Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak AEM-7’

AEM-7 With a History

January 3, 2023

It’s not often one knows exactly what happened to a specific locomotive off the top of their head, but I do with this one, shown in Perryville, Maryland, on Aug. 4, 1983.

AEM-7 No. 900 (the class AEM-7) was the trailing unit (lead was No. 903) in the Chase, Maryland, wreck of Jan. 4, 1987, when Amtrak’s Newport News to Boston Train No. 94 collided with three light Conrail units at the Gunpowder River bridge interlocking at over 120 mph, killing 17, and blocking the corridor for nearly three days. It was Amtrak’s worst wreck to that point. 

That was the wreck that transformed a lot of railroading, tightening operations, resulting in random drug and alcohol testing for train and engine crews, and restricting who could be on a locomotive legally, among other changes.

 I watched that train leave Washington. I had arrived from Montreal on the same platform it was waiting on (25/26 tracks of Washington Union Station), and it departed about a minute later into infamy.

Three days later I was on one of the first trains to slowly pass the wreck site (northbound Montrealer) after they got one track cleared enough.

I have closely followed this accident for years and to this day know the names of the Conrail crew by heart (Ricky Gates and Ed Cromwell). The National Transportation Safety Board investigation determined their use of cannabis was the “probable cause” of the accident.

AEM-7 No. 900 was also the only AEM-7 I ever had a chance to stand in the cab of, about a year before the wreck.

Article by Paul Woodring, Photo by Robert Farklas

Amtrak Creates Another Heritage Unit

December 12, 2021

Amtrak has created yet another heritage unit but you’ll need to travel to East Coast to see it.

ACS-64 No. 662 was given a Phase III heritage wrap with a livery similar to what the passenger carrier’s AEM-7 units wore in the 1980s.

No. 662 will be assigned to revenue service in the electrified portions of the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington.

The wrap is sponsored by Dovetail Games, which is using the Amtrak 50th anniversary herald in its Train Sim World 2.

The wrap is intended to be short term and expected to remain in place through next May, Amtrak officials said.

To see a photo of No. 662 and to read more visit

Woodring Article Published in NRHS News

August 26, 2016

An article written by Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring about the last run of Amtrak’s AEM-7 electric locomotives has been re-published in the newsletter of the National Railway Historical Society.

ARRC logo 2Paul rode the farewell to the AEM-7 trip, an Amtrak chartered train that operated on June 18. That trip went from Washington to Philadelphia and return and included a tour of Amtrak’s Wilmington shops.

A member of the Potomac Chapter of NRHS, Paul originally wrote the article for the ARRC blog. NRHS News Editor Charles Williams saw the article on the blog and asked to reprint it.

The article begins on Page 18 of the August 2016 issue of the NRHS News and is accompanied by photographs made by various NRHS members.