From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
ConnDOT FL9 #2027 in a New Haven paint scheme.
Power type Diesel-electric/straight electric
BuilderGeneral Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Build dateOctober 1956 – November 1960
Total production60
AAR wheel arr.B-A1A
Gaugeft 8½ in (1435 mm)
Length59 ft 0 in (17.98 m)
Total weight287,000 lb (130,000 kg)
Electric system660 V DC
Collection method3rd rail; early units had small pantographs as well
Prime moverEMD 567C for early models, EMD 567D1 later
Engine type2-stroke diesel
AspirationRoots blower
Displacement9,072 in³ (148.7 L)
Cylinder size8.5 in × 10 in
(216 mm × 254 mm)
TransmissionDC generator,
DC traction motors
Top speed70 mph (112 km/h)
Power output1,750 hp (1,300 kW) for early models, 1,800 hp (1,340 kW) later
Tractive effort58,000 lbf (258 kN)
Locomotive brakesStraight air
Train brakesAir
CareerNew Haven, Penn Central, Amtrak, ConnDOT, Metro-North
ClassEDER-5 (2000-2029)
EDER-5a (2030-2059)
LocaleNorth America
Dispositiona few still in occasional service, some others preserved in museum collections

The EMD FL9 (New Haven Class EDER-5) was a dual-power electro-diesel locomotive, capable of self-powered diesel-electric operation and of operation as an electric locomotive powered from a third rail. A total of 60 units were built between October 1956 and November 1960 by General Motors Electro-Motive Division as a custom order for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (the "New Haven"); EMD beat out Fairbanks-Morse and their dual-power P-12-42 model. The locomotive was based on the EMD FP9, but was lengthened further to accommodate the additional equipment needed, including a larger train heating steam boiler. Because of the additional weight, the locomotive was given a three-axle rear truck, making it of B-A1A wheel arrangement. The middle axle of the rear truck was not powered. The Flexicoil type of truck was used at both front and rear, since this had more room for fitting the third rail shoe and associated equipment.

The locomotive was capable of using either overrunning or underrunning third rail by means of retractable shoes operated by pneumatic cylinders. The shoes were retracted to the vertical position outside of third rail territory, where extended, electrically live shoes would have projected towards the low level station platforms that were the norm until the 1970s. A few early examples were fitted with a small DC pantograph exclusively for use within New York City's Grand Central Terminal, where long gaps exist in the third rail because of the complex trackage that includes numerous single and double slip switches and double track ladders. These pantographs were soon removed.

At Grand Central Terminal, the complex trackage remains, but the overhead wires are long gone. The third rail could be contacted (by dropping the third rail shoe) and the power source switched at speed, as could be the reverse transition. Unlike some other dual-power locomotives in the world, such as British Rail's Class 73, the diesel engine is the primary source of power for the locomotive. Third rail capability was only required because of New York City ordinances prohibiting locomotives that emitted smoke within the Park Avenue Tunnel. The third rail extended from Grand Central Terminal to Woodlawn Junction at the New York City border, where the New Haven diverged from the New York Central Harlem Division. The New Haven operated the FL9s from third rail power between Grand Central Terminal and the 125th Street Station in upper Manhattan.

In their later years, when operated by Metro-North Commuter Railroad, a New York State agency, the diesel engines were run within Grand Central Terminal and the Park Avenue tunnel without any apparent concern for the smoke ordinances. New Haven trackage between Woodlawn and New Haven, Connecticut, 72 miles from Grand Central, had been electrified in the early 1900s with an 11,000 volt, 25 Hz overhead catenary system. The New Haven was the pioneer of heavy mainline railroad electrification in the United States. Early plans to extend the catenary to Boston as it exists today were never completed due to the perennial financial problems that plagued the New Haven almost continuously from the 1920s to its demise in 1969.

The FL9s allowed through passenger trains from Grand Central Terminal to reach Boston, Springfield, and other non-electrified destinations without the need for an engine change at New Haven. They were purchased with the intent of allowing the eventual elimination of all New Haven electric locomotives and the abandonment of the electrification east of Stamford, Connecticut, 33 miles from Grand Central. The fact that the entire New York to Boston line is now electrified shows the shortsightedness of this concept, which had been adopted by the McGinnis management to avoid the cost of modernizing the New Haven's Cos Cob, Connecticut power plant. The New Haven to Boston electrification was completed by Amtrak in 1999.

Prior to the introduction of the FL9, all non-multiple unit New Haven passenger trains were hauled by electric locomotives between New York and New Haven, with a change to steam (before 1950) or diesel required for operation beyond New Haven. Meeting the weight limits of the Park Avenue Viaduct in Manhattan, the FL9 finally made it possible to eliminate the engine change. FL9s were used on the New Haven's premier "name" train, the Merchants Limited, which covered the 225 miles between Grand Central Terminal and South Station, Boston on a 4 hour and 15 minute schedule.

Introduction of the FL9 allowed the New Haven to scrap its entire fleet of pre-1955 electric locomotives, many of which were less than 25 years old. The FL9 had higher operating costs and lower performance than the electric locomotives it replaced. The only New Haven electrics surviving through the FL9 period were the General Electric EP5 "Jets" of 1955. Three FL9s were required to approach the performance of one EP5. But the powerful "Jets" were doomed by poor maintenance, and the last were retired in 1977. In keeping with the New Haven's policy of dual service utilization of locomotives, FL9s were used at night to move a Trailer-on-FlatCar (TOFC) train, with difficulty, in one direction between the Cedar Hill yard in New Haven and the Oak Point yard in The Bronx. Assigned to this train in the other direction, an EP5 locomotive could easily outrun automobile traffic on the adjacent Connecticut Turnpike.

The electrical supply available from the third rail—660 V DC—was identical to the requirements of diesel locomotive traction motors, enabling a fairly easy conversion to a dual-power locomotive. Two batches of FL9s were built; one of 30 locomotives (including the original test units 2000 and 2001, originally built with a "Blomberg" front truck, but later upgraded following testing) built from October, 1956 through November, 1957 of 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) from a EMD 567C engine, and a further 30 built between June and November, 1960 of 1,800 hp (1,340 kW) from a newer EMD 567D1 engine. The paint scheme as delivered was the bright McGinnis scheme of red-orange, black and white and the Herbert Matter designed "NH" logo. FL9s were initially fitted with the Hancock model 4700 air whistle—a trademark of New Haven units of this time—instead of the standard air horns usually found on diesel locomotives.


The FL9s could be considered successful, despite being under-powered (compared to the powerful electrics they replaced) and other problems, but for other reasons the New Haven never did abandon its electrification, negating the primary reason for their purchase. In 1969, the FL9s passed to the Penn Central (the merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad of 1968), and some were repainted in Penn Central schemes, while others remained in their former New Haven paint. When the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") began funding these commuter services in 1970, many of the locomotives were repainted blue with a bright yellow nose, although they remained Penn Central-owned. The locomotives passed to Conrail in 1976. 12 FL9s were sold to Amtrak, six of which were remanufactured by Morrison Knudsen starting in 1978.

In 1983, Conrail passed its commuter operations completely to state agencies. In New York State, the MTA formed Metro-North Railroad as a subsidiary company to operate these (and operations in Connecticut under contract with that state). The locomotives were repainted in Metro-North colors, and a large number of them, now in some cases over 25 years old, were rebuilt and modernised. 10 FL9s rebuilt for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) were painted in the original New Haven paint scheme, which has since been applied to remanufactured locomotives in the CDOT's Shoreline East service pool, and on four new GE Genesis II P32AC-DM dual-mode locomotives.

Many were only replaced in the early years of the 21st century by new power, a service life of almost 50 years. Seven still remain in service for Metro-North work trains, until "they are no longer worth repairing." [1] [2] A number have been donated to museums in the area, and the Amtrak units were purchased by New Jersey's Morristown and Erie Railway for tourist train service, and two of them are now serving in Maine for the Maine Eastern Railway.

Original Owners

Original owners of the EMD FL9 include:

Railroad Cab-equipped 'A' units
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad 60


  • Hollingsworth, Brian and Arthur F. Cook (1987). The Great Book of Trains. Portland House, New York, NY. ISBN 0-517-64515-7. 
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide. Kalmbach Publishing Co., Milwaukee, WI. ISBN 0-89024-026-4.