The World's Greatest Electric Locomotive

Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
838
Location
New Jersey
For all of the "trainspotters" here on the cafe, here's a look at the finest piece of electric motive power ever built.

The renowned GG-1. Built for and by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the GG-1's ran from 1935 to 1983. They totaled 139 engines and cost about $250,000 apiece, which back then was unheard of. Each one was insured by Lloyds of London. Their sleek look was created by the famous industrial designer Raymond Lowey.

A single GG-1 generated roughly 4000 hp, but could be overloaded to 9500 hp for short periods. The railroad could use them alone or in multiple quantities to achieve the right amount of muscle. Each GG-1 weighed in at about a half million lbs.

They hauled everything ever thrown at them from crack streamliners (where they cruised at 100 mph without breaking a sweat) to the heaviest freight trains. Their high rate of availability (ready to haul trains) was literally 100%.

Some even say that they helped the United States win World War II by keeping everything (freight / passengers / GI's / POW's / armament, etc.) moving on the vital routes between Harrisburg, Pa.- Philadelphia-Boston-N.Y.-Washington.

Their highlights are too many to list, but the one that stands out is the GG-1 that lost it's brakes heading into Washington Union station in 1953. It was hauling passengers for Eisenhower's inauguration. The train plowed into the station and the GG-1 sunk down to the basement. It was boarded over and after the inauguration, was cut up into 4 pieces and hauled off to Altoona, Pa. (where they were built). It was reassembled and ran on until the 1980's.

They finished their careers by toting commuters here in New Jersey until retirement. They might still be running except they were built in the era before all of the PCB awareness. Their transformers contained PCB's.

Anyway, this short blurb only tells a small tale of how great the GG-1's really were. There are several good videos on YouTube, in case you want to see one in action.

And now a few choice vignettes that I shot when they ran.......

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All on Kodachrome 64 with various Nikon bodies and Nikkor lenses.
 
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Joined
Apr 15, 2008
Messages
2,017
Location
Tamaqua, PA, USA
Wow, great images of a beautiful electric locomotive. If I remember correctly, while they carried many paint schemes, only one unit, #4800, was ever painted in full Conrail livery.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
927
Location
State College, King of Prussia, PA, LBI NJ
I went to PSU Altoona and aside from being the biggest train place with places like horseshoe curve (a german target due to its importance in the railway) there were several of these around town. Thanks for the history of them I have always wanted to know more
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
3,969
Location
Chicago
There is a nice sample at the PRR museum near Lancaster , Pa.

You can not see inside, but the is a stairway going up so you can see inside the engineers quarters. For a really large loco, the engineer quarter is downright cramped.

If you like steam, there is plenty there.

Also a few EMD diesels which is where my heart is having worked there 30+ years.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
1,872
Location
Denver, CO
Thank you Andy, it brings back lots of memories around the railroad for me.
Pete

Another interesting fact: They had Alternating Current traction motors and would regenerate power into the lines when engine braking down a grade...
 
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Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
838
Location
New Jersey
Also a few EMD diesels which is where my heart is having worked there 30+ years.

You mean EMD's Like these?

Electro-Motive Division is the "home of diesel locomotives", both old and new.

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Joined
Sep 21, 2010
Messages
300
Location
Ontario
Wow! Long live Kodachrome, and you've managed to capture an amazing engine. I'm in love with train photos and always wish there were more, but yours are something a little extraordinary. Love the dated look of the engine itself!
 
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