In the mid-1970s Amtrak was looking for a suitable replacement for the famed GG1 electric locomotives which had been in service since the mid-1930s. Domestic designs were considered, but the approved locomotive design was presented by the Swedish firm ASEA. Assembly began in 1978 at EMD, with the original bodies produced by the Budd Company and other components imported from Sweden. Amtrak?s original order was for 47 units which were delivered between 1980 and 1982. This effectively removed the GG1 from regular Amtrak service. An additional seven units were delivered to Amtrak in 1988.
Several Northeastern commuter agencies also took an interest in this model, with Maryland?s MARC and Pennsylvania?s SEPTA each purchasing a small fleet of AEM-7s. New Jersey Transit purchased the similar ALP-44 model from ASEA Brown Boveri in the early 90s.
While NJ Transit recently retired their fleet of ALP-44s, Amtrak?s AEM-7 fleet is mostly still in service today. Retirements are planned as Amtrak?s new ACS-64 model is introduced in 2014. However, it is expected that rebuilt AEM-7s will continue in service at least for the next several years.
Included with this production run are several ?what-if? paint schemes. �All schemes represent railroads that, at one time, operated electrified passenger service over parts of their system. This includes Lackawanna and Reading, which could each be considered ?heritage? paint schemes for NJ Transit and SEPTA, respectively. The Pennsylvania Railroad developed the New York City to Washington, DC portion of the busy Northeast Corridor where Amtrak?s AEM-7s currently run. Milwaukee and Great Northern once operated well-known electrified territories in the west, and each was quickly identified by their unique, colorful paint schemes.
?Operating head lights and marker lights which are directional
?Full cab interior with painted crew members
?Separately-applied wire grab irons
?Astounding roof detail
?Accurate painting and lettering where appropriate
?NMRA 8-pin plug for DCC
?Gold versions will be equipped with ESU sound
AccuMate� couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.