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Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America's Favorite Locomotives [Hardcover]

Brian Solomon

List Price: CDN$ 49.99
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Book Description

Nov. 15 2011

Blending automotive manufacturing and styling techniques with state-of-the-art diesel-electric technologies, General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division conceived and marketed America’s first commercially successful road diesels: the fabulous E-Units and F-Units. This illustrated companion to Voyageur Press’ Alco Locomotives (2009) and Baldwin Locomotives (2010) is the most comprehensive history of the most recognizable locomotives ever built. Beginning with 1937 debut of the fast and powerful E-Units designed for long-haul passenger service, author Brian Solomon treats readers to a wonderful array of archival imagery while explaining the impact the locomotives made on the locomotive market and the railroad industry.


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“In many ways, I'm not sure any other book so completely covers these locomotives, which were pioneers in the diesel era and the first successful such motive power for main line use." - American-Rails.com

From the Inside Flap

In prewar America, Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units represented the railroad industry’s capitulation to automotive design and technology and would eventually render their steam-powered forebears relics of the Victorian Age. Today, “Es” and “Fs” remind us of bygone days when progress and appearance mattered.
 
Seventy-five years on, Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units remain the most recognizable locomotives ever built. In this wonderfully illustrated history, author Brian Solomon explores the business and cultural climates of the 1930s that led to the development and introduction of these classics and shows how the locomotives set the tone for the railroad industry’s transition from steam to diesel power. Across the decades and across the continent, Solomon follows the evolution and application of the locomotives, from the first E-Unit in 1937 right up to reused and restored units still plying the rails today.
 
Electro-Motive didn’t invent the diesel locomotive, yet its refinement of the technology and inspired design set the standards that other builders followed. Packed with rare photos in both black and white and color, this book is the ultimate tribute to the machines that became the world’s most famous locomotives.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful survey of classic locomotives Nov. 12 2011
By Dean Vinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As the subtitle states, "The illustrated history of North America's favorite locomotives." Longtime railroad enthusiast and author Solomon surveys the history of the classic streamlined diesel-electric locomotives that revolutionized both the nature of railroading (from steam to diesel) and the nature of locomotive building (from unique designs developed by and for each individual railroad, to standard designs adaptable to any railroad). The book ranges from the birth of the Electro-Motive Company to development of the "567" class diesel engine, through the various models of E and F units in their heyday, to the continued use today of Es and Fs on various railroads' flagship executive fleets. Wonderful vintage color and black-and-white photos, along with modern photos of surviving Es and Fs still in operation, illustrate the text. As is often the case with general history texts, I sometimes found myself wanting more detail: More nuts and bolts, so to speak, about the various iterations of generator sets or traction motors or various truck designs, or more operational details from the perspectives of train crews or railroad executives. But all of those subjects are at least touched on, and I recognize the limits of time and pages--no one book could contain all the details various readers might want. For fans of EMD's first-generation diesel locomotives, this book is a keeper.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How General Motors Captured the Railroad Business Jan. 6 2012
By John N. Botens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This elegant volume takes its place beside others in author Brian Solomon's studies of railroad technology. He has applied his broad knowledge of railroading to show how General Motors got into diesel development in the 1930s and introduced the first locomotive that was rugged and powerful enough to haul freight trains. GM engineers used their skills in design and marketing of automobiles to demonstrate the superiority of their new product. Though their production was limited by World War Two, they continued to refine their designs, emphasizing power, reliability and interchangeability of parts. GM locomotives in passenger service became icons for a sleek new look that railroads wanted to keep people riding trains.
Author Solomon supplies just enough technical details to show why GM's product was so successful, illustrating its development with a lavish display of color pictures of the locomotives and trains on a variety of railroad lines. I bought my copy from Amazon.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid railroad book by an accomplished author May 18 2012
By doctom.ws - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a rail fan I have collected lots of books on this topic.
Many of the volumes on my bookshelf have been penned by Brian Solomon. His approach is to provide the reader with both great photos and well researched exposition on the particular topic of interest. In the case of EMDs E and F series he makes a great case for why they are North Americas favorite locomotives. For the rail gear heads you will find a very nicely put together tome about a series of locomotives that you are already quite familiar with. For the rail fan newbie it also a great introductory lesson about modern train history. All in all this is a very nice book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good for an e-book April 27 2012
By Paul Lantz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The subject is a fascinating one, E and F units are the classic diesel locomotives to me. They are the ones that my childhood train sets came with. I bought this book as an e-book and read it using the Kindle app on my iPad. I was a little hesitant about spending so much on an ebook; I have had disappointments before, particuarly with the way that they handle illustrations. This book was reasonably good as an ebook, I could magnify the illustrations and compensate for my ancient eyes.
At the same time that the book is a very good facsimile of the printed book, I think it could be more. Once you get away from paper you can get away from limitations on illustration. It would have been nice to have had more illustrations, especially more interior shots.
One problem with larger format books is the difficulty in holding them comfortably. The ebook takes care of that as well as removing the need to find bookshelf space.
Overall a good effort, probably just as a satisfying to read as the printed book would have been.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, informative and interesting history of EMD E/F series Jan. 7 2013
By William R. Sweeney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Purchased this book after reading the article on EMD E/F in Trains magazine.
Was not disappointed, it's a keeper.

The period photography of various E/F models in different uses on different roads is beautiful, worth the price alone.
The history of development is also interesting, though perhaps not quite as technically deep as the true engineering geek would like.
The history of use by various roads and anecdotes was also interesting and insightful.

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