo' in the UIC notation - twin axles were positioned forward and another pair aft. The locomotives measured 51 feet long with a beam of 10.2 feet and a height of 14.9 feet. Weight reached 101 tons (short).

Power centered on a 500kW 480V AC supply and delivered via overhead line through twin pantograph assemblies (Faiveley DS-11 types) located forward and aft along the locomotive's roof. Supported electric systems included 12kV AC 25Hz, 12.5kV AC 60Hz, and 25kV AC 60Hz. Traction motors in play were ASEA LJK 108-5 units under DC power and Alstom 6 FXA 5856 series units under AC power. Maximum speed was 126mph with hauling output reaching 7,000 horsepower.

The AEM-7 operated for some 30 years before being succeeded in same role by the Siemens ACS-64 series. These took over in February of 2014. The last AEM-7 was run by AMTRAK in 2016 and MARC followed in 2017 (replaced by the Siemens "Charger"). SEPTA operated its last AEM-7 in 2018 (also succeeded by the ACS-64).

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Specifications [ EMD AEM-7 ]

General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) - USA / Allmanna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget (ASAE) - Sweden

United States
1978 - 1988
Production Run

65 units
Production Total
Train driver seating position graphic

Driver Position
15.6m | 51.2 ft
NOTE: May include length of entire train set
92,000 kg
(202,860 lb | 101 US Tons)
Locomotive power source graphical icon
Power Source
500kW 480V AC system; Overhead Catenary with dual Pantograph assemblies supporting 12kV AC 25Hz, 12.5kV AC 60Hz, and 25kV AC 60Hz arrangements.
Engine / Drive Source
ASEA LJH 108-5 (DC power); Alstom 6 FXA 5856 (AC power)
Traction Motor / Sets
7,000 hp
Rated Output Power
201.0 kph
(124.9 mph)
Max Speed
Wheel Arrangement
(Loco Facing Left)

Series Variants
AEM-7 - Base Series Designation; 65 total units completed from 1978 to 1988 by EMD / ASEA.
AEM-7AC - Twenty-nine units rebuilt by Alstom for AC current operation from 1999 to 2002.
Operating Countries
United States

National flag of the United States
Customers / Operators:
NOTE: Includes both past and present
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