Amtrak AEM-7 arrives in Strasburg

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Amtrak AEM-7 leaves the wire behind as it is moves out of Leaman Place Jct. behind Strasburg's SW-8 No. 8618, en route to display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
Wayne Laepple
STRASBURG, Pa. - Yes, the rumors are true. Recently retired Amtrak AEM-7 No. 915 was delivered to the Strasburg Rail Road on Thursday afternoon, bound for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. An Amtrak crew brought the motor to Leaman Place Jct. behind a pair of GP-40's, No. 723 and 724, trailed by two cars of new rail for delivery to Harrisburg.

No. 915 was picked up by Strasburg's SW-8 diesel No. 8618 and followed the last passenger train of the day to East Strasburg. The electric locomotive will be temporarily held in the Strasburg's yard until the conclusion of this weekend's Norfolk Southern Days at the museum, which will feature NS No. 9-1-1 and several other pieces of NS equipment.

Built between 1979 and 1988, the 54 AEM-7s were replacements for Amtrak's former Pennsylvania Railroad GG1s. The twin-cab, B-B electrics were built by EMD with major parts and components designed in Sweden by ASEA (Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget; translation: General Swedish Electrical Inc.), which merged with Brown Boveri in 1988 forming ABB.

The units were sometime referred to by railfans as “toasters” owing to their boxy appearance, or “meatballs” after the food dish Swedish meatballs.

There are two versions of the AEM-7: the original AEM-7DC that has DC propulsion equipment, and the 29 modified AEM-7ACs that use AC equipment installed in a 1999-2002 rebuild program. All of the DC units have been retired. For now the AC remanufactured units remain in service, but will be retired as more Cities Sprinters arrive over the next several months.

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