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 merger with PC, units 300 and 302-310 were classed 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 to GE in 1984. Two however, have been preserved.
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. Former PRR designer of the iconic 1939 S-1 Passenger locomotive, Raymond Loewy was again hired 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, to Amtrak in 1971. Upon Conrail’s inception in 1976, CR inherited all other remaining GG-1’s, assigning them their ex-PRR series 4800-4938.
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 until 1983, when all remaining GG-1’s were retired.
The longevity of Conrail’s inherited almost ageless fleet of GG-1’s was between 36-45 years.