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Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America’s Locomotives    by Brian Solomon order for
Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units
by Brian Solomon
Order:  USA  Can
Voyageur Press, 2011 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The title may be a bit unwieldy but don't let that deter you from purchasing Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America's Favorite Locomotives. This is a very special book and one any railroader will want to have in his library.

In this well illustrated comprehensive history of the most recognizable locomotives ever built, Solomon begins with the 1937 debut of the fast and powerful E-Units and traces their development up to the time when they were phased out for other engines.

The book investigates the development of the diesel-electric technologies by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division and the production of the E-Units and F-Units that transformed long-haul passenger and freight service.

Electro-Motive did not invent the diesel locomotive, but the company refined the technology and set the design standards that made this iconic locomotive the most recognized and beloved of all the rail equipment for nearly three decades.

'General Motors 'automotivization' of the locomotive business successfully combined a compact high-output naval diesel engine with rigged electrical components and packaged them in a streamlined design styled to resemble common automobile and truck design of the day,' writes Solomon.

He continues, 'General Motors accomplished American locomotive standardization within two decades, lowering costs and making high-powered locomotives accessible to virtually all lines.'

In the 1930s railroads were operating largely steam locomotives customized for their own specific needs, but twenty years later virtually every railroad had fleets of standardized diesel electrics.

Following this transformation from steam to diesel and to industry standardization, the author devotes separate sections of the book to the E-Units, early F-Units, postwar F-Units, the dual-mode FL9, repurposed F-Units and the executive E-Units and F-Units.

This last chapter looks at how a handful of railroads have blended the best of modern and historic railroading into executive trains that showcase
the bulldog nose locomotives and refurbished passenger cars.

Extremely well illustrated with 75 color and 75 additional black and white photos, this highly informative volume is one that you'll love paging through over and over again. Not only is it an excellent reference, but the photos also feature these locomotives wearing the liveries of an array of U.S. and Canadian railroads and performing a number of tasks.

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