In the mid-1930s, as the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors was trying to interest railroads in diesel passenger power, there was a lot of experimentation in exterior design. Looking at EMD's worm-like yellow and brown Union Pacific M-10000, its gleaming stainless steel Burlington Zephyr, or the boxy, just-plain-ugly early Santa Fe units, it's apparent that here was a new function looking for its form. The first generation of road diesels found its form in 1937, when the initial E-units, built for the B&O, inaugurated the classic "covered wagon" cab unit design that would last for two decades on both freight and passenger diesels.
The earliest E-units were each virtually custom made, with less than 20 units produced of models EA through E5. With the E6, EMD settled on a standardized passenger unit and began to produce it in large quantities. Starting in 1939, 92 A-units and 26 matching B-units were built, before the war effort arrested production of all passenger diesels in 1942. The E6 was the last passenger diesel to sport the beautiful, rakish, streamlined EMD nose so characteristic of the 1930s. When the war ended, EMD resumed production of the E-Series with the E7, which featured the "bulldog" nose introduced earlier on the model FT freight diesel.
Now you can enjoy the beauty and glamour of the seminal E6 streamliners in the colorful schemes of some of America's great railroads. Imagine the excitement of hearing station announcements and squealing brakes as your train glides to a stop, followed by the hustle and bustle of passengers disembarking and boarding. Moments later, the conductor's departure call pierces the din, the locomotive's bell begins to ring, and your train is off again for faraway places.