The Virginian EL-C was a type of electric locomotive built for the Virginian Railway by General Electric in 1955. They were the first successful production locomotives to use ignitron rectifier technology. Although they proved to be a very successful design, no more EL-C's were ever built, due to the small number of railroads that had electrification and the advent of improved electric locomotive technology.
The Virginian electrified a section of its line through the Appalachian mountains in the mid-1920s with a 11,000 volt, 25Hz AC system. The electrification was widely regarded as a success, but probably because of its huge cost, the Virginian never extended this electrification.
The Virginian originally used a fleet of three-unit boxcab locomotives designated EL-3A. These were supplemented in 1946 by two pairs of two-unit streamlined locomotives designated as EL-2B. By the 1950s, the EL-3A fleet was getting tired, and Virginian went to GE for new locomotives as replacements. GE used then-new ignitron rectifier technology, first used on the experimental Pennsylvania Railroad E3b and EL3c locomotives. Although this same technology was used with less-than-optimal success on the earlier EP-5 locomotives built for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, it worked flawlessly on the Virginian’s EL-Cs (possibly due to the much larger area available in the EL-C).