The Full Wiki

PRR GG1: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on PRR GG1

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A black, electric locomotive pulling several burgundy passenger railcars.
Amtrak 904 traveling through Harrison, New Jersey in June 1975.
Power type Electric
Designer General Electric,
Raymond Loewy
Builder General Electric (15),
Altoona Works (124)
Build date 1934 – 1943
Total production 139
AAR wheel arr. 2-C+C-2
UIC classification (2′Co)(Co2′)
Gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel diameter 36 in (914 mm)
Driver diameter 57 in (1,448 mm)
Wheelbase 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m) between driving axles
Length 79 ft 6 in (24.23 m)
Width 10 ft 4 in (3.15 m)
Height 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m) over locked-down pantographs
Weight on drivers 50,500 lb (22.9 tonnes)
Locomotive weight 475,000 lb (215.5 tonnes)
Electric system(s) 11,000 V AC, 25 Hz
Current collection method Overhead AC with dual pantographs
Traction motors 12 × GEA-627-A1 385 hp (287 kW)
Transmission Quill drive
Top speed 100 mph (160 km/h) (passenger)
90 mph (145 km/h) (freight)
Power output 4,620 hp (3,450 kW)
Tractive effort 65,500 lbf (291 kN)
Career Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit
Locale Northeast Corridor
First run January 28, 1935
Last run October 29, 1983
Disposition Most scrapped, several preserved in static display around the U.S.

The PRR GG1 is a class of electric locomotives that was built for the Pennsylvania Railroad for use in the northeastern United States. A total of 140 GG1s were constructed by its designer General Electric and the Pennsylvania's Altoona Works from 1934 to 1943.

Initially introduced into service by the Pennsylvania in 1935, the GG1 was operated by its successor companies—Penn Central, Conrail and Amtrak. The last GG1 was retired from service by New Jersey Transit in 1983. Most of the GG1s were scrapped, but several were preserved by various museums around the United States.


Technical information

A GG1-class locomotive is 79 feet 6 inches (24.23 m) long and weighs 475,000 pounds (215,000 kg).[1] The frame of the locomotive was formed from two bridge-like trusses joined together with ball and socket joint.[2] The body rested on the frame and was clad in welded steel plates. The two cabs are in the middle of the locomotive, situated for greater crew safety in the event of a collision.[3] A pantograph mounted on each end the locomotive body was used to collect the 25 Hertz, 11,000 volt alternating current (AC) from the overhead lines. Transformers located between the two cabs stepped down the 11,000 volts to the voltages needed for the traction motors and other electrical equipment on the engine.[3]

Two black electric locomotives pulling boxcars.
Penn Central 4801 and 4800 hauling freight through Elizabeth, New Jersey in December 1975.

Twelve 385-horsepower (287 kW) GEA-627-A1 traction motors drove the GG1's six 57-inch (140 cm) diameter driving wheels on three axles using a quill drive. Four unpowered leading/trailing wheels were mounted on each end of the locomotive. Using Whyte notation for steam locomotives, each frame is a 4-6-0 locomotive, which in the Pennsylvania Railroad classification system is a "G". The GG1 is composed of two such frames mounted back to back, 4-6-0+0-6-4. The AAR wheel arrangement is 2-C+C-2 meaning two sets of three powered axles that are hinged together, with two unpowered axles on either side. The mechanical design of the GG1 was based largely on the New Haven EP3, which had been borrowed earlier from the New Haven Railroad by the Pennsylvania to compare it to its current standard electric locomotive, the P5a.[4]

The Pennsylvania hired Raymond Loewy to "enhance the GG1's aesthetics".[5] Loewy recommended the use of a smooth, welded body instead of riveted one used in the prototype.[6] Loewy also added five gold pinstripes and a Brunswick green paint scheme.[6] The paint scheme was changed to Tuscan red in 1952 and the pinstripes were simplified to single stripe and large red keystones were added in 1955.[7]


In 1933, the Pennsylvania decided the replace its P5a locomotives and instructed both General Electric and Westinghouse to design a prototype locomotive with the following specifications: a lighter axle load and more power than the P5a, be capable of at least 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), a streamlined body design and a central cab.[8] Both companies delivered their prototypes to the Pennsylvania in August 1934.[9] General Electric submitted the GG1 and Westinghouse submitted the R1. The R1 was essentially "little more than an elongated and more powerful version of the P5a" with an AAR wheel arrangement of 2-D-2.[9] Both locomotives were tested for ten weeks in regular service between New York and Philadelphia and on a test track in Claymont, Delaware.[5] Because of the R1's rigid wheelbase prevented it from negotiating sharp curves and some railroad switches, the Pennsylvania chose the GG1 and ordered 57 additional locomotives on November 10, 1934.[5] Of the 57, 14 were to be built entirely by General Electric in Erie and 18 at the Altoona Works. The remaining locomotives were to be assembled in Altoona with electrical components from Westinghouse in East Pittsburgh and chassis from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone.[10]

A black and white photo of striped locomotive pulling a passenger train.
PRR 4839 pulling the Federal through Washington, D.C. on August 3, 1939.

On January 28, 1935, to mark the completion of the electric line from Washington, D.C to New York City, the Pennsylvania ran a special train pulled by PRR 4800 before it opened the line for revenue service on February 10.[11] It made a round trip from D.C. to Philadelphia and, on its return trip, set a speed record by arriving back in D.C. 1 hour and 50 minutes after its departure from Philadelphia.[11]



On January 15, 1953, PRR 4876 headed up Train 173, the Federal, from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, D.C. The train passed a signal 2.1 miles (3.4 km) north of Union Station traveling between 60 and 70 miles per hour (97 and 110 km/h) and the engineer decreased the throttle and started applying the brakes in preparation for entering the station.[12] When the engineer realized that the train was not slowing down, and applying the emergency brake had no effect, he proceeded to sound the engine's horn. A signalman, on hearing the horn and noting the excessive speed of the 4876, phoned ahead to the station master's office.[13] 4876 negotiated several switches without derailing, at speeds well over the safe speed limits and entered the station at around 35 miles per hour (56 km/h). The train rammed the buffer stops, continued through the station master's office and into the concourse.[14] The weight of 4876 caused it to fall through the floor and into the station's basement. A temporary floor was erected over the engine, and the hole it created, for the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.[13] 4876 was eventually dismantled and removed from the basement. It was reassembled in Altoona, before being put back into service.

A locomotive with its pantograph raised, lying at angle and partially tipped over, with wreckage strewn about it.
PRR 4876 after the crash in Union Station.

The accident was determined to have been caused by a "angle cock", a valve on the front and rear of a locomotive and rail cars used in the train's airbraking system, on the rear of the third car in the train that had inadvertenly closed.[15] The handle of the angle cock had been improperly placed and had come into contact with the bottom of the car. Once it was closed, the brakes on all the cars behind the closed valve would not have been able to be applied.[16]

The only major breakdown of the GG1 was caused by a blizzard which swept across the northeastern United States in February 1958.[17] The storm put nearly half of the GG1s out of commission. Exceptionally fine snow, caused by the extreme low temperatures, was able to pass through the locomotives' air filters and into the electrical components.[18] The snow then melted and short circuited the components.[18]


When the Pennsylvania Railroad was merged with the New York Central Railroad in 1968, its fleet of GG1s was acquired by Penn Central. After its creation in 1971, Amtrak also inherited several GG1s. Amtrak intended to replace the GG1s in 1975 when it introduced the General Electric E60.[19] As the E60 never received clearance for speeds over 85 miles per hour (137 km/h), Amtrak imported a small, lightweight engine from Sweden that became nicknamed the "Swedish swifty".[20] Electro-Motive Diesel, then a part of General Motors, was licensed to build it in the United States and the "Swedish swifty" became the base of the AEM-7.[20] With the AEM-7s on hand Amtrak was finally able replace its GG1s. Penn Central went bankrupt in 1973 and its freight operations were assumed by the government-controlled Conrail. The last remaining GG1s in use were assigned to New Jersey Transit for its North Jersey Coast Line between New York and South Amboy and were, eventually, retired on October 29, 1983.[21]

Of the 140 total GG1s built, 15 production locomotives and the prototype were preserved in museums:

A burgundy locomotive, with gold stripes in a museum with other railroad equipment.
PRR 4890, on display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
An unpainted, dirty-looking locomotive in a warehouse.
Amtrak 4939 undergoing preparation for repainting to PRR 4927 at the Illinois Railway Museum.

In popular culture

During the mid-1930s, the art of streamlining became popular, especially with locomotives, as it conveyed a sense of speed.[23] While other railroads were introducing streamlined trains, like the Union Pacific's M-10000 or the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad with the Zephyr, the Pennsylvania had the GG1.[23] The GG1 has "showed up over the years in more advertisements and movie clips than any other locomotive."[24] It was also featured in art calendars provided by the Pennsylvania, which were used to "promoted its reputation in the public eye."[25] It has appeared in the films The Clock in 1945, the 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate, and Avalon in 1990 in the livery of the Pennsylvania.[26][27][28] Two GG1s appear in the 1973 film The Seven-Ups—a black Penn Central locomotive and a silver, red and blue Amtrak locomotive.[29] A Penn Central GG1 also appears in another 1973 film The Last Detail.[30]

The GG1 and the Congressional were featured on a postage stamp as part of the United States Postal Service's All Aboard! 20th Century American Trains set in 1999.[31]


  1. ^ "Pennsylvania Railroad Electric Locomotive GG1 4800", p. 5.
  2. ^ "Pennsylvania Railroad Electric Locomotive GG1 4800", pp. 2–3.
  3. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Railroad Electric Locomotive GG1 4800", p. 3.
  4. ^ Bezilla 1980, pp. 141–142.
  5. ^ a b c Bezilla 1980, p. 145.
  6. ^ a b Bezilla 1980, p. 146.
  7. ^ Schafer 2009, p. 128.
  8. ^ Bezilla 1980, p. 141.
  9. ^ a b Bezilla 1980, p. 143.
  10. ^ "$15,000,000 order"
  11. ^ a b Bezilla 1980, p. 154.
  12. ^ "Accident at Union Station", p. 6.
  13. ^ a b Loftus 1953, p. 16.
  14. ^ "Accident at Union Station", p. 5.
  15. ^ "Accident at Union Station", p. 13.
  16. ^ "Accident at Union Station, p. 14.
  17. ^ Bezilla 1980, p. 164.
  18. ^ a b Benjamin 1958
  19. ^ Burks 1975, p. NJ23.
  20. ^ a b Burks 1980
  21. ^ Soloman 2003, p. 56.
  22. ^ a b Palmateer 2008
  23. ^ a b Schafer 2009, p. 127.
  24. ^ Ball 1986, p. 34.
  25. ^ Cupper 1992, pp. 56–57.
  26. ^ The Clock, 01:14.
  27. ^ The Manchurian Candidate, 41:56.
  28. ^ Avalon, 66:37.
  29. ^ The Seven-Ups, 93:33, 96:36.
  30. ^ The Last Detail, 40:32.
  31. ^ "All Aboard!"


External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address