Electrics

Conrail inherited their electric locomotive fleet from the PC, and continued electric freight operations on their own Port Road Branch and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor until early 1981. Conrail also operated the Niagra Junction Railroad's electric lines in New York from April 1st 1976 to January 1978.

Conrail acquired 10 PC class E33 electrics numbered 4600-4610 in 1976.

The GE model EL-C electrics led a very storied career before they made it to Conrail rails, having been born in 1956 and 1957 as 130-141 for the Virginian Railway. Originally built with dynamic braking and the latest technology Ignitron rectifiers, they became the property of the N&W upon the December 1959 merger of VGN into N&W.  

When N&W deemed their electric lines surplus and shut them down in June 1962, the units were sold to the New Haven, classed EF-4, and assigned series 300-310.  Upon the addition of the NH into the PRR, NYC merger, units 300 and 302-310 were classed as Penn Central E33 and assigned series 4601-4610. Unit 301 had been accident damaged and scrapped.

Upon the formation of Conrail in April 1976, the E33's served well until CR ceased electric operations in the early '80's. A few wore CR blue before being traded into GE in 1984.

Two EL-C electrics have been reported preserved as follows:

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, Roanoke, VA, lists CR 4604 (ex-VGN 135) as part of their collection.

Although Virginian 131 is reported to have been preserved by the Railroad Museum of New England, the locomotive is not currently listed as part of their collection.

In 1965, GE built 10 EP-5 passenger locomotives for the New Haven.  Upon the formation of Penn Central, the EP-5's were reclassed as E40 and assigned the PC series 4970-4979.
The original group of E44's consisted of 66 units built for the PRR between 1960 and 1963. Forty-four were class E44 in 1976 and numbered 4400-4437 and 4460-4465, while units 4438 to 4459 totaling 22, were class E44A having been rebuilt to 5,000 horsepower from the original 4,400 horsepower. All units had dual controls, and the rebuilt E44A's were a tad bit lighter than the original E44's, 188 tons versus 192 tons. All were retired by the end of 1981.
Shortly before Conrail decided to pull out the catenary on their electrified lines, they tested two EMD demonstrators, a GM6C and a GM10B.

To replace their aging fleet of P5a electrics in 1933, PRR commissioned the design of a more powerful, lighter axle load, streamlined body, 100mph electric locomotive.  The Westinghouse R-1 and GE GG-1 prototype electric locomotives were built and tested by the PRR in 1934. Famed designer Raymond Loewy, who would later design the iconic 1939 S-1 Passenger steam locomotive, was hired by the PRR to add an aesthetic carbody to the winning GG-1 design.  The result was the classic, welded body with five gold pinstripes and a Brunswick green paint scheme. 

PRR ordered an initial production run of 57 locomotives that were completed in 1934. PRR built an additional 81 locomotives at their Altoona works from 1937-1943.  In the years following, the GG-1 proved to be the most rugged, reliable, and versatile electric locomotive ever produced. 

Following a successful career on the PRR, Penn Central sold 30 GG-1’s, and leased another 10 units, all taken from series 4890-4938, to Amtrak in 1971.  Upon Conrail’s inception in 1976, CR inherited all other remaining GG-1’s, assigning them their ex-PRR series 4800-4937. 

Conrail ran the GG-1’s in both emergency commuter service, as during the SEPTA strike of April 1977, and in freight service from 1976-1979.  CR also assigned GG-1’s in series 4872-4884 to use by contract to NJDOT until 1979, when NJ Transit was created.  A continuing contract with Conrail saw NJ Transit use the former CR GG-1’s into the fall of 1983, when the remaining three GG-1's (4877, 4879, and 4882) were retired on October 31, 1983.

The longevity of Conrail’s inherited almost ageless fleet of GG-1’s was between 36-45 years. 

 

Bookmark and Share