Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive

Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive

J. Parker Lamb
Distribution: World
Publication date: 9/26/2008
Format: cloth 200 pages, 160 b&w photos, 15 figures
8.5 x 11
ISBN: 978-0-253-34863-0
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The diesel locomotive sent shock waves through rigid corporate cultures and staid government regulators. For some, the new technology promised to be a source of enormous profits; for others, the railroad industry seemed a threat to their very livelihoods. Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive introduces the reader to the important technological advances that gave rise to diesel engines, examining not only their impact on locomotive design, but also their impact on the economic and social landscapes. J. Parker Lamb describes the development of these technologies, allowing the reader to fully understand how they were integrated and formed a commercially successful locomotive. Like its companion volume, Perfecting the American Steam Locomotive (IUP, 2003), this book emphasizes the role of the leading engineers whose innovations paved the way for critical breakthroughs. Rail fans will appreciate this authoritative work.

Author Bio

J. Parker Lamb retired in 2001, after a 42-year career as a practicing engineer and university instructor, to pursue his life-long interest in the history of American technology with an emphasis on railroad developments. He has authored four books, including Perfecting the American Steam Locomotive (IUP, 2003). He lives in Austin, Texas.


"Lamb’s book is . . . an important contribution to railroad technological history. The book’s strength is the author’s mastery of the mechanical details, which he presents in a straightforward style." —Railroad History

"Lamb provides the reader with detailed descriptions of every generation of diesel locomotive along with a generous supply of excellent photographs." —Maury Klein, Technology and Culture vol. 49 , July 2008

"A host of books and articles have touched on various aspects of this ongoing story over the years, but none tell the story with the completeness and superb clarity found here." —
Michigan Railfan , May - June 2010

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Precursor Technologies
Chapter 2 Self-propelled Coaches
Chapter 3 The Diesel Climbs Aboard
Chapter 4 Streamlined Trains
Chapter 5 Developments Beyond La Grange
Chapter 6 Alco Rebounds
Chapter 7 Postwar Shakeout
Chapter 8 Road Switchers Take Over
Chapter 9 A Monopolized Market
Chapter 10 Special Purpose Designs
Chapter 10 New Heights for Diesel Power
Chapter 12 Recent Developments
Chapter 13 The Diesel Century in Perspective